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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Alternative vehicles have become the new biotechs, often racing into the public markets with little to no revenue.

Driving the news: Hyzon Motors, a hydrogen fuel cell truck and bus startup, is going public via SPAC at a $2.7 billion valuation. Its technology is commercialized, unlike Nikola, but says it plans to have only 5,000 vehicles delivered by the end of 2023.

  • Reuters reports that electric truck maker Xos Trucks in in talks to go public via SPAC at a $2 billion valuation. Yesterday it reported that Chinese EV startup Byton was exploring its own SPAC deal.
  • And there have been a slew of earlier ones, including for flying taxis.

What's happening: Investors are reading regulatory tea leaves, Axios transportation reporter Joann Muller reports. And issuers are leveraging the moment.

  • That starts in China, the world's largest market. But it also extends to Europe, where environmental rules have always been stricter, and in the U.S., where President Biden's climate agenda could increase chances for alt vehicle success.
  • Tesla tailwinds also are having an impact.

But piling into EVs is perilous, even by blank-check standards.

  • Biotechs are binary, with an almost-guaranteed customer base if their drugs are approved by regulators.
  • Alt vehicles face challenges in terms of both product and product-market fit. Plus, many EV hopefuls rely on outside battery makers. As Joann notes, the U.S. market could go from being dependent on foreign oil to being dependent on foreign batteries.

The bottom line: Venture capitalists talk about how SPACs are pulling startups forward by 12-24 months, accelerating listing timelines. But, when it comes to alt vehicles, it feels more like 36-48 months.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Feb 8, 2021 - Energy & Environment

EV owners drive them much less than gas-powered cars

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Electric vehicle owners in California drive them less than half as many miles annually as the average gasoline-powered car in the U.S., a new analysis shows.

Why it matters: The finding "raises important questions about the potential for the technology to replace a vast majority of trips currently using gasoline," the working paper concludes.

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

5 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.