There is no shortage of electric vehicle start-ups going public in recent years, but most media and investor attention is focused on high-performance passenger cars made by companies like Tesla and Lucid Motors, which is set to go public through Churchill Capital IV. However, there could be an under-appreciated opportunity in commercial electric vehicles, such as the buses made by Proterra.
Proterra is set to go public soon through a SPAC merger with ArcLight Clean Transition (NASDAQ:ACTC). In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on March 15, Fool.com contributors Matt Frankel, CFP, and Dan Caplinger discuss what Proterra does and why investors might want to take a closer look.
Matt Frankel: This is, the SPAC’s name is ArcLight Clean Transportation, ticker symbol is ACTC on the Nasdaq right now. This SPAC is acquiring an electric vehicle company. That seems to be a trend these days, call me crazy. They’re acquiring an electric vehicle company called Proterra. The ticker symbol after the deal is finalized will be PTRA. But for now, if you want to invest in it, it’s ACTC. Again, it will switch automatically when the deal was done. This is an electric bus company — different from what some of these other electric vehicle start-ups are doing. They’re combining with a SPAC, they’re getting about $650 million in cash to scale up their business. They are the No. 1 electric bus maker in the U.S. They have about a 50% market share of electric buses in the U.S., but that’s still a pretty small market. They have made 550 electric buses to date. They have $750 million in booked orders though that they have not delivered yet, so this infusion of capital will help them achieve that. Their margins are getting better. The global commercial vehicle market is estimated to be about a $260 billion market opportunity. There are 15 different states targeting zero emissions, total, by 2050. I don’t really need to tell you that the world is heading electric when it comes to transportation. Battery costs continue to go down, so the economics are getting a lot more favorable. And it costs city transit authorities 40% less to operate a comparable electric vehicle compared to a diesel bus. So, this is a big market opportunity. What do you guys think of this? I know the electric vehicle space is crowded, but Proterra seems kind of unique.
Dan Caplinger: I like the focus on the government systems, on the school systems, on those fleets. I think demand there is pretty constant. There’s less price sensitivity. You don’t have to worry about making people happy about it’s a sexy looking bus. Everybody knows the bus they are getting in is the bus they’re getting in. I think it’s a good way to avoid some of the competition and focus on just kind of a sure thing as far as that transformation is concerned.
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