Emerging U.S. EV Makers on the Move: Many announce plans to launch in 2021
Each company developing its own unique product and sales strategy to gain competetive edge
|Lucid Motors’ AMP-1 (Advanced Manufacturing Plant) in Arizona which will begin the production of luxury EV sedans in 2021
(Source: Lucid Motors)
With the background of activities to reduce carbon globally, major countries and regions have announced policy goals to limit the use of gasoline vehicles and introduce electric vehicles. Automotive companies have become increasingly active in the development of electric vehicle technologies and in their planning to expand the introduction and lineup of new EVs. Among the emerging EV ventures in the U.S. that have been established one after another since 2000, several major manufacturers that have been developing products and making production preparations have announced plans to start production of mass-market vehicles, many of them in 2021 and 2022.
In terms of product strategy, these emerging manufacturers will seek to differentiate themselves by creating uniqueness in their market introduction strategies, such as taking the ultra-luxury/high performance route or emphasizing practicality and efficiency, and in terms of sales strategy, they are pursuing such concepts as direct sales networks, manufacturer-direct sales, fleet customer focus, and subscription-only. There is also a marked contrast between manufacturers that focus on their proprietary technologies and in-house manufacturing and those that seek cost advantages by outsourcing components and manufacturing. Many companies are trying to secure and expand the scale of their operations by forming alliances with major fleet customers and selling components externally.
In addition, for emerging manufacturers, securing funds for technology development and production preparation has always been a major issue, and as a countermeasure, many EV manufacturers have listed or are planning to list on the stock market and raise funds using the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) structure, which is now recognized as a new method of IPO (Initial Public Offering).
Emerging EV makers are aiming to secure a share of the growing electric vehicle market through their superiority in a target market, but the competitive environment is severe as major OEMs with strong production systems and sales networks are also planning to launch various new EVs at the same time.
This report is an update to our previous report (published April 27, 2020), which presented the trends of emerging EV manufacturers in the U.S., providing the latest developments of manufacturers that have announced specific market launch schedules.
U.S. Biden Administration to Enact Tougher Fuel Economy Regulations to Promote EVs (Jan. 2021)
OEM Operations in the U.S. in 2020 (Dec. 2020)
The Routes to Carbon-neutral Freight Transport (Dec. 2020)
Is Tesla an Auto Company or a Tech Company? (Nov. 2020)
Electric Powertrain Market Forecast in Major Countries (Oct. 2020)
OEM Measures to Expand Sales of SUVs and Pickups in the U.S. (May 2020)
Emerging U.S. EV makers: Full-fledged market entry from end-2020 (Apr. 2020)
The product launches of major U.S. emerging EV manufacturers will be concentrated in 2021 and 2022
The main points of the initial EV launch plans of the eight major companies in this report are presented below:
|Manufacturer||First EV to be launched (full electric vehicle)||Production or sales start date||Price (*Note)||Features|
|Rivian Automotive||5-seater pickup truck “R1T”, to be followed by SUV and delivery van||Deliveries to begin June 2021 (initially limited model)||USD 75,000 ~||Partnering with Ford and Amazon|
|Lucid Motors||Full-size sedan “Lucid Air” launched beginning with highest grade “Dream Edition”.||Sales release spring 2021||USD 169,000||Emphasizing luxury and high performance. To be sold by directly managed dealers.|
|Lordstown Motors||Full-size pickup truck “Endurance”||Production launch in fall 2021||USD 52,500 ~||Focusing on fleet customers|
|Karma Automotive||Sedan “GSe-6”||Sales release in 2021||USD 79,900 ~||Utilizing its track record of PHV (plug-in hybrid vehicle) sales.|
|Bollinger Motors||Pickup truck / SUT||Sales release in 2021||USD 125,000||Focusing on simplicity and functionality|
|Fisker||SUV “Ocean”||Production launch in Q4 2022||USD 37,499 ~||Efficiency through outsourcing of assembly and major components.|
|Nikola||Heavy-duty (Class 7/8) semi-truck. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) launched first, followed by fuel cell vehicle (FCV).||Production launch of BEV in 2022 and FCV in 2023.||-||Building hydrogen infrastructure.|
|Canoo||7-seeater “Canoo”||Sales release in 2022||By subscription only||Maximizing interior volume.|
*Note: All prices are before tax credit.
Rivian Automotive: Pickups from June 2021, followed by deliveries of SUVs
The company was founded in 2009 and its name was changed to Rivian Automotive LLC (Rivian) in 2011. Its headquarters are located in Michigan. In 2017, Rivian purchased the Mitsubishi Motors North America Normal Plant in Illinois and is planning to leverage the plant’s equipment and work force.
The company plans to expand its business leveraging funds and know-how obtained from a wide-range of affiliated companies with which it is partnered. So far, Rivian has raised USD 6 billion from Amazon, Ford, Cox Automotive and other investment funds.
The EV launch plan which was released up to now includes the R1T 5-seater pickup truck which was exhibited at the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show, the R1S 7-seater SUV, and an electric delivery van designed specifically for Amazon. The production launches of the R1T and the R1S were scheduled to be in December 2020 and March 2021, respectively, but because of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic, postponement of the sales releases of both models until 2021 was announced in April 2020.
The Lincoln brand’s first EV was to be developed jointly in a collaboration between Ford and Rivian, but the cancellation of this plan was announced in April 2020. Both companies will continue their partnership, and Ford plans to develop new vehicles based on Rivian’s skateboard platform.
Deliveries of initial limited-edition pickup and SUV models to begin in 2021
Rivian has been taking pre-orders for the initial limited-edition R1T and R1S models, with deliveries starting in June and August, 2021, respectively. In November 2020, the company launched its regular production model configurator (for selecting contents and combinations of interior and exterior specifications including colors and battery range) on its website with its detailed launch plan.
Vehicle deliveries of the regular production models of the R1T and R1S will begin in January 2022 in two specification levels:
|Adventure Package||Explore Package|
|Vehicle type||5-seater pickup truck||7-seater SUV||(same as left)|
|Price *1||USD 75,000 ~||USD 77,500 ~||USD 67,500 ~||USD 70,000 ~|
*1 Standard driving range (300 miles +)
|The Rivian R1S SUV is scheduled for delivery at the beginning of 2022
The Adventure Package is a high-grade specification for off-road use and equipment includes on-board air compressor and underbody shield for off-road use. The initial limited-edition model planned for release in 2021 is based on the specifications of the Adventure Package.
As for the battery, in addition to a standard battery with driving range of 300 miles (about 480 km), from January 2022, an option providing 400+ miles (about 640+ km) will be available for the R1T, while a lower-priced 250+ mile (about 400+ km) version and a 400+ mile version of the R1S will be released after the release of the regular model.
The vehicles will be equipped with various safety features as standard, such as "Driver+" that enables Level-3 equivalent hands-free driving on some highways, and a system of continuous functional updates via OTA (over-the-air).
Prospective buyers can reserve a model with the features they selected by paying a refundable USD 1,000 deposit.
100,000 orders for Amazon electric delivery vans
In October 2020, Amazon announced an electric van designed and developed by Rivian for global use in delivery applications. The van will share core parts such as batteries and powertrains with the R1T / R1S and production is scheduled to begin in 2021. The vehicle will come in 3 sizes with multiple battery sizes to enable optimization to match to delivery routes. The vehicles will be equipped with such technology as advanced sensor detection capabilities, a suite of driver-assist technologies including highway driving, 360-degree exterior view camera linked to vehicle interior digital display and hands-free route information accessibility through Alexa voice-assistant.
Amazon has placed orders to Rivian for 100,000 electric vans, with 10,000 units to be delivered by 2022 and the entire fleet to be delivered by 2030.
Smaller model to be introduced in China and Europe
According to multiple U.S. media reports (dated November 19, 2020), Rivian has announced plans to introduce a smaller electric model in China and Europe as a follow-up to the R1T and R1S. The model will share key components with the R1T and R1S, and the SUV will be launched in Europe in 2022 and in China shortly thereafter, with the possibility of eventual production in these regions.
Mr. R. J. Scaringe, CEO of Rivian, has said that these overseas markets are important for business expansion, and for these markets, smaller derivative vehicles are appropriate. He said that the company’s Illinois plant has space for motor and battery pack production as well as expansion.
Relocation and consolidation of Michigan development team in California
Various U.S. media reported on June 23, 2020 that Rivian will transfer most of its engineers and development staff from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, to a development facility in Irvine, California.
At present, Rivian has 2,300 employees in total, of which 1000 are in California and 750 in Michigan. According to a spokesperson, current projects will continue in Michigan and new projects will be carried out in California.
Ford family member joins management
On May 1, 2020, it was announced that Ms. Alexandra Ford English, Ford’s Director of Corporate Strategy, will join the Rivian Board of Directors. Ms. English, who is the daughter of Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Mr. William Clay Ford Jr., is responsible for Ford’s overall corporate strategy, connectivity, and digital networking.
Ford placed its initial investment of USD 500 million in Rivian in April 2019 and an additional investment in December of the same year. When making this investment, Ford’s then-CEO Mr. Jim Hacket said that the strategic partnership with Rivian will play a key role in the future of connected electric vehicles.
Lucid Motors: Bringing an upscale image at the forefront, launching EVs in stages from the spring of 2021
Established in 2007 and given its present name in 2016, Lucid Motors Inc. (Lucid) is headquartered in the Silicon Valley region of California. Talent from Tesla, including co-founders, occupy several pivotal posts, and Peter Rawlinson, who led the development of Tesla's Model S, has served as CEO since 2019.
The company announced an investment of USD 1 billion (about JPY 105 billion) by a Saudi Arabian fund in 2019 as well as the completion of the first phase of construction of its Casa Grande plant in Arizona on December 1, 2020.
The EV to be launched is the Lucid Air luxury sedan, starting with a top-of-the-line model priced at USD 169,000 (about JPY 17.7 million) in the spring of 2021; the company plans to gradually expand its lineup to lower price ranges. The company's strategy is to differentiate itself by focusing on its own technologies and in-house manufactured components, with a focus on luxury, high performance, and high functionality. The initial sales network is concentrated in high-income residential areas, including its first store, in Beverly Hills near Los Angeles.
The company plans to introduce an SUV based on the Lucid Air in the future.
The first model to be launched is a USD 169,000 luxury sedan
The details of Lucid’s first production car, the Lucid Air full-size 5-seater EV sedan, were announced by global webcast in September 2020. Lucid expressed confidence to use completely new thinking and proprietary technology to create a vehicle that will set the benchmark for EV performance, efficiency, and design.
The model will be available in four grades and will be launched in stages according to the schedule below. In addition to the specifications below, each grade will have different levels of comfort equipment such as interior and exterior, wheels, and audio.
|Launch date||Grade||Price||Driving range*||Max output||0-60 mph
|2021 spring||Air Dream Edition||USD 169,000 ~||503 miles||1,080 hp||2.5 sec|
|2021 summer||Air Grand Touring||USD 139,000 ~||517 miles||800 hp||3.0 sec|
|2021 latter half||Air Touring||USD 95,000 ~||406 miles||620 hp||3.2 sec|
|2022 first half||Air||USD 74,400 ~||TBD||TBD||TBD|
*Note: The driving range is based on use of small diameter wheel (19 inch)
|Deliveries of the Lucid Air are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2021.
(Source: Lucid Motors)
All grades of the Lucid Air will be equipped with front and rear dual drive motors (the Air version to be launched in 2022 will have a single motor to drive the rear wheels as standard), Lucid Dream Drive Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) hardware, and software update capability by OTA (over-the-air). The Dream Edition and Grand Touring versions will be equipped with Level-3 autonomous driving functionality, and the Air Touring and Air versions will have Level-2.
The company is now taking pre-orders in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and parts of the Middle East, and a refundable deposit of USD 1,000 (USD 7,500 for Dream Edition version) is necessary. Reservations can also be made at any of the twenty directly managed retailers (Lucid Studios) and service centers to be set up in the U.S. by the end of 2021.
Production system for 400,000 vehicles by 2028; start of SUV production planned
Lucid Motors announced on December 1, 2020, the completion of the first phase of construction at the Lucid AMP-1 (Advanced Manufacturing Plant) at the Casa Grande plant in Arizona, the first step toward production.
A total of four phases are planned by 2028, and as the plant site expands, the annual production capacity will increase from a maximum of 30,000 units at the start of production to 400,000 units at the completion of the fourth phase.
In August 2020, the company announced the additional introduction of an SUV. The project will be called “Gravity” and production is scheduled to begin in 2023.
Lordstown Motors: Production of full-size pickup trucks for fleet customers to begin in the fall of 2021
Lordstown Motors Corporation (Lordstown) was founded by Mr. Steve Burns, former CEO of the EV venture Workhorse Group. In the fall of 2019, the company bought GM’s Lordstown Plant which ended production in March 2019 and is proceeding with its plans to manufacture full-size “Endurance” electric pickup trucks beginning in the fall of 2021 and ramp up to full production by the end of 2022.
In June 2020, the company held an event at its plant officially unveiling the Endurance and exhibited a prototype vehicle. Lordstown’s sales strategy is to focus on fleet customers such as transportation companies. The company has received orders for the Endurance from electric power companies and multiple fleet management companies, with non-legally binding production reservations for 50,000 units.
The company announced in August 2020 that it had signed a formal agreement with Diamond Peak Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, to integrate its business and become a publicly traded company.
The full-size Endurance pickup features 4 wheel hub motors
|Endurance pickup truck, scheduled to go into production in the fall of 2021.
(Source: Lordstown Motors)
The Endurance is powered by hub motors located on all four wheels, which significantly reduces the number of operating components, which in turn reduces maintenance costs, making the overall cost of ownership much lower than that of conventional commercial vehicles. In addition, the torque from the motor is transmitted directly to each wheel, virtually eliminating frictional power loss and improving traction and driving performance on rough roads.
The maximum output of the electric motors system is 600 hp, and the towing capacity is 7,500 pounds (about 3,400 kg).
The base price of the Endurance is USD 52,000 (about JPY 5.51 million). The pickup will be able to drive at least 250 miles (about 400 km) in a single charge.
Construction started on battery and motor production plants; R&D center to be established in Michigan
In a release dated November 16, 2020, Lordstown Motors announced that preparations for the start of production in the fall of 2021 are proceeding as planned, along with the following information:
- Construction began on a 700,000 square foot (about 6.5 hectare) battery pack and motor plant at the headquarters plant site in the state of Ohio.
- A USD 3.6 million (about JPY 380 million) research and development center was opened in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The center will be equipped with laboratories for testing, evaluation, and prototyping, and will conduct vehicle testing and benchmarking.
- In the second half of November 2020, the company will open its first service center outside of Ohio in Irvine, California.
- Lordstown Motors presently has 250 employees, and this number is expected to increase to 500 employees at the end of 2020 and 1,500 employees by the end of 2021.
Karma Automotive: Leveraging experience in high-end PHVs, Karma will launch EVs in 2021
Established in 2014 with an investment by the Wanxiang Group of China, Karma Automotive LLC (Karma) manufactures the Revero 4-door plug-in hybrid (PHV) sports car at its Moreno Valley plant in southern California. The all-new 2020 model year Revero GT is equipped with BMW’s i8 PHV 1.5L 3-cylinder twin-turbo engine.
In the plan announced by Karma, the company plans to create a product lineup that will include a full-electric sedan, an image leading ultra-luxury car, and a PHV delivery van.
The company’s first EV, with for sales launch scheduled in 2021, will be a GS Series 4-door sedan, and Karma has begun taking pre-orders. In addition, the company is also actively demonstrating its technological capabilities by showing off its self-developed E-Flex platform combined with EV battery modules that can be used for multiple purposes.
Karma has a sales network encompassing regions including North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East and is aiming for global expansion. The company has about 40 dealers world-wide (as of December 2020) and 24 in North America (as of September 2020).
First full-electric sedan to be introduced in 2021
|Karma GS Series EV sedan for which Karma announced 2021 sales launch
(Source: Karma Automotive)
In September 2020, Karma reported the introduction of the GS Series to its lineup in 2021, and in October, announced the price of and began taking reservations for the first GS Series entrant, the full-electric GSe-6 sedan.
Prices start at USD 79,990 and pre-orders are accepted with a USD 100 refundable deposit.
The GSe-6 sedan is themed “Beyond EV” and more details about it were provided in Karma’s release as well as the following data on the reservation site:
- The vehicle is equipped with a newly developed powertrain and standard equipment includes connectivity, internet radio, and 21-inch wheels.
- The vehicle inherits the design of the Revero GT PHV and utilizes its long driving range PHV technology.
- All aluminum body.
- One-pedal driving, haptic steering controls, and Level-2 autonomous driving capability.
- Battery capacity up to 110 kWh, 300 mile (483 km) maximum driving range, and 0 to 60 mph acceleration described as “fast enough”.
- Three models are available: GSe-6, GSe-6 Luxury, and GSe-6 Sport.
Top-of-the-line 1,100hp Revero GT super-model to be introduced
In future plans for the Revero GT, which Karma announced in a release dated December 2, 2020, the model will be positioned at the top of the GS-6 series, and will be an image leader with over 1,100 hp, four-wheel drive, hand-made luxury specifications, race car-like driving performance, and equipped with advanced technology.
Partnership project for short-range commercial EVs announced
In September 2020, Karma announced the establishment of a strategic partnership for design, development, and manufacturing with AYRO Inc. which manufactures lightweight, short-distance commercial vehicles that can be used in areas such as urban districts and university campuses.
In the partnership, Karma’s know-how and OEM services will be provided for the next-generation AYRO light-weight commercial EV project. The two companies are aiming to deliver over 20,000 lightweight EV trucks and electric delivery vans (equivalent to about USD 300 million in sales) in the next three years. While the North American market will be targeted first, the supply chains of both companies will be utilized to meet future demand in the global market.
Bollinger Motors: Functionality prioritized off-road vehicle to be introduced in 2021
Bollinger Motors Inc. (Bollinger) was established in 2015 and its headquarters are located in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. It develops full-electric on-road and off-road trucks.
The announced EV lineup under development by Bollinger, for which production is planned to begin by the end of 2021, includes the B1 4-door SUT (sport utility truck), the B2 pickup truck, the B2 chassis-cab, and the patent-pending Chass-E platform. The company conducts in-house development and engineering of the battery and related systems, as the most important components; Bollinger plans to apply for patents of its proprietary battery technology and to sell batteries externally.
In August 2020, the company moved its headquarters to a larger facility in the state to accommodate a corporate-wide increase in the number of employees as it reinforces its manufacturing capabilities.
The SUT and pickup feature a long cargo area that spans the entire length of the body
|Bollinger SUT and B1 feature pass-through cargo bed
(Source: Bollinger Motors)
Both the B1 4-door SUT and the B2 4-passenger pickup truck are targeted at customers who want off-road performance and functionality; the vehicles feature rugged and simple exterior designs that prioritize practicality. The interiors are also very basic, without the dashboard screen and advanced infotainment systems that are competitively installed in other EVs.
The features that make the B1/B2 even more unique are the pass-through cargo bed and frunkgate (front cargo bed openings) that take advantage of the EV drivetrain arrangement, allowing the cargo bed to run the entire length of the vehicle from the center space of the front grille, through the cab, and to the rear. Cargo can be loaded and unloaded from both the front frunkgate and the rear tailgate.
The Bollinger official website presents the common specifications of the B1 and B2, as shown below:
- SRP (suggested retail price) USD 125,000 (about JPY 13.1 million).
- All-wheel drive with dual motors front and rear.
- 614 hp maximum output, 668 ft-lb maximum torque.
- 142 kWh battery capacity, EPA driving range 200 miles (about 320km).
Fisker: Leveraging partners’ resources for efficiency improvement and cost reduction
Fisker, Inc. (Fisker) was founded in 2016 by Mr. Henrik Fisker, and is located in southern California. In January 2020, the EV SUV Ocean was unveiled and the company plans to begin sales in Q4 2022.
Fisker has announced that it will fundamentally challenge the conventional way of thinking about development and sales in the automotive industry; it will adopt a strategy to reduce manufacturing costs and speed up production by outsourcing vehicle assembly and major components, or by partnering with major manufacturers. The company also plans to sell vehicles directly without a dealer network.
Although the company was unable to reach an agreement on the use of Volkswagen's MEB platform for regular production model Ocean EVs, it announced in October 2020 that it had entered into a development and production partnership with Magna International of Canada and signed a contract for platform sharing and assembly outsourcing for the Ocean at Magna Steyr in Austria, an automotive engineering and contract manufacturing company.
First full-electric EV sedan to be introduced in 2021
|The Fisker Ocean is scheduled to begin production in Q4 2022.
The Ocean was unveiled in January 2020 at CES 2020. Variations of the model to be launched and detailed specifications will be released in 2021, but as of this writing, the updated details are as follows:
- Base model is rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available.
- The maximum output of the all-wheel drive version is over 225 kW (300 hp), and 0 to 60 mph acceleration of the limited high-performance version is less than 3 seconds.
- MSRP starts at USD 37,499 (about JPY 3.94 million).
Fisker is committed to weave emotion and sustainability into its products; the Ocean will be equipped with a solar roof and for the interior, materials made from reused waste such as plastic recycled from marine waste and vegan leather (a new material that artificially recreates the fiber structure of leather) will be used.
In November 2020, Fisker and Magna reached a tentative agreement on Ocean's product specifications, target performance and production readiness schedule, and confirmed that shipments will begin in the fourth quarter of 2022. Magna Steyr's Graz plant in Austria will be responsible for production.
Contracted to supply 300 vehicles to ride-share service company in Denmark
On October 21, 2020, Fisker announced the signing of a contract to supply the Ocean electric SUV to Viggo HQ ApS (Viggo), a ride-sharing company based in Denmark.
Established as a ride share service company in 2019 specializing in EVs, Viggo is expanding its business in Northern Europe where the market share of EVs is high, and will enter Norway in 2021. Fisker will continue to pursue supply contracts with mobility companies and major fleet companies, starting with Viggo.
Listed on NYSE to secure funding for production
On October 29, 2020, Fisker announced the completion of the merger with special purpose acquisition company Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp., an affiliate of major private equity fund Apollo Global Management, Inc. After the merger, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The transaction brought in more than USD 1 billion to Fisker.
Nikola: Expectations of technical capabilities turn to concerns; GM partnership and product plans take a major step back
Established in 2015, Nikola Motor Company (Nikola) is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. The company is developing fuel cell vehicles (FCV) and EV trucks as well as building hydrogen stations and storage systems, with a vision of becoming a global leader in zero-emission transportation.
The company’s activities in the past half-year have conspicuously caught the attention of many people both inside and outside the industry, even among emerging EV manufacturers. Expectations for the company's technological strength and growth potential, which had been rising to the level of a "second Tesla," rapidly turned to concern and distrust when allegations of exaggerated claims about the company's technology were widely publicized in September 2020. In late November, the company announced a major review of its previously reported partnership with GM. Robert Bosch GmbH, an early strategic and technological partner, also reduced its stake in Nikola from 6.4% to 4.9% in early December.
Nikola is targeting a 2022 market introduction of its EV and FCV heavy-duty semi-trucks that are under development.
Review of partnership with GM announced in November 2020
Announcements concerning the partnership between Nikola and GM since the beginning of 2020 follow the chronology outlined below:
|Date||Activities regarding the partnership with GM|
|February 10, 2020||The Badger electric pickup announced. 4-door 5-seater with 2 versions: FCV/EV and EV only. Pre-orders to be taken from June.|
|June 4, 2020||Merger with listed investment fund VectoIQ Acquisition Corporation completed and listed on NASDAQ. The company’s market capitalization reached over JPY 2 trillion.|
|September 8, 2020||GM announces strategic partnership with Nikola. Nikola to issue new shares with a value of USD 2 billion, equivalent to 11% of its shares, to GM and GM to provide EV and FCV technology including manufacturing of the Badger, vehicle design, and production.|
|September 10, 2020||The hedge fund Hindenburg Research issued a report claiming that Nikola exaggerated the performance of its new electric truck and engaged in a “sophisticated fraud”. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission launched investigations. The stock price plummeted.
The report pointed out that the EV truck driving in the publicity video was actually just rolling downhill under its own weight.
|September 20, 2020||The founder of the company, Mr. Trevor Milton, resigns as Chairman. Mr. Stephen Girsky, former GM Vice Chairman and member of Nikola’s board of Directors who led the company’s listing on NASDAQ, is named as Milton’s successor.|
|November 30, 2020||GM and Nikola sign a revised MOU (memorandum of understanding). The companies agree to cooperate on the installation of GM’s Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell technology in Nikola’s Class 7 and 8 semi-trucks, and further, will discuss the possibility of using GM’s proprietary Ultium batteries in these vehicles. The MOU excludes GM's shareholding in Nikola and its plans for consignment production of the Badger, which were included in the alliance announced in September.|
In the field of heavy-duty semi-trucks, Nikola aims to begin production of BEVs in 2022 and FCVs in 2023
In the revised MOU agreement with GM, the consigned production by GM of pickup trucks was suspended, but Nikola confirmed that it will proceed with its plan to develop Class 7 and 8 heavy-duty semi-trucks using GM’s hydrogen fuel cell technology. Nikola also confirmed that evaluation of production prototypes will be conducted by the end of 2021 and the evaluation of Beta prototypes will begin in the first half of 2022.
Nikola is building a plant in Coolidge, Arizona, and according to the company’s milestone plan, this plant will begin production of hydrogen fuel cell (FCV) vehicles by the end of 2023; as for battery electric (BEV) trucks, production tests will be conducted in 2021 and production will begin in 2022.
Nikola has received investments from its partners, including beer giant Anheuser-Busch and Italian commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco, to stabilize its business.
In addition, the company plans to start production of electric semi-trucks at Iveco’s Ulm plant in Germany by the end of 2021.
Canoo: Flat skateboard structure maximizes interior space
Canoo Inc. (Canoo) is a Los Angeles based EV startup company. Basing its technology on its proprietary flat skateboard platform which maximizes cabin space, the company is developing an EV lineup mainly for B2C and B2B applications. At present, the following two types of products have been announced:
- B2C (business-to-consumer) model envisioned for urban use: The company’s first EV is planned for launch in 2022 and will feature a subscription-only model (fixed monthly payment).
- Delivery vehicle for B2B (business-to-business): Launch scheduled in 2023. It will target the last-mile delivery market with the largest cargo volume.
In February 2020, the Hyundai Motor Group announced joint development of an electric vehicle platform with Canoo. Based on the Canoo skateboard design, it will be adopted in future Hyundai and Kia models.
Differentiated by the largest interior space in its class and subscription-only acqusition
|Subscription-only Canoo to be launched in 2022
The Canoo, which is scheduled to be launched in 2022, has a box-type body utilizing a flat skateboard platform with L x W x H dimensions of 4,421 x 1,896 x 1,846 mm, giving it the largest interior space in its class.
It is a 7-seater with rear-wheel drive as standard and all-wheel drive available as an option. Battery capacity is 80 kWh, enabling a driving range of 250 miles (about 400 km).
The subscription fee, billed as "the world's first membership-only car," includes maintenance, charging and access to insurance, emphasizing ease of use and low maintenance costs.
Listed on NASDAQ, raising funds to strengthen production and sales
In August 2020, Canoo Holdings Ltd. announced the signing of a final agreement for a merger with special purpose acquisition company Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corporation.
With the completion of the merger process in December 2020, the company became a NASDAQ-listed company under the new name of Canoo Inc.
Other emerging EV manufacturers
Faraday Future: Preparing for production of luxury SUV, but no launch date announced
Faraday&Future Inc. (Faraday Future) is a Chinese-funded EV venture based in Los Angeles. The company was established in 2014. At CES 2017, the company exhibited the FF91 full-sized luxury EV cross-over, but due to financial difficulties, the plan did not come to fruition. In April 2020, it was reported that the company is renovating its Hanford plant in California to enable production of electric vehicles (Detroit News dated April 13, 2020).
Mr. C. Breitfeld, who once led the development team for the BMW i8 PHV and later co-founded Byton (see below) which he left in early 2019, will serve as CEO. According to Automotive News, he plans to list the company through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which he said will be announced soon (report dated October 5, 2020).
As for the FF91, the company claims it will have high performance specifications such as three electric motors, 1,050hp, 0 to 60mph acceleration in 2.39 seconds, and a driving range of 300+ miles, but the company has not provided a launch date.
Byton: Getting ready to sell Chinese-produced SUVs in the U.S.
Nanjing Byton Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (Byton), established in 2017, has headquarters and production facilities in Nanjing, China and an R&D center in Silicon Valley (Santa Clara, California) in the U.S. The company has obtained a distribution license from the state of California enabling it to sell vehicles in the U.S.
It was reported in China that there have been financial difficulties and restructuring at various global locations, and the company was re-registered as a new company with the name Shengteng in August 2020. It was also reported in October that its first model, the M-Byte, which is an electric SUV, will begin production in 2021. No sales launch date for the U.S. has been announced.
The M-Byte was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019, then displayed at CES 2020 in the U.S. At the time of exhibition, the vehicle specifications included rear-wheel and 4-wheel drive, two battery types (72 kWh and 95 kWh), and NEDC driving range of 430 and 550 km. The vehicle interior features a huge 48-inch monitor screen covering the entire dashboard.
Arrival: Production of commercial vehicles to begin in the U.S. in Q4 2021
Emerging EV manufacturer Arrival Ltd. (Arrival) with headquarters in London, UK, is engaged in the development of buses and delivery trucks.
Arrival says it will revolutionize the industry with a completely new EV development and manufacturing process. The company's proposed "micro-factory" automotive production line will use a new cell-based assembly process to enable production of all of the company's products while holding investment down. In October 2020, the company announced a plan to build its first U.S. micro-factory in the state of South Carolina. Operations will begin in Q2 2021 with production expected to begin in Q4 2021.
On November 18, 2020, Arrival announced the signing of a corporate merger agreement with special purpose acquisition company CIIG Merger Corporation and listing of the new company on NASDAQ. In addition, on December 9, the company announced the establishment of its North American headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. About 150 employees were newly hired.
In January 2020, Arrival announced that it had received orders for 10,000 dedicated EVs from its partner, U.S. freight forwarder UPS (United Parcel Service of America, Inc.).
USA, Electric, EV, FCV, PHV, SUV, Pickup Truck, Rivian, Lucid, Lordstown, Karma, Bollinger, Fisker, Nikola, Canoo, Faraday, Byton, Arrival, SPAC
<Automobile Industry Portal MarkLines>