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EV maker Via Motors looks to raise $250 million, report says

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Electric vehicle maker Via Motors Inc. is working with a financial adviser to raise about $250 million in funding that would value it at $1 billion following the investment, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Orem, Utah-based company develops plug-in trucks and vans under the Vtrux brand. It shipped 300 vehicles in 2016 and its customers, including FedEx Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc., have driven 5 million miles in the company’s trucks and vans so far, according to the company’s website.

Via Motors, which would use the proceeds for product development, is also in talks with logistics companies to invest in the funding round, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the funding talks are private. The company’s plans aren’t final and the terms could still change, the people said.

A representative for Via Motors didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company has also attracted the interest of special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, which have been heavily invested in the sector lately.

Via Motors hasn’t grown as fast as it had initially hoped. In 2015, Chairman Bob Lutz said the company aimed to sell 50,000 vehicles a year by 2018.

Buoyed by Tesla Inc.’s stock performance, electric-vehicle makers have been attracting investment at a fast clip. This month, Rivian Automotive Inc., the electric-truck startup backed by Inc. and Ford Motor Co., raised $2.5 billion in a funding round led by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.

“We have seen the market respond dramatically to such entrants as Tesla, Rivian and Nikola and now working trucks and vans just got a lot smarter,” Via Motors CEO Bob Purcell said in a statement last month announcing a partnership with Mexico’s AT Motors.

Initial public offerings by SPACs have reached an all-time high this year and electric-vehicle companies have become popular targets for them. Truck maker Nikola Corp. merged with blank-check acquisition vehicle VectoIQ in June and is now valued at around $12 billion.

Hyliion Inc., a maker of electrified powertrains for semi trucks, announced in June that it would combine with Tortoise Acquisition Corp. This month, Fisker Inc., which is developing an electric SUV called the Ocean, struck a deal with a blank-check company.

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