Commercial Vehicle Startup Electric Last Mile Solutions Inc. Announces Battery Supply Agreement with China's CATL

Commercial Vehicle Startup Electric Last Mile Solutions Inc. Announces Battery Supply Agreement with China's CATL

Author: Eric Walz   

Michigan-based commercial electric vehicle startup Electric Last Mile Solutions Inc. (ELMS) has announced a battery supply agreement with China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) for its electric vans designed for last mile delivery.

CATL is one of the world's biggest suppliers of electric vehicle batteries to the auto industry. The supply deal with ELMS will provide the production capacity needed for its all-electric Class 1 Urban Delivery commercial vehicle. 

The agreement secures battery supply through 2025.

CATL will provide a 42-kWh lithium-ion battery in the lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry system, offering safety, reliability and a long cycle life for commercial use. The battery uses CATL's cell-to-pack (CTP) technology, which improves energy density. It also simplifies the manufacturing process which reduces production costs. 

ELMS also said its collaborating with CATL on future battery localization in the U.S.

"We reached an important milestone to secure battery capacity in an extremely challenging supply environment," said Rob Song, Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, ELMS. "This step allows ELMS to guarantee continued utilization of trusted, reliable vehicle components in our products."

ELMS is focused on the commercial electric truck, like rival Rivian, which inked a deal to supply electric delivery vans to ecommerce giant Amazon. The company's first vehicle is named "Urban Delivery." It's the first Class 1 commercial electric vehicle in the U.S. market.

However, ELMS is building its EVs based on a Chinese design which is adapted for the North American market. ELMS co-founder and CEO, Jim Taylor, told FreightWaves in June that its production costs are much lower than competitors like Rivian. 

The first deliveries to customers began in September. The electric vans were delivered to Randy Marion Automotive Group, one of the country's largest commercial dealerships. It was part of a binding purchase order for 1,000 Class 1 electric vans from ELMS.

ELMS plans to start production of its second vehicle, the Class 3 Urban Utility EV, in the second half of 2022 at its factory in Mishawaka, Indiana. The 675,000-square-foot plant that was originally built to produce the Hummer H2.  Before ELMS took over the plant, it was used to assemble wheelchair-accessible vans as well as the Mercedes-Benz R-Class for export to China. 

Alos this week, ELMS announced the opening of its Urban Mobility Lab in San Francisco, which will serve as a new tech hub for electric vehicle fleet solutions. The Lab's focus will cover advanced in-vehicle technology, edge-to-cloud architecture, data-intensive applications and machine learning designed to help its commercial customers increase vehicle productivity and lower total cost of ownership.

ELMS became a public company in June after its completed a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC)  Forum Merger III Corp., becoming the latest EV startup to launch an IPO via SPAC merger.

ELMS hopes to take advantage of the strong event investor interest in EV stocks to raise capital on Wall Street.

The company's stock is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol "ELMS."

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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