Benteler to secure mega investment for autonomous mover production

Saudi Arabia-based Tasaru Mobility Investments plans to acquire a minority stake in Benteler subsidiary Holon; the plan is to establish three production sites in Europe, Saudi Arabia and the USA to market the fully electric Holon autonomous vehicle worldwide.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 20 Feb 2024 Views icon4677 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Earlier this month, the Benteler Group announced that it is set to secure a multi-million-dollar investment to expand its autonomous mover business. Tasaru Mobility Investments, a Saudi Arabian investment company specializing in automotive initiatives, intends to acquire a minority stake in the Benteler subsidiary Holon for a nine-digit sum.

The management of both companies signed a respective agreement on February 7. The planned acquisition of a stake of up to 38% in Holon by Tasaru will occur in several tranches, with the first one expected in April.

What is the Holon Mover?
The Holon Mover is a fully electric, autonomous vehicle for use on public roads. It is one of the world's first movers built to automotive standards – in other words, a leader in safety, ride comfort and production quality. The vehicle travels at a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour and can accommodate up to 15 passengers. Areas of application are on-demand services such as ride pooling and ride hailing, but also normal scheduled services.

The Holon Mover is barrier free, offering an automated ramp, secured wheelchair space, and auditory and visual assistance for passengers. The design comes from renowned design company Pininfarina and the autonomous driving technology from the Intel subsidiary Mobileye. One of the first pilot projects for the use of the vehicle is the city of Hamburg, Germany. The Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport recently provided €26 million funding for a corresponding project.

Three production sites planned
The funds from Tasaru will be used to further advance the series development and industrialization of the autonomous, fully electric, and inclusive mover. Specifically, the plan is to establish three production sites to market the vehicle worldwide: in Europe, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

Ralf Göttel, CEO of the Benteler Group, said: "What a journey for Holon: 2023 started with the successful world premiere of our autonomous mover at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And now, 2024 starts with a strong partnership that will enable us to put the vehicle on the road as soon as possible. We are delighted that Holon, one of Benteler’s entrepreneurial successes, has also convinced external investors and that the series development as well as industrialization of our mover is now secured. Together with Tasaru we will make mobility safer and more sustainable."

Michael Mueller, CEO of Tasaru Mobility Investments, commented: "Holon's revolutionary Mover aligns perfectly with Tasaru's vision for a smarter and more sustainable future, supporting the ambitious targets outlined in Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030. Together, we aim to unlock the Mover's potential, bringing significant benefits to Saudi Arabia and other regions, establishing the Kingdom as a hub for autonomous mobility innovation and manufacturing.”

Henning von Watzdorf, CEO of Holon, added: "This is a significant step for Holon. The partnership with Tasaru will allow us to accelerate the further development, industrialization and scaling of our Mover. In 2024, the focus will now be on prototype development and initial test drives. Our goal is to have the first vehicles in use as part of pilot projects by 2025. Customer interest is immense: our vehicle makes safe, inclusive, emission-free and sustainable passenger transportation possible and is therefore the answer to traffic problems in cities, climate change and demographics."

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