Electric Last Mile Solutions’ shares made their trading debut on Monday on Nasdaq, adding to a growing list of speculative electric vehicle startups going public through deals with specialty acquisition companies.
The Michigan-based company plans to begin producing a small electric utility vehicle at an Indiana factory this fall, according to ELMS CEO James Taylor. The plant last produced gasoline-guzzling Hummer SUVs in the mid-2000s.
The company’s stock – ticker symbol “ELMS” – opened at $ 11.10 per share on Monday, after previously closing at $ 10.19. Shares rose as much as 9.8% before losing most of those gains. It was trading less than 1% at around 10:30 a.m. ET.
Taylor, a former executive at General Motors, believes the company is different from other EV startups because it focuses solely on commercial vehicles. His electric van is also based on a vehicle that is already being produced by Chongqing Sokon Industry Group Stock in China.
The ELMS Urban Delivery, expected to be launched later this year, is expected to be the first commercial Class 1 EV in the US market and will be manufactured at the company’s Mishawaka, Indiana site.
Electric last mile solutions
“We need a lot less capital. We break even earlier and, to be honest, our plan was very, very conservative from day one,” he said in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday . “Our overall risk is much, much lower than that of the other participants in this area from an EV perspective.”
ELMS voted to go public in December through a reverse merger with blank check company Forum Merger III Corp. , which the EV company valued at $ 1.4 billion.
When the deal was announced, investors were bullish on EV startups like ELMS. That bullish stance turned into skepticism this year, however, after SPAC-backed auto companies like Lordstown Motors and Canoo changed their business plans and ousted top executives based on SEC investigations. There is also more competition in the EV market from established automakers like GM and Ford Motor.
Taylor said ELMS was “delighted” to receive his money and to have closed the deal by that time rather than trying now.
“I’m glad we’re not starting a SPAC today,” he said. “No question about it, there were some challenges in some SPACs.”
The transaction raised gross proceeds of $ 379 million for ELM, including $ 155 million from private investors such as BNP Paribas Asset Management and Jennison Associates.