EV tech startup Smart to raise around $300 million in Series A funding led by Tianqi Lithium

While artificial intelligence continues to dominate the headlines, investors continue to pour billions into startups working on climate change, renewable energy, and electric vehicles as part of the efforts to accelerate the transition away from traditional combustion-based technologies and move towards a post-fossil fuel era.

The latest in the EV space to raise funding is Smart, a Chinese EV tech startup company and a subsidiary of the Geely Holding Group, a multinational automotive conglomerate based in China.

Today, Smart announced it planned to raise between $250-300 million in series-A funding that the company hoped would help to accelerate “its long-term sustainable development strategy and accelerate its global development.”

In a statement, Smart told Reuters that Chinese lithium producer Tianqi Lithium Corp has agreed to invest $150 million as part of the Series A funding round.

“Thanks to the support from Mercedes-Benz and Geely, Smart now is accelerating its global development and business operation. Meanwhile, we are more than glad to welcome the strategic investments of worldwide industry leaders, such as Tianqi Lithium,” Smart’s Global CEO Tong Xiangbei said in the statement.

“We are confident this move will allow us to further broaden Smart’s horizons and strengthen our next-step plans to enhance the competences of Smart in global markets,” he said.

Smart Automobile was originally established as a joint venture between Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, and the Swatch Group, a Swiss watchmaker. The company’s goal was to create a compact and environmentally-friendly urban car. However, in 2019, Daimler and the Geely Holding Group formed a new joint venture, with Geely taking a 50% stake in Smart Automobile, while Daimler retained the other 50%.

Under the new joint venture, Smart Automobile shifted its focus toward the development and production of electric vehicles. The company aims to provide innovative and sustainable mobility solutions for urban environments.

Smart Automobile’s EV lineup includes compact models designed for city driving. Their vehicles are known for their compact size, agility, and efficient use of space. They feature a range of advanced technologies, connectivity options, and safety features.

The company has been expanding its presence in global markets, including Europe and China, and aims to position itself as a leading player in the electric urban mobility sector. Smart Automobile’s commitment to electric mobility aligns with the global push towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation options.