Summer is over, but Solaris is still basking in the sunlight!

September 20, 2023

Saudi Arabia has reportedly entered early talks with Tesla about building an EV factory in the country. Tesla is also being courted by Turkey however Saudi Arabia is offering the right to purchase certain quantities of metals and minerals (such as Cobalt) from the DRC. This is quite the carrot by Saudia Arabia and illustrates its continued pursuit to jumpstart its EV market. Saudia Arabia has been an admirer of Tesla for a number of years however so far this has not yielded any success.

ScottishPower has launched a new tariff, called The EV Saver Tariff, making it (relatively) cheaper to charge EVs overnight. This new tariff allows EV owners to charge their EVs for 7.45p/kWh between midnight and 5am. This new tariff is available only to existing ScottishPower domestic customers who have a smart meter (and opt to pay by direct debit), and new domestic customers joining ScottishPower on its Standard Variable Tariff, who meet the same criteria.

Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) has announced it has placed an order with Solaris for 36 hydrogen buses. The buses will have a 70-kW power fuel cell, with the ability to carry up to 1,560 litres of hydrogen in its tanks, resulting in a range of 350km. TMB received financing support from the Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and the Urban Agenda, as part of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan: Next Generation.

The European Commission has launched an anti-subsidy investigation into whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect EU EV producers against cheaper Chinese EVs. Currently, there is a standard 10% tariff rate for Chinese EVs however China fears this will increase. The consensus amongst analysts is that this will result in a retaliatory policy response by Beijing to curb imports of EU EVs. EC President Leyen stated the reason for the investigation is to determine whether Chinese EVs are benefiting from state subsidies at the expense of European competitors. She believes that this could be potentially the reason for the artificially low EV prices. This investigation could take up to 13 months to conduct so it is hard to predict accurately the true ramifications of this investigation. We agree with industry experts, that although the investigation in essence is economically sound there is a faint whiff of geo-political gamesmanship by both sides. 

Solaris has received its biggest order to date, with TPER Bologna and TPER Ferrara (municipal transport operators) purchasing 130 hydrogen fuel buses. TPER Bologna has ordered 127 Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses, while TPER Ferrara ordered the remaining 3. This should be not surprising news as Bologna and Ferrara announced its goal of making urban public transport 100% emission-free by 2030. However, this order continues Solaris’ (recent) hot streak and further highlights the popularity of its Solaris Urbino 12.

Stellantis has announced it has spent £100m to convert its Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant to produce only EVs, thus making it the first of its kind in the UK. A significant amount of the capital is being used to build a battery assembly shop, improve energy efficiency, relocate its body shop, and upgrade the other general assembly areas. The company expects the plant to be fully operational next year. This plant will produce EVs such as Vauxhall Combo Electric, Opel Combo Electric, Peugeot e-Partner, Citroen e-Berlingo and the Fiat E-Doblo. Bear in mind due to Brexit (and continued uncertainty over trading arrangements) and the government's lack of proactivity in introducing (EV) incentives have resulted in the UK EV automotive industry falling behind countries such as China, the USA, and South Korea. However, this investment indicates some confidence in the UK EV market and government.

Roam, a Kenyan-based EV startup, has announced it has received 50 orders for its new electric shuttle bus which is aptly named Move. This is good news, as it highlights the EV bus demand in the country and we agree with industry sentiment that with high fuel prices, the acceleration of adoption will only quicken. Interestingly, the bus is locally assembled but with parts sourced from China. Move has a 42-seat capacity, with a range of 200km and is priced at $135,000.


Cardino, a Berlin-based EV marketplace startup, has announced it has raised €1m in a pre-seed round. The round was led by Silence VC and FJ Labs and investors such as Asymmetric Capital Partners, DEPO Ventures, and Inclimo also participated. The capital raised will be used to enhance its platform and grow its user database.

Ford, BMW, and Honda have announced they are coming together to create a new vehicle-to-grid (V2G) company called ChargeScape. This (new) company will offer a platform that benefits both EV owners and utility companies. ChargeScape promises to play a pivotal role in simplifying the charging experience as it will offer EV owners the best (grid) times to charge whilst utility providers will be able to access energy from a variety of EVs through the platform. Important to note, that the 3 automakers will each own an equal share of ChargeScape. ChargeScape is pencilled in to accelerate its operations in H1 24, dependent on regulatory approval.

Verkor, a French battery startup, has raised more than €2bn, with investors such as Macquarie Asset Management, Meridiam, and Bpifrance’s SPI investment fund (state-owned) participating. Around €1.5bn will be used to construct a new battery plant, which is pencilled in to be operational by 2025. PM Macron hopes this will inspire more EV (FD)investment in France, so the country can compete with China and the USA.

Revel, a Spanish car subscription startup, has raised €115m in debt and equity, with investors such as KKR, and Santander Consumer Finance participating. It is important not to confuse this with New York-based Revel, which is a completely different and unrelated company. Interestingly, €100m (of the €115m) is structured financing earmarked to build out the car network, whilst the remaining €15m is equity invested in the business itself.

JD Power has announced it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Autovista Group. This acquisition has further consolidated JD Power’s position as the go-to data analytics platform for vehicle valuation and detailed vehicle specification data. Bear in mind, that this market is very fragmented however JD Power has been strategically growing inorganically and organically to consolidate its position.