Regroup, rebuild and revamp our homes!

February 27, 2024 has announced it has been allocated £32m (c$41m), in funding from the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) competitive ‘Responsive, Easy Charging Products With Dynamic Signals’ (REDWDS) grant to help deploy EV charging infrastructure in the region. The funds will be matched by select utilities and Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) to enrol EV drivers into managed charging programs, to help create a dynamic EV virtual power plant. CCAs have set themselves a target of supporting 275,000 EV drivers in California, with a strong focus on serving disadvantaged communities via the ChargeWise program.

The Local Transport Fund (LTF) has announced it will be allocating £4.7bn to 27 local transport authorities (LTAs). Over the next 7 years, this funding will be split between the North, which will receive £2.5bn and the Midlands, which will receive £2.2bn. This funding stems from the redistribution of funds released by the part-cancellation of HS2. The government has identified transport as a way to help level up the Midlands and the North. The LTF has also stated that this funding will focus on smaller cities, towns, and rural areas, which we heavily champion.

VinFast has announced it has broken ground on its new EV manufacturing facility in India. The new facility, located in Tamil Nadu, is expected to produce up to 150,000 EVs annually and will serve as the main hub for exporting to South Asian, Middle Eastern, and African countries. VinFast is the latest EV OEM to invest in the Indian EV market, following in the footsteps of such OEMs as Stellantis, Hyundai and Suzuki.

Xiaomi announced its EV strategy at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. To recap, the company, in December 2023, unveiled and (softly) launched its first EV, called the Xiaomi SU7 however no price and exact date has been published since then. At the Mobile World Congress, the company announced it was positioning its first EV in the premium bracket, and thus will be competing with the likes of Tesla and Porsche. Interestingly, the Group President stated Xiaomi will be leveraging its 20m (premium) smartphone users. Bear in mind Xiaomi is a prominent player in the smartphone industry, behind only Apple and Samsung, and its products are generally affordably priced, thus bringing into question (slightly) how it will fare competing against premium brands such as Tesla and Porsche. Secondly, EVs aimed at consumers have slowed down this year in certain markets (relative to 2022 and 2023) and this led to multiple OEMs, such as BYD, cutting their EV prices, therefore introducing a premium EV, in the short term, may prove challenging. You can argue that the company has an incredibly strong balance sheet, to offset the (high) cash burn rate, and the question then moves to how long Xiaomi will fund this endeavour.

McGill’s has announced it will be expanding its services into the coach holiday sector by launching Loch Lomond Travel (a new subsidiary). Loch Lomond Travel will have a fleet of 25 new touring coaches, as well as access to 100+ coaches from McGill’s other subsidiaries. The company has been expanding its services this year, as in January, it announced its new Airport Express route service, going to Edinburgh and Edinburgh Airport. This also illustrates that McGill’s feels confident in an increase in bus patronage going forward, which is a strong signal to the market.

Deals, a Chinese autonomous driving startup, has raised $14m in a Series B1 round. Although the startup secured its funding from Chengdu Wufa Private Equity Fund Management this round, bear in mind it's also backed by Great Wall Motor. The majority of the capital raised will be used to boost its R&D to help develop robotics.

Logan Energy, an Edinburgh-based green hydrogen company, has raised £5m from Lanxing New Energy and Scottish Enterprise. This capital will be used to develop its facilities, increase its workforce (within the hydrogen sector in Edinburgh) and expand internationally. Interestingly, it is currently building hydrogen refuelling stations for buses, vans, passenger vehicles, and heavy-duty vehicles.

Uhnder, a USA-based radar startup, has announced it has raised $50m in a Series D round, led by ACME Capital. Investors such as Magna, Qualcomm Ventures, El Camino Capital, Monta Vista Capital, Sagitta Ventures, and HT Capital also participated. The capital raised will be used to increase its R&D and production capacity to help boost growth.

Recogni, a California-based AI startup, has announced it has raised $102m in a Series C round. This round was led by Celesta Capital and GreatPoint Ventures and investors such as HSBC and Tasaru Mobility Investments also participated in the round. The capital raised will be deployed to strengthen its chip manufacturing efforts and for marketing its products. Interestingly, the startup’s chip will focus on a specific part of the development process called inference. This is when a trained AI model makes predictions based on new data. Recogni’s chip operates faster and more energy-efficient than its competitors.

Niron Magnetics, a USA-based rare earth-free permanent magnets startup, has announced it has raised $25m in a funding round which was led by Samsung Ventures. This capital will be deployed to expand Niron’s production facilities, support (customer) prototyping programs and scale up its manufacturing capacity.