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Chasing Tesla: EV startups from Europe leading the race in 2022


As most of the countries including the UK government aim to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2035, the market for battery-operated automobiles is increasing. And so is the investment in battery startups! Recently, H2 Mobility raised €110M to open 300 hydrogen stations by 2030. At the same time, UK-based battery startup Zenobē Energy secured £241M to accelerate mass adoption. Further, a Tesla rival from Croatia, Rimac Group, a hypercar unicorn got €500M funding from Softbank, Goldman Sachs and Porsche.

In Europe, the sales of EVs surpassed those of diesel vehicles for the first time ever in December 2021. 

Hence, as the future of mobility revolves around electrification, more venture capital firms and private equity investors are pumping funds into the automotive startups that are gearing up to bring their products and technology to the market. In 2021, the EV startups picked up the highest funding from investors to keep them geared up to face the competition. Here, at TFN today, we take a look at some of the most funded EV startups in Europe and their future plans. Let’s dig in!

Sono Motors Sion
Image credits: Sono Motors

Sono Motors (Germany)

Founder/s: Laurin Hahn, Navina Pernsteiner, Jona Christians
Founded year: 2016
Total Funding: $119M

Headquartered in Munich, the German solar car startup Sono Motors, claims to make electric mobility more affordable and available for a much lower cost in a market where lack of charging infrastructure and perceived limited range is deterring its uptake.

In November 2021, Sono Group, the parent company of Sono Motors, went public. At the time of its IPO, the company had a valuation of $1.9 billion. Prior to that, the EV maker picked up €45 million from Swedbank and DNCA Finance in a Series C round.

CAKE Motorcycle
Image credits: CAKE

CAKE (Sweden)

Founder/s: Laurin Hahn, Navina Pernsteiner, Jona Christians
Founded year: 2016
Total Funding: $76.7M

Stockholm-based CAKE claims to be ​​Sweden’s most prominent electric motorcycle and e-moped manufacturer and produces lightweight electric off-road performance motorcycles. Recently, the company closed a significant funding round of $60 million led by Swedish pension fund AMF and several new investors joined including a number of current shareholders including Creandum and Headline.

Currently, the Swedish startup produces Kalk OR and Kalk& bikes developed from scratch with unprecedented reliability and durability. 

Image credits: Arrival

Arrival (UK)

Founder/s: Denis Sverdlov
Founded year: 2015
Total Funding: $631M

While Arrival is in the news these days on cutting costs and laying off up to 30% of its workforce to meet its EV van production target, the London-based commercial EV company went public last year. It was listed on the Nasdaq with a valuation of $13 billion. With this, it became one of the largest-ever listings of a UK tech company

The British company is known as the Tesla of vans and develops electric vehicles, software, materials, components, and scalable skateboard platforms. It is a zero-emission solution for cities and a human-centered, intelligent design to revitalise public transportation.

Image credits: Lightyear

Lightyear (Netherlands)

Founder/s: Arjo van der Ham, Koen van Ham, Lex Hoefsloot, Martijn Lammers, Qurein Biewenga
Founded year: 2015
Total Funding: $152M

The Netherlands tech ecosystem’s pride, the solar electric car company, Lightyear is developing another Tesla rival, and an ultra-energy-efficient automotive platform. In June, the company launched Lightyear 0, a solar-powered car touted to deliver a range of 625 km. The Lightyear 0 features a solar roof and a solar bonnet with ‘five square metres of double-curved solar arrays’. It uses sustainable and recycled materials for its interior.

Last year alone, the company behind the world’s first long-range solar car, scored $110 million funding for further production of Lightyear One and expansion of its operations. 

Lotus Evija
Image credits: Lotus Cars

Lotus Cars (UK)

Founder/s: Colin Chapman
Founded year: 1948
Total Funding: $13.2M

A luxury car maker from Norwich, Lotus Cars, is one of the latest automotive companies to ramp up EV production. Its all-electric hypercar Lotus Evija is the most powerful car from the company to enter series production. It is touted to deliver out-of-this-world performance and road handling. Technology and performance go hand-in-hand with four-wheel torque vectoring, a state-of-the-art digital cockpit, and advanced stability control.

Recently, Lotus Cars secured £74 million to boost its electric vehicle push. Of this, £50 million in borrowings from Santander while the remaining £24 million comes as a loan from its Chinese and Malaysian owners Geely and Etika. The backing will enable Lotus to transition to EVs, developing a prototype to base all models from 2026.

X Shore
Image credits: X Shore

X Shore (Sweden)

Founder/s: Konrad Bergström
Founded year: 2016
Total Funding: $75M

Not a car but an all electric boat! Swedish electric boat manufacturer, X Shore produces fully electric yacht tenders. Its first prototype was developed in 2016. X Shore offers a boat model, The Eelex 8000, which is an 8-metre open-tender boat. This boat is powered by a 225 kW motor and a 126 kWh battery and can reach speeds of over 30 knots with a cruising speed of 20 knots. The company’s boats use no fossil fuels and have minimal impact on marine wildlife. 

In April this year, X Shore picked up €45.5 million in oversubscribed funding from new investors, including Peter Carlsson, founder and CEO of Northvolt, among others. The company claimed that the funds will be used to ramp up production at its new factory in Nyköping, Sweden. It is touted that this factory will let the company manufacture two boats per day by the end of this year.

Volta Trucks
Image credits: Volta Trucks

Volta Trucks (Sweden)

Founder/s: Carl-Magnus Norden, Kjell Walöen
Founded year: 2019
Total Funding: $323M

While, the cars and boats are going electric, how can trucks be left behind? Volta Trucks is yet another fully electric commercial vehicle manufacturer which is touching the skies and expanding globally. The company is building a purpose-built full-electric large commercial vehicle to be manufactured for inner-city freight and urban distribution. These vehicles will be ready to be trialled by customers at the end of 2022, ahead of the start of series production customer specification vehicles in early 2023.

Earlier this year, Volta Trucks raised $230 million in Series C funding to finance the launch of series production of its Volta Zero electric truck. The company stated that it saw over 5,000 vehicle orders with a value of €1.2 billion. Also, the funds will be used for the development of 7.5-tonne and 12-tonne electric trucks.

Image credits: Tevva

Tevva (UK)

Founder/s: Asher Bennett
Founded year: 2012
Total Funding: $140M

Tevva is a British electric truck maker, which is best known for its zero-emission Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell range-extended vehicles. Tevva trucks optimise range, driver experience, and total ownership cost while significantly reducing the environmental impact from the urban freight and logistics sectors. Its trucks are cost-effective and use at least 1,000 fewer moving parts than traditional trucks, which minimises maintenance cost and increases uptime.

Last month, Tevva scored an additional $51 million in funding, which followed the $57 million funding it raised back in November last year. The company stated that the latest cash injection will be used to get its 7.5-tonne all-electric truck into production from Q3 this year and to develop its 7.5-tonne hydrogen-electric truck.

Image credits: Einride

Einride (Sweden)

Founder/s: Filip Lilja, Linnéa Kornehed, Robert Falck
Founded year: 2016
Total Funding: $152M

Swedish autonomous and electric freight mobility company Einride develops and provides freight mobility solutions based on electric and autonomous vehicles. The company’s T-Pod is the world’s first autonomous all-electric truck to operate a commercial flow for DB Schenker with a permit on the public road.

Last year, Einride sparked $110 million Series B funding from Temasek, Soros Fund Management LLC, Northzone, Maersk Growth and Build Capital, with an aim to scale up deployments with Einride’s major customer base in Europe and the US.

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