13 Jul 21

2021 first semester review North America: IPOs, Electrification

From January to June, several new vehicle fleet and mobility related business advances were taking place in North America in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. Among those highlighted in this feature are those related to companies going public and the transition toward electrification. 

For more information on fleet and mobility topics in the region, visit the North America on-demand streams of the Global Fleet Conference 2021. 

In early March, ChargePoint - the Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle recharging company - officially went public (NYSE: CHPT) following a SPAC merger with Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp. (pictured top)  

At the close of the transaction, ChargePoint had approximately US$615 million in cash, which it anticipates will fund ongoing operations and to support the expansion of the company’s commercial, fleet and residential businesses in North America and Europe. On Wednesday (7 July), its stock showed a drop of 5% to US$28.50 from the $30.11 on opening day (1 March). 

Los Angeles-based shared electric scooter company Bird is also planning to go public following a SPAC merger, announcing earlier this year that it will soon have more than a half a billion dollars to fund plans to expand even beyond the 200 cities it already operates in worldwide. 

Bird e-scooters (source: Shutterstock)

The California based firm is merging with special purpose company Switchback II Corporation which is operated by oil and gas executives seeking a clean energy combination. The deal, which valued the company at US$2.3 billion, should be followed by plans to go public. 

Meanwhile, electric van manufacturer Arrival went public (Nasdaq: ARVL) in early April, announcing at the time that it had £660 million (US$914mn) to boost production and expand its presence globally. The London-based company operates three micro-factories, being in Bicester (UK), Rock Hill (South Carolina, US) and Charlotte (North Carolina, US). 

Although not IPOs, the trend of electrification remained strong in the first semester. For one, Canadian lithium-ion battery recycling company Li-Cycle is planning its third recycling facility in North America. 
In April, the company announced that it will be constructing a facility in Gilbert, Arizona. Deemed “Spoke 3”, the commercial recycling plant will be capable of processing up to 10,000 tonnes of end-of-life batteries and battery manufacturing scrap per year. 

When combined with its facilities in Rochester, New York, and Kingston, Ontario, the three “Spokes”” will have a total recycling capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year. 
In June, Ford Motor Company announced its acquisition of California-based electric vehicle (EV) charging management and fleet monitoring software provider Electriphi.  

The team and services provided by Electriphi will be integrated into Ford Pro, the global business arm of the American automaker focused on charging and energy management as well as commercial customer productivity. The acquisition is part of Ford's nine-year (2016-2025) EV investment plan of at least US$30 billion. 

Ford's announcement, however, was trumped by General Motors in June which announced that it intends to invest US$35bn in EVs from 2020 to 2025. Tesla remains the EV sales leader in the region with its Model Y, 3, X, and S all on the US top 10 EV sales list in the first semester of 2021.   
Executive Appointments 

As part of the creation of automotive manufacturing corporation Stellantis through the merger of PSA and FCA, the new group kicked off the year by appointing Mike Manley to head operations in the Americas region. 

Also in the first semester, Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) appointed Brian Kursar as vice president of digital technology, adding to his current role as chief technology officer (CTO) for TMNA as well as Toyota Connected North America (TCNA).  

Also linked to technology, Peter Mitchell was appointed General Manager of Verizon Connect based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the international SaaS-based fleet management provider of the Verizon Business group. His appointment compliments his previous position as Chief Technical Officer and Senior Vice President. 

Authored by: Daniel Bland