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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
In 2025, BMW plans to launch a new EV platform called the “Neue Klasse” that will underpin future vehicles.
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.
In 1933, the BMW 303 became the first BMW to wear an air intake in the shape of a set of kidneys.
BMW rounded off the top and bottom of the functional grille and stuck its blue-and-white logo on the top like a crown.
The giant radiator grilles gave way to a much smaller design on the BMW 503 in 1956.
It didn’t dominate the front fascia as much as the 1930s design did.
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.
The 507 was very expensive; only a handful were ever sold. This white one belonged to Elvis.
As well as the stunning BMW 2800 CS coupe from 1968.
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.
To date, the M1 is one of the coolest BMWs ever built.
The tiny kidneys found their way onto the 1988 Z1.
As well as the wedge-shaped 8 Series from 1989.
The 8 Series famously sported flip-up headlights.
The year 1990 saw another redesign of the grille – flat, not very wide, but still horizontally positioned.
It debuted on the third generation of the 3 Series – or the E36 generation in BMW-speak.
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.
The 1995 BMW Z3 – which appeared in the James Bond film, GoldenEye – also wore the new grille.
In 2011, the sixth generation of the 3 Series (the F30) had a new, wide grille that touched the headlights for the first time.
You can still see this grille on the current 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.
The hybrid BMW i8 had a similar design.
The i3’s grille will inspire all future electric BMW cars.
For the 2018 8 Series and Z4, the grille became less rectangular and more angular.
The grilles are also slightly slanted, drawing your eye downward.
The 2018 Vision iNext is a design concept of what future models could look like. Like on the i3, the grille is sealed off.
The BMW iX, which will launch in 2022, is the all-electric production version of the Vision iNext concept.
The 2019 BMW Vision M Next is a conceptual hybrid sports car. You can see similarities between it and the i8.
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.
In 2019, things really got big on the 7 Series and first-ever X7.
The big grille works better on the X7 because the car is so huge.
The most recent version of the kidney grille first showed up on the 4 Series Coupe in 2020. It was very controversial.
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.
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
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 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.
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
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.