Automobile

Volvo aims for an IPO by the end of 2021

Volvo Cars is “making good progress” toward a potential initial public stock offering by the end of this year, CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Reuters.

“We are looking at the possibility of doing an IPO before the end of the year,” listing shares on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange, Samuelsson said in an interview on Wednesday.

Samuelsson and other Volvo executives on Wednesday laid out an extensive road map to becoming a full electric vehicle maker by 2030, including plans to sell 600,000 EVs at mid-decade and build a European battery gigafactory in 2026.

Volvo earlier this year scrapped a proposed merger with the company’s Chinese parent, Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile. In March, Geely said Volvo would explore capital market options, including an IPO and stock market listing.

A number of startups have gone public in the U.S. and China over the past two years, following EV market leader Tesla in taking advantage of investor enthusiasm to raise cheap capital to compete with established brands such as Volvo.

Samuelsson said Volvo and Geely will continue to share vehicle architectures, combustion powertrains and other components. But the companies will do so at “an arm’s length distance,” consistent with the way independent companies do business, he said.

During Wednesday’s briefing, Volvo also said it plans to equip many of its future vehicles with self-driving technology, including standard lidar sensors from Luminar Technologies and computers from Nvidia.

“Our goal is to build the safest cars possible, using all available technology,” Samuelsson said.

As it launches new EVs, Volvo also plans a slew of related products, including insurance and vehicle subscription payment plans offered directly by the automaker, Samuelsson said.

“The whole vehicle business will be recurring revenue,” Samuelsson said.

In Europe, the company plans to change its retail operations so that customers order new EVs directly from the manufacturer, with dealers paid commissions to deliver them, Samuelsson said. In the U.S., where laws protect existing dealers, Volvo will still sell vehicles through franchised retailers.

For its future EVs, Volvo is working with Swedish partner Northvolt on a new generation of batteries with higher energy and designed to be packaged as a structural element of the vehicle. The new batteries, due after 2025, will enable a longer driving range between charges — up to 625 miles — and much faster charging times.

Volvo and Northvolt are planning to build a European battery plant in 2026 with 50-gigawatt hours production capacity — enough to supply 500,000 vehicles or more, depending on battery size. In comparison, Tesla’s Nevada gigafactory has 35 gWh capacity.

Samuelsson said Volvo will unveil the first of its new-generation EVs next year, a flagship utility vehicle that will share its platform with additional models to follow.

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