Chinese electric-vehicle maker Aiways explores 2021 U.S. IPO

Chinese electric-vehicle maker Aiways explores 2021 U.S. IPO
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(Aug 12): Aichi Automobile Co., an electric-vehicle startup better known as Aiways, is exploring a U.S. initial public offering that could occur as soon as this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Shanghai-based company is working with underwriters ahead of a listing in which it could raise about US$300 million, said the people, who asked not to identified discussing information that isn’t public.

An Aiways representative declined to comment.

The company, which has its European headquarters in Munich, was seeking funding from investors including ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. to fuel its global expansion in a transaction that may have valued Aiways at more than US$2 billion, Bloomberg News reported in January.

Founded in 2017 by Chinese entrepreneurs Samuel Fu and Gary Gu, the startup has a manufacturing base in Shangrao, China, and has an initial production capacity of 150,000 cars a year. The automaker’s SUV, known as the Aiways U5 and currently available only in Germany, takes 35 minutes to charge to 80% from 20% and can travel more than 400 kilometers (250 miles) with one full charge, according to its website.

This week, Aiways said it would supply, a car-subscription company, with at least 500 Aiways vehicles. The company has said another vehicle, the Aiways U6, will be available in European markets in 2022 and that order books are open in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France and Israel.

Electric-vehicle adoption is projected to steeply accelerate in coming years, with sales expected to jump to 14 million in 2025 from 3.1 million in 2020, according to a report from BloombergNEF. That would represent 16% of global passenger vehicle sales in 2025, though electric-vehicle sales are expected to be higher in Germany and China at almost 40% and 25%, respectively, BloombergNEF says.

Other electric-vehicle makers have pursued U.S. listings through mergers with blank-check firms, including Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc., Canoo Inc. and Fisker Inc., though many stocks have tumbled from their peaks.