Personal Finance

Why Rivian, Lucid, and QuantumScape Stocks all Popped Today

Electric car with headlights glowing and plugged into a charging station.

Electric car with headlights glowing and plugged into a charging station.

One the first day after Christmas, electric cars’ true love gave to EV investors…a triple shot of stock-price gains.

Tuesday’s muted post-Christmas trading day (the S&P 500 ended up only 0.4% higher) saw shares of Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ: RIVN) close up 1.6%, while Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) rose 1.9%, and EV car-battery researcher QuantumScape (NYSE: QS) tacked on a solid 4% gain.

Which is curious, because most of the news today sounded kind of bad.

Do newspapers hate EV stocks?

In a one-two punch of negative news, two of the nation’s biggest newspapers decided on Tuesday to run stories downplaying the popularity of electric cars. “EV transition cools as demand slows,” blared the headline of The Washington Post, quickly echoed by The Wall Street Journal‘s headline: “Investors Sour on EV Charging Companies.”

Curiously, while the one article focused on the troubles of the electric car industry (sales “growing at a fast clip” but less fast than last year), and the other homed in on difficulties with getting enough electric car chargers built to keep EVs filled up with e-juice, both of these articles’ authors were quick to highlight one single fact that they think should concern investors in the EV industry: Electric car sales in the U.S. are only up about 50% this year from 2022 levels.

“Only” 50%?

According to the Post, slowing growth in EV sales is causing automakers to slow production of EVs and “pause” some investments in additional production capacity. General Motors, for example, has withdrawn guidance for 400,000 EVs to be produced next year, while Ford is slowing production of Mach-E electric SUVs, cutting F-150 Lightning electric pickup production by half, and postponing a $12 billion investment in battery production. Even Tesla is now said to be slow-walking its plan to open a production factory in Mexico.

Meanwhile, the Journal warns that electric car charging companies have been frustrated by low usage rates of their chargers (which makes it hard to grow revenue and approach profitability). At the same time, the Biden administration is asking them to more than triple the number of charging ports operating in the U.S. (currently about 159,000) by 2030, which is a tough ask if even the charging stations already set up aren’t getting enough customers to make them profitable!

And yet, despite all these problems, and despite growth “slowing” to 50%…well, suffice it to say that 50% growth is actually pretty phenomenal. It’s five times faster than the new car market as a whole in the U.S. is growing. Noticing that, I’m actually not too surprised to see investors today take a look at the sour news from the Post and the Journal and turn it into sweet lemonade for EV stock prices today.

All that being said, investors perhaps shouldn’t get too excited about today’s stock-price gains. Fifty-percent sales growth is great and all, don’t get me wrong. But according to analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence, it’s still going to be 2028 before Lucid reports its first profit, while Rivian and QuantumScape aren’t expected to turn profitable before 2030 at the earliest.

As nice as it is to see sales still growing rapidly, investors in this sector will need to exercise a great deal of patience before they’ll have any chance of seeing their bets pay off in the form of their companies turning profitable. Stocks may have sprinted higher today, but this race is still a marathon.

Should you invest $1,000 in Rivian Automotive right now?

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Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Why Rivian, Lucid, and QuantumScape Stocks all Popped Today was originally published by The Motley Fool

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