Shares of Electric Last Mile Systems (NASDAQ: ELMS) jumped as much as 10% in early morning trading on Monday after the electric vehicle maker made its public trading debut following its merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Forum Merger III Corp.  

Despite the early jump, though, the stock quickly dropped to $10.42 per share in late Monday morning trading. The stock opened at $11.10 per share. It was expected to have a valuation of about $1.4 billion at open. Forum Merger III, which ELMS took over on Monday, closed on Friday at $10.19 per share.

Jim Taylor, the former General Motors (NYSE: GM) executive and co-founder and CEO of ELMS, was upbeat throughout the morning, making a number of television appearances on the firm’s big day. Speaking with Yahoo Finance, Taylor said ELMS has received 45,000 preorders for its Urban Delivery Class 1 van at a list price of $32,500. A $7,500 available tax credit reduces the price to $25,000, he said.

“[That makes] it exactly the same price as the comparable gas vehicle today. But the actual running costs of that vehicle are about 30% less, so it’s a good business proposition for people that are using vehicles in that segment,” he said.

Assembly of the vehicle is expected to begin in the third quarter at the old General Motors (NYSE: GM) Mishawaka, Indiana, plant that used to make the Hummer model. It is scheduled to make its debut later this year. The van will have a range of 250 miles.

Taylor declined to say how much ELMS is receiving from the public offering, noting only that “final numbers haven’t come in yet. But we had estimated in our proposition that we needed slightly less than $200 million to do our overall business plan to launch, first this vehicle and then also the one next year, and when we have all of the numbers in, [we will have] more than adequate cash to do that business plan. So at this point in time, if we stick to the business plan we proposed, we wouldn’t be looking for more cash in the short term.”

ELMS is not projecting large volumes in the space, despite being among the first to enter production with a Class 1 electric van. Taylor said projections show ELMs garnering “less than 5% or 6% market share achieved in the out years.”


Read: ELMS to show prototype Class 3 electric van at FedEx event

Read: Tiny electric delivery vans occupy former home of hulking Hummer H2

But because ELMS is building its vehicles based on a Chinese design and adapting it for the North American market, Taylor said its costs are much lower than competitors like Rivian.

The batteries and power system will come from China but the skateboard chassis will be sourced in the U.S. This approach helps ELMS avoid costs to retrofit the chassis for electric motors. Unlike competitive vehicles, ELMS’ products are purpose-built for commercial use, Taylor noted. Its Urban Delivery van features a 42-kilowatt battery and between 170 and 180 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

“ELMS is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing, $1 trillion North American e-commerce market and redefine the last mile of delivery with more efficient and lower-cost EV solutions,” David Boris, former co-CEO and CFO of Forum III, said in a statement. “As a public company, ELMS will have the platform and access to capital to accelerate its growth and innovation and become a critical partner to commercial fleet operators around the country. I look forward to seeing the ELMS team build an industry-leading electric vehicle company and transform last-mile delivery and mobility networks.”

Boris has joined the ELMS board of directors as director.

The pure-play electric vehicle maker will show a prototype of its Class 3 vehicle, what it is calling the Urban Utility, at the upcoming Route Consultant Contractor Expo, a FedEx (NYSE: FDX) contractor event. The vehicle will join its smaller Class 1 sibling, the Urban Delivery cargo van, which will also be on display. The Class 1 is expected to enter production later this year, with the larger Class 3 vehicle being prepared for a second-half 2022 launch, the company said.

ELMS will be joined at the Route Consultant Contractor Expo by its strategic distribution partner, Randy Marion Automotive Group. Both vehicles will be available for test drive, ELMS said.

“We have seen strong early indications of interest in our Urban Utility from fleets seeking more efficient and sustainable last-mile delivery solutions,” Taylor said in a statement last week. “With our reveal, we are excited to show our full suite of last-mile e-mobility solutions to some of the country’s largest delivery providers.”

The Urban Utility will have an estimated range of 250 miles unloaded with an expected payload of 5,700 pounds. A variety of cargo box lengths will be available. The Urban Utility is also expected to come with a suite of connectivity solutions that would allow fleet operators full visibility of their vehicles in near real time, as well as the ability to turn each vehicle into a Wi-Fi hot spot. In addition, over-the-air software update capabilities will reduce vehicle downtime.

ELMS also plans to offer up-fitting solutions to customize the Urban Utility to fleets’ individual end-use cases.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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