Shares of Nikola have fallen as much as 90% since its peak at $93.99 last June. But Ubben said the company is on target with its timeline of launching its electric semi-truck sometime between 2022 and 2023.
Nikola did seem to make some progress on Thursday, as it announced a collaboration with TravelCenters of America to install hydrogen fueling stations at two locations in California. The hydrogen fueling stations are expected by be commercially operational by the first quarter of 2023, and will serve as a potential roadmap for developing nationwide hydrogen fueling infrastructure with TravelCenters in the future.
Comments from Ubben, who has sold Nikola shares in the past, come about one week before a sizable lock-up period expires for company insiders. In November, Nikola’s board members, executive officers, and their affiliates voluntarily agreed to extend their original lock-up provisions through April 30, 2021.
The lock-up expiration will allow 136.7 million Nikola shares to be sold, roughly doubling its current share float of 144 million shares.
Shares of Fisker and Lordstown Motors dropped Thursday after Goldman Sachs downgraded the ratings of both electric-vehicle makers. The firm cited increasing competition and concerns about product timing.
Fisker was cut to sell from a neutral rating, and its 12-month price target was lowered to $10 from $15. Lordstown was cut to a neutral rating from buy, and while its target was cut to $10 from $21.
Fisker dropped as much as 12%, while Lordstown lost 5% at intraday lows.
Goldman said the downgrades come as multiple companies including General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen plan to accelerate their transition toward EVs as they seek to completely exist the internal combustion engine market.
Meanwhile, the firm noted that several big tech companies such as Apple, Xiaomi and Baidu are considering a larger role in the auto market with a branded product, or through a collaboration with an original-equipment manufacturer.
“Established EV OEMs such as Tesla are also scaling quickly,” said Goldman Sachs equity research analysts led by Mark Delaney. “Several of these companies are committing billions of R&D dollars to both powertrain technology and software.”
For Fisker specifically, Goldman said while it appreciates the steps it’s taking to try to differentiate its upcoming products “we are incrementally concerned about what we believe is the company’s late time to market … as competition increases.” Fisker is preparing to enter the EV industry in the fourth quarter of 2022 with its Ocean SUV.
The bank pointed out that Fisker has announced a plan for a “unique follow-on vehicle” with Apple supplier Foxconn that could enter the market around the fourth quarter of 2023. However, “by the time this vehicle may be ramping, the competitive landscape could be even more challenging (including the potential for new big tech entrants via partnerships).”
On Lordstown, Goldman said it’s “now more cautious on the ramp for the Endurance truck,” after the vehicle ran out of battery after about 40 miles during an off-road race in Baja California, last week. That “suggests to us that there could be more development work to do on the powertrain than we had expected,” said Goldman.
“This factor, coupled with the global auto supply chain challenges that are making it difficult to obtain parts, could increase the probability that the company’s market entry will be delayed and/or could occur at a more measured pace than we had expected,” said the bank, adding that Lordstown is aiming to start vehicle production in September.
Fisker is “standing out even with plenty of fish in the ocean of new EV automakers,” Bank of America says.
In a note to clients on Tuesday, Bank of America initiated coverage on shares of Fisker with a “buy” rating and a $31 price target.
The price target implies a potential ~116% rise from Tuesday’s intraday high of $14.45 per share.
Analysts led by John Murphy, CFA, said they believe rising reservations and a boom for the EV industry as a whole will help boost Fisker moving forward.
“Our Buy rating on Fisker is predicated on our view that the company is a beneficiary of, although still one of many participants within, the automotive industry evolution towards electrification,” Murphy wrote.
Murphy’s team said their latest estimates for Fisker’s Ocean SUV reservations hit more than 14,000 recently and that they expect production for the vehicle to start by the end of 2022.
Fisker will follow its new, all-electric SUV with three more EV models through 2025.
The Ocean SUV is expected to have a range of between 250 and 300 miles, accelerate to 60 mph in 2.9 secs (in its quickest version), and start at $37,499.
Fisker also offers lease-like subscription plans which are expected to cost $379 per month for 30,000 miles each year, including maintenance and service.
The Bank of America team highlighted the Fisker-Flexible Platform Adaptive Design (FF-PAD) in their note to clients on Tuesday as well. The FF-PAD is a proprietary design that allows Fisker to utilize third-party EV platforms and outsource its manufacturing to the likes of Foxconn and Magna.
Murphy and his team said the flexible leading program and FF-PAD design method of Fisker are “compelling,” but the firm’s business model may be “overly complicated.”
The Bank of America analysts also noted Fisker faces some serious competition in the now-crowded EV industry, and that Autotech entrants are “riskier investments than auto incumbents.”
Fisker went public in October 2020 through a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Spartan Energy.
Shares of the EV maker have slumped more than 50% over the past six months amid competition in the now-crowded industry.
Despite its recent slump, Fisker holds five “buy” ratings, three “neutral” ratings, and just one “sell” rating from analysts.
The firm’s stock traded up 3.60% as of 1:14 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
A peeved Tesla owner caused a scene at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition on Monday by jumping on top of a Model 3 to protest the carmaker’s quality-control issues.
The woman stood on top of the electric car wearing a t-shirt with the phrases “Invisible Killer” and “The Brakes Don’t Work,” according to The Wall Street Journal. In videos posted to social media, security guards can be seen attempting to hide the woman from the crowd using umbrellas as she screams about how Teslas have defective brakes.
The woman seen protesting is a Tesla owner whose father crashed a Model 3 in February, according to a statement Tesla put out on Chinese social media that was viewed by the Journal. She claims the incident was the result of faulty brakes and is insisting on a full refund on the car, but Tesla says the crash was due to excessive speed, according to the statement.
A Tesla representative told Bloomberg that it has tried to resolve the issue to no avail. The company did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.
The incident comes as Tesla’s relationship with officials in China, the world’s largest electric-vehicle market, grows increasingly tense.
Chinese regulators called in Tesla for a meeting in February over issues consumers had raised including battery fires and unintended acceleration. And in March, multiple outlets reported that Beijing had restricted the use of Teslas by military and other government-related personnel over security concerns involving the vehicles’ cameras.
CEO Elon Musk has attempted to make nice with the Chinese government by appearing at a government conference and by praising the country’s climate goals on state television. After the February meeting, Tesla said it had “deeply reflected on its shortcomings” in a statement posted to social media.
The news also comes as Tesla faces regulatory scrutiny in the US. Federal regulators said Monday that they will investigate a crash involving a Tesla without a driver that killed two people in Texas on Saturday.
Mere days after Mercedes-Benz unveiled its first electric vehicle for the US market – the sleek EQS sedan – the German carmaker took the wraps off of its next battery-powered model: the EQB.
Mercedes revealed the compact electric SUV at the Shanghai Auto Show on Sunday. The EQB will add another zero-emission option to the US’ booming crossover market when it comes stateside in 2022, but it will go on sale in Europe and China first, the company said.
Mercedes hasn’t released details for the US version of the crossover, but said European customers will get to choose from several models, including some with front-wheel drive, some with all-wheel drive, and a long-range model. There will be a seven-seat option with a small third row.
The EQB shares a lot with the gas-powered GLB crossover, but gets some touches unique to Mercedes’ EQ line of electric vehicles. It shares a smooth black-panel grille with the EQS and gets horizontal LED light strips in front and back that span the width of the vehicle.
There’s still no word on how much the EQB will cost, but it’ll likely fall in the $40,000-$50,000 range as one of Mercedes’ entry-level EQ models. It’ll compete with other compact EV crossovers like the Tesla Model Y, Audi Q4 E-Tron, and Jaguar I-Pace.
Mercedes has sat on the sidelines of the EV boom for years, but it appears committed to make up for lost time. In December, the company announced a plan to launch six new electric models by 2022. And in April, it debuted its flagship electric luxury sedan, the EQS. With 478 miles of claimed range and a gigantic 56-inch “Hyperscreen” inside, the EQS shows Mercedes is going all-in on its EV ambitions.
There’s never been a better time to shop for an electric vehicle.
Right now there are 19 new battery-powered models for sale in the US – and they run the gamut in terms of price, range, performance, size, and features. Plus, a sweeping infrastructure plan from Joe Biden may soon make buying and owning an EV cheaper and easier than ever thanks to investments in consumer rebates and charging stations.
EVs currently for sale include high-dollar luxury sedans like the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S, economical hatchbacks like the Mini Cooper SE and Chevrolet Bolt, and plenty in between. Drivers looking to make the switch from fossil fuels to zero emissions can consult this guide to learn a bit about the various EVs on the market, how much they cost, and what they can get for their budget.
The Audi E-Tron starts at around $66,000 and stretches up to just over $79,000 for the top trim. It’s powered by two electric motors – one on each axle – that put out 355 horsepower and 414 lb-ft of torque.
Things get a little less exciting as far as range is concerned. The crossover gets a range rating of 222 miles, which isn’t all that much for such a high-end vehicle.
Audi E-Tron Sportback – $69,100
The E-Tron has a sibling called the E-Tron Sportback. It comes with a roof that slopes down in the back at the expense of some trunk space.
It gets a range rating of 218 miles, slightly less than the standard E-Tron. Both crossovers benefit from a sport mode that can temporarily boost output to 402 horsepower, Audi says. They’ll be joined by the cheaper and more compact Q4 E-Tron and Q4 E-Tron Sportback toward the end of 2021.
BMW i3 – $44,450
The BMW i3 starts at $44,450 for an all-electric hatchback with 153 miles of range. There’s also a $47,650 version with a range-extending gas engine that brings the total range to 200 miles. The quirky car is BMW’s only EV in the US, but that’s about to change with the launch of the i4 sedan and iX SUV.
Chevrolet Bolt EV – $36,500
The 2021 Chevy Bolt offers up a respectable 259 miles of range for a starting price of $36,500. But it’s worth waiting for the 2022 model, which can go just as far for nearly $5,000 less. The latest generation will also have a sleeker design and a crossover cousin.
Ford Mustang Mach-E – $42,895
Ford raised some eyebrows when it decided to lend its first EV the storied Mustang moniker. But the crossover has received heaps of praise since deliveries began in early 2021.
The Mach-E starts at $42,895 for the base model, which has an EPA-estimated range of 230 miles. Buyers can choose from several other trim levels, too, including a GT Performance model with 634 lb-ft of torque.
Hyundai Kona Electric – $37,390
Sharing a platform with the Kia Niro EV, the Kona Electric comes equipped with a 201-horsepower motor and a healthy 258-mile range. Hyundai revamped the model for 2022, giving it a sleeker design but no changes under the hood. It hasn’t said how much the updated version will cost.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric – $33,245
With a starting MSRP of $33,245, the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric isn’t exactly cheap. But it’s still one of the least expensive EVs on the market.
The sedan comes in two trims – a $33,000 SE version and a $39,000 Limited model – both of which earn an EPA-rated range of 170 miles. The Ioniq also comes in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.
Jaguar I-Pace – $69,850
When it came to bringing an electric car to the US market, Jaguar beat bigger and more popular luxury brands like Mercedes and Audi to the punch. On sale since 2018, the all-wheel-drive I-Pace crossover puts out 394 horsepower and a hefty 512 lb-ft of torque, according to Jaguar. Its 90-kWh battery is good for a range of 234 miles, according to the EPA.
Kia Niro EV – $39,090
The Kia Niro EV launched in 2019 as an electric version of the gas-powered model of the same name. The compact crossover gets an EPA-estimated range of 239 miles and comes in two trims starting at $39,090 and $45,560.
Mini Cooper SE – $29,900
Surprising as it may be given that Mini is owned by BMW, the Mini Cooper SE is the cheapest electric car currently for sale in the US.
But that low MSRP means the electric Mini gets an EPA-estimated range of only 110 miles, far less than some of its pricier rivals. However, like its gas-powered siblings, the Mini Cooper SE is meant to be more of a city car than one for long highway journeys.
Launched in 2010, the Nissan Leaf is among the longest-running electric cars on the market today. The roughly $31,700 base model gets you an EPA-estimated 149 miles of range, while the $38,270 S Plus trim delivers 226 miles on a charge.
It was never the sleekest car on the block, but a 2017 refresh brought the Leaf’s styling up to date.
Polestar 2 – $59,900
Polestar may not be a household name just yet, but the luxury offshoot of Volvo and its Chinese parent, Geely, is making some of the best electrified cars on the market. Its debut EV, the Polestar 2, wasn’t just Insider’s favorite electric car of 2020, it was our favorite car, period.
The sleek $60,000 sedan has a range of 233 miles, according to the EPA. Plus, the car has lots going for it on the sustainability front aside from running on electrons rather than fossil fuels. Its seats, interior plastics, and carpets are made from recycled plastic bottles, discarded cork, and recycled fishing nets.
Porsche Taycan – $79,900
Porsche dove into the EV market guns blazing in 2019 with its first-ever EV, the Taycan. The four-seat sedan currently comes in four versions, all of which offer outrageous specs.
The 402-horsepower base model – the only Taycan sedan with a single motor instead of a pair – costs around $80,000. Just under $104,000 gets you the Taycan 4s version with 227 miles of EPA-estimated driving range and 522 horsepower. Roughly $151,000 buys you the Turbo model with a 212-mile range and 670 horsepower. And the top of the line Turbo S version delivers 750 horsepower and a 0-60-mph time of 2.6 seconds – all for $185,000.
Tesla Model 3 – $38,490
The Model 3 may be Tesla’s entry-level sedan – costing less than half the price of some of its higher-end offerings – but that doesn’t mean it skimps on quality. Around $38,500 buys you the base model, which can travel 263 miles on a charge.
Buyers can shell out an extra $9,000 for a “Long-Range” model with an EPA-rated 353 miles of range. A $57,000 sport model blasts to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, according to Tesla.
Tesla’s second production vehicle and its longest-running model, the Model S has set the standard for EVs for nearly a decade. It proved that electric cars could be cool, and, arguably, kicked off the EV revolution that’s now in full swing.
A Model S will run you $80,000 to start, and two high-performance models are on offer for $120,000 and $150,000.
Tesla Model X – $89,990
The Model X is Tesla’s second-oldest offering behind the Model S. It comes with gull-wing doors, a dual-motor setup, and a 350-mile range, but it doesn’t come particularly cheap. A base Model X starts at around $90,000, and the high-performance “Plaid” version commands roughly $120,000.
Tesla Model Y – $50,490
The Model Y is Tesla’s newest model, going on sale in early 2020, and it’s already proved to be a hit. The crossover shares a lot with the Model 3, but it rides a bit higher and has some extra interior space. It starts at $50,490 for a “Long Range” model with 326 miles of range, but there’s also an off-menu “Standard Range” version that’s cheaper still.
Volkswagen ID.4 – $39,995
The Volkswagen Group is launching an all-out electric offensive in coming years, and the ID.4 crossover is its namesake brand’s debut EV for the US market. It pairs a friendly starting price of $39,995 with a respectable 250-mile range. Deliveries began in March.
Volvo XC-40 Recharge – $53,990
For its very first battery-powered vehicle, Volvo decided to electrify its popular compact crossover, the XC40. The XC40 Recharge gets an EPA-estimated range of 208 miles and a peppy 402-horsepower motor that can send it to 60 mph in under five seconds, Volvo says.
Tesla settled a lawsuit against an ex-engineer who copied the source code of its Autopilot driver-assistance tech before taking a job with a Chinese competitor, according to documents filed Thursday with a US district court.
Former Tesla employee Guangzhi Cao will pay the electric vehicle maker an undisclosed sum as part of the settlement, though he maintains he never did anything improper with the Autopilot code.
Tesla filed the lawsuit against Cao in 2019, claiming that he copied Autopilot source code to his personal iCloud storage account before abruptly resigning from the company in January of that year to join XMotors, the US arm of Chinese EV maker Xpeng. Tesla alleged that Cao had uploaded more than 300,000 files and directories related to Autopilot to his iCloud account.
Autopilot is Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system that comes standard on all of its new cars. The technology automates some elements of highway driving, like keeping a car in the center of its lane and keeping up with traffic. It’s considered to be one of the more advanced such systems on the market.
According to the documents made public on Thursday, Cao admitted that he saved the files to his personal account and that files remained on his personal devices when Tesla filed the lawsuit but says he intended to delete them before leaving Tesla.
In a statement to Insider provided by his attorney, Cao said that he never accessed any Tesla data after leaving the company and never shared any of the data with XMotors or anyone else. Tesla and Xpeng did not respond to requests for comment.
Tesla competes closely with Xpeng and other Chinese automakers in China, the world’s largest market for electric cars. Tesla operates a plant in Shanghai and is expanding its presence in the country to include a research and development facility where it will design a more affordable EV.
The report, titled “A pump and dump SPAC scam by silicon valley celebrities, that makes Theranos look like amateurs,” say that QuantumScape’s technical claims on its highly guarded battery technology are misleading, exaggerated, or fraudulent.
The report is based off of interviews with former QuantumScape employees, as well as battery experts and current Volkswagen employees that are focused on the auto company’s electric vehicle battery efforts.
QuantumScape is working to make a scalable solid-state battery that would promise quicker charging times, longer range, and lower costs for electric vehicles, relative to today’s lithium-ion batteries.
“Our research indicates that QuantumScape can’t even reliably make test cells that work,” the report said, adding that “red flags around scaling and manufacturability render QuantumScape’s cells a pipe dream.”
Ford has teased hands-free driving capability for a while, and on Wednesday revealed the first details about its system, including the name: BlueCruise.
The software will enable drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and let the car do most of the work on more than 100,000 miles of North American highways, Ford said. Certain 2021 F-150 trucks and Mustang Mach-E crossovers can gain access to BlueCruise later in 2021 through an over-the-air software update.
BlueCruise builds on Ford’s existing driver-assistance suite, using radar sensors and cameras to keep a car in its lane, maintain a safe distance from other cars, and read speed limit signs. Drivers can switch on the system when they enter so-called “Hands-Free Blue Zones,” and the system lets drivers know when they’re on a qualifying road through blue lighting on the instrument cluster.
Like Tesla’s Autopilot and General Motors’ Super Cruise, BlueCruise is an SAE Level 2 driver-assistance system that isn’t fully autonomous and requires full driver attention. A driver-facing camera mounted above the steering wheel monitors a driver’s head position and eyes to ensure they’re paying attention to the road, similar to Super Cruise. Tesla, on the other hand, requires drivers to place a hand on the steering wheel rather than monitoring their gaze.
Tesla, despite facing mounting scrutiny over Autopilot’s branding and its role in several recent car crashes, is one of the top companies to beat when it comes to driver-assist technology, and Ford acknowledges that. Ford on Wednesday said BlueCruise is “similar to Tesla Autopilot but with the advantage of offering a true hands-free driving experience.”
In a Wednesday tweet announcing BlueCruise, Ford CEO Jim Farley took a dig at Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software, a successor to Autopilot that the firm is beta testing using thousands of its own customers on public roads.
“BlueCruise! We tested it in the real world, so our customers don’t have to,” Farley said.
Ford said its engineers have completed more than 500,000 miles of testing using BlueCruise, including 110,000 miles during a road trip that took 10 vehicles across 37 US states and five Canadian provinces.
BlueCruise comes standard on the Mustang Mach-E CA Route 1, Premium, and First Edition models. It’s available as an option on the Select trim for buyers who spend $2,600 on a “Comfort and Technology” package along with $600 on a three-year subscription to the system.
For most F-150s, BlueCruise will cost $995 for the underlying tech package, along with the $600 software fee.
At some point down the line, Ford plans to add more advanced capabilities like automated lane changes. It also aims to regularly update the system with thousands of additional miles of compatible roads.