EV Startup With No Factory Could Be Worth Billions

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If you have an EV, even the smallest ability to make an EV, you might be worth a couple billion. That and more in The Morning Shift pour aujord’hui July 14, 2021.

1st Gear: Money Can’t Be Real, Because This Car Sure Isn’t

I missed this Bloomberg report on a German EV startup getting in on the SPAC bubble we’ve been inflating here in the U.S. for the past while. The company might get a multi-billion-dollar valuation because, and this might shock you, it actually has some production capacity. From Bloomberg:

German EV hopeful Next.e.GO Mobile SE is in talks to go public through a blank-check company or an initial public offering that could value the manufacturer of compact cars for shorter trips at as much as 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion).

The company, saved from insolvency last year, may go through with the plan within the next 12 months, Chairman Ali Vezvaei said in an interview.

[…]

“Looking at other BEVs with no production yet, e.GO — which is in production — could be valued around 1.5 billion to 2 billion euros, in line with the market,” Vezvaei said.

The company’s plant will go to full production in 2022 after limited output this year.

I, too, plan on going to full production with my electric car in a year that is not this one.

2nd Gear: Tesla’s German Factory Was Supposed To Be Making Cars By Now

Europeans will soon be buying made-in-China Tesla Model Ys. That’s not exactly according to plan, as Automotive News reports:

Tesla is expected to start European deliveries of its China-built Model Y crossovers in a few weeks.

The first vehicles will be handed over to customers in Germany in August, the German news agency dpa reported, citing an official Tesla communication.

The vehicles will be exported from Tesla’s factory in Shanghai.

Tesla originally planned to start production of the Model Y in July at its new European factory in Gruenheide near Berlin, with deliveries scheduled to begin in the third quarter, but the plant’s production start has been delayed to the end of this year or early next year.

Tesla’s factory in Germany is a good example of new sustainability-oriented products clashing with a more old-school natural conservationism.

3rd Gear: Hydrogen Backers Sure Now Is Not ‘Another False Dawn’

I myself have been getting told that hydrogen is the way of the future since I got dragged to the California Fuel Cell Partnership as a middle schooler two decades ago. New hydrogen supporters, however, are sure that now is their time, as the Financial Times reports:

Hydrogen has been billed as a fuel of the future, with oil and gas companies and governments hailing it as the solution to decarbonising parts of the economy that are not easily electrified.

Yet the fuel has experienced previous false dawns, and energy majors backing hydrogen are having to step up their efforts to explain what role they see it playing, and the sectors it could transform.

Equinor, the Norwegian state-backed energy company, which rebranded from Statoil in 2018, is now mapping out a vision for investors that it believes demonstrates the fuel’s wide range of potential uses. They extend from decarbonising the steel industry to powering the ships that underpin world trade, the group says.

Irene Rummelhoff, head of marketing, midstream and processing, says Equinor’s backing of hydrogen is simple logic: as governments commit to net zero targets to curb carbon emissions, clean forms of hydrogen will become economically viable. 

4th Gear: Kiwis Sue Uber

Yet again, Uber is getting dragged into court over claiming the people who work for it aren’t its employees and are entitled to nothing. This time it’s in New Zealand, as The Guardian reports:

Two unions, First Union and E Tu, will take the class action to the Employment Court on behalf of more than 20 drivers. They hope to override a legal precedent set in the court last year, which ruled a driver was not an employee.

An Uber driver’s rate is set by Uber, but First Union’s Anita Rosentreter said the judge in last year’s decision concluded that the driver had control over their wages because they could, in theory, be paid less, or could improve the profitability of their business through adopting cheaper business costs – such as a phone plan.

“I find it unfathomable that someone thinks that is a compelling argument,” said Rosentreter.

Uber’s whole business model is exploitation, not convenience or innovation.

5th Gear: All Those Flying Cars Would Be Loud As Shit

Speaking of labor, every so often people dream that flying robots — drones, flying cars — will do all of our transportation and delivery work. A new startup suggests that this imagined near-future would be loud as all hell. This is detailed in Bloomberg’s profile of startup Whisper Aero and its founder Mark Moore, “ a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineer turned executive within Uber Technologies Inc.’s once-bustling flying vehicle division.” From Bloomberg:

According to Moore’s count, there are about 400 companies trying to make eVTOL aircraft. Many of these vehicles are being built by hobbyists and small teams, while a couple dozen companies have received substantial funding to really go after the market. Most of the early versions of these vehicles look similar. They’re basically small planes that have electric motors running somewhere between four and twelve propellers. The big race at the moment is to make prototypes that work and have the vehicles certified as safe to fly by regulators.

Moore is convinced that the noise produced by this first wave of eVTOL vehicles will limit their success. While they’re quieter than helicopters, the aircraft still produce that swarm of bee-like buzz. Part of the problem, as Moore sees it, is that companies declined to deal with the noise in their rush to get aircraft to market. “Everyone is taking the path of least resistance,” he says.

This brings to mind the ill-fated helicopter boom in Sao Paulo.

Reverse: Ferrari Scores First F1 Win

Ferrari scored its first F1 championship victory at Silverstone on July 14, 1951, as MotorSport Magazine recounts.

Its first Le Mans win was already behind it in ‘49, but this is important, also, I suppose.

Neutral: What Was Your Longest EV Drive?

I did New York City to Detroit and back a few years ago in a Tesla. I’ve got the itch to get back on the highway in an EV, but I’d like to hear your stories, too!

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