Are you ready for electric car stocks to revolutionize transportation as we know it? Your portfolio had better be.
There was a time not too long ago when Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was the entire electric vehicle market. Now, there are nearly two dozen publicly traded companies savvy investors ought to have on their radar.
What caused electric car stocks to start revving their engines? And where should you start when evaluating this highly competitive sector?
Consumers have become more concerned about environmentalism. At the same time, companies continue rolling out improvements to charging infrastructure and vehicle driving ranges. As demand for EVs grows, a rush of initial public offerings continues to bring new competitors — and a whole lot of profit potential — to the market niche.
According to Qian Yang, a doctoral student at Michigan State University, new attention on electric vehicles will support rapid innovation. This rapid innovation should in turn support investor gains:
“With more players in the market, we can expect cheaper and longer ranging batteries and faster charging. Hopefully we are going to see standardization of charging plugs that will truly enable proliferation of private funded charging stations. All these will drive down the cost of owning EVs.”
The EV market is constantly growing, but right now, these are the 23 electric car stocks to watch:
General Motors (NYSE:GM)
Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ:DPHC)
Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI)
Kandi Technologies (NASDAQ:KNDI)
BYD Company (OTCMKTS:BYDDF)
ElectraMeccanica Vehicles (NASDAQ:SOLO)
Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU)
Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC)
InvestorPlace has done the hard work for you, sorting through the headlines, product launches and market rallies. This all-encompassing guide to electric car stocks will teach you everything you need to know, whether you want to park your cash in speculative subscription EV services or industry leader Tesla.
Electric Car Stocks: Tesla (TSLA)
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Just over a decade ago, Elon Musk rang the Nasdaq opening bell, and a revolution was born. At the time, people thought Tesla’s CEO was crazy; some still do. But Tesla has gone from the little-known company behind the $109,000 Roadster to a leading automaker unlike any other.
The road hasn’t been smooth for Tesla. The company has faced funding setbacks, social media scandals and tragedy. Musk could have walked away in 2016, when Joshua Brown, a former Navy SEAL, died in a car accident involving the company’s autopilot system.
But Musk persevered. In the last decade, the company reintroduced American automobile prowess to the world before becoming the most valuable auto company in the world by market capitalization. It retired the Roadster, replacing it with four other sleek models. Tesla introduced groundbreaking battery technology, rolled out nationwide charging stations and has been investing heavily in solar research.
Simply put, Tesla defines the industry.
Even over the past few months, headlines keep rolling in. A 5-for-1 stock split garnered widespread attention before news of a $5 billion secondary offering did the same. Musk summed it up perfectly, commenting on how public sentiment over Tesla and electric car stocks in general was at an all-time high. Tesla created an industry, and it is still firmly in the driver’s seat, pushing the sector forward.
For investors, shares now trade at more reasonable levels near $400, but plenty of experts — and even Musk himself — will say valuation is a concern. Whether you choose to dive into TSLA stock is your own prerogative, but you can’t enter the space without giving credit where it is due.
Tesla is a new American icon.
General Motors (GM)
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If Tesla is the leader, then General Motors is a follower. Sure, Tesla came public in 2010, while General Motors has been making cars since 1908. But in the electric vehicle space, GM is just getting started.
Earlier this summer, General Motors admitted it had to make a major strategy shift. Legacy automakers have been reckoning with Tesla for years. They knew that in order to attract younger customers and stay relevant, they would eventually have to embrace all-electric models. The pandemic underscored that reality, closing factory doors and driving down consumer demand.
TSLA stock is up almost 400% so far this year, while shares of GM are down 20%.
But there is reason for hope. Earlier this summer, General Motors unveiled its first all-electric model under the Cadillac brand, the Lyriq. Combining the luxury of the Cadillac brand with the desirability of EVs is promising. It’s important to recognize that Tesla’s success isn’t just about vehicles that are good for the environment; those vehicles are also incredibly aesthetically pleasing. If GM can harness the same combination, it could very well be a great turnaround play in the automotive space.
So what’s next? General Motors will first launch the Lyriq in China. From there, it will tap other brands, rolling out the GMC Hummer EV and updates to the Chevrolet Bolt EV. In total, General Motors has promised to bring 20 new EV models to market by 2023.
These new product launches from General Motors have Wall Street so excited that some analysts are calling for the company to spin off its EV unit. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote recently that GM stock has a true value of $46 per share. Beyond that, he sees the 20 new electric vehicle models contributing to revenue of $22 billion by 2030 and $74 billion in 2040.
Analysts are excited and investors should be too. As you consider electric car stocks, make sure diversifying legacy automakers are on your radar.
Electric Car Stocks: Nikola (NKLA)
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Nikola appears to be the first in a third wave of electric car stocks. First, Tesla made the industry relevant. Then traditional automakers began pivoting. Now, companies like Nikola are coming public with big ideas and vehicles still in development.
Special purpose acquisition company VectoIQ completed a reverse merger with Nikola in early June, and the company hasn’t looked back since. Although NKLA stock has fallen from its highs, shares are still up 250% over their lifetime in the public market.
The first way to view Nikola is as a competitor to Tesla. Right after it completed its reverse merger, founder Trevor Milton — who some see as the next Musk — announced a preorder date for the Badger pickup truck. It comes in both battery EV and hydrogen fuel cell models, with starting prices of $60,000 and $80,000, respectively.
Importantly, Nikola just formed a strategic partnership with GM to produce the Badger truck.
The second way to approach Nikola is to see that its real potential rests in semitrailer trucking. Recognizing that the transportation sector greatly contributes to pollution, the company has pledged to introduce the first zero-emission big rigs. And while it isn’t alone in this race, Nikola has a unique approach. It promises to not only deliver zero-emission trucks, but to deliver electric big rigs with long ranges.
That’s where hydrogen fuel cells come in. Nikola has unveiled three different models, with plans to move at least two into mass production. These hydrogen-powered trucks would have longer ranges and better ability to compete with traditional big rigs. And just like how Tesla had to create charging infrastructure to support consumer adoption of its vehicles, Nikola plans to make cheap hydrogen available wherever its big rigs needs to go.
Nikola clearly understands the business segment: Republic Services (NYSE:RSG), one of the largest waste management companies, just placed an order for up to 5,000 of its trucks. If Nikola can get its factory up and running and deliver on its promises, it could very well succeed.
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Currently trading through Spartan Energy Acquisition, Fisker is positioning itself as a comeback story in the electric vehicle space. It has a bone to pick with Tesla, and has been arming itself with bold plans and sleek vehicle designs.
Henrik Fisker, the iconic car designer behind the company, is no stranger to beautiful cars or high-end EVs. Around the time of the TSLA IPO, the first iteration of Fisker Automotive was delivering $100,000 vehicles to Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore, t nane just a few.
Fisker Automotive’s first model, the Karma, beat the Tesla Model S to market. Then the company stumbled. Recalls, funding issues and Hurricane Sandy sent the company to an early grave.
Now Henrik Fisher is back with the new and improved Fisker. Once the company completes its reverse merger with Spartan Energy, Fisker will use the proceeds to develop the Ocean. The SUV — touted as “the world’s most sustainable vehicle” — should be available as early as 2022 at a starting price of $37,499.
Investors eyeing SPAQ stock here should consider the fact that the Ocean is completely vegan. Its interiors use plastic instead of leather, and other components are made from recycled materials. If the company can maintain an edge in its eco-friendly products, consumers particularly interested in sustainability could find Fisker the perfect choice.
Although Fisker is a natural rival to Tesla, it is taking a much different approach. Musk has focused on building his own factories and developing his own battery tech. After watching supply chain issues drown his company a decade ago, Henrik Fisker wants to avoid the drama of vertical integration.
The company is eyeing a battery platform partnership with Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) and plans to outsource production. This way, Fisker can focus on luxurious designs.
What comes next? The company first must navigate a reverse merger, and then follow through with production of the Ocean SUV. Next will come a crossover, a super-sports sedan and the Alaska pickup truck, which Fisker teased in early 2020.
Electric Car Stocks: Ford (F)
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In just a few weeks, the Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, will reopen with a new purpose. Decades after founder Henry Ford used the factory to produce the infamous Model A, the company is retooling it as part of its two-year turnaround plan.
The first step of the plan is a gasoline-electric version of the F-150 — Ford’s most profitable vehicle. In just the past year,$42 billion of company revenue came fromfrom F-series trucks. Pivoting first to a hybrid model should bring in consumers hesitant about EVs and generate hype from fans both new and old.
Meanwhile, right next door Ford is breaking ground on a sister factory, which will one day produce an all-electric version of the F-150. A true icon of American auto, the all-electric F-150 will rival newcomers like the Tesla Cybertruck .
Like General Motors, Ford recognizes that all-electric vehicles are the future. The pandemic hit it hard, and the company has been criticized over some of its recent product relaunches. That is why, despite the startup cost of factory redesigns, Ford is pushing ahead with these innovations.
For now, much of the EV story with Ford is conceptual. The all-electric F-150 is still a few years away, and the company is only now touting federal tax incentives and minimal maintenance costs to attract EV shoppers. The Mustang Mach-E, also positioned as a rival to Tesla, is currently the biggest driver of F stocks’ EV turnaround.
Buying F stock for its electric position is a feel-good bet on America’s past. If investors are right, it’ll soon become a bet on the future.
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From smartphones to the sky, Workhorse wants to make commercial delivery electric.
Since its 1998 debut, the company has faced its fair share of challenges. It struggled with revenue and profits, severely missing analyst estimates in the last quarter. But EV-hungry investors should give Workhorse a chance. If it follows through on its ambitions, orders for its medium-duty vehicles will come soaring in.
So what exactly does Workhorse offer? Its main products are its two C-Series trucks, with interior volumes of 1,000 and 650 cubic feet. According to the company, not only are these trucks better for the environment, they also eliminate a lot of unnecessary body weight while still handling the same amount of volume and payload.
Workhorse also offers a play on air delivery with its autonomous HorseFly drone. Customers can integrate these delivery drones with the C-Series trucks, and monitor every step of the process via the Workhorse mobile app. As e-commerce adoption continues to spike and consumers demand faster delivery services, all-encompassing solutions like what Workhorse offers could be a hit.
The company has a long way to go to prove itself, but there’s a lot to like already, even in these early stages. United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) has already placed an order for 950 of its delivery trucks, and Ryder (NYSE:R) is another new customer. It is also a contender in the race to provide a new fleet tfor the U.S. Postal Service. More large-scale orders could send WKHS stock soaring higher.
One more thing to note: Workhorse has a 10% stake in Lordstown Motors, another soon-to-be-public EV play with a different focus. This should offer it a bit of a buffer if the commercial niche gets choppy.
Electric Car Stocks: Lordstown Motors (DPHC)
Lordstown Motors is hoping to scratch yet another itch in the electric vehicle world. Currently trading through SPAC DiamondPeak Holdings, the company has an interesting story and a promising product in development.
Steve Burns, the former CEO of Workhorse, founded Lordstown with big plans to revive a General Motors plant and transform commercial pickup trucks. In November 2019, the company sealed the deal with GM. Just months later it made news again, sharing that it would come public via a reverse merger with DiamondPeak Holdings.
Now investors are eagerly awaiting the day shares begin trading under ticker RIDE. But besides a salvation story for a shuttered GM plant, what is Lordstown Motors really offering?
Lordstown Motors is all about pickup trucks. But if you’re already rolling your eyes, hear me out. Lordstown isn’t entering the field as a competitor to the likes of Tesla and Ford. Instead, its Endurance truck — set for launch in 2021 — is targeting the commercial market.
Customers include the likes of utility workers and municipalities. Ideally, businesses would opt for an all-electric fleet, choosing the Endurance for its eco-friendly proposition and its 7,500 pounds of towing capacity.
Burns, who still helms Lordstown Motors, has big plans for the company. He says that the plant, once reconfigured, will be able to produce 20,000 trucks in its first year. Luckily Lordstown is off to a strong start, as orders for the Endurance have begun to trickle in. As of early August, the company had received 27,000 orders, representing about $1.4 billion in revenue.
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Although there are literally hundreds of electric vehicle manufacturers in China, Nio has long stood head and shoulders above the rest, capturing the hearts — and wallets — of U.S. investors.
What started as a frenzied, speculative bet on the “Tesla of China” has turned into a runaway success story. Shares are up almost 350% so far this year, and more than 500% over the past 12 months.
Like Tesla, Nio captivates the luxury audience in China. Its sleek vehicles include the ES6, ES8 and the recently released EC6, all marketed with features like surround sound and trendy fabrics. Even as its American rival ups its Chinese presence through the new Shanghai Gigafactory, Nio continues to climb.
It appears that this focus on the luxury market, along with several last-minute funding initiatives, have given Nio the boost it needed to survive. During its last earnings release, total deliveries soared. Net losses narrowed. And the average sale price of vehicles improved even as the world navigates a pandemic.
InvestorPlace Markets Analyst Luke Lango said that Nio is simply a long-term electric vehicle winner. There are two big catalysts investors should be watching beyond improving delivery figures.
To start, CEO William Li recently told reporters that Nio was prepping for international expansion. Starting in Europe, Li said the company would enter large global markets as early as next year. This once again positions Nio as a rival to Tesla, which is prepping to launch a Gigafactory in Berlin and made 90,000 international deliveries last year.
The second catalyst comes from plans for a battery-as-a-service business. If for whatever reason a consumer wants to buy an EV without a battery, Nio wants to offer a solution. Soon, you will be able to purchase a battery subscription pack from Nio for as little as $140. The battery industry is red hot, and the move by Nio may just be what it needs to secure its lead for the long term.
Electric Car Stocks: Li Auto (LI)
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As Nio embarks on a new era of success, a handful of other Chinese electric car stocks are making their way to U.S. portfolios. Li Auto, also known as Li Xiang after its founder and CEO, recently came public in an effort to do just that.
Although it has big plans to sell a catalog of SUV models, Li Auto currently only has one model for sale, its ONE SUV. First launching in November 2019, early sales figures have been decently impressive. Acknowledging the effect of the pandemic on car demand, the company has averaged 1,500 sales a month. August saw just over 2,700 sales.
Li Auto is riding the massive boom underway in electric vehicles, but that’s where the similarities with Nio stop. The company makes its own vehicles, unlike Nio, which relies on state-owned manufacturers. Additionally, while Nio offers fully battery-powered EVs, Li Auto takes a hybrid approach.
Importantly, Li Auto recognizes that the charging infrastructure for BEVs in China is far from robust. Embracing the hybrid model should help it reach more customers who live and travel outside the range of charging stations. Its batteries essentially come with gasoline-powered range extenders, which also help recharge the battery while drivers are on the go. And with lower costs than many all-electric models, Li Auto could appeal to a class of budget-conscious drivers.
Analysts are bullish on these differences, giving LI stock its first “buy” ratings since coming public. In fact, Goldman Sachs analyst Fei Fang thinks Li Auto is actually worth more than Nio.
The company faces steep competition and poses some risks to shareholders, as Li Xiang holds 73% of the voting power, but the newly public company is certainly worth a closer look here.
Kandi Technologies (KNDI)
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Kandi Technologies, another popular Chinese electric vehicle company, is taking a different approach from both Nio and Li Auto. It’s focused on car-sharing, battery-swapping technology and most recently, U.S. markets.
As InvestorPlace Markets Analyst Luke Lango tells it, Kandi Technologies was once a star in the Chinese markets thanks to its battery-swapping model. For those unfamiliar, the idea is that once an EV battery loses its juice, Kandi swaps it out for a new one. Interest left the space, but it appears to be returning, driven by lower battery rental costs.
Kandi Technologies is all about lowering costs. It markets budget-friendly vehicles, in stark contrast to the luxury models of Nio and Tesla. The company has also pioneered one of the largest car-sharing networks in the world, connecting 19 cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai.
There are a few things for U.S. investors to watch as the company gains mainstream appeal. The first is its unique business model. Through a partnership with Geely (OTCMKTS:GELYF), a giant player in the Chinese automobile market, Kandi Technologies produces and sells a range of electric vehicles. Geely supplies the designs, and Kandi provides the manufacturing know-how. Together they have found success, such as through the EX3 model pictured above.
The other, more exciting, catalyst is the launch of Kandi Technologies in the U.S. After receiving export approval from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2019, the company shipped a small batch of its EX3 and K22 models. Now, it is returning to the U.S. market with a bolder approach.
Focusing on Texas first, Kandi Technologies just debuted its “Auto EVolution for all” campaign, reminding American drivers just how expensive rival electric cars are. After federal tax credits, Kandi is selling its K27 model for just $9,999 and its K23 model for just $19,999.
The initial launch was weaker than expected, but Kandi is positioning itself in a strong market. Will pandemic-driven cuts in consumer spending make its budget-friendly vehicles even more appealing?
Electric Car Stocks: Xpeng (XPEV)
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Simply put, Xpeng Motors is a lot of fun. It has sourced inspiration from “Star Wars” for vehicle headlights, and its cars have unique features including 360-degree roof cameras and the ability to park via voice command.
At the heart of the business model for Xpeng Motors is a desire to attract younger drivers by making the process of driving easier and more fun. That is why the company leans into entertaining features and embraces the luxury culture of brands such as Tesla.
Xpeng backers — including execs from Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Xiaomi (OTCMKTS:XIACF) — all drive EVs. Together, the ambitious team has positioned Xpeng as a true rival to Tesla and Nio in China, building up a strong edge in an extremely competitive market.
The company currently has two vehicles on the market, the G3 SUV and the P7 sedan. According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it also plans to launch a third vehicle, a sedan, sometime in 2021.
If you are trying to sort through all the companies on this list — or even just the Chinese EV plays — here is how you can differentiate Xpeng. The recently-public company doesn’t just want to appeal to younger consumers: it wants to be seen as a high-tech business. Its focus on autonomous features through the XPILOT system, as well as its efforts to develop its own operating systems and vehicle components, should stand out for investors.
BYD Company (BYDDF)
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BYD Company may not be listed on U.S. exchanges, but the Chinese electric vehicle company has the support of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A, NYSE:BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett.
BYD — which stands for Build Your Dreams — started life as a rechargeable battery business. It quickly found success, gaining dominance in the mobile phone market. From there, a series of acquisitions allowed for the launch of its BYD Automobile subsidiary. Now the company supplies batteries and charging equipment for electric vehicles, as well as designing and manufacturing its own hybrid and all-electric models.
Buffett has backed the company since 2008, when he took a 25% stake. Since then, BYD has continued to innovate and expand its offerings, and Buffett has made over $1 billion from that initial purchase.
The company boasts a wide variety of passenger vehicles, including a handful of all-electric models such as the BYD Qin, BYD Song and the BYD Tang. Importantly for investors, the company has already broken out of the Chinese passenger vehicle market, launching the Tang in Norway. BYD plans to further the reach of its passenger vehicles throughout Europe, and it already has a global presence for its other vehicles, including all-electric buses, taxis and sanitation vehicles.
As critics continue to monitor BYD against Tesla, noting that the domestic player is gaining traction in China, the company seems poised for further success. Investors should keep a close eye on its European expansion, as well as the joint venture it established with Toyota for battery-electric cars.
Electric Car Stocks: Toyota (TM)
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Back in 1997, Toyota laid the foundation for the electric vehicle industry with its first Prius model. The hybridization of gasoline and electric motors made waves, establishing the Prius as the car of choice for those concerned about the environment. Keep this in mind as sustainability becomes more and more important in determining consumer behavior.
Despite that early leadership, Toyota failed to become a core player in the all-electric universe. Executives prioritized rolling out hybrid models, preferring them to all-electric vehicles. Even now, the only fully electric model in its lineup is the 2020 Mirai, which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, not batteries.
Why? The company recently shed a bit more light on its positioning, citing limitations in its battery production. Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi acknowledged that this strategy needed to change, and that Toyota would be accelerating its plans for half of its global sales to be electrified vehicles. However, Toyota is neither completely committing to battery-electric cars nor backing away from FCEVs.
Moving forward then, investors can expect to see more hybrid vehicles, six of its own EVs and a crossover developed in collaboration with Subaru (OTCMKTS:FUJHY).
But perhaps the most important thing for EV enthusiasts to watch is the company’s battery innovations. To address its production limitations, the company will partner with BYD and Contemporary Amperex Technology. Toyota also will continue to drive forward its research on solid-state batteries — an alternative to the traditional lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.
Solid-state batteries are seen as the “holy grail” for EVs because they provide a higher capacity while also minimizing footprint. In other words, you can get more juice out of a smaller and lighter battery. Toyota was supposed to debut its solid-state battery-powered vehicle at the 2020 Olympics, but given the pandemic, investors have been left awaiting future updates.
If Toyota can lean into what the market wants with passenger EVs and continue to break ground with its solid-state batteries, it could soon revisit the glory days of the early Prius.
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If you are looking for electric car stocks that are all about fun, look no further than Oregon-based Arcimoto. But be warned, the company may be an electric car play, but its vehicles do not look like traditional cars.
Its main offering is the Fun Utility Vehicle, or the FUV. According to the company, the two-seat, three-wheel vehicle is all about the joy of driving. As InvestorPlace contributor David Moadel recently highlighted, there is no specific use case for the FUV. You can take it to the grocery store, out and about in the city or even drive it to and from your wedding venue. And although it is slim, Arcimoto’s FUV is the safest motorcycle-class vehicle on the streets.
Investors should view the FUV as a way to nab consumers who always want the newest tech toys. Or perhaps as a great way to attract city-living millennials looking for compact vehicles. Arcimoto just launched production of the FUV last year, so it may be too early to tell how it will catch on, especially as the pandemic depresses consumer spending.
But there is another, more practical approach to FUV stock. Beyond its namesake vehicles, Arcimoto is developing similar models for delivery and emergency-response purposes. The Deliverator and Rapid Responder models rely on their small sizes to help drivers maneuver through heavy traffic, improve response times and navigate terrains difficult for large fire trucks or ambulances.
Arcimoto is also offering a fleet model where municipalities or logistics companies could purchase an entire fleet of its Deliverators and Rapid Responders. We have seen early success with the fleet model for Workhorse and Nikola, which bodes well for Arcimoto as it preps to launch its more practical vehicles.
At the end of the day, FUV stock is a good name to keep on your radar as its business ramps up; who knows where this eclectic electric vehicle could go next.
Electric Car Stocks: ElectraMeccanica Vehicles (SOLO)
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ElectraMeccanica Vehicles isn’t content simply being part of a disruptive trend. It wants to disrupt how we think about cars.
The Vancouver-based company has reimagined passenger vehicles. The Solo, its first model in production, has just three wheels and one seat. With a narrower — and just flat-out smaller — presence, Solo looks odd in comparison with the average car. But ElectraMeccanica Vehicles is betting that its tiny cars are exactly what modern consumers are looking for.
Investors can best compare ElectraMeccanica Vehicles to Arcimoto, noting that the FUV has two seats. However, the companies similarly market easy parking and driving capabilities thanks to their tiny vehicle sizes. Just like the FUV, there is no specific marketed purpose for the Solo. The company simply encourages consumers to reduce their carbon footprint and wipe out money spent at the gas pump.
ElectraMeccanica Vehicles has been around since 2015, and began delivering Solo models to the U.S. and Canada in 2018. Investors should note that the company has storefronts in Vancouver and Los Angeles, and plans to expand its retail footprint. Shoppers can make an online reservation for $250, while the model comes in at about $15,500.
An obvious point of criticism is that for many households, a one-seater car is simply not practical. Acknowledging this reality, ElectraMeccanica Vehicles is carrying over the design principles of Solo and launching two new models. You can now preorder the Tofino, a two-seater sports car, and eRoadster, an all-electric take on the famous Porsche 356 model.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have given the eRoadster a test drive, so investors are in wealthy company.
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Amazon is by no means a pure play on electric vehicles, but when Jeff Bezos throws his money behind a trend, it’s a good idea to be paying attention.
The company made headlines when it first announced that it would purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from startup Rivian. Amazon has made big promises to reduce its environmental impact, going as far as to say it would completely eliminate its carbon footprint by 2040. At the same time, Amazon continues to boom, growing its e-commerce and logistics businesses. To balance these seemingly contradictory goals, it is only natural that the market leader is turning to the world of electric vehicles.
At the time of the Rivian announcement, it was the largest purchase of light-duty electric vehicles ever. Many saw it as a sign other fleets would electrify more quickly than expected.
Rivian is still on track to deliver those vans, which is particularly important as the pandemic forces the adoption of online shopping. About 10,000 of the vans will be on the road in 2021, and all 100,000 should be making deliveries by 2030.
Sharp investors will want to keep a close eye on Amazon and its transportation investments. Beyond its immense fleet order, the company has also directly invested in Rivian. And just earlier this summer, it acquired Zoox, a self-driving vehicle startup.
At this point, it seems inevitable that Amazon will one day be a bigger player in all things transportation, including electric vehicles.
Electric Car Stocks: Ayro (AYRO)
Tesla wants electric vehicles in your driveway. Nikola wants electric trucks on the highway. And Ayro wants electric utility vehicles driving across colleges, hospitals and larger corporate campuses.
Investors should know that the Texas-based company is working to find its niche in a competitive electric vehicle market. Its Ayro 311 is an all-electric, three-wheel vehicle reminiscent of offerings from ElectraMeccanica and Arcimoto. What makes it stand out is its highly configurable body and the multiple specific uses Ayro lays out. The company advertises it for professional and personal use, suggesting it would come in handy for mail delivery, parking enforcement and public safety, to name a few.
Ayro also markets the Club Car 411, another highly configurable vehicle with multiple uses. This second model is larger, something the company describes as a cross between a full-sized truck and a utility cart. The Club Car 411 could navigate a hospital campus, transport maintenance crews or serve as on-the-go kiosks. In fact, Gallery, a mobile food cart company, recently partnered with Ayro. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gallery sees the Club Car 411 as the perfect way to safely get food, beverages and other retail goods to consumers.
Critics of Ayro have questioned these potential uses, pointing to how the coronavirus has closed college campuses and sent workers home. But others, like InvestorPlace contributor Will Ashworth, instead see the pandemic as an upside catalyst. Why not swap out crowded dining halls for socially distanced food kiosks?
AYRO shares are surely speculative, as they presently trade below $3. But true EV enthusiasts — especially those with an appetite for risk — shouldn’t yet abandon hope.
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BMW is no stranger to the electric vehicle space, but until it announced a coming rollout of new models, it risked falling behind the likes of not only Tesla, but even some of its traditional European rivals.
The German company launched the BMW i3 in 2013, marking the debut of its first all-electric vehicle. Critics have continued to praise its incorporation of sustainability, heaping on design and environmentalist awards. Despite stiff competition, the BMW i3 is still one of the best-selling electric vehicles in the world.
Thanks to the BMW i3 and others models like the Mini Cooper SE, BMW has sold 500,000 electrified vehicles in its lifetime. Now, both to meet stricter emissions standards and better compete with its rivals, BMW must fully commit to electric cars.
In addition to its current portfolio of plug-in hybrid vehicles, BMW has announced plans to bring three fully electric cars — the BMW iX3, the BMW iNEXT and the BMW i4 — to market by the end of next year, and it will also update the i3 and Mini Cooper SE. In the longer term, industry enthusiasts are also excited about its plans to produce all-electric versions of its X1 SUV and 5 Series sedan.
Investors should also be particularly enthused about the specific vehicles getting electrified. The Mini Cooper SE had a relatively short driving range of 110 miles from its battery. That limits its potential uses, although many consumers still reported it was a fun car to drive in urban environments. Now, with a broader lineup, the company can carve out a distinct niche in the electric vehicle space.
One more thing to note is that BMW envisions its electric approach going beyond the vehicles themselves. The company created a lighter architecture unique for its new EVs and is working to power its factories on water and wind.
Electric Car Stocks: Fiat Chrysler (FCAU)
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Of the leading American automakers, Fiat Chrysler may be in the worst position at the dawn of our new electric revolution. Beyond its namesake brands, the company is best known for its Jeep, Ram and Dodge brands. It markets big, loud vehicles. Can it successfully embrace EVs?
In many ways, Fiat Chrysler dug its own grave. Executives pushed back on fully electric models, even going so far as to encourage drivers not to buy its Fiat 500e because it anticipated a $10,000-per-purchase loss. Additionally, the nature of its brands makes embracing EVs difficult. The company now must dig into its research to see if it can marry its iconic vehicles with electrification. An all-electric Jeep would be nice, but drivers looking for a Jeep will still demand their eco-friendly models be just as powerful.
But it looks like Fiat Chrysler is finally taking the first steps. The Fiat 500e will soon return to U.S. dealerships, with critics speculating its small size could help it pull market share from Tesla. Regarding its other brands, the company has unveiled a range of plug-in hybrid Jeeps. Down the road, it will also be building out its capabilities to make those same models fully electric.
The electric vehicle story for Fiat Chrysler is far from a sure thing, but there are a few potential catalysts for investors to watch here. Rumors are swirling that it could electrify the Ram brand with a few new pickup trucks. This matters because everyone from Tesla to Nikola to Ford is embracing all-electric pickups, so the Ram stands to lose a significant amount of market share if it fails to match up.
Lastly, although the company has Italian and American roots, it is readying itself to make a big move in China. Deals haven’t yet been finalized, but it looks like Fiat Chrysler is working to partner with Foxconn, the iPhone manufacturer. Together the two companies could bring electric vehicles to the Chinese market, which is the fastest growing in the world.
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Hyundai finds itself in a similar position to many other legacy names on this list. The maker of traditional gasoline cars boasts a huge reach — it sold almost 700,000 vehicles in 2019. Kia, which Hyundai has a stake in, is also wildly popular.
But despite its broad success, Hyundai has only barely dipped its toes into the EV waters.
That was not always the case. Hyundai made waves back in 2010 when it revealed the BlueOn — the first fully electric vehicle for both the company and the nation of South Korea. The tiny vehicle excited drivers and industry enthusiasts, offering a maximum speed of 130 kilometers per hour. Small by modern standards, the BlueOn had a driving range of roughly 140 kilometers.
Later models from Hyundai and Kia have followed, including all-electric versions of the popular Soul. However, electrified vehicles have not been a driving force for Hyundai until now.
Spurred on by investor and consumer demand, the company just made a big announcement. Hyundai will launch Ioniq as a sub-brand, rolling out a series of all-electric cars over the next few years. By 2024, the company will launch the Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 7 — a compact hatchback, a sedan and an SUV.
Hyundai may have been in shallow waters for the last few years, but with its Ioniq sub-brand, it is making a big commitment to dive in deep. Together with Kia, the company aims at taking 10% share of the electric vehicle market by 2025.
Electric Car Stocks: Honda (HMC)
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Honda may be best known for its minivans and other family friendly vehicles, but it was also an early leader in the world of electric vehicles. In fact, the Japanese company broke a record with its 1997 EV Plus — it was the first battery-powered car that didn’t utilize lead-acid batteries.
Through the launch of the EV Plus, Honda premiered the nickel-metal hydride battery, which provided greater flexibility and better stability under different weather conditions. Importantly, the team at Honda learned what it took to be an innovator in EVs and battery tech.
Honda retired the EV Plus just two years later, instead opting for a series of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Currently, the company markets hybrid, battery-electric and fuel-cell versions of its Honda Clarity, a midsize sedan. Driver perks include the standard lower maintenance costs, tax incentives and credit for up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel.
Investors should be most excited though about its future plans. Honda has already touted its E-City car, which it views as a competitor to tiny vehicles like the Mini Cooper SE and the Fiat 500e. This vehicle launch will contribute to a company initiative to sell only electrified cars in Europe by 2022.
Keep an eye out for its new all-electric models. Honda is making a big bet that could pay off big for investors and drivers alike.
At first glance, Hyliion seems identical to electric-truck maker Nikola. But under the surface lies an entirely different approach and a rather competitive business model. Hyliion currently trades under Tortoise Acquisition, but its reverse merger with the blank-check company should close by the end of this month.
There are similarities between Hyliion and red-hot Nikola investors should bear in mind. Both companies are looking to disrupt big-rig trucking, bringing more environmentally friendly and lighter-weight vehicles to the transportation industry. But that’s essentially where the similarities end.
Unlike Nikola, Hyliion is not looking to produce its own branded vehicles. Instead, it wants to sell powertrain solutions to existing truck makers. The company currently provides a hybrid drive system for diesel-powered trucks, counting Ryder and Penske Automotive (NYSE:PAG) among its customers.
Its other primary product is the all-electric Hypertruck ERX. Hyliion will begin customer trials in 2021 and plans to ramp up production in 2022.
The other key way Hyliion differs from Nikola is in how it powers its drive systems. The latter company is developing both battery-powered and fuel-cell big rigs, building out a network of hydrogen fuel charging stations across the U.S. Hyliion will pair a battery with a natural-gas-fired generator, aiming to reduce weight and maximize driving range.
Renewable natural gas, which will power those generators, is similar in quality to fossil natural gas. However, supporters are quick to highlight that RNG still burns cleaner and is less carbon intensive than standard diesel. Another perk: There are already more than 700 natural gas refueling stations around the U.S, eliminating the infrastructure problems Nikola must reckon with.
Investor demand for Tortoise Acquisition proves there is interest in this niche. Hyliion may not be a pure play on electric vehicles, but its powertrain solutions are a bridge to the electrification of transport.
Electric Car Stocks: Canoo (HCAC)
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Industry newcomer Canoo may be entering a highly competitive market, but it knows what it takes to stand out. Currently trading via Hennessey Capital, the EV company has big plans to disrupt how we think about vehicles and driving.
The first thing for investors to note is the vehicle itself. CEO Ulrich Kranz has envisioned the Canoo as a spaceship, or a cozy loft on wheels. Imagine a futuristic van with the layout of a small studio apartment on the inside. According to the company, the goal was to rethink what a car should look like, taking into consideration what drivers actually need and want.
We know that besides sustainability, modern consumers appreciation customization. Touting the Canoo as a blank canvas for drivers, you can customize it with accessories like a miniature plant pot or a folder-style storage space. Gone are the days of accepting standard cupholders.
Investors should also note the company’s unique business model. Beyond its attention-grabbing design, Canoo wants to rethink how consumers purchase cars. You will never own a Canoo, you will instead subscribe to the company. You pay a monthly fee to access a vehicle, which also covers maintenance, insurance, charging and vehicle registration.
Specifics on the subscription pricing model will come closer to its launch, according to the company. For the meantime, Canoo is satisfying investors with the idea that it will greatly reduce the total cost of vehicle ownership.
It is no doubt a speculative name among electric car stocks, but its combination of subscription-based revenue and electric vehicle advances is worth a serious look.
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On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer for InvestorPlace.com.
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