French startup Kate has raised a $7.6 million (€7 million) funding round from a bunch of business angels. As I wrote in my previous article on Kate, the company has ambitious goals when it comes to everyday mobility. It plans to use the funding to develop an alternative to regular cars (electric or not) by making something smaller, cheaper and easier to maintain.
Investors in the startup include Julien Lemoine (co-founder and CTO of Algolia), Emmanuelle Brizay (AC8 INVEST), Christophe Maurissen (managing director at Alcogroup), Romain Afflelou (CEO of Cosmo Connected), Benoît Charles-Lavauzelle (CEO of Theodo) and Antoine Leconte (founder of Cheerz).
And Kate isn’t starting from scratch. The company acquired NoSmoke, a small manufacturer of electric vehicles inspired by the Mini Moke. This way, Kate can reuse some parts and borrow some manufacturing processes that have been used to produce the leisure cars.
But Kate’s next car, which is currently called the K1, will be designed to be used every single day and not just for your vacation house. In Europe, people moving from A to B use a large vehicle — like a regular car — for 84% of their trips. It represents 11% of the CO2 emissions. And yet, 98% of trips are shorter than 80 kilometers (that’s 50 miles).
The Kate K1 is going to be a lightweight car that can reach a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). It isn’t designed for your long-distance trips. In that case, you’re better off renting a normal car. It isn’t designed for big cities either, as public transportation, bikes and shared vehicles work better in this environment.
But the Kate K1 would work well for people living in the suburbs or the countryside. It would work fine to drop off your kid at school, head to work and swing by the supermarket. It will have four seats and the entry level should offer a battery range of 200 kilometers (124 miles).
Kate has an aggressive timeline as it wants to unveil the K1 in the third quarter of 2023. In addition to the mysterious renderings, here’s what the Original, the leisure car that is currently available, looks like: