Saturday, July 11, 2020

EV Truck Excitement Is Off The Chart -- All Roads Lead To Amazon -- July 11, 2020


September 15, 2021: Amazon-backed Rivian announces first EV pick-up truck rolls off the assembly line. Rivian says they were the first.

July 24, 2020: Nikola pilot plant to speed electric truck production.

Original Post

This graphic fascinates me:

Note: Toyota Motors is not shown in the graphic above. Market value of TM is $175 billion, about 70% that of Tesla. The graph above says as much about the "craziness" of Tesla valuation as the sad state of affairs for the legacy automobile industry. Did GM not see this coming? Did Mercedes not see this coming?

It appears that major specialty truck manufacturers were looking at electric drivetrains as early as 2018, if not before, with commercial production anticipated for 2021 or shortly thereafter. It appears that, based on headlines, we may be reaching a tipping point. This is simply fascinating.
What's in a name? Coincidence? Serendipity? The Transformers: The Last Knight movie, featuring a Western Star truck was released in 2017 just about the time we saw the transformation to EVs taking place.

One thing led to another. Random data points regarding EV.

Which Led Me To This

Nikola (NKLA);
  • market cap: $20 billion
  • Nikola shares are up more than 60% since it went public last month (June, 2020)
Rivian: from the drive --

Rivian doesn't exactly live on hype as many electric vehicle manufacturers do. It can afford not to, because it seems like every other month the company—which has yet to release its first trucks, the R1T pickup and R1S SUV—gets another huge cash infusion from excited believers. Today, Rivian announced it's closed its biggest investment round yet, raising a further $2.5 billion with a B in support of its vision for the electrified future.
It's notable that this round wasn't driven by companies like Ford or Amazon that have already signed production deals with Rivian and have a concrete interest in getting its factories up and running.
This time, funding was led by financial firms like T. Row Price Associates (also a previous investor), Soros Fund Management, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Coatue, and Baron Capital Group. Amazon also pitched in a little more money, following its September 2019 order for 100,000 electric delivery vans.
The $2.5 billion investment is the first cash influx Rivian has received in 2020. In 2019, the electric truck brand received four separate investments that totaled $2.85 billion. In addition to the Amazon van deal, it was originally reported that Ford's involvement meant Lincoln would be teaming up with Rivian for the luxury brand's first electric SUV, however those specific plans fell through in April due to the ongoing pandemic and resulting economic downturn.
But Ford still plans to use the Rivian "skateboard" EV chassis as a base for future vehicles.
Scaringe has also indicated that he has no plans to take Rivian public anytime soon, so this likely won't be the last big funding round for the company as investors eying Tesla's soaring stock price scramble to get in on the ground floor of any serious EV play.
We just hope some of that cash goes towards developing more excellent paint colors like that yellow number up top.
Spartan Energy Acquisition: in talks to buy EV company, Fisker Inc. Spartan shares soared more than 38% on the news.  "Stock in electrical-vehicle makers are on fire. Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are doing even better." -- Barron's, July 9, 2020. Reuters link here.
Electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc is in talks to go public through a sale to a so-called blank-check acquisition company, modeled after a successful deal earlier this year by peer Nikola Corp NKLA.O, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The deal is estimated to be in the range of $2 billion.
Velodyne Lidar: an autonomous vehicle technology company agrees to be bought by blank-check company Graf Industrial for $1.6 billion.

Tortoise Acquisition: another example of a "blank-check" company. Link here.
Tortoise is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), meaning a company that has no business plans of its own but that seeks to acquire other businesses. (Put another way, it's a shell company, which explains its cheeky name and ticker symbol.)
Last month, Tortoise announced plans to merge with Hyliion, a maker of hybrid and electric drivetrains for heavy trucks, in a deal similar to the one that took rival electric-truck start-up Nikola public in early June. In a nutshell, Tortoise and Hyliion will merge, some outside investors will add additional funds, the merged company will be named Hyliion, and Tortoise's former shares will continue to trade under the new ticker HYLN.
Western Star.

Daimler unveils electric Freightliner Cascadia. June 6, 2018.
Daimler Trucks will launch a full line of electric trucks and buses starting with small scale pilot programs later this year and ramping up to full-scale production by 2021.
The company unveiled a nearly silent, electric version of its flagship Freightliner Cascadia heavy-duty truck at the Portland International Raceway during a meeting with Wall Street analysts and investors in Portland, Oregon, Tuesday (2018).
Meanwhile, GM, March 4, 2020:

Ford, April 28, 2020:

A joint project between Rivian and Ford to build a Lincoln-branded electric vehicle has been canceled as the auto industry struggles to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
While there were never specific details about the product, where it would be built or timing for its launch, the automakers planned to build the new vehicle using startup electric truck manufacturer Rivian’s platform.
“Given the current environment, Lincoln and Rivian have decided not to pursue the development of a fully electric vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform,” Lincoln said in a statement Tuesday. “Ford Motor Company’s strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian and electrification remains unchanged and Lincoln’s future plans will include an all-electric vehicle.”
Ford, which last year invested $500 million in Rivian, said Tuesday the partnership “remains strong,” and the companies continue to work together on an alternative vehicle based on Rivian’s platform.

Spicks and Specks, The Bee Gees

And, of course that led me to Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, and The Hollies but that will be a story for another day. Or not.

Two Peters Sellers movies in one night followed by a classic film noir movie. What could be finer? Film noir, The Bodyguard, 1948. A Pontiac station wagon and a Ford Woody Estate Wagon.

Factoid: Station Wagons originated from the age of train travel where they assisted in carriage. They were known as hacks, short for hackney carriage which was an old name for taxis. They also came to be known as "Carryalls" and "Suburbans."

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