One of 2022’s defining market trends has been the rise of the electric vehicle (EV) sector. What began as an entire industry centered around one company has boomed into a stock market staple. Despite a turbulent year, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has retained its spot at the top of the EV race, although both old and new competitors have risen to challenge it. Supply-chain constraints have made it harder for some companies to produce vehicles. But through it all, demand is rising steadily. 2023 is expected to be an even bigger year for the sector. But there are still some companies that should be avoided or dumped altogether. Therefore, investors should consider the best EV stocks to sell.
It’s easy to ignore red flags from certain stocks when a sector is red-hot. But while some EV producers gear up for more growth, others are facing an uncertain future. These companies are not struggling due to the same supply-chain concerns that Elon Musk has highlighted. Rather, they are facing daunting competition and a shrinking market share as better-established rivals step up their game faster.
The industry also may be facing a monumental shift. InvestorPlace Senior Investment Analyst Luke Lango predicts that the number of companies in the EV space is about to start falling as the largest companies start buying up their smaller peers. If that happens, it will likely push the sector’s less stable companies out of business. Let’s take a look at the companies with the worst growth prospects.
Lordstown Motors (RIDE)
This EV producer has a memorable trading symbol, but these days, that’s all it has going for it. Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ:RIDE) has spent the year battling severe macroeconomic headwinds and failing to demonstrate any sustainable growth.
The stock rose in August after delivering its first quarterly profit. As InvestorPlace contributor Josh Enomoto reported, though, it still faces significant challenges, primarily a production ramp-up likely to leave it behind competitors. More recently, Lordstown announced the start of commercial production on its Endurance pickup truck. But even this news couldn’t help RIDE stock pull into the green.
InvestorPlace contributor Larry Ramer has named RIDE as an EV stock that “won’t exist by 2024.” As he sees it, Lordstown has given investors plenty of cause for concern and none for optimism. Its partner, Foxconn, is not experienced in EV production. But that’s not the worst part.
On the company’s Q2 earnings call, President Edward Hightower noted that Lordstown has a “limited number of anchor customers for the first vehicle to be produced with Foxconn through our joint venture.” Starting commercial production doesn’t mean much if an automaker doesn’t have a strong list of customers committed to buying the new product. InvestorPlace contributor Muslim Farooque flags Lordstown as a likely candidate for bankruptcy, advising investors to short it.
Nikola Corp (NKLA)
Like Lordstown, Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) is unable to demonstrate growth, even after reporting good news. The troubled company saw shares jump after closing its acquisition of battery producer Romeo Power (NYSE:RMO). Unfortunately, they quickly started losing momentum after a court found Nikola founder Trevor Milton guilty of securities and wire fraud. It’s hard to have confidence in a company whose former leader defrauded investors to artificially drive share prices up.
Although NKLA stock tried to rally in the face of Milton’s conviction, it’s important to see the bigger picture. Nikola’s problems didn’t start with Milton’s legal troubles. Shares hit their peak in June 2020, almost three months before Hindenburg Research released the damning short report accusing the company of illicit activity.
Since then, the stock has only struggled, losing more than 71% of its value as EV stocks boomed this year. The Inflation Reduction Act offered federal incentives to electric truck buyers, but even that couldn’t help Nikola rise. Now competition is fiercer than ever as many electric truck producers have growth catalysts to look forward to in 2023. Nikola has a tough road ahead and nothing to indicate that it is prepared.
Workhorse (NASDAQ:WKHS) operates in a fairly unique niche of the EV sector. It produces electric vans and drones but specializes in last-minute delivery services. This business model sounds like a good one, but no amount of drones has helped the company take off.
Workhorse is better known for hemorrhaging money and recalling vehicles. In November 2021, it reported significant losses and revenue declines after having to recall its C-100 cargo vans due to safety problems. While the company promised to redesign the vehicles, it faced a very difficult road to making up the ground it lost and restoring its damaged reputation.
For that reason, Ramer also sees WKHS as an EV stock that simply won’t exist in 2024. He also raises the concern that Workhorse does not have any partnerships with companies in the delivery space. However, Ramer isn’t surprised by this, given the reputation problems that Workhorse caused for itself. He adds, “Unlike competitors Rivian (NASDAQ:RIVN) and Arrival (NASDAQ:ARVL), I saw no evidence that Workhorse has a reassuring backlog of tens of thousands of reservations for its trucks.”
Workhorse clearly has a lot in common with fellow troubled automaker Lordstown. Both have failed to attract a significant customer base while their competitors have succeeded. For this reason, both are EV stocks to sell before markets take a turn for the worst.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.