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Electric Vehicle Checkpoint: Ford's a Favorite, Tesla Sees Strong Quarter

See the latest news for the top stocks in the electric vehicle space including Lordstown Motors, General Motors, Lucid Motors, Rivian and more.

Tesla's  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report drew a positive response from analysts after the electric-vehicle titan reported that it achieved record vehicle deliveries for the third quarter.

Tesla delivered 241,300 new cars over the three months ended in October, the company said in a statement, up 73.2% from last year and nearly 20% higher than the 201,250 reached in the second quarter.

The third quarter total was comprised of 323,025 Model 3 and Model Y sedans, Tesla said, and 9,275 of its higher-priced Model S and Model X. Analysts were looking for an overall total of around 230,000.

Tesla stock rose 8% Monday and has jumped 16% over the past three months.

The EV titan is doing “an admirable job” dealing with supply-chain issues, such as the global semiconductor shortage, said RBC Capital’s Joseph Spak, according to MarketWatch. Spak raised his price target to $755 from $655.

Tesla's third quarter will be the electric vehicle maker's "strongest quarter ever," according to Piper Sandler analyst Alexander Potter, who had reiterated his overweight rating of the company and boosted his 2021 estimates.

Potter said Tesla would deliver 894,000 vehicles in 2021, up from his earlier estimate of 846,000. He also raised his third-quarter delivery estimate to 23,000, "following reports of strong production."

"People often focus on deliveries, but this metric probably gets too much airtime," Potter said. "We are more interested in margins, which we think could be particularly strong in Q3."

Over on Real Money Stephen "Sarge" Guilfoyle notes that while Goldman Sachs lowered its global auto production forecast to reflect a tougher environment as supply chain issues drag on, it singled out Tesla and General Motors as potential outperformers. Get more trading strategies and investment ideas from Guilfoyle and the other Real Money contributors.

Electric vehicles now represent 12% of trailing three-month vehicle sales in China, followed by 10% in Europe and 3% in the U.S. And, electric-vehicle penetration has trended steadily higher in recent months, especially in Europe and China, Potter said.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk says the final week of September would be the electric-vehicle major's "most intense delivery week eve." In an email he sent this past weekend, Musk thanked Tesla workers for the "hardcore delivery push," Electrek reported. 

The email follows Musk's disclosure that earlier in the quarter Tesla built a lot of vehicles that had to sit with missing parts due to supply-chain issues. The parts later were added by service teams, contributing to the delivery backup at the end of the quarter.

Can Lithium Supply Keep Up With Strong Electric Vehicle Demand?

Ford  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report  boosted its forecast for electric vehicle production and now expects that between 40% and 50% of its global vehicle volumes will be all-electric by 2030, up from its spring estimate of 40%. 

Earlier this year, Ford said it will up its investment in EVs to at least $30 billion by 2025, and will create a new division called "Ford Pro" that will focus on commercial vehicles and government customers. 

However, the carmaker posted another significant decline in September U.S. car sales, but noted a huge increase in EV interest and said reservations for the new F-150 Lightning have topped 150,000.

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Ford said its overall U.S. vehicle sales were down 17.7% from last year at 156,614 units over the month of September. Truck sales, Ford said, fell 22.6% to 83,554 units. Sales of its electrified cars, however, were up 91.6% from last year at 9,150.

Ford also managed to boost its overall inventory by 21,000 vehicles over the month, despite plant closures and delays linked to the global shortage in semiconductors, to reach a gross stock total of 236,000 units. 

General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report received positive commentary from Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives in advance of the auto titan’s investor meeting on electric vehicles next Wednesday. The meeting "could turn [Wall] Street sentiment bullish," he wrote in a commentary cited by MarketWatch.

GM has been under a "black cloud" after its Chevy Bolt electric-vehicle recall and amid production constraints resulting from the global semiconductor shortage, he said. But longer-term, "we continue to believe the broader story and investment thesis at GM is around its massive EV ambitions over the next decade," Ives said.

GM intends to lay out $35 billion in research and development for EVs, with a goal of shifting 20% of its installed base to EVs by 2026. "GM is putting their money where their mouth is and are going all-in on the electric vehicle arms race," Ives said.

Shares of Chinese electric vehicle makers Nio  (NIO) - Get NIO Inc. Sponsored ADR Class A Report, Li Auto  (LI) - Get Li Auto Report and XPeng  (XPEV) - Get Xpeng Report rose this past week after they posted their September and third-quarter delivery figures

Nio delivered 10,628 vehicles in September, doubling from the year-earlier month. Full-third-quarter deliveries also doubled -- to 24,439 vehicles. That topped Nio’s forecast of 23,000 vehicle deliveries.

XPeng delivered a record 10,412 vehicles in September, topping its previous best by more than 2,000 cars. For the third quarter as a whole, XPeng tripled deliveries to almost 26,000 vehicles from a year earlier. It had forecast deliveries of 22,000 for the quarter.

Li delivered 7,094 vehicles in September, doubling from a year earlier. And it delivered 25,116 vehicles for the full third quarter, almost tripling (up 190%). Li had estimated 25,000 to 26,000 for the quarter.

Apparently, the global semiconductor shortage isn’t hurting all automakers.

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

Cathie Wood Dumped Around $270 Million in Tesla Stock 

Cathie Wood dumped around $270 million shares worth of the clean-energy carmaker amid the tech-sector selloff. Wood's Ark Investment Management's most recent trading update shows that three of her funds, including the $21.4 billion Ark Innovation ETF ARKK, sold 340,000 Tesla shares as the popular exchange-traded fund slumped 4.2% to extend its year-to-date decline to around 10%, compared to a 16% gain for the S&P 500 benchmark.

Longtime Tesla bull Chamath Palihapitiya said he shed his shares of the electric vehicle maker to fund his other investment ideas. The Social Capital chief executive unloaded his shares of the Palo Alto, Calif., company “in the last year or so” to take advantage of its elevated price, Palihapitiya said at an investment conference, according to CNBC. “I don’t have an infinite pool of capital. So when I have these ideas, the money has to come from somewhere,” he said. When Tesla stood around $800 in January, Palihapitiya told CNBC the stock could double or triple, calling it a “distributed energy business.”

Palihapitiya said he still liked Tesla but “completely underestimated” the EV market’s potential size. “When you see it now, the market has flipped. ... Tesla will be very busy just being a best-in-class EV company,” he said.

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

Ford Plans to Build Four New U.S.-Based Manufacturing Plants

Ford shares powered higher this past week after it unveiled plans to build four new U.S.-based manufacturing plants, including three battery plants, as well as an assembly facility dedicated to its electric pickup truck F-150, as it accelerates its transition into clean-energy vehicles.

Ford, along with its Korea-based partner SK Innovation, will invest $11.4 billion into the construction of three battery plants, as well as an assembly facility dedicated to the electric F-150, that it says will create 11,000 new jobs in Tennessee and Kentucky.

"This is a transformative moment where Ford will lead America’s transition to electric vehicles and usher in a new era of clean, carbon-neutral manufacturing,” said Ford's executive chairman Bill Ford. "With this investment and a spirit of innovation, we can achieve goals once thought mutually exclusive – protect our planet, build great electric vehicles Americans will love and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”

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

GM to Invest $35 Billion in Research and Development for EVs

General Motors posted a steep decline in third-quarter U.S. car sales, but repeated its full-year profit forecast as the ongoing shortage in global semiconductor supplies continues to hit the country's biggest automakers.

GM said third-quarter deliveries were down 32.8% from the same period last year, with an overall tally of 446,997 vehicles shifted in the United States. That puts the industry on pace for full-year sales of 13.4 million units, GM said, down from a pace of 15.5 million at this point in October of 2020.

GM CFO Paul Jacobson told an investor conference last month that he expects "a more stable year" for semiconductor supplies in 2022, while the company boosted its full-year profit guidance to between $11.5 billion and $13.5 billion following its second-quarter earnings. 

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

Lucid Began Production and Expects October Deliveries

Lucid  (LCID) - Get Lucid Motors Report shares jumped after the producer of luxury electric vehicles said it had begun production and expected deliveries to begin in October. Lucid said it has received more than 13,000 reservations for its Lucid Air and increased the planned production of the Dream Edition to 520 vehicles.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released its official range estimate for the Lucid Air Dream Edition Range. It's the longest range for any electric car the EPA rates: 520 miles on a single charge, more than 100 miles more than its closest competitor, Lucid said. The Air Dream Edition Performance and Lucid Air Grand Touring also finished ahead of competitors, the company said.

Earlier this month, Bank of America initiated coverage of Lucid with a buy rating and $30 price target. That rating is based on an enterprise-value-to-sales multiple of about 3 times and an enterprise-value-to-EBITDA multiple of about 37 times on Bank of America's 2025 estimates, analyst John Murphy wrote.

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

Lordstown Motors Seeks to Sell Ohio Factor to Foxconn Technology Group

Shares of Lordstown Motors  (RIDE) - Get LORDSTOWN MOTORS CORP. Report jumped this past week as the electric vehicle maker reportedly seeks to sell its Ohio factory to Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group. The value of the deal wasn't disclosed. Lordstown purchased the plant from General Motors in late 2019. GM opened the plant in 1996. 

However, Shares of electric vehicle-maker have since given up gains --  the stock dropped after Morgan Stanley analysts downgraded the electric vehicle maker to underweight from equal weight and slashed their price target to $2 from $8. Foxconn said it agreed in principle to buy a Lordstown assembly plant for $230 million, confirming earlier reports of the plan. The companies said that they plan to pursue a U.S. Energy Department loan from a program to help pay for the cost of retooling the factory to build electric trucks. 

Lordstown says it will move forward with a plan to build a limited number of vehicles for testing, validation and verification through the rest of the year and the first part of 2022. The company came under investigation this summer as the Securities and Exchange Commission sought information regarding the merger between DiamondPeak and Legacy Lordstown as well as the reported vehicle preorders the company received. Lordstown eventually ousted founder and Chief Executive Steve Burns over misstatements he made about the preorders for the company's flagship electric pickup truck, Endurance. 

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

Rivian Files for IPO Seeking $80 Billion Valuation

Rivian, an electric vehicle maker with big-name backing, has filed for an initial public offering seeking an $80 billion valuation according to a published report Friday. The company, which has received support from Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report and Ford, is targeting a market debut in late November, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Rivian has yet to deliver any vehicles, but it has raised $10.5 billion in funding, and has an order from Amazon for as many as 100,000 electric delivery vehicles within 10 years, including 10,000 by the end of 2022. The company also has several thousand reservations for its truck and sport utility models, which feature ranges up to 400 miles. But supply constraints and production issues have forced repeated delays to its vehicle launches.

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are acting as advisers to Rivian, Bloomberg reported earlier this year. In addition to Amazon and Ford, Rivian has won support from T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, Fidelity, and Soros Fund Management, among others, according to Bloomberg.

TheStreet Quant Ratings doesn't have a rating for Rivian.