If you have an interest in electric vehicles (EVs), you may be trying to keep up with the barrage of SPAC deals that dominated the headlines in 2020. If you think some flew under your radar, it's understandable. According to the website SPAC Insider, there were 248 companies that went public via the SPAC route in 2020, a 320% increase over the 59 deals in 2019 -- and another 85 so far in 2021.
So let's pump the brakes and take a closer look at Canoo (GOEV 1.14%), an EV company that debuted on the public market in late 2020 and has been off to the races this year, climbing 12% while the S&P 500 has inched only 0.8% higher.
1. Industry veterans are behind the wheel in the C-suite
Completing its merger with Hennessy Capital last month, Canoo may be new on the scene as a publicly traded company, but members of its leadership team are veterans in the automotive industry. For example, before a short stint in 2017 as chief technology officer at EV carmaker Faraday Future, Canoo's co-founder and CEO Ulrich Kranz logged over 30 years of management experience at BMW, where he worked to reimagine the MINI brand and develop the company's first SUV. Along with another Canoo co-founder, Richard Kim, Kranz led BMW's "Project i," the company's EV division.
Elsewhere in the C-suite are executives who gained EV experience at Tesla, such as Sohel Merchant, who is in charge of vehicle architecture, Christoph Kuttner, who is in charge of vehicle trim, and Alexi Charbonneau, who is in charge of skateboard (more on that later) and body.
2. How 'bout them apples?
Several weeks ago, rumors began to reemerge that Apple is keen on developing its own EV. While little news has come out since the then, Apple was reportedly in talks with Canoo in the first half of 2020. Citing people familiar with the matter, TheVerge.com reported that Apple and Canoo "discussed options ranging from investment to an acquisition ... " According to the technology-focused website, Apple was especially interested in Canoo's EV platform known as the "skateboard." Canoo states that the "skateboard design effectively enables multiple EV configurations and provides for high degree of design optionality across commercial and consumer applications." Moreover, Canoo recognizes that licensing the skateboard to original equipment manufacturers, among other businesses, "remains a viable, high-margin revenue source lending upside to the current financial model."
3. Turning down a new road
Although its vehicles are not on the road just yet, Canoo plans on taking a unique approach when they're ready: a subscription model. Canoo stated in its S-1 filing that in plans to offer customers of its lifestyle and sport vehicles a "no-commitment" subscription model, where with one "monthly payment, customers will enjoy the benefits of an all-inclusive experience that, in addition to their own Canoo vehicle, also includes standard maintenance, warranty, registration and access to both insurance and vehicle charging."
Canoo is targeting Q2 2022 for the launch of its lifestyle vehicle, which has a seven-passenger seating capacity and a range of over 250 miles. Customers will have to wait a little longer to hop in the driver's seat of the company's sport vehicle. Estimated to hit the road in 2025, the sport vehicle has a range of over 300 miles and twice the interior space of the Tesla Model 3.
4. What's forecast in the crystal ball
Still in the nascent stages of its development and without any vehicles on the road, Canoo isn't generating revenue. But that's not stopping management from estimating the company's revenue in the near future. According to a recent investor presentation, Canoo estimates it will book $329 million on the top line in 2022 and increase it at an ambitious 88% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2026, when it will generate sales of $4.13 billion in 2026.
In terms of profitability, Canoo expects to report negative EBITDA from 2021 through 2023. In 2024, though, the company forecasts positive EBITDA of $188 million, growing at a 127% CAGR to $964 million in 2026.
Is Canoo right for you?
Although Tesla seems to have taken the pole position among EV makers, there are bound to be other winners. Since Canoo's vehicles are still in development, it's hard to tell if the company will be a success story or simply run out of gas. Nonetheless, I find Canoo's interest in offering a subscription model to consumers particularly interesting, and it's one of the things I'll be following closely with the company. It's possible, after all, that this unconventional approach can help Canoo become a compelling growth opportunity for investors.