Weekly Brief: Heady EV Days for Start-Ups and Established Carmakers Alike

Genesis is the latest auto brand to join the onrush toward an all-electric future.

The brand said last week that it plans to wave goodbye to internal combustion engines across its line-up by 2025. In their place will stand four new all-electric crossovers and four new all-electric sedans. Genesis plans to sell 400,000 EVs a year by 2030 and to be carbon neutral as a brand by 2035.

It was a striking announcement from a brand that currently has zero EVs on the market. Most EV players fall into one of two categories. The first is start-ups like Tesla, Nikola and Rivian that exclusively manufacture EVs. The second is legacy automakers that have traditionally made ICEs but are gradually embracing the EV revolution. Those in the latter bucket typically start the transition away from ICEs by introducing one or two EVs into their line-up, so they can find traction and build awareness and support with their customers.

Genesis is taking a less tested, more abrupt route. Last month the brand introduced its first EV, a crossover called the GV60. However, that vehicle hasn’t even entered the manufacturing stage and won’t arrive in dealership showrooms in North America until late 2022. To go from concept cars and photographs without technical specs to completely eliminating ICEs from its line-up within a three-year span is audacious to say the least.

Granted, Genesis is a standalone luxury vehicle division under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella. Hyundai has several EVs on the market already, most notably the Ioniq 5. Still, it’s a bold stroke for Genesis to go all in on such short notice. It reveals just how much pressure carmakers are under to keep pace with competitors and to satisfy new EV-friendly laws and regulations that are set to take effect in various markets around the world.

Genesis wasn’t the only brand to go all-electric last week. DS Automobiles announced that it too plans to manufacture exclusively all-electric vehicles by 2024. Like Genesis, DS Automobiles is a premium luxury brand under the umbrella of a large automaker, in its case Stellantis. Unlike Genesis, DS Automobiles already has an EV in its line-up, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, and a plug-in hybrid SUV, the DS 7 Crossback E-Tense. This will make the transition to all-electric less abrupt. Paul Myles has more on DS Auto’s plans for the future, including its Formula E racing team.

In other news last week, EV start-up Rivian has begun the process of going public with a confidential filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Rivian has raised more capital than any other EV start-up to date. Its bank vault has already welcomed $10.5Bn in investments and includes investors like Ford and Amazon. The company is set to bring its first truck, the R1T, to market this month and reportedly needs more capital to do it, even though it closed a $2.5Bn round earlier this year. At that time it was valued at nearly $30Bn and is expected to go public with a valuation north of $80Bn. That’s more than General Motors and shows just how inflated and in some cases delusional the market has become as it searches for Tesla 2.0.

Rivian could live up to the hype. It also could crash and burn like Nikola and become another cautionary tale. Such is the high-stakes game that is the EV revolution.

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