Several electric vehicle (EV) producers are raising funds while the market is hot for electric drive by using reverse mergers, deals that pair wealthy investors running financing companies with promising startups. So-called blank-check companies go public with plans of identifying and buying startups, and if they don’t find a target within a few years, they must return their funds to investors.
In August and September, EV makers were popular targets with Lordstown Motors, Mullen Technologies, and Canoo announcing deals.
- Canoo: EV producer that plans to launch van-like shared vehicles starting in 2022. The company is working with Hyundai and Kia on EV strategies and has developed a modular skateboard platform that allows it to maximize usable interior space and support various vehicle applications. The deal values Canoo at an implied $2.4 billion and will generate approximately $600 million for Canoo to use for operations and development.
- Lordstown Motors: Commercial EV pickup producer Lordstown Motors (LM) hopes to generate nearly $700 million to launch its first vehicle through a reverse merger that values the company at about $1.5 billion. LM bought General Motors’ (GM’s) Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio last year with plans to convert it from Chevy Cruze models to EV trucks. GM and several institutional investors are putting seed money into the merger.
- Mullen Technologies: The maker of the upcoming Dragonfly K50 EV sportscar and MX-05 electric crossover plans to use funds from going public to outfit a plant in Monrovia, California.
Earlier this year, Nikola, an electric commercial truck company that plans to launch hydrogen fuel-cell- and battery-powered Class 8 trucks, announced a reverse merger that valued it at $3.3 billion. Fisker Inc., an electric sports cars manufacturer, announced reverse merger plans with another blank-check company, valuing it at about $2.9 billion. https://www.canoo.com; https://mullenusa.com; https://lordstownmotors.com
GM spells out EV technology roadmap
General Motors (GM) unveiled two technologies to expand its upcoming electric vehicle (EV) lineup.
Wireless battery system – Co-developed with Analog Devices Inc., the almost completely wireless battery management system (wBMS) should make future batteries more modular, allowing the automaker to mix and match sizes and vehicle ranges using a common set of components. The system is being co-developed with GM’s Ultium battery packs – power units it’s producing in Lordstown, Ohio – through a joint venture with LG Chem.
The wBMS will balance chemistry within the individual battery cell groups for optimal performance. It can also conduct real-time battery pack health checks and refocus the network of modules and sensors as needed, safeguarding battery health.
Reducing wires within the batteries up to 90% will lightweight future vehicles, extending range and creating more room for batteries.
Modular motor lineup – Five interchangeable drive units and three motors, known collectively as Ultium Drive, will take power from Ultium batteries and send it to vehicle wheels. The automaker expects the modular drive units to be lighter and more efficient than competing models. For example, integrating power electronics into the drive units’ assemblies lowers electronics mass by nearly 50% while increasing capability 25%.
Ultium Drive includes front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive propulsion combinations with high-performance and off-road capabilities. Drive units will be powered by one or more of the three motor sizes. https://www.gm.com; https://lgchem.com; https://www.analog.com