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Electric Vehicle Checkpoint: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Sells More Stock Before New Year

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

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report CEO Elon Musk exercised the final batch of stock options expected to expire next year, signaling an end to his current run on share sales.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings late Tuesday show Musk exercised options on 1.6 million shares -- first granted in 2012 -- taking his total to 22.8 million. He also sold 934,090 shares to raise money for the tax liability linked to the 1.6 million exercise.

Collectively, Musk has sold 15.7 million shares -- with around 10.3 million likely earmarked for tax liabilities -- since asking his 68 million Twitter followers in early November if he should dump 10% of his holdings in the clean-energy carmaker.

Analysts at Wedbush published a note maintaining their outperform rating on the stock and arguing that the China demand will remain a "linchpin' in the carmaker's near-term growth. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who carries a base target price on Tesla stock of $1,400, with a bull case target of $1,800, said China will account for around 40% of the carmaker's deliveries in 2022.

The China Passenger Car Association said earlier this month that Tesla sold 52,859 China-made cars in November, a 144% increase from the same period last year. October's tally was 54,931, while September notched a record high of 56,006 units.

Musk hinted last month that the Tesla Plaid, the carmaker's new $140,000 luxury sedan with a top speed of 200 miles per hour, will "probably" be coming to China in early March.

Ives also noted that new gigafactories in Texas and Germany will ease the company's "high-class problem of demand outstripping supply” over the coming years.

The Chinese Are Roasting Elon Musk Over His Space Fail

SpaceX founder Musk is once again the subject of controversy after China reported "close encounters" between SpaceX satellites and its space station. In a complaint filed to the United Nations' space agency, the Chinese government said that it had two "close encounters" with Starlink satellites in July and October of this year. 

To avoid a crash, the space station Tiangong had to maneuver around the SpaceX-operated satellites that orbit space in order to bring internet service to remote parts of the world. The incidents, China said, infringed international space and "constituted dangers to the life or health of astronauts aboard the China Space Station."

"How ironic that Chinese people buy Tesla, contributing large sums of money so Musk can launch Starlink, and then he (nearly) crashes into China’s space station," one user wrote, according to Fortune. 

This concludes an already turbulent year for Musk in the most populous country in the world. In the spring, protesters claiming that Tesla cars posed a danger to consumers attempted to block entry to the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. In June, Tesla recalled 300,000 Model 3 and Model Y cars due to a technical glitch.

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

Here are more of the top electric vehicle stocks to watch:

Tesla Rival Nio Prepares for U.S. Entry and Ramps up Hiring

Chinese luxury electric vehicle maker Nio  (NIO) - Get Free Report is reportedly hiring a local team of experts in the U.S. as the automaker looks to expand its presence outside China, a media report says. InsideEVs, a trade publication on electric vehicles, first reported that Nio is looking to fill close to 50 positions in the U.S. ranging from software engineers and developers to strategy heads (across verticals), human resource executives, and financial analysts. The jobs were posted on LinkedIn.

The news comes a few weeks after the Shanghai-based company said it plans to enter Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden in 2022, and reach 25 countries by 2025, at its annual Nio Day event. Nio already has a base in the Norwegian region and is set to begin sales in Sweden by the end of next year, Chief Operating Officer Lihong Qin told the Swedish Dagens Industri last month.

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

Ford Stock is Hitting Session Highs

Ford  (F) - Get Free Report stock has been on the move, up 5% in the past week. The stock has continued to hold its own, even after a false breakout from a few weeks ago. As Tesla remains in the EV spotlight — particularly with Musk continuing to sell the stock — and as other EV stocks rotate through Wall Street’s focus, Ford has remained a staple since its booming rally from early September through early November. In that stretch, the stock rallied in nine straight weeks and gained more than 60%. 

Since then, though, it’s been mixed. The shares are up in just three of the past six weeks as Ford stock remains largely range-bound until now. Earlier this month, the automaker said it would stop taking reservations for its F-150 Lightning due to strong demand. A day later, Real Money technical analyst Bruce Kamich noted that the stock remained bullish before the shares suddenly erupted 9.6% in a single session, sending the stock to its highest level in years.

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

Lucid Stock Dips Amid $1.75 Billion Convertible Senior Notes Offer

Lucid Group  (LCID) - Get Free Report proposed to offer $1.75 billion of convertible senior notes. The notes, due 2026, are to be sold in a private offering to institutional buyers. Lucid also expects to grant the initial purchasers an option on an additional $262.5 million of notes. The company intends to use the proceeds from the offering to "finance or refinance, in whole or in part, one or more new or existing 'Eligible Green Investments.'"

Earlier this month, Lucid received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission linked to a probe into its July merger with Churchill Capital. Lucid went public in July following a merger with Churchill, a so-called blank-check company started by investment banker Michael Klein.

TheStreet Quant Ratings does not have a rating for Lucid.

Rivian Isn't Trading Regardless of $92 Billion Market Cap

Rivian  (RIVN) - Get Free Report has a $92 billion market cap even as it had produced only 652 vehicles and delivered 386 of those at the close of its first quarter as a public company. Rivian isn't trading based on what it has done so far, but instead on what investors expect the brand to deliver. That's still a very high bar for the company to reach as its market cap exceeds that of both Ford and General Motors.

Chief Executive RJ Scaringe, however, seems excited about the challenge and sees EVs as more than just a way to earn a profit. He's pretty passionate, or at least he appears to be, about the impact his company can make on the environment.

TheStreet Quant Ratings does not have a rating for Rivian.

General Motors Among Manufacturers With longest Running Models

General Motors  (GM) - Get Free Report is among the manufacturers with the longest-running models. Other carmakers with popular model longevity include Toyota  (TM) - Get Free Report, Honda  (HMC,) - Get Free Report and Volkswagen  (VLKAF) .

Used car prices have been one of the key components of this year's inflation surge, according to data from the Commerce Department, with its measure of collective prices rising 39.8% from March 2020 to October 2021 as carmakers such as General Motors were unable to produce new cars owing to pandemic restrictions, and then fell shy or prior targets amid supply chain disruptions in parts and semiconductors.

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