A startup is working to bring a new electric car to market, and unlike how Tesla got started, Quebec-based Dubuc Motors intends to do so via crowdfunding.
Dubuc wants to raise $25 million to launch its $100,000 “American look” Tomahawk supercar by 2017 to be followed by other environmentally friendly creations. The company projects the Tomahawk will have a 300-mile range and a 0-60 mph time of three seconds.
Tesla used a mix of federal loans and venture capital to get started, so crowdsourcing is a different tactic for getting a car company off the ground. Dubuc co-founder Mike Kakogiannakis told CNBC that he sees Dubuc not as competition for Tesla, but as an accompaniment. Kakogiannakis already has pitched the Tomahawk to angel investors.
“We want to complete Tesla’s line, not compete with it,” Kakogiannakis told CNBC. “The Tomahawk is designed to be the only ‘2+2’ all electric sports car with performances to the likes of Tesla,” he said, speaking of a car configuration that has three passenger seats in addition to the driver.
“The demand for such a car is currently not being met,” Kakogiannakis said.
Other car companies, such as Elio Motors, have tried the crowdfunding route, but Dubuc is the first to try and raise the funding for a pure EV.
The two-plus-two Tomahawk would the first EV to sport that layout, and it’s being targeted at big and tall drivers and passengers who might struggle to fit in other hi-powered sports cars. Kakogiannakis said that professional athletes – many of whom are taller than the average consumer – would be a target for the company’s marketing.
Dubuc Motors will face challenges – starting a car company, however small, is extraordinarily difficult, and established automakers are offering their own hybrid and electric sports cars. But crowdfunding is a new tactic for small startups – particularly those that make EVs – and if enough buyers raise their hands, crowdfunding may prove to be another viable financing option for startup automakers.