The Daily Dish (1/26/21)
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EV stocks rose late Monday as the Biden administration seeks to replace combustion vehicles in government fleets with electric vehicles. The president’s order comes as automakers plan a massive shift to electric SUVs, trucks and delivery vans. ust weeks ago, GM launched a new EV business focused on the delivery market, called BrightDrop. Its first electric car will be the EV600 van for commercial — and perhaps government — fleet buyers.
Workhorse Group (WKHS), EV startups such as Canoo ($GOEV), and Amazon (AMZN)-backed Rivian also eye the fast-growing market for commercial delivery vehicles. Rivian is making electric vans for Amazon, with the first 10,000 due by early 2022. Lordstown Motors ($RIDE), which is making the Endurance pickup for fleets, rose 4.3% late.
Canoo specializes in cars, minibuses and commercial vehicles for rental and sharing services. Last month, it unveiled delivery van models that will go into limited production in 2022, with commercial production and rollout seen in 2023.
Meanwhile, Lordstown said last month it has 80,000 reservations for its Endurance electric pickup truck. The company said it remains on track to begin production of Endurance in September of 2021.
Momentus $SRAC announced Jan. 25 that Mikhail Kokorich was resigning as chief executive and a member of the company’s board, effective immediately. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Dawn Harms, a former Boeing executive who joined Momentus as its chief revenue officer in November 2019.
The company said the leadership change was intended to address government reviews of the company, which is in the process of merging with Stable Road Acquisition Corporation, a publicly traded special-purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC). The companies announced the merger in October 2020, turning Momentus into a publicly traded company and providing it with $310 million in cash.
“We believe that this leadership transition will position the company for success and help accelerate regulatory reviews by the U.S. government,” Brian Kabot, chairman and chief executive of Stable Road, said in a statement. “We have full confidence in Dawn and the team to lead the company to reach both near-term targets and achieve even greater success over the longer-term.”
The statement noted that the leadership change was “an effort to expedite the resolution of U.S. government national security and foreign ownership concerns” but didn’t elaborate. However, in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said that Kokorich’s status as a Russian citizen posed complications.
The Dec. 14 registration statement with the SEC that outlined those risk concerns about Kokorich also stated that Momentus was “highly dependent” on him. “The loss of Mr. Kokorich would adversely affect Momentus’ business because his loss could make it more difficult to, among other things, compete with other market participants and retain existing customers or cultivate new ones. Negative public perception of, or negative news related to, Mr. Kokorich may adversely affect Momentus’ brand, relationship with customers or standing in the industry.”
Momentus has been working on a series of transfer vehicles, or space tugs, designed to transport satellites launched as rideshare payloads to their desired orbits. The company had planned to launch the first such tug, called Vigoride, on SpaceX’s Transporter-1 dedicated smallsat rideshare launch, which took place Jan. 24. However, Momentus announced Jan. 4 it would not fly Vigoride on that mission because the Federal Aviation Administration would not complete a payload review in time.
Komatsu is partnering with Proterra $ACTC to use battery packs in Komatsu’s first electric hydraulic excavators.
Previously, most of Proterra’s battery packs have gone into public transit buses, school buses or delivery vans. This will be the Burlingame, California-startup’s first application for off-road construction vehicles.
Komatsu will use Proterra’s battery systems to develop a proof-of-concept electric excavator by the end of 2021. If that meets certain performance criteria the batteries will be installed in a commercial production machine in 2023 and 2024.
Manufacturers of heavy industrial equipment are trying to reduce their dependence on gasoline and diesel as regulators in Europe and Asia have set goals to become carbon neutral by 2040 or sooner. Komatsu developed a fleet of gas-electric hybrid excavators in 2008, and more recently launched a mini electric excavator.
Proterra’s battery systems are engineered and produced in the U.S., featuring a customized design to fit in a range of vehicles.
“As more communities embrace a zero-emission future, Proterra is excited to partner with Komatsu to develop battery-electric construction equipment,” said Proterra CEO Jack Allen, in a statement. “Proterra’s best-in-class battery technology has been proven in 16 million miles driven by our fleet of transit vehicles.”
Seiichi Fuchita, president of Komatsu’s development division, said, “I am excited about the collaboration with Proterra, by which Komatsu will drive the electrification of construction equipment.”
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