The 5,000-plus food carts that operate in New York City deliver a movable feast. They serve an estimated 1.2 million meals each day and offer menu choices that range from hot dogs to halal plates. In recent decades, moreover, street eats have evolved to reflect the tastes of immigrants and the talents of a new breed of foodie entrepreneur. Yet the carts themselves still run on dirty propane and noisy generators.

A start-up called Move Systems aims to bring longoverdue upgrades to the...

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