Ford-backed EV battery producer to go public via SPAC merger at a $1.2 billion valuation

Solid Power Inc batteries
  • Solid Power announced it is going public via a SPAC merger in a deal that would value the entities at $1.2 billion.
  • The company is expected to have $600 million in cash, including $165 million from private investors.
  • Ford Motors and BMW recently participated in the $135 million Series B funding of Solid Power in May.

Electric-vehicle battery producer Solid Power on Tuesday announced it’s going public by merging with blank-check firm Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III in a deal valued at $1.2 billion.

The company is expected to have approximately $600 million in cash, including $165 million from investors such as Koch Strategic Platforms, Riverstone Energy Limited, Neuberger Berman funds, and Van Eck Associates Corporation. The capital will be used to fund operations and growth.

Ford Motors and BMW recently participated in the $135 million Series B funding of Solid Power in May. The two companies also expanded partnerships with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.

Solid Power produces rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and mobile power markets. The company claims its production mirrors lithium-ion manufacturing processes while eliminating certain expensive and timely steps.

Upon closing of the transaction, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021, the combined company will trade under the Nasdaq ticker “SLDP.”

Solid Power is expected to have a nine-person board composed of a majority of independent directors and will continue to be led by Solid Power’s existing management team.

Other electric vehicle makers went public via SPAC this year such as Lucid Motors and Nikola Corp.

SPACs, shell companies seeking to merge with private companies with the intention of taking them public, have exploded in popularity in the last year.

In 2020, a total of 248 SPACs raised $83.3 billion according to SPAC Analytics. But in the sixth month of 2021 alone, data already show 340 SPACs that have raised $106 billion, comprising 61% of initial public offerings.

Read more: A client portfolio manager at Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest shares which of its ETFs are projected to see the most growth over the next 5 years, and explains the recent downturn in the broader family

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BMW revealed details about its 2 upcoming Tesla challenger EVs, the $55,400 i4 sedan and the $83,200 iX SUV

2022 BMW i4 EV
2022 BMW i4.

  • BMW revealed new details about two EVs hitting the US market in early 2022.
  • The i4 sedan will start at $55,400 and will have a sporty $65,900 version.
  • The iX SUV has an MSRP of $83,200, putting it in the same league as Tesla’s Model X.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After years largely on the sidelines of the US electric-vehicle boom, BMW is gearing up to launch two new Tesla competitors: the iX SUV and i4 coupe.

The German luxury brand on Tuesday released pricing information and new details about both models. When they arrive in early 2022, the models will be BMW’s first new EVs to come stateside since the quirky i3 hatchback hit the market in 2014.

2022 BMW iX
2022 BMW iX.

The iX – which BMW first revealed in November – will carry a starting MSRP of $83,200 for the xDrive50 model. That vehicle, BMW says, will have a range of 300 miles, 516 horsepower, and a 0-62-mph time of 4.6 seconds. That price puts it in competition with the $89,990 Tesla Model X, but the iX falls short of the Model X’s 360-mile EPA-rated range.

Using a 200 kilowatt DC fast charger, the iX xDrive50 can top up from 10% to 80% battery in 40 minutes, the company says. A more powerful M60 model with more than 600 horsepower is on the way, too.

Read more: 33-year-old Mate Rimac on how his EV company went from side project to major auto supplier in just 12 years

2022 BMW i4.
2022 BMW i4.

A four-door sedan, the i4 is more likely to steal customers away from the Tesla Model S or Model 3. The EV will be sold in two versions: the $55,400 eDrive40 and the sportier M50, which starts at $65,900. That means the i4 will cost roughly as much as a gas-fueled 4 Series or 5 Series

BMW says the base model will have a range of up to 300 miles, while the M50 should get up to 245 miles between charges, but neither of those figures have been verified by the US Environmental Protection Agency yet.

2022 BMW iX.
2022 BMW iX.

BMW’s first all-electric performance car, the i4 M50 promises to put out 536 horsepower, enough to send the vehicle to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. When plugged into a DC fast charger, both i4 models can go from 10% to 80% charge in roughly 31 minutes.

BMW is aiming for both models to go on sale in the first three months of 2022. They represent the start of a new electric direction for the German brand.

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A new luxury car service at LAX is letting wealthy flyers skip the terminal by meeting them planeside – and a single ride costs more than $3,000

PS Direct
A BMV 750i of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • PS Direct is the latest offering of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.
  • Wealthy travelers can pay $3,450 to have a private car and driver pick them up planeside.
  • The one-of-a-kind service is currently only available to those with a PS membership, priced at $4,500.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hopping off the plane at LAX just got a massive upgrade for certain types of travelers.

PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport that lets wealthy travelers skip the commercial terminal entirely, is introducing a new pandemic-era luxury car service that offers planeside pickups upon arrival.

PS Direct lets travelers skip the terminal entirely, including the PS private terminal, and head straight to their final destination just moments after stepping off of their commercial flight. That means no more waiting in taxi lines or walking through a crowded terminal to find one’s driver.

A PS representative greets passengers in the jetway and escorts them directly to the airport tarmac where their stylish BMW 750i awaits. The four-seater sedans feature executive passenger seating complete with seat-back entertainment screens, recline functionality, seat-warming capabilities, individual climate control, and a sunroof, to name just a few amenities.

PS Direct
A BMV 705i of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Only PS annual members have access to the service and just a single ride incurs a fee of $3,450, which is $200 more than the cost of booking a luxurious suite at the facility. A yearly membership at PS costs $4,500 and comes with benefits like complimentary valet parking, free spa services (not available during the pandemic), and priority reservations when booking suites.

Amina Belouizdad, co-CEO at PS, told Insider that the higher price point for the service compared to its suites comes as a result of the cost of licensing for its drivers and other expenses associated with launching the service.

For frequent PS users, the experience will be largely similar to what they’re accustomed to when frequenting the suites except they’ll just skip the private terminal be driven straight to their homes, hotels, or wherever they’re staying in Los Angeles. Even those flyers that have checked bags can skip baggage claim and use the service.

“If you’ve checked bags, you wait five minutes on average in the BMW while we retrieve your bags from the plane, put them in the trunk of your car, and then we drive you straight home,” Belouizdad said.

The service is currently only available when arriving on a domestic flight. PS has its own US Customs and Border Protection facilities that inbound arrivals can use but that requires a stop in the private terminal.

PS Direct
A BMV 705i of PS, the private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Planeside pickups have historically been a benefit of flying private but PS is the first to make it available for commercial flights in the US, an impressive feat considering the heightened security environment that exists at bustling international airports like LAX.

Read More: Private jet industry CEOs say business will boom as the wealthy abandon airlines and reveal what they’re doing now to take advantage

“We’re the only ones in the world, to my knowledge, that can do this,” Belouizdad said.

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BMW just showed off its first electric sedan with 530 horsepower and a 300-mile range

BMW i4.
BMW i4.

  • BMW on Wednesday showed off its first electric sedan, the 2022 i4.
  • It will have up to 300 miles of range and 530 horsepower, BMW said.
  • The new model comes amid an accelerated push into electric vehicles by BMW.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

BMW on Wednesday took the wraps off of its latest electric vehicle, the 2022 i4. The model will help pave the way for a new electric era for the automaker, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the EV rush over the last decade.

BMW’s first fully electric sedan (BMW calls the i3 a sedan but it’s really more of a hatchback), the i4 will deliver up to 530 horsepower and an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles, the company said. It will hit 62 mph in roughly four seconds.

BMW i4.
BMW i4.

For comparison, the base Tesla Model S – the model to beat in the high-end electric sedan segment – has a range of 412 miles. More than 500 horsepower in its top configuration gives the i4 more power than the M4, which appears to be its gas-powered counterpart in BMW’s lineup.

The i4 will hit the market in 2021, and BMW says a performance model is on the way. BMW has yet to release pricing details or additional specs for the car.

BMW i4.
BMW i4.

BMW, at one point a pioneer in the EV space with its quirky i3, has fallen behind some other legacy automakers when it comes to electrification. But it’s picked up the pace as of late.

Read more: The true disrupter in the auto industry isn’t Tesla – it’s Fisker

In November, the brand unveiled its upcoming flagship electric SUV, the iX. It also launched an electric version of the X3 SUV, the iX3, but it’s not available in the US.

BMW i4.
BMW i4.

During a presentation on Wednesday, BMW followed in the footsteps of several other automakers by announcing an accelerated timeline for its EV program.

The company now plans to sell roughly 12 electric models by 2023 and aims to have electric cars account for at least half of its global sales by 2030. Mini, it said, will phase out gas-powered offerings in the early 2030s.

BMW i4.
BMW i4.

In 2025, BMW plans to launch a new EV platform called the “Neue Klasse” that will underpin future vehicles.

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BMW’s iconic kidney grille has gone through 13 major redesigns – tour all 88 years of its evolution

bmw nose long
BMW grilles through the ages.

  • The BMW kidney grille is one of the automaker’s most iconic design aspects.
  • The first kidney grille appeared in 1933.
  • The newest kidney grille is extremely polarizing but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Say what you want about BMW, but you cannot deny that its signature kidney grille is one of the most iconic front ends in automotive history. Its shape may have changed over the years, but the kidney style has always been there.

The newest kidney grille – which debuted on the current 4 Series – is controversial, to say the least. Fans on social media denounced it, but BMW’s head of design, Demagogy Dukec, recently told Autocar the grille isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The automaker wants its cars to stand out, Dukec said. To do that, it made the grille distinguished. That’s one word for it!

The saga of the BMW kidney grille started in 1933, according to BMW. Since then, nearly every single BMW has had one as a nose. The grille has undergone 13 designs over the course of 88 years.

Keep reading to see them all.

The BMW kidney grille is perhaps one of the most iconic grilles in all of automotive history.

BMW 2 Series
BMW 2 Series.

In 1933, the BMW 303 became the first BMW to wear an air intake in the shape of a set of kidneys.

1933 BMW 303 (1)
BMW 303.

BMW rounded off the top and bottom of the functional grille and stuck its blue-and-white logo on the top like a crown.

1933 BMW 303.JPG
BMW 303.

The giant radiator grilles gave way to a much smaller design on the BMW 503 in 1956.

1956 BMW 503 (1).JPG
BMW 503.

It didn’t dominate the front fascia as much as the 1930s design did.

1956 BMW 503
BMW 503.

The year 1956 also saw the gorgeous BMW 507 roadster, though the grille was revised to be far wider and horizontally positioned in order to channel more air into the V8.

1956 BMW 507 Elvis.1
BMW 507.

The 507 was very expensive; only a handful were ever sold. This white one belonged to Elvis.

1956 BMW 507 Elvis.2
BMW 507.

Source: Hemmings

By 1961, the kidney grille had trickled down to BMW’s volume-sellers such as the BMW 1500.

1961 BMW 1500.1
BMW 1500.

For the first time, the two kidneys appeared linked and skinnier than ever before.

1961 BMW 1500.2
BMW 1500.

The grille appeared on the 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo, which was BMW’s very first turbocharged production car.

1973 BMW 2002 Turbo.JPG
BMW 2002 Turbo.

Source: Hagerty

It also appeared on the BMW 3.0 CSL race car.

1972 BMW 3.0 CSL
BMW 3.0 CSL.

As well as the stunning BMW 2800 CS coupe from 1968.

1968 BMW 2800 CS.JPG
BMW 2800 CS.

The legendary 1978 M1 had horizontal intake grilles, but BMW was unwilling to give up the kidney shape – so it wound up with tiny kidneys.

1978 BMW M1.2.JPG
BMW M1.

To date, the M1 is one of the coolest BMWs ever built.

1978 BMW M1.1.JPG
BMW M1.

The tiny kidneys found their way onto the 1988 Z1.

1988 BMW Z1
BMW Z1.

As well as the wedge-shaped 8 Series from 1989.

1989 BMW 850i.1
BMW 850i.

The 8 Series famously sported flip-up headlights.

1989 BMW 850i.2
BMW 850i.

The year 1990 saw another redesign of the grille – flat, not very wide, but still horizontally positioned.

1990 BMW 3 Series2
BMW 3 Series.

It debuted on the third generation of the 3 Series – or the E36 generation in BMW-speak.

1990 BMW 3 Series1
BMW 3 Series.

The grille was extremely prevalent in the 1990s, with the 7 Series, 5 Series, X5, and the next generation of the 3 Series (the E46) all wearing it.

1997 BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series.

The 1995 BMW Z3 – which appeared in the James Bond film, GoldenEye – also wore the new grille.

1995 BMW Z3.JPG
BMW Z3.

In 2011, the sixth generation of the 3 Series (the F30) had a new, wide grille that touched the headlights for the first time.

2011 BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series.

You can still see this grille on the current 5 Series.

2021 BMW 5 Series
BMW 5 Series.

On the 2013 i3, the kidney grille was still wide but had a blue outline and was sealed off to articulate the EV aspect of the car.

2013 BMW i3.1
BMW i3.

The hybrid BMW i8 had a similar design.

2014 BMW i8
BMW i8.

The i3’s grille will inspire all future electric BMW cars.

2013 BMW i3.2
BMW i3.

For the 2018 8 Series and Z4, the grille became less rectangular and more angular.

2018 BMW 8 Series
BMW 8 Series.

The grilles are also slightly slanted, drawing your eye downward.

2018 BMW Z4
BMW Z4.

The 2018 Vision iNext is a design concept of what future models could look like. Like on the i3, the grille is sealed off.

2018 BMW Vision iNext
BMW Vision iNext.

The BMW iX, which will launch in 2022, is the all-electric production version of the Vision iNext concept.

2020 BMW iX
BMW iX.

The 2019 BMW Vision M Next is a conceptual hybrid sports car. You can see similarities between it and the i8.

2019 BMW Vision M Next
BMW Vision M Next.

The current, seventh-generation of the 3 Series (the G20) – launched in 2018 – has a grille that sits higher than the headlights. Performance versions replace the vertical grille rods with a mesh design.

2018 BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series.

In 2019, things really got big on the 7 Series and first-ever X7.

2019 BMW 7 Series
BMW 7 Series.

The big grille works better on the X7 because the car is so huge.

2019 BMW X7
BMW X7.

The most recent version of the kidney grille first showed up on the 4 Series Coupe in 2020. It was very controversial.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe.2
BMW 4 Series Coupe.


Since then, it has also appeared on the new M3 and M4.

2021 BMW M3 and M4_1
2021 BMW M3 and M4.

Despite quite a bit of uproar, BMW’s head of design, Domagoj Dukec, says the grille is sticking around.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe.1
BMW 4 Series Coupe.

Source: Autocar

“If you want to create something that stands out, it must be distinguished and it has to be different,” he said.

2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe.3
BMW 4 Series Coupe.

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Here are some of the car models most likely to be in shorter supply due to the global chip shortage

Car Dealership
New Chevys for sale fill the lot at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Illinois, July 17, 2014.

  • Car dealerships are already reflecting the slowdown in manufacturing due to the global chip shortage.
  • Shoppers may see higher prices and lower availability of certain car models.
  • Car companies began halting production in January and expect to lose billions this year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A global shortage of computer chips has caused shutdowns at several automotive manufacturing plants – and car dealerships are already reflecting the shortage.

Car shoppers can expect to see an impact in the availability of certain car models due to the chip shortage, as well as a price increase, according to Cars.com executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder. Dealerships may also be less likely to offer deals as supplies dwindle.

“Consumers in the market of considering buying a car should shop now because choices and prices could worsen over the next two quarters,” Wiesenfelder told Insider. 

Car companies began halting production at manufacturing plants in North America in the beginning of January.

Automotive companies stand to lose billions of dollars due to the disruption in supply. Alix Partners told Bloomberg car companies could lose over $14 billion in the first quarter and about $61 billion overall in 2021. Though, Wiesenfelder said the industry could make up for the cuts by the end of the year.

Semiconductor chips have become an essential part of the manufacturing process for vehicles. The chips are used in navigation, bluetooth, and collision-detection systems and account for about 40% of a new car’s cost, according to a report from Deloitte.

The lack of chips has forced automakers to prioritize production of their higher-priced and more-profitable models.

Here are some of the models Cars.com said may see price increases or limited availability.

Toyota has already started increasing prices

2014 2017 toyota tundra crewmax
Toyota Tundra CrewMax.

The Toyota Tundra was one of the first cars to see a halt in production.

Cars.com said the Tundra has seen a drop in inventory of almost 27% for the month of February. Some Toyota models have already demonstrated price increases, including the Tacoma, which has gone up about $584 or 1.6%, despite only a 4% decrease in inventory, according to Cars.com.

Many Japanese carmakers are seeing an impact. Honda was one of the first car companies to warn of computer chip shortages, according to Bloomberg.

The Japanese carmaker has slashed production at several major manufacturing plants. In particular, shoppers can expect to see some pressure on the Honda Accord, Civic, Insight, and Odyssey, as well as the Acura RDX.

Nissan has had to adjust production in both Japan and North America. A spokesperson told Insider the company is continuing to assess the long-term impact of the chip shortage. For now, the models that have seen slowdowns for the carmaker include the Nissan Altima, Frontier, and Titan.

In February, Subaru reported it planned to cut its production plan for 2021 by about 58,000 cars. The models impacted by the cut include the Subaru Ascent, Impreza, Legacy, and Outback.

Ford and General Motors expect to lose billions of dollars 

ford factory
Workers build Ford F-150 trucks at one of the automaker’s assembly plants.

Ford began slowing down production at its plant in Louisville in January. During Ford’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CFO John Lawler said the chip shortage could cut the company’s first-quarter production by 10% to 20% – a $2.5 billion hit to revenue.

The car models that will be impacted by cuts at Ford plants include the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair, which are produced at the Louisville plant. Cars.com said there will also be declines in production of the Ford Edge and Explorer, as well as the Lincoln Aviator and Lincoln Nautilus.

During GM’s fourth-quarter earnings call the company said it expects to see a negative impact of $1.5 to $2 billion this year. 

The company announced last week that it was closing three of its North American plants. The manufacturing sites will remain closed until at least mid-March.

The closures are expected to impact the Buick Encore, Cadillac XT4, and GMC Terrain. The company’s Chevrolet line will also see some slowdowns, as the sites that produce Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu, and Trax have been impacted.

Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen also feel the pinch

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

In January Fiat Chrysler suspended operations at plants in Ontario and Mexico. The slowdowns will impact several Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep products. Cars.com said dealerships will likely have lower inventories for the Chrysler 300, Pacifica, and Voyager. The Dodge Challenger and Charger may be in shorter supply, as well as the Jeep Cherokee and Compass.

BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen were some of the first car companies overseas to report shortages. In December, Volkswagen had already begun lowering production rates. The Volkswagen Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, and Passat have already been impacted by the supply disruption.

Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Ford, GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Volkswagen did not respond in time to comment.

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