The indie story of INDI EV and its merge with SPAC MALACCA

Here's another tale of an EV startup that has big dreams. I plan for the EV Universe to be around long enough to tell you if they made it or not.

Indi One EV

INDI EV announced this week it entered into a definitive merger agreement with a SPAC called Malacca Straits Acquisition Company ($MLAC) to go public on NASDAQ at a $600M valuation (link). While the news would have likely made the stock explode upwards last year, we saw barely any movement here.

The deal is expected to close in Q1 of 2023 and the company should start trading on Nasdaq under the ticker "INEV".

Our Pro members have already met the Indi One back in a report from March, but I'll open a bit of the background today here too.

The Indie company

The name INDI EV, at least this far, seems to be true to what I'd say they are... an indie automaker in LA. They say that their small team is a feature compared to the inflexibilities of big OEMs, but then again... that's what I would say if I weren't one of the big guys yet too.

The roots aren't very well documented, but from the looks of it, the founder Shi Hai manifested its previous gaming ventures in China into an electric vehicle in the US. Consider: Shi Hai also has three lawsuits against him and his previous Chinese mobile game ventures. (link)

The best way to get the feel of how the team sees what they do is to watch their 3x2 minute mini docuseries here (videos). And now, it looks like we've also got our "EV Spotlight" section covered this week:

The Indi One

Here are the specs of the Indi One, the standard version of which starts at $43k:

  • Range: 230mi at 75kWh pack
  • 0-60mph: 6.7sec and top speed 120mph (193km/h)
  • Powertrain: Single Motor RWD
  • Charges at 100kW DC
  • Dimensions: L/W/H - 189" | 78" | 67" (looks like a Model Y range)
  • Can be reserved today for $100 down in US&CA (here)

The premium trim goes for $69k and, in addition to pumping up the numbers above to 300mi / 4.25s / AWD / 150kW DC, it comes with the Vehicle Integrated Computer, which should allow for high-end gaming. There's literally a computer there if you open the hood.

Note, that although Indi called this a 'supercomputer' at first, but per this short video it's merely a custom Windows PC with a 6core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and an Nvidia RTX 2080 TI graphics card. Hardly a supercomputer?

The VIC system can create the screens into a working computer, be used to livestream straight to Twitch using the vehicle's cameras, or make for a rather powerful gaming engine. And these features are mainly what the marketing side of the company seems to be focused at so far.

Deliveries? The estimated delivery date is claimed to be in Q2 2023 for reserving now on the website. So far, there is at least one drivable prototype that some 'LA influencers, local government and green energy leaders' were given test rides in this August. (link) The videos I dug up made by the influencers mentioned in the press release (1) (2) were... not much.

As everything these days is measured by likes and clicks, I also worry a bit about the 'lack of' those in the company's social channels. Seems they haven't been able to make the communities really buzzing yet. How many reservations so far? *shrugs*

My two Watts:

The two years I've been writing the EV Universe so far now makes an alarm go off in my head for this delivery date estimation. I would love to be surprised to see them actually delivering these in six-to-nine months, but I wouldn't count on it unless they plan on having the car built somewhere in China and importing/assembling it in the US. Which is what actually might be the plan here.

For what it's worth, I did enjoy what the lead designer of the car, Andre Hudson, said in an interview at the NY Auto Show (video):

"We believe that the future of EV technology is going to be measured more in processing power than horsepower".

If you want to dig deeper into the design mind of Andre Hudson, Living Electric did a good interview with him a few months back here (video).

Fun fact, and maybe not so great for Indi EV: Hudson moved on to be the VP of Design at Mullen Automotive just two months ago (link).

Everything ever made starts out as a weird project somewhere, so I hope that this one proves to have no fraud involved (sometimes sadly the case) and surprises us with vehicles on the road soon.

In case you want to share *this* article with your mom or call me out for being completely wrong, I put it up separately for sharing here: (link).

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT take anything I write as any kind of financial advice. Do your own research. I do not own or have a plan to own shares in this or most EV companies, as I direct my funds on building out the EV Universe.