ECARX Secures $65M Prior to Listing in Merge With COVA Acquisition Corp

ECARX, a mobility technology company, announced on November 14 that it has entered into an agreement with SPDB International (Hong Kong) Limited and CNCB (Hong Kong) Investment Limited for $65 million of convertible senior notes due in 2025.

The $65 million convertible note financing and the $45 million in capital raised from strategic partners including Geely Holding, Luminar and Lotus Technology, will support ECARX to satisfy the $100 million minimum cash condition for listing on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “ECX,” by merging with COVA Acquisition Corp.

ECARX was founded in 2017 and has since grown to around 2,000 team members. The co-founders are two automotive entrepreneurs, Chairman and CEO Ziyu Shen and Eric Li, who is also the founder and chairman of Geely. Since its inception, ECARX has benefited from its connections with and privileged access to Geely.

ECARX is committed to transforming vehicles into seamlessly integrated information, communications, and transportation devices. Its current core products include infotainment head units (IHU), digital cockpits, vehicle chip-set solutions, a core operating system and integrated software stack. Beyond this, ECARX is developing a full-stack automotive computing platform.

Geely has high expectations for ECARX on intelligent research and development. However, at present, most of ECARX’s customers are brands controlled or invested in by Geely.

ECARX announced in late October that it would debut its next-generation digital head unit (DHU) on the new Lotus Eletre Hyper-SUV. But Lotus did not use the unit as a promotional point for the new car. Lotus even said that it was working on an intelligent driving system that will one day support vehicles to drive completely autonomously in Germany.

In late October, news emerged that ECARX had dismissed its entire autonomous driving division, involving hundreds of people. ECARX responded, “Dismission is definitely not true. We have made some adjustments to the autonomous driving department and will continue the software development business. For the perceptual algorithm business, we will work with third parties in the future. Details will be announced in due course.”

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Analysts in the industry suggest that Geely is having ECARX focus on the global market. By the end of 2021, ECARX had more than 2,000 full-time employees, more than 80% of whom deal with production and research, and 10 branches and R&D centers all over the world. In February 2021, ECARX cooperated with Visteon and Qualcomm to jointly develop smart cockpits. In April of the same year, ECARX and Volvo established a joint venture to develop a globally applicable intelligent cockpit operating system. In July 2022, ECARX announced a partnership with US-based lidar firm Luminar, which has also made strategic investments in ECARX.