For over a year now, the entire bull thesis on electric van maker Workhorse (NASDAQ:WKHS) has been predicated on the company winning a multi-billion-dollar contract to electrify the USPS trucking fleet. On speculation that Workhorse would win that contract, WKHS stock soared from below $5 in summer 2020, to over $40 earlier this month.
But USPS announced the winner for its fleet upgrade contract yesterday. In a shocking twist of events, it wasn’t Workhorse. It was Oshkosh Defense, a unit of Oshkosh Corp (NYSE:OSK).
WKHS stock plunged on the news. By roughly 50%.
Although I’m very bullish on the fleet electrification trend, this is not a buying opportunity. Instead, it’s time to throw in the towel on WKHS stock.
Losing the USPS contract changes the whole bull thesis here, as it basically confirms the worst-case-scenario that Workhorse doesn’t have great technology and may therefore get squeezed out of this market as competition ramps up.
In short, I’m turning bearish on WKHS stock.
WKHS Stock: The USPS Contract Was Everything
When it came to WKHS stock, everything was about the USPS contract…
Workhorse was supposed to leverage its EV technology and American-based manufacturing operations to win the multi-billion-dollar USPS contract.
That contract was supposed to cement Workhorse as a leader in fleet electrification.
More deals were expected to follow suit. Workhorse’s revenues and profits were supposed to ramp. WKHS stock was supposed to fly higher.
Now, none of that is going to happen.
Workhorse lost the USPS deal. The company is not cemented as an EV leader. Rather, there are now serious questions about the viability of the company’s tech. These questions have shelved all future potential contract talks.
In essence, a week ago, Workhorse had a bright future. Today, it doesn’t. No wonder WKHS stock tanked.
Workhorse’s Tech May Not Be That Good
Losing the USPS contract is one thing. But losing it to Oshkosh is another thing entirely.
That’s because Oshkosh’s proposed next-gen truck for USPS wasn’t even electric. It’s based on an internal combustion engine — just a highly fuel efficient one.
In other words, at a time when the world is shifting to EVs, USPS picked a non-electric van over Workhorse’s van.
That means that either USPS has absolutely no care in the world for electrification (not true), or that Workhorse’s underlying EV technology just isn’t ready for the big stage (very likely).
After all, this isn’t the first time that a big logistics player has walked away from working with Workhorse. A few years back, UPS and Workhorse were collaborating. Then, that collaboration stopped, and UPS is now all-in with Workhorse’s main rival, U.K.-based EV maker Arrival.
The trend here is pretty clear.
Logistics companies do not believe Workhorse’s technology is good enough to deploy at scale. Or, at the very least, they believe competitors offer superior solutions.
Of course, that’s very worrisome for WKHS stock.
Bottom Line on WKHS Stock
If Workhorse had won the USPS contract, that would’ve validated the company’s technology, cemented it as a leader in this space and paved the path for multiple contract wins in the coming years.
But Workhorse lost that contract. Now, none of that may happen. Instead, we are left with unanswered questions about the validity of Workhorse’s tech.
Amid this uncertainty, it’s best to do what USPS and UPS have done — walk away from WKHS stock.
On the date of publication, Luke Lango did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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