White House: Tesla to Open Charging Network Under Federal Program
On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced that Tesla will begin opening up portions of its proprietary charging network to all electric vehicles by the end of 2024. While the move could undermine one of the most desirable aspects of owning a Tesla, by forcing owners to share what’s likely to be the largest and most reliable charging network in the country, the EV purveyor isn’t coming away empty-handed. The arrangement comes under a new $7.5-billion federal program to electrify the nation's highways stemming from the $1-trillion infrastructure package signed in 2021.
Nuro Raises $600 Million, Valuation Reaches $8.6 Billion
While the concept of mobility has often turned out to be a buzz phrase used by executives unsure of where to place hypothetical revenue streams and burgeoning technologies, it has simultaneously yielded a handful of enterprising business premises with the potential to stand on their own. Nuro, the American robotics company fielding pint-sized delivery drones, is among them and has made a case for itself by eliminating humans from the equation entirely and providing unique scenarios for its services.
The startup has been getting a smattering of positive attention since its formation in 2015 and recently raised $600 million during its latest funding round, bringing its valuation to an impressive $8.6 billion.
Cruise AV Company Raises $2.75 Billion in Latest Funding Round
General Motors backed autonomous vehicle startup Cruise has reportedly scored $2.75 billion from its last round of funding, with Walmart again taking a particular interest in the company. The multinational retail corporation previously participated in a pilot program where Arizona-based shoppers could call upon a Cruise AV to have their groceries delivered. While just one of several autonomous programs Walmart is involved with, the relationship with Cruise must be in fairly good shape to throw that kind of money into a business that seems to have missed more deadlines than it has kept — even if that does seem to be the trend for AV startups.
Funding Boost for Joint Mazda-Toyota Plant
An assembly plant currently taking shape in Huntsville, Alabama just saw a cash infusion. The roughly $1.6 billion facility — a joint operation between Toyota and Mazda — was announced in 2018, with both automakers expected to crank out new crossovers aimed primarily at the North American market.
Well, add another $830 million to the tab.
IPO? Who Needs That? Rivian Lands Another $2.5 Billion
As you read earlier this morning, Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe isn’t all that impressed with the ability of some EV startups to wow Wall Street with lofty talk and exciting, but perhaps empty, promises. He’s more concerned with getting product out the door.
It’s perhaps because of Rivian’s conventional approach to car building that big-name firms seem more than willing to put their cash behind it. On Friday, the EV startup landed another bundle, and it’s a big one.
At Rivian, Product Tops Promises
Among electric vehicle startups, Rivian is the nonconformist. Compared to its braggadocious contemporaries, many of which are still years away from building anything, the Michigan-based company is well-poised to deliver a drivable product within a year’s time, with only scant attention paid to the possibilities of going public on a raft of promises.
We’ve already seen what Rivian plans to offer. Metal has met eyes. An assembly plant is already gearing up, with a list of suppliers on hand to pull off production of the R1S SUV and R1T pickup, and, most important of all, there’s money to fund it. It all sounds so… conventional.
Waymo Raises $2.25 Billion in External Funding Push
Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced Monday that his company amassed $2.25 billion in its external investment round. Considering Waymo is owned by Google parent Alphabet, one of the richest companies in the world, you’d think it’d be able to float some extra funding into autonomous development. However, even a company worth an estimated $1 trillion knows it’s better to source capital from outside the business — that must be on the first page of every tech company’s playbook.
Seen widely as the firm currently riding the tip of the autonomous spear, Waymo already operates self-driving shuttle programs (with a safety driver) in Arizona, with plans for expansion. The new funding aims to further those goals; however, with autonomous targets being missed by just about every company that bothered making them, we’ll wait to see what happens. The company is currently focused on getting its Waymo Driver system into more vehicles, starting with EVs and Class 8 trucks.
$2.2 Billion in Funding, Rolling Toaster Bound for GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Plant
With just days left before the last Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala sedans roll off the assembly line at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the automaker has put up funding for the facility’s future.
For the once endangered plant, it will be a future free of gas-powered cars and trucks. Instead, the sprawling facility will be home to a range of electric SUVs and trucks, one of them bearing the Hummer name, and a rolling box with no driver.
After New Funding Round, Rivian Ends the Year Flush
An electric vehicle platform many can’t wait to get their hands on continues to make Rivian the upstart automaker to watch. The fledgling, Michigan-based automaker just closed a $1.3 billion investment round led by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. — pushing the company’s 2019 take to $2.8 billion.
With two utility vehicles on the way and a pledge to license its EV architecture to anyone willing to pay for it, Rivian’s big-buck backing from the likes of Ford, Amazon, and Cox Automotive was just the start.
Ford Loosens Purse Strings, Showers Michigan With Cash
The $6 billion in funding promised in Ford Motor Company’s new four-year labor contract is starting to be seen and heard. Having secured a walletful of incentives from the state of Michigan, Ford is now promising about $1.45 billion and 3,000 new jobs for the Southeast Michigan area.
Ford’s cash dump, announced Tuesday, will flow into three facilities in the area, one of which doesn’t yet exist.
Video: Elon Musk Admits Tesla Almost Died Over the Summer
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the automaker was teetering on the edge of disaster earlier this year. “Tesla faced a really severe threat of death due to the Model 3 production ramp,” Musk told Axios during a video interview on HBO. “Essentially the company was bleeding money like crazy and just if we didn’t solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die. And it was extremely difficult to solve them.”
Musk said Tesla was within “single-digit weeks” of an unrecoverable catastrophe. While we appreciate his present candor, the assertion doesn’t mesh with comments made earlier.
In fact, Elon was down on the automotive firm needing more funds every since it posted its 2011 financial results. “Tesla does not need to ever raise another funding round,” he said in response to a question on the company’s cash position back in February of 2012. “We may want to do so, but we are in a strong cash position, and we don’t need to.”
Norway's Wealth Fund Issues Savage Burn On Tesla
Save for some uplifting production news, Tesla Motors is still fighting an uphill battle. CEO Elon Musk’s earlier claim that the company would go private has gotten him into trouble with the Securities Exchange Commission — since it looks as if the automaker hasn’t procured the necessary funding to make that happen.
However it doesn’t appear as if Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will be the outlet to pick up that tab. Trond Grande, deputy CEO of the Norwegian fund, declined to say whether Tesla had approached the fund about going private. “We don’t have a view on that,” he said before adding “We want to be invested in companies that make money.”
As Elon Musk Hunts Saudi Funding, Saudi Arabia Is Ready to Invest in a Tesla Rival: Report
It’s not a done deal just yet, but a high-tech Tesla rival, headquartered just a few miles away from Elon Musk’s Palo Alto, California base of operations, might receive the Saudi funding the Tesla CEO so desperately craves.
According to sources who spoke to Reuters, PIF, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is ready to pour $1 billion into Newark, California-based Lucid Motors. The two entities have reportedly drawn up a term sheet for the deal, which would see the the Saudis become a majority owner of the private automaker.
What does Lucid have to offer the Saudis in return for the investment? A large, technologically advanced automobile.
Geely Readies Cash Dump to Turn Little Lotus Into a Major Player: Report
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the massive Chinese conglomerate that owns Volvo Cars and a controlling stake in Lotus, wants to turn the British sports car maker into a big deal. Potentially, a deal big enough to give Porsche bouts of anxiety.
That’s what sources with knowledge of Geely’s plans tell Bloomberg. The parent company’s efforts will reportedly include new facilities and assembly plants, funded by a cash injection totalling nearly $2 billion.
Will Volkswagen Hock Its Roundel for $21.5 Billion in Loans?
On Friday, Barclays Plc announced it estimates the near-term costs of Volkswagen’s seemingly ever expanding emissions scandal will be about $27 billion USD (25 billion Euros).
Volkswagen’s automotive group had $29.6 billion in net liquidity at the the end of the third fiscal quarter of this year. About $10.8 billion is allocated to protect the company’s credit ratings. That leaves about $19 billion in cash for the company to work with.
There are fines that will be paid in a number of countries, along with goodwill gestures to owners of affected VW vehicles and incentives needed to sell cars from a tainted brand. Then there will the cost of litigation and any judgments or settlements that come out of those lawsuits.
About the same time as Barclays’ announcement, Automotive News and Bloomberg reported Volkswagen AG will be meeting in Wolfsburg this week with representatives of about a dozen banks to secure as much as $21.5 billion in loans by the end of this year. Those meetings aim to shore up the company’s financing and show the credit markets that VW has enough liquid assets to cover emissions-related costs.