Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Baidu and automaker Geely put nearly $400 million more into their electric car venture


BEIJING — Chinese tech company Baidu and auto manufacturer Geely are putting more money into the electric car venture Jidu that they partnered on just about a year ago.

Both companies announced Wednesday they are putting nearly $400 million into Jidu in a Series A financing round. The capital injection comes less than a year after Jidu was launched in March 2021 with $300 million in initial capital from undisclosed investors.

Baidu has majority ownership of Jidu, with a 55% share of the company, while Geely has a 45% stake, according to records accessed through Wind Information. Both companies declined to share how much each contributed to the latest funding round.

The money will fund research and development and mass production, according to Jidu.

Global dealmaking in electric vehicles has surged in the last two years as companies rush to develop cars that analysts expect will soon replace combustion-engine ones. The Chinese government has been particularly supportive of the domestic industry’s growth, helping spur the rise of many start-up.

Electric vehicle deals in China tripled in value to $6.61 billion in 2021 from $2.17 billion in 2020, according to Dealogic. Electric vehicle deals in the U.S. more than doubled to $924 million last year from $353 million in value in 2020, the data showed.

Baidu announced in January 2021 it planned to launch Jidu with Geely as a strategic partner and later named Xia Yiping, co-founder of bike sharing start-up Mobike, as CEO of the electric car company.

In 2010, China-based Geely acquired Swedish auto brand Volvo, which previously belonged to Ford Motor

Geely operates a number of electric vehicle brands — on its own or through joint ventures with Volvo — from Zeekr to the high-end Polestar.

Jidu’s first car is set to begin mass production and deliveries in 2023, according to Baidu.

Baidu’s venture into electric vehicles is part of CEO Robin Li’s push to diversify the company’s business away from advertising into new growth areas including autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Ford to make new investment of up to $20 billion in EV


Reuters) -Ford Motor Co is planning additional investment of up to $20 billion in building its electric vehicles, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

The investment of $10 billion to $20 billion will be spread out over the next five to ten years and will include converting its present factories around the world to electric-vehicle production, 

Under a plan dubbed "Ford+" meant to have investors value it more like a technology company, the No. 2 U.S. automaker had already pledged to spend over $30 billion on EVs, including battery development, by 2030.

The latest push is being led by a former Apple Inc and Tesla executive, the report said. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla, joined Ford last year to lead the automaker's advanced technology and embedded systems efforts.

Major automakers from General Motors Co, Ford and Volvo Cars are swiftly making changes to take their piece of the pie in a competitive EV space and fight against electric car challenger Tesla Inc.

The report added Ford has evaluated spinning off a small portion of its EV business as a part of the reorganization, to capture value in an electric startup environment boosted by investor sentiment.

The new plan also includes hiring an unspecified number of engineers to work on concepts such as battery chemistry, artificial intelligence and EV software, the report said, indicating the rising importance of software and digital connectivity in the auto industry.

"We're carrying out our ambitious Ford+ plan to transform the company and thrive in the new era of connected, electric vehicles," the company's spokesman said, adding they do not comment on rumors and speculations.