Brea’s Mullen Automotive buys bankrupt EV maker ELMS for $240 million

Mullen Automotive is charting a rapid trajectory to the EV market.

After gaining a controlling interest in Bollinger Motors in September, the Brea-based electric-vehicle maker said this week it has acquired bankrupt Electric Last Mile Solutions and all of its assets, including the company’s manufacturing plant in Mishawaka, Indiana.

The $240 million all-cash purchase, approved in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Oct. 13, paves the way for the California startup to bring its first electric vehicle to market.

The acquisition also includes all of the Michigan-based company’s intellectual property, as well as all vehicles (finished and unfinished), parts, raw materials, tooling, machinery, supplies, computer hardware, data networks and software.

The latest acquisition will allow Mullen to produce its FIVE crossover vehicle (pictured here), along with Bollinger’s B1 electric SUV and B2 electric pickup at the newly acquired facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. (Photo courtesy of Mullen Automotive)

Speeding production

Mullen Chairman and CEO David Michery said its stake in Bollinger and owning the ELMS assets will shorten the company’s path to production.

The latest transaction will help Mullen produce its FIVE crossover vehicle, along with Bollinger’s B1 electric SUV and B2 electric pickup, at the Indiana facility.

The Mishawaka factory will give Mullen the capability to produce up to 50,000 vehicles a year and accelerate the launch of the Mullen FIVE, FIVE RS high-performance EV and Bollinger B1 and B2 vehicles, which will be produced there, the company said.

Mullen FIVE production is scheduled to begin in 2024.

The Indiana factory previously produced General Motors’ Hummer H2 SUV SUT and later contract manufactured the Mercedes-Benz R-Class vehicle.

Mullen will assemble its Class 1 and Class 3 commercial-delivery vehicles at its other plant in Tunica, Mississippi. The Class 1 and Class 3 vehicles are expected to be ready for delivery in 2023.

Mullen has showcased its vehicles at the LA Auto Show, although they have yet to be offered commercially. Mullen FIVE will be available for test drives on Thursday, Oct. 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and Thursday, Nov. 10 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Customers who made advance reservations to buy the FIVE will get a chance to see it first-hand and take the vehicle for a spin. Additional test drives will be available later this year in Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.

The FIVE is priced from $55,000.

Robotic arms work on the body frames of VinFast EVs in the body shop area of the automaker’s factory in Haiphong, Vietnam. (Photo courtesy of VinFast)

Other EV makers

Mullen isn’t the only EV manufacturer with a presence in Southern California

Rivian Automotive, an Irvine-based maker of electric trucks, has produced hundreds of delivery vehicles for Amazon with plans to deliver 100,000 by 2025. It also makes all-electric consumer pickup trucks.

VinFast, a Vietnamese maker of electric cars and SUVs, made a splash in July, unveiling six California showrooms, including dealerships in Santa Monica and Commerce.

Canoo, a Torrance-based startup, is producing its own “lifestyle” EV, with additional plans to produce commercial electric vehicles for rental and ride-sharing services.

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