Analysts flash their headlights at these Tesla-rivalling EV stocks

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More EV stocks to potentially rival Tesla have been flagged by a couple of big investment banks this week. Are they about to put the pedal to the metal?

EV stocks

Are these EV stocks worth watching?

Most of the conversation around electric vehicles includes Tesla in some shape or form – even pieces about its rivals.

But Tesla, despite its reputation and size, is not the only electric car manufacturer in town. Legacy marques are starting to rapidly expand their battery-powered vehicle ranges. VW, Ford, and GM alone are planning to spend in excess of $150bn to develop batteries and cars going forward.

Tesla’s competitors are now a mix of the old and the new. It’s likely the EV space won’t just be dominated by Elon Musk’s brand. It will no doubt remain a big player, for sure, but other companies, both established and up and coming, are revving their engines to get their own share of the EV market.

As such, electric vehicle stocks are quickly driving their way into many investors and traders’ portfolios.

JPMorgan’s electric vehicle stock picks

JPMorgan’s head of European autos equity research, Jose Asumendi, recently said that his two top EV equities to watch are Stellantis and Daimler.

“Stellantis is one of the leaders with electrification in Europe,” Asumendi told CNBC. “What I like about Stellantis’ strategy is not only the product launches but also the battery strategy,”

Stellantis is a joint venture between two of Europe’s most revered car builders: Peugeot and Fiat. A constellation of 14 brands fall under this umbrella. Vauxhall, Opel, Citroen and EV-spin off DS, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Maseratti are just some of the badges Stellantis boasts.

Importantly, the brand is committed to EV development as well as battery research and construction.

In H1 2021, just 14% of Stellantis deliveries were electrified vehicles. In the US, the figure was 4%. With sustained multi-billion-dollar investment, the carmaker expects this to rise to 70% and 40% in these respective territories by 2030.

Key to Stellantis’ stock success will be how the brand copes with a) the global chipset shortage and b) ongoing restructuring of some of its constituent brands.

“We thought all these brands [that Stellantis owns] were going to die at some point and go bust, but it turned out to be different,” Asumendi said. “But now CEO Carlos Teveres is doing the same thing with Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Fiat. So Stellantis offers real opportunity to invest into this European restructuring equity story.”

The company also formed an entity ACC to develop property battery tech alongside Asumendi’s next pick Daimler.

Daimler is Mercedes-Benz’s parent company.

It is planning to split out its truck division away from the Mercedes cars section by the end of the year, creating two separate entities without diluting the brand.

“You will have two companies clearly run under the same hat: Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Trucks,” Asumendi said.

Asumendi was also keen to heap praise on Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius and CFO Manish Thakore. Together, the pair have been able to drop the fixed cost base of a Mercedes-Benz car by 20%. That suggests better margins for the prestige brand going forward.

But as this is an EV-focussed piece, we have to mention Daimler’s electric ambitions. In July, the German giant announced its plan to spend $47bn on overhauling its output to fully embrace electric power. No new petrol-powered models will be introduced from 2025 onwards. Bad news if you enjoy the throaty roar of an AMG V12, good news for Mother Earth.

Asumendi set price targets for both Stellaris and Daimler based on their backing of electric transport. For Stellantis, the figure is €28 – quite above the current level of €16.51 (up 3.5% on the day at the time of writing. Asumendi’s Daimler price target sits at €98. Daimler is also currently up around 3.5%, trading for €78.38.

Goldman upgrades NIO

NIO is essentially the Chinese Tesla.

The company’s stock has pulled away somewhat from highs seen at the start of January to the tune of 50%. But, according to Goldman Sachs, the EV brand has high potential.

Goldman recently upgraded NIO from a neutral to a buy with a target price of $56. At the time of writing, NIO was up 6.1% on the day, exchanging hands for $35.81.

As well as launching a collection of SUV models aimed squarely at the domestic market, NIO has also brought the ET7 saloon to market. This has caught Goldman’s eye.

The ET7 itself is a luxury sedan, designed to compete with the Tesla Model S and European rivals like the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The two German models regularly push $200,000 in China.

That’s why the ET7’s pricing, more in line with the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class, has attracted Goldman.

“The price point makes ET7 China’s most expensive car model ever launched by domestic manufacturers, strengthening NIO’s brand equity in the premium space,” Goldman explained in a research note.

NIO’s battery as a service model, where users essentially lease their battery from the car maker, is also a plus point for Goldman. It does seem like a rather anti-consumer move, essentially a subscription to power your car on top of tax, insurance, and electricity, but it would present an extra revenue stream for the brand.