Fisker invests in future of charging and tyres

05 August 2021

New US battery-electric vehicle (BEV) builder Fisker is investing time and money in the essential worlds of charging infrastructure and tyres.

It is making a $10 million (€8.4 million) private investment in public equity (PIPE) to support the merger of European charging provider Allego and US publicly-listed special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Spartan Acquisition Corporation III.

‘Allego has been a long-standing pioneer in the push to create a seamless pan-European electric-vehicle charging network,’ said chairman and CEO Henrik Fisker. ‘Our investment in the PIPE is motivated by strategic and tactical considerations, ensuring we have a stake in the future of EV-charging networks while delivering tangible benefits to our customers.’

Elsewhere, Fisker is entering an exclusive partnership with Bridgestone to produce tyres for its upcoming battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the Ocean. The new SUV will sit on custom-developed Potenza Sport tyres sold in Europe and on select models in the US.

Investee to investor

No stranger to strategic manoeuvres, Fisker went public in the US in July last year through its own merger with Spartan Energy Acquisition Corporation, also backed by Apollo Global Management. Now, the BEV builder is helping ensure the European charging company Allego can become publicly listed too. The merger is expected to reach completion in the fourth quarter of this year, raising an expected $702 million as Allego begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

In parallel with the PIPE arrangement, the two companies have also agreed to terms on a strategic partnership. This means Fisker’s customers across multiple European markets will get access to a range of charging options on Allego’s network. Specifically, fleet and private customers buying or leasing a Fisker Ocean between 1 January 2023 and 31 March 2024 will get one year’s free charging. The two companies are also working on plans to deliver a ‘seamless charging experience’ for Fisker drivers using the Allego ‘Plug and Charge’ service, which employs its fast and ultra-fast infrastructure.

‘Having Fisker both invest in our PIPE and at the same time form a commercial partnership is a significant vote of confidence in our growth plans,’ said Mathieu Bonnet, CEO of Allego. ‘Both Fisker and Allego have a common connection through the “Spartan” franchise of SPACs, sponsored by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, and I want to recognise the leadership of Geoffrey Strong and his team at Spartan who are constantly creating new investment opportunities across the clean-mobility sector.’

Founded in 2013, Allego currently boasts a network of over 26,000 ports across 12,000 public and private locations, laid out across 12 European countries. The infrastructure includes fast, ultra-fast and AC charging.

‘With this new funding, we are confident that Allego will be well equipped to introduce the most advanced charging technologies, continue to expand their network and be able to deliver a seamless charging experience for our customers,’ added Fisker.

On a roll

Fisker has also set up a new partnership with Bridgestone, creating bespoke tyres for the Ocean SUV. The custom tyre is designed to offer an optimal driving experience, ensuring ride comfort and handling stability. But perhaps almost as important for a BEV, it has been engineered for low rolling resistance to help conserve the vehicle’s battery power.

Bridgestone’s Enliten technology can reduce rolling resistance by up to 30% and weight by up to 20% on average. This means up to 2kg fewer raw materials are required per tyre. Using its virtual development system, the component manufacturer is also able to predict performance without producing and driving the unit during early development. This means raw-material consumption and CO2 emissions can be cut by roughly 60%. The Ocean already features recycled materials and a vegan interior, so these sustainable tyres will surely help enhance its green credentials.

‘At Bridgestone, we see EVs as a huge opportunity to help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and make mobility more environmentally sustainable,’ said Laurent Dartoux, president and CEO of Bridgestone. ‘But there are still many barriers to overcome before a fully electric future can be realised, and Fisker – like Bridgestone – is working to break those barriers down. Not only making EVs more accessible, Fisker is built from the ground up with a strong sustainability agenda that we wholeheartedly support. It’s brilliant to unite our shared ambitions and work together to achieve them.’