A few years ago when investors were piling into electric vehicle manufacturing, one small company grabbed a big slice of investment from the US and China. NextEV was literally going to be the next big thing! However, they went quiet and don’t really appear on anyones radar anymore.
Well, they are still going, although they didn’t manage to build the supercar that they wanted to – or the normal road car, however they did achieve something in Formula E. Recently Motoring Weekly wrote about one their racing rivals: Venturi.
NextEV was founded by William Li in China and had a design office in Munich and a technology hub in California with a third site in China for development and production. However with the investments in the bank, Li then created a new company called Nio for the production cars and converted NextEV into the Formula E racing team. Success came early with Nelson Piquet Jr winning the first Formula E title in 2014/15 and since then they have struggled with different drivers and cars. However, the team is really there to push the envelope for the electric powertrain development. Like many motorsports teams, it is based in the UK rather than its parent country.
The road cars however, under the Nio brand, have started to become successful. They took the NextEV supercar design and completed the work as a track day car: the Nio EP9 and successfully gained the record for the fastest EV around the Nurburgring. Six were built and sold to investors in the company for over $1M each and they plan to build a further ten only.
They also took the NextEV road car concept and created the ES8 5-door SUV and there are plans for the ES6, a compact SUV which is a model segment that is becoming more popular with buyers. The ES8 has only just gone into production for sale in China only at this stage, however I would expect them to look at international markets to complete with Lynk & Co.
It was reported that they had a huge backlog of orders from the China market and they used that to launch an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange at $13.80 a share. As at the 14th December, the price was a mere $7.75! The money raised was spent on building a China focused dealer network and they recently reported that they had delivered over 3,200 vehicles since the launch – they have built 4,200, so 1,000 are in the process of being delivered!
Analysts expect the company to thrive and one suggested that the stock was actually worth $19 each, so there could be a load of hype around them. We do know that the China market is started to flatten out growth-wise and there is some rationalisation starting as well. Perhaps if they can get a dealer network in Europe or the US, then they will be able to survive longer.
So that is what happened to NextEV, the darling of the electric vehicle industry two years ago. They got absorbed into another company, who used to it go to the markets twice to raise funds. Let’s hope the investors get what they wanted.