EV stocks have been the subject of investment-related conversation for years. With Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) constantly commanding headlines over the past five years, you’d have to live under a rock to have missed the growing EV trend. The push toward net zero is intensifying, and most agree that electric cars will be part of that transition. Governments worldwide have already pledged to phase out gas-powered vehicles, suggesting that the demand for EVs will skyrocket.
Although that’s true, this rising tide won’t necessarily lift all boats. The EV market is no longer in its infancy, meaning companies that have not yet figured out how to become profitable at scale are at a severe disadvantage. Given the current economic conditions, the pain of being stuck at the bottom rung of the ladder will be even more acute.
A global economic slowdown is already upon us, and it brings new consumer behaviors. Most notable in this case is an unwillingness to splash out on big purchases— like a new car. That’s bad news for all EV stocks, but especially for those that are already struggling to grab market share. While many new cars will be electric thanks to changing regulations, the number of purchases is likely to drop as people hoard their cash.
The EV space is also getting very crowded. A few years ago, the debate about whether EVs were the future meant plenty of big names were dragging their feet about electrifying their fleet. That’s no longer the case, with every big-name carmaker throwing their hat in the EV ring. That’s a lot to compete with if you’re a smaller EV maker.
Stiff competition, shaky financials, and a reluctant consumer offer some pretty strong headwinds that look likely to put the breaks on these three stocks.
EV Stocks: Nio (Nio)
Nio (NYSE:NIO) has seen its share price nosedive in recent months thanks to problem after problem, which landed it on our list of EV stocks to sell. Some of the issues were beyond Nio’s control— continuous Covid-19 lockdowns in China hurt both production and sales. This headwind impacted Chinese firms across the board, and it made a dent in some American companies’ supply chains as well. But ultimately, the issues were more concentrated for Chinese companies like Nio, and it offered an opportunity for American rivals like Tesla to overtake.
There are some Nit-specific problems as well. One big one that should raise some eyebrows is the group’s accounting problems. Currently, under investigation for its accounting practices, Nio isn’t winning any gold stars for transparency and business ethics. These legal setbacks could prove to be costly to the bottom line, but importantly they’re likely to erode investor confidence and make Nio stock less desirable.
Lucid (NASDAQ:LCID) was on everyone’s EV stocks to buy list not so long ago. The group was touted as a rival to Tesla, catering to an upscale market with luxury EVs. However, just over two years after it went public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), Lucid’s looking deflated.
The group’s been plagued with production delays, and that led to worse-than-expected forecasts for the number of cars it would make this year. The group’s factories are operating well below capacity, so it’s no surprise to hear that the group’s trimming down its workforce to cope with rising demands on cash. The group also warned that further losses could be ahead.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Lucid comes back from this. Part of being in the luxury market is commanding a premium with a strong brand name. Lucid is quickly dropping from everyone’s radar as its car sales move in the wrong direction. Even if the group can fix its production issues, it will struggle to claw back lost market share.
Rivian Automotive (RVIN)
Rivian (NASDAQ:RIVN) had a lot of potential some years ago, but now it’s been relegated to the basket of EV stocks to avoid. The company specializes in electric trucks, putting it in direct competition with some heavy hitters. Rivian vehicles have to outshine big names like Ford, a former investor in the EV company. The most recent knock to the group’s confidence was news that Chrysler parent Stellantis (NYSE:STLA) is putting out a new truck that will directly compete with one of Rivian’s models.
The group will struggle to face up to the competition, though. Cash flow has been firmly in the red, an indication that an equity raise could be on the horizon. Rivian will need an injection of cash to compete with the big names it’s up against. Both Ford and Chrysler have enough in the tank from their sprawling business to compete on price— Rivian will struggle to win any sort of price war.
The bottom line for Rivian is that it’s been outdone by bigger, more established rivals. The group looks unlikely to recover anytime soon, making this one of the EV stocks to sell.
On the date of publication, Marie Brodbeck did not hold (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.