The EV revolution is in danger of becoming a plaything for speculators and risks losing its focus on helping tackle climate change, according to the boss of Polestar.
Speaking at the Shanghai International Auto Show, CEO Thomas Ingenlath welcomed the growing numbers of players in the EV industry, but urged them to get their priorities straight by putting climate change first before pushing for a sky-high market valuation.
He said, “What is at stake here is not how much financiers think a company is worth, but the chance to revolutionise the auto industry, turn it electric and at the same time make a huge contribution to protecting the climate.
“Put against these important themes, a market valuation is a very insubstantial and meaningless marker of success.”
Ingenlath welcomed growing investor interest in the EV sector, but cautioned that it is too easy to focus on paper value rather than industrial reality.
He said, “The pathway to a cleaner planet passes through our design studios, our research departments, our factories, our supply chains and our boardrooms. We in the auto industry need to stay focused on what we are doing and why.
“The more speculative the EV sector becomes, the deeper our responsibility is to make sure that we stay grounded in the actual business of making the cars that will revolutionise the industry”.
Polestar announced a week before the show that it had raised USD 550m from a group of long-term financial investors – the first time external investors have backed Polestar’s cars, brand, industrial capability, financial ambitions and growth potential.
Since launch three-and-a-half years ago, the Swedish firm has developed its own manufacturing capability in China, built a global sales and distribution operation and launched two vehicles, the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2.
“It frankly amazes me that there are companies out there that are worth billions of dollars and have never made a car”, Ingenlath said.
“I would like to today state clearly that the electric mobility revolution needs to be grounded in reality, not dreams.”