Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV), (NKLA) – Are SAVS redirecting blank checks to autonomous truck startups?
As Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) love affair with electric vehicle startups cools, the buoyancy sustained by investors writing blank checks may flourish for truck startups. autonomous.
After several months of rising stock prices at PSPAC-sponsored electric vehicle and infrastructure companies, prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks. In some cases, they are approaching their original offering price of $ 10 per share.
One of the targets of the electrification transition appears to be the well-capitalized autonomous truck startup Plus. This closed a round of funding of 200 million dollars in February.
Plus has raised $ 400 million since its inception in 2016. That’s enough money to continue developing its autonomous system in the short term. Corn Bloomberg reports Plus in talks with multiple PSPCs who have between 300 and 500 million dollars to invest.
As the EV pool empties, attention shifts
Attention to autonomous driving and mobility technologies such as vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft suggests the pool is emptying of attractive electric vehicle startups. Two SPACs are already sponsoring VTOL startups whose products are years away.
These last weeks, Xos Trucks, a Californian manufacturer of electrified modular truck chassis, and Singapore Fuel cell electric spin-off for commercial vehicles Hyzon Motors took the SPAC route. Both business combinations are expected to close in the second quarter. That’s when they would get money held in trust by shell companies created specifically to choose a merger target.
Another SPAC target could be Swedish remotely manufacturer of Einride electric trucking pods. The company is seeking $ 75 million in new funding while exploring sponsorship from PSPC, TechCrunch reported on Monday.
All in all, the 233 SPACs this year started the trail of the 248 opened in 2020, according to SPAC Insider. The average investment per SAVS is $ 322.1 million against $ 336 million in 2020.
Additionally, within weeks of announcing a deal, Bloomberg reported, citing people who have asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Plus plans to set its valuation range later this month, one of the people told Bloomberg.
“We don’t comment on market rumors,” Shawn Kerrigan, co-founder and COO of Plus, told FreightWaves. “Plus has created incredible business momentum. And we are currently focused on the global commercial deployment of our autonomous driving system, PlusDrive, which begins series production this year.”
TuSimple should be made public first
The autonomous truck company TuSimple should be made public first. The main fleets and suppliers have invested in TuSimple. Some make up a executive advisory committee which included VectoIQ. The mobility consulting firm that brought about the start of the electric truck Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) public via PSPC in 2020 co-led the latest TuSimple funding round.
VectoIQ launched another PSPC in January. But he did not identify a target. Considering his role with TuSimple, that would be an unlikely pursuer of Plus.
TuSimple filed a confidential S-1 prospectus with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December. He is expected to make that filing public as early as the week of March 22, according to knowledgeable people who have asked not to be identified as the date could change.
A deposit this month would fix the price of the shares in early April, followed by a public sale as early as a day later. TuSimple is looking to value its business between $ 3.5 billion and $ 7 billion, Chinese media site TechNode reported last August.
TuSimple operates a fleet of 50 autonomous Level 4 trucks transporting freight throughout the American Southwest. It also has trucks in the testing phase in China. Level 4 autonomy means that the truck can perform most functions without human intervention. TuSimple trucks always have a safety driver and engineer on board.
Autonomous truck twinning
Autonomous truck startup Aurora, led by veteran autonomous systems developer Chris Urmson, has a partnership with PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR) The Peterbilt and Kenworth Divisions to Develop Trucks with Aurora systems over the next few years. Dawn equipped a Peterbilt Model 579 with its autonomous driving software in July.
“I think Aurora is a very good company,” PACCAR CEO Preston Feight said during the Jan. 26 earnings call. “We chose them because of our working relationship with them.”
PACCAR’s financial investment is limited to research and development dollars. Aurora, based in Mountain View, Calif., Even buys the trucks.
Aurora’s finances were boosted when Uber (NYSE: UBER) invested $ 400 million in exchange for a 26% stake in the company. At the same time, Aurora acquired the advanced technology group from Uber in a deal that is said to be valued at around $ 4 billion.
Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) and the future TRATON Group have invested in TuSimple and are developing level 4 autonomous trucks. Navistar targets 2024 to sell TuSimple compatible truck for long distance driving. TRATON is testing the TuSimple software on Scania trucks in Sweden.
Daimler trucks acquisition of standalone software manufacturer Torc Robotics and works with Google’s Waymo unit.
“Our stake in Torc Robotics and the alliance we have with Waymo gives us a chance to partner with people who have the time, energy and focus to put into virtual driving systems that we can’t because that we keep our customer base running, ”Daimler Trucks North America CEO Roger Nielsen told FreightWaves.
Of the major truck manufacturers operating in the United States, only Volvo has yet to announce a driverless truck partner. Swedish parent company Volvo Group has developed Vera, a autonomous vehicle without driver’s compartment, which can move goods by remote control.