Polestar explores listing as it pushes for global expansion

Polestar, the electric car maker backed by Volvo and Geely, has opened the door to going public via a blank cheque vehicle as it seeks more firepower to compete in an increasingly competitive global market.

The group, which tapped Chinese investors for $550m in April, plans to embark on further fundraising as it prepares to manufacture cars in the US for the first time.

The fundraising could come via a traditional initial public offering or through a special purpose acquisition company.

“I would not say no to an IPO or a Spac, but it’s absolutely not decided when that will happen,” said Polestar chief executive Thomas Ingenlath, stressing that the group was after “long-term investors”.

Electric vehicle start-ups have been among the biggest winners from the Spac boom over the past 18 months, as they sought to dazzle investors with claims for their technology and the size of their potential markets.

That has, however, led to a glut of listings and the weaknesses of several companies have been exposed since they joined the Spac stampede.

Inglenath said the backing of both Volvo Cars and its parent company Geely gives Polestar access to the benefits that larger carmakers have.

Volvo and Geely retain a majority stake in Polestar, which sold its first vehicle in 2019 but has not yet disclosed any financial results.

The company will begin making an electric sport utility vehicle at Volvo’s South Carolina facility next year.

Polestar makes its flagship model Polestar 2 at a plant in Chengdu, China, but faces stiff tariffs when exporting vehicles to the US.

The decision to manufacture the next model, the Polestar 3, in both the US and China means it will avoid import tariffs on the car, which will be comparable in size to a Volvo XC90 SUV and go on sale late next year.

While the US market for electric cars is still in its infancy, Polestar expects significant growth and has opened showrooms across the country. Inglenath said its newest model is aimed at the luxury end of the market, more likely to compete with a model from high-end start-up Lucid than a Tesla.

Ingenlath said the fact the car will be produced in both the US and China was “proof” that the group can both use its parent companies to help globalise. “Since there is already a factory that is operating, and there is a decision to bring the new electric platform there, this is a brilliant opportunity for us,” he added.

Volvo opened its South Carolina factory in 2018, and the carmaker has pledged that all of its models will be fully electric by 2030.

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