During the past year, we’ve seen the rise of special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, to prop up electric vehicle startups like Canoo and Nikola. It’s been the kind of Wall Street bubble even amateur investors could see might burst any minute. Now, in the aftermath, EV startup valuations have nosedived, according to a new report.
The report, in Bloomberg, says that valuations for Nikola, Canoo, Arrival, Fisker, and Lordstown Motors are down over $40 billion for their peaks, as investors come to their senses (a bit). Some of the companies, like Lordstown Motors and Nikola, have been attacked by short sellers. Others, like Fisker, seem to have mistimed the market. Almost all of them seem to suffer from chaos up top, Canoo being a good example:
The company announced a hard pivot in its business plans in March, deciding to de-emphasize engineering services for other companies and the subscription business model that was part of its original pitch to investors. It has replaced top executives, including its chief financial officer, and said it hasn’t addressed material weaknesses in its financial controls identified more than a year ago. Last month, one of its co-founders resigned the CEO position.
Arrival, the EV startup that is trying to develop a ride-hailing EV with Uber, has perhaps fared the best, with a valuation still over $11 billion as of this writing. Compare that with Nikola’s violation, which is less than $5 billion, itself down from a peak of almost $29 billion, though $5 billion is still pretty big for a company with virtually no revenue.
Of course, all of these companies aspire, on some level, to be Tesla, which struggled for years and years before becoming a profitable company. All of the new EV startups are probably still convinced they can do the same. And maybe they can! A lot of people talked a lot of shit about Tesla for years, too. Or maybe they can’t. In any case, after more than a year of stock market lunacy, I hope anyone investing in an EV startup knows what they’re getting into.