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Electric Vehicle Checkpoint: Why Jim Cramer Says Tesla Is a Good Buy

See the latest news for the top stocks in the electric vehicle space including Ford, NIO, General Motors, Lordstown Motors, Li Auto, and more.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report shares were affirmed underweight with a higher price target at J.P. Morgan after the electric-vehicle titan's second-quarter deliveries report.

“We are raising our [earnings] estimates slightly to account for Q2 global deliveries of 201,250,” wrote J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman. The deliveries were “approximately in line with the consensus of 200,879, but a bit more than the 196,690 we were looking for.”

Tesla's stronger-than-expected vehicle deliveries were paced by China's demand for the company's mid-priced Model 3 sedan, up more than 122% from last year and 9% higher than the 184,870 reached in the first quarter.

The second-quarter total consisted of 199,360 Model 3 and Model Y sedans, Tesla said, and just 1,890 of its higher-priced Model S and Model X. 

Tesla's lead over its U.S. rivals is far more impressive -- the number of electric vehicles the company sold in the U.S. this past year is nearly ten times more than General Motors'  (GM) - Get Report best (at least to date) EV option, the Chevy Bolt.

Over on Real Money, Jim Cramer writes: "For years now I have been railing against Chinese IPOs, saying that you should steer clear of them at all cost. This Didi fiasco makes that clear for certain." Read more about what Cramer thinks of China IPOs, the impact on U.S. investors and what to watch out for. 

Meanwhile, upstart EV maker Nio  (NIO) - Get Report is on pace to deliver between 20,000 and 22,000 cars this quarter, following a 95% surge in April sales, while automaking giant Geely has already launched its lower-priced Zeekr, which is also expected to eat into Tesla's China-based growth.

Ford Motor  (F) - Get Report pledged to invest at least $30 billion in EVs by 2025, while General Motors is reportedly ready to beat that investment by $5 billion. Both U.S. carmakers are aiming to expand battery production and EV model rollouts over the next five years as they chase Tesla's leadership.

Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted at an 800,000 delivery target for the full year. Deliveries were a record 499,950 in 2020.

Here is a list of the electric vehicle stocks to watch:

Tesla

Tesla's stock price has been incredibly stable over the past five trading sessions. Cramer says Tesla stock could be part of a hybrid story if work-from-home continues.

"There are some errors in what people are saying about China. It's a software patch ... the Chinese are in favor of anything that's made there. I know periodically you hear the party doesn't like Tesla ... the party is fine with Tesla. But, it's NIO that everyone's excited about," said Cramer.

"I think that Tesla is still a very good buy. I think it will be part of the hybrid story...if you're going to work from home, you need a car. Maybe you go out locally for lunch or for breakfast ... maybe you buy a Tesla because it's natural. I still think Tesla's good," he added.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Tesla as a Hold with a rating score of C.

Ford Motor

Ford posted record sales of electrified vehicles over the first half of the year, offsetting a 27% slump in total June sales that were hit by chip shortages and plant closures. EV sales, Ford said, are up 117% from last year over the first six months of 2020 as Ford moves to continually invest over the next five years and plans to have 40% of its fleet electrified within the next decade.

The carmaker said this past month that second-quarter earnings will "surpass expectations and be significantly better than a year ago", thanks in part to lower-than-expected costs and "favorable market factors".

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Ford as a Hold with a rating score of B-.

Lordstown Motors

Shares of Lordstown Motors  (RIDE) - Get Report dropped this past week following a report that the Justice Department was investigating the electric truck maker. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan is conducting the inquiry, sources told Dow Jones on Friday, and the investigation is in its early stages. A spokesman for Lordstown Motors didn't comment on the Justice Department's probe, according to Dow Jones. 

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However, the company previously stated that it also was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC first requested information from the company in February and has issued subpoenas over its representations about preorders and its public debut last year. 

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for Lordstown Motors.

Li Auto

Li Auto  (LI) - Get Report, the Chinese electric vehicle maker, reported second-quarter deliveries more than doubled and topped its estimates. The Beijing company delivered 17,575 vehicles in the quarter, up 166% year over year and nearly 40% from the first quarter. The company had expected to deliver 14,500 to 15,500 vehicles in the second period. 

Li Auto delivered 7,713 Li One units in June 2021, quadruple the year-earlier number and up 78% from the 4,323 units delivered in May. The Li One is a large six-seat premium electric SUV.

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for Li Auto.

General Motors

General Motors agreed to invest and collaborate with Controlled Thermal Resources to get local and low-cost lithium, which is a key ingredient for GM’s electric-car batteries.

“This lithium will be produced through a closed-loop, direct extraction process that results in a smaller physical footprint, no production tailing and lower carbon dioxide emissions when compared to traditional processes like pit mining or evaporation ponds,” GM said in a statement this past week. “The relationship between GM and CTR is expected to accelerate the adoption of lithium extraction methods that cause less impact to the environment."

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates GM as a Buy with a rating score of B.

NIO

NIO shares were wavering this past week, giving investors plenty of volatility on the day. Shares opened higher by about 3%, but quickly sold off and were down about 3% by the end of the week.

The action comes despite NIO reporting better-than-expected deliveries. NIO delivered just over 8,000 vehicles in June, growing 20.4% sequentially and 116.1% year over year.

The company was buried during the recent bear market, falling 54% from peak to its trough in May.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates NIO as a Sell with a rating score of E+.

XPeng

Xpeng  (XPEV) - Get Report announced the launch of its Hong Kong public offering as the Chinese electric vehicle maker looks to raise as much as $1.97 billion. 

Shares of the Guangzhou-based company are down 4.6% year-to-date, compared to a 13.7% gain for the S&P 500. Xpeng said it is selling 85 million shares in the offering and set a maximum price of HK$180 ($23.18) for the portion reserved for Hong Kong investors.

Xpeng's announcement came after the listing committee of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange approved the Chinese electric vehicle maker for a dual primary listing in the city. 

TheStreet Quant Ratings has no rating for Xpeng.

Plug Power

Plug Power  (PLUG) - Get Report rose this past week after RBC analyst Joseph Spak initiated coverage of the hydrogen fuel-cell technology company with an outperform rating and a one-year price target of $42. Spak wrote that "Plug Power’s valuation is rich, but its long runway for growth justifies the premium." 

Spak noted that Plug Power has a substantial amount of opportunity for growth, given the Hydrogen Council’s estimates that the hydrogen economy could bring in more than $2.5 trillion in annual sales by 2050 to the immediate industries associated with hydrogen technology.

TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Plug Power as a Sell with a rating score of D.