Swedish autonomous electric vehicle startup Einride is aiming to continue the momentum sparked by partnerships with Oatly and Lidl by seeking additional capital, TechCrunch has learned.
Einride is seeking $75 million in new financing, while at the same time exploring the potential for a public listing through a special purpose acquisition company, according to people with knowledge of the company’s plans.
SPACs, a mechanism in which a publicly traded shell company merges with a private business, have taken the U.S. capital markets by storm led, in part, by startups focused on the electrification of mobility.
Early successes of public listings for companies like Nikola (despite its dubious claims) helped set the stage for the SPAC boom. Canoo, Fisker Inc, ChargePoint and Lordstown Motors are just a few of the U.S.-based EV companies that have gone public via a SPAC in the past year.
Unlike some newly minted SPAC companies, Einride has some fundamentals. The company has already piloted its technology through a partnership with Oatly, the Swedish oat milk maker.
Oatly began using Einride’s electric trucks on its delivery routes from each of its Swedish production sites in October 2020. Thus far, the trucks have driven over 8,600 km electric and as a result have saved over 10,500 kg of CO2 compared to diesel, according to a statement from the companies.
“Sustainability is at the core of everything we do, and we work hard to lower our emissions across the board. This includes our emissions for transports, which is why we are now shifting to electrical vehicles, which reduces our climate footprint by 87% on these routes,” said Simon Broadbent, supply chain director at Oatly, in a statement at the time.
The deal with Oatly was just the beginning. As the ink dried on that partnership, Einride quickly signed other marquee Swedish businesses including the food shipping and logistics company Lidl and the electronics manufacturer Electrolux.
Big automakers have electric and autonomous plans of their own. Argo, a developer of self-driving technology, is now worth $7.5 billion thanks to an investment from Ford and the VW Group. And VW’s Traton Group is pushing low emission and electrification through a $2.2 billion investment announced in 2019.
Daimler, Paccar, and Volvo all have plans as well.
That’s just scratching the surface of the money that’s pouring in to autonomous, electrified transport. Of course, Tesla is in the game with its own semi truck and, in China, Plus AI, is automating a number of vehicles from Manbang, Suning and FAW Jiefang.
All of this money is aiming to capture a portion of the market for autonomous, electrified vehicles that the consulting firm McKinsey estimated would save the trucking industry over $100 billion. It’s a potentially huge opportunity in the $260 billion U.S. trucking market alone. Worldwide, businesses spend about $1.2 trillion on trucking, according to McKinsey.
The benefits that would accrue to the industry are more than just financial. Trucking is a huge component of the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the transportation sector — which includes road, rail, air and marine transportation. In 2016, trucking and transport broadly contributed to roughly 24% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions — and that number has been steadily increasing.
Any reduction in carbon emissions from the transport sector would be a huge step forward on the path toward a more environmentally sustainable future.
No wonder venture investors are falling all over each other to invest in these companies. Einride counts EQT Ventures and NordicNinja VC, a fund backed by Panasonic, Honda, Omron and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, among its investors. Along with backing from Ericsson Ventures, Norrsken Foundation, Plum Alley Investments and Plug and Play Ventures the startup has raised $32 million to date.