This electric pickup render is worth $125 million?

Alpha Motor is raising money from small investors at $125 million for its electric pickup truck that is nothing more than a few renders and a pusher model.

We reported on Alpha Motor after it was all over the media for unveiling renders and specs on the Alpha Motor Electric Wolf, an electric pickup truck.

Starting at just $36,000 with specs like 275 miles of range, the Wolf grabbed people’s attention; the retro-looking design was also appealing to many.

However, the company offered very little information as to who was behind the effort and how they would deliver this product.

At the time, we dug into the filing and couldn’t find anyone with real engineering background behind the effort, casting doubts about the claims made in the original release and the seriousness of the effort as a whole.

Now Alpha Motor has launched a crowdfunding effort to raise up to $5 million at a valuation of $125 million. It has already raised almost $700,000 from 399 small investors:

That’s an ambitious valuation for a company that doesn’t even appear to have a prototype other than a non-working model that it displayed at the Petersen Museum.

Furthermore, the team, which has now been clarified since the original filing, doesn’t have any engineering experience to develop these ambitious electric vehicles.

The person with the most automotive experience appears to be the founder and CEO Edward Lee, but his experience is limited to exterior design.

Kevin Lee – listed as chief of research and development – is responsible for R&D at Alpha. His profile on the crowdfunding profile claims that he has “over 17 years of experience leading the development process of vehicles from concept to production stages, which includes the successful Tesla Model 3.”

However, when looking at his work history, it appears that Lee is a modeler and not an engineer. He graduated from the Art Center College of Design like the CEO.

A SEC filing shows that the company is relying on having 52,000 of what it calls “pre-order indications” to justify its $125 million valuation. That’s a strange term, and the company appears to use it to stay on the cautious side of things as many EV startups have been accused of exaggerating pre-orders.

In Alpha’s case, the company’s “pre-order indications” are non-binding and don’t require a deposit; therefore, they basically represent the lowest form of a show of interest in Alpha’s vehicles.

According to the same filing, Alpha has so far only managed to raise $1 million in the form of a convertible note from two individuals who are related to CEO, Edward Lee.

Depending on how much Alpha can raise in this round, it expects to be able to support itself for the next 7 to 13 months. They plan to use the proceeds to try to find further investments in order to bring its electric vehicles to market around 2025.

Like Fisker, they plan to work with other companies to produce the vehicles.

Electrek’s Take

I don’t like to talk negatively about entrepreneurship in the EV space, but I just don’t think this is a serious effort, and the route they are taking with a Regulation A crowdfunding shows that.

$125 million valuation for what basically amounts to a few cool designs is ridiculous; don’t get me wrong, the designs are cool, and this seems to be this team’s strength. But they got those 50,000+ shows of interest not only for the designs but also from them promising impressive EV specs at a $36,000 price point.

Top comment by Robert

Liked by 7 people

There was a time when you had to be a "qualified investor" to invest in early stage ventures. That basically meant you had enough money that you could afford to lose the investment and you (notionally) had sufficient financial sophistication to be able to make a judgement about what was legitimate and what was scam. Now you get overvalued silliness like this and Aptera being sold directly to unqualified retail investors because no real venture fund or PE fund will come near it.

Dear retail investor: if a company is going direct to you for a share sale it is almost certainly because the equity is overpriced, high risk, and the business model is deeply flawed. Run away.

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No one with decent knowledge of the EV industry believes that they can deliver that without some significant engineering advancements. They don’t seem to have the team to do that, so it’s just all make believe at this point.

Also, the auto industry is super capital-intensive, and bringing a vehicle to market generally takes over $500 million. Crowdfunding is generally last resort, and they are going to have a tough time raising that if they are already going to crowdfunding.

I am extremely skeptical of any EV startup going through crowdfunding like Atlis Motor and now Alpha Motor. Even companies like Aptera I tend to keep a healthy skepticism about, but I do believe they have a better chance since they are not trying to bring a full vehicle to market. Aptera’s trike is subject to fewer regulations than a full-size car and is, therefore, a lot less costly to bring to market.

Either way, you should be extremely cautious about investing in any EV startup, especially those doing crowdfunding.

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