Dubuc Motors gets SEC approval for equity crowdfunding

Dubuc Motors, makers of the Tomahawk all-electric supercar prototype, recently announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had approved its filing for equity crowdfunding under the US JOBS Act Regulation A+.

The company began a Testing the Waters campaign in 2016, when it revealed the Tomahawk prototype, and raised $6.1 million in initial funding reservations. Now that the campaign is in the live offering phase, the company can convert those reservations into equity shares. Dubuc Motors simultaneously filed for a Regulation S, which allows investors in the US and around the world to kick in as little as $200 each. “And we’ll build from there,” said Dubuc founder and COO Mike Kakogiannakis in a phone interview.

Dubuc likes to point out that it’s the first EV company to approved by the SEC to sell equity shares this way. But if Regulation A+ sounds familiar, that might be because the gasoline-powered three-wheeler to (maybe) be built by Elio Motors used the same mechanism in the US JOBS Act to raise $17 million. But Elio Motors has had to push its production and delivery back a few times, and at the end of 2016, they seemed to be underwater. “It’s a different business model,” founder and CEO Mario Dubuc said. “It might hinder our efforts.”

Prerevenue, Kakogiannakis said, there were about 30 people who worked on the prototype. In the next few months, the team will grow to 100, and the production model will be unveiled in Las Vegas at CES 2018. Production is expected to begin in 2018, when Kakogiannakis predicts a team of about 150, including workers on the Tomahawk production line. (Where that production line will be located is still in negotiations.)

The Tomahawk is a 2+2 exotic sports car intended to fit four adults — as tall as six-four in the front seats and five-nine in the back — and even accommodate growing families. “We wanted to target a segment out of the big automakers’ reach,” Kakogiannakis said. He and Dubuc started the company as a side gig over a decade ago and quit their jobs in 2013 to build Dubuc Motors full time.

They see the Tomahawk as a “complement to Tesla‘s model line rather than a competitor,” Kakogiannakis said. The car will have similar performance to the Model S, with a 0-60 mph time of 3 seconds and a 160 mph max speed. But it will have “a bit more range,” according to Kakogiannakis, with a possible 370 miles. “Among EVs, we are alone,” he said, “but Ferrari and Lamborghini could be competitors.”

They’ll also build the Tomahawk in supercar numbers — only 1500 units are planned over the next five years. The cars will have less than supercar prices, though, with a target of $125,000 to $150,000, depending on how many extras buyers want to add. Safety and sensors will be present, as will advanced technology — but not autonomous driving. “As a sports car, the Tomahawk is meant to be felt,” Dubuc said. “Maybe we’ll work on autonomy in the future for other models.”