VinFast debuted on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, with a market value of more than $85bn, after completing its SPAC merger with Black Spade Acquisition. This market value placed, the loss-making, VinFast above GM and Ford and although the company IPO-ed well above industry consensus, it is important to highlight a few key points. Historically, SPACs have always been overvalued investment vehicles and c99% of shares are owned by VinFast’s founder Pham Nhat Vuong leaving only a small amount available for trading. It is worth bearing in mind that VinFast, currently, is the only OEM offering guaranteed residuals, which should help bump its revenues in the coming quarters, although we agree with industry consensus, that it will be very hard for VinFast to maintain its market value in the coming quarters.
Solaris, a Polish bus manufacturer, has placed an order for 96 fuel cell modules from Ballard Power. Ballard Power is planning to deliver these modules in Q4 23/Q1 24. 52 of these modules will be used in hydrogen buses ordered from Solaris by Rebus Regionalbus Rostock. At the same time, the remaining 44 modules will be installed in Solaris H2 buses for other customers. Bear in mind, the order placed by Rebus is the biggest Solaris has received to date. These orders signal that the market is demonstrating a broader acceptance of hydrogen fuel cell buses.
Tesla has slashed prices for all its versions of its premium Model S and Model X by up to 6.9%, in China, to reignite the Price War. This will further intensify the competition between EV OEMs, in the most competitive market already. It is worth bearing in mind, in previous weeks, domestic OEMs, such as BYD, SAIC-owned MG Motor and Great Wall Motor have cut prices. Tesla’s price cuts now, appear to be to protect its market share in China, as this country alone accounts for around 1/3 of annual sales. Furthermore, Mr Musk did declare that his main priority (in the short term) is sales rather than margin(s).
Ceer, a Saudia Arabian EV brand, has announced its partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software. This a significant milestone, as Ceer is the country’s first EV brand, and until recently the EV market was nascent in this region. This partnership will help ramp up EV adoption, as Ceer can offer a more complete EV product, which will help it make it competitive. Siemens will empower Ceer by providing its specialized Xcelerator software.
BMW has announced its new iX5 Hydrogen vehicle, will enter a pilot fleet of under 100 vehicles. These vehicles will be deployed around the world for demonstration and trial purposes. The hydrogen fuel cells used in the iX5, stem from a collaboration between BMW and Toyota. The iX5 can generate 170 horsepower, with a range of 313 miles, a top speed of over 112mph and achieve 0-60mph in less than 6 seconds.
JLR announced it is recruiting 300 new technicians to help boost its EV development. 100 of these roles are for maintenance technicians in its Solihull plant. These technicians will be trained to work on a new £70m body production system that will be used to help build the new electric Range Rover. The rest of the 200 will be a mix of technicians and test engineers, who will be based at the Gaydon engineering centre and Whitley powertrain facility, where they will focus on testing and developing JLR's next-generation electric vehicles.
ElectraMeccanica, a Canadian-based designer and assembler of EVs, and Tevva, a UK-based electric truck firm, are merging. It appears, initially, the deal will focus on the UK, with plans to (further) expand in Europe and then the USA. ElectraMeccanica, in its FY22 annual report, had a healthy cash balance of $134.3m and focussed on single-passenger, 3-wheel EVs. Whereas Tevva has proprietary electric truck technology however due to market conditions has found it hard to hit delivery timeline targets. We believe this merger will leverage ElectraMeccanica’s capital and USA manufacturing capabilities to help accelerate the rollout of Tevva’s electric trucks.
Moove, an African mobility fintech, has raised $76m in a new funding round. This raise is made up of $28m in equity (from new and existing investors led by Mubadala Investments), $10m in venture debt (from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock), and $38m in previously undisclosed funds raised during the prior 12 months. The capital will be deployed to expand its operational footprint in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Mitra Chem, a Californian-based battery materials startup, has raised $60m in a Series B round, led by GM. The start-up will use this capital to develop advanced iron-based cathode active materials, like lithium manganese iron phosphate cells, to power EV batteries. Bear in mind, the majority of cathodes today, are made up of nickel and cobalt (limited supply), thus an iron-based cathode is a far more sustainable material. GM is aggressively investing in a US-focussed battery supply chain and the company feels that Mitra Chem can produce batteries compatible with Ultium (GM’s EV architecture). This is, in part, a key driver for investing in Mitra Chem, as it will GM produce affordable battery chemistries like LMFP.
ev.energy, a London-based EV charging software platform, has raised $33m in a Series B funding round. The company will use the capital, to expand its geographical reach in North America and Europe. Alongside, accelerating the adoption of its Virtual Power Plant and enabling its Vehicle-to-Grid services. Impressively, the company’s end-to-end platform manages charging for more than 120,000 EVs, daily.