Investors are always on the lookout for the next big thing, the next industry that will bring the great returns. Predicting what stock sector will blast off is an inexact science, at best; but like politics, stocks run downstream from culture. And right now, culture is all-in for clean energy and electric cars.
Observing the electric vehicle (EV) stock sector for Colliers Securities is industry expert Michael Shlisky. Shlisky had an opportunity last week to meet virtually with management from numerous EV companies, in Colliers’ Spring Alternative Transportation Conference, giving him a chance to sharpen his view of the sector.
EV stocks have dropped significantly in the past six weeks. However, Shlisky believes this “may be the perfect time for investors to test the waters for stocks that may have fallen too far, too fast…” The analyst added, “In our view, institutional investors who have been circling the sector may finally be able to take a fresh look, with valuations much lower in recent weeks.”
Even though Shlisky sees current conditions offering an opening for investors to buy in at attractive valuations, he does note that the EV sector is likely to continue to face challenges in the near term. He recommends a two-year time frame for investors in the sector – and goes on to note several EV stocks that that investors should consider.
We’ve opened up the TipRanks database to get the latest details on three of Shlisky’s stock picks; let’s take a look at them, and find out what brought this analyst to these stocks.
Arcimoto, Inc. (FUV)
The first EV stock we’re looking at is Arcimoto, an Oregon-based EV maker specializing in a line it calls the Fun Electric Vehicle, or FUV. The FUV is Arcimoto’s flagship design, a three-wheel vehicle that seats two in a tandem arrangement, boats a top speed of 75 miles per hour and a 102 mile range on a single charge. The vehicle is designed for short-range, casual driving, or a mid-range regular commute to and from work. Arcimoto is taking orders for FUV, and the vehicle is already available on the West Coast and in Florida.
In addition to the FUV, Arcimoto markets variants of the vehicle built on the same chassis and dual-motor front wheel drive design. The chief variants are the Deliverator, a light delivery truck specialized for the urban landscape, and the Rapid Responder, marketed to fire departments and emergency medical services. The Rapid Responder’s key selling point is directly related to the vehicle’s small size and maneuverability – it can reach places where large emergency trucks cannot, making it likely to be the ‘first on the scene.’ Arcimoto has unveiled a motorcycle-inspired Roadster model for customer orders.
Arcimoto’s shares have seen their ups and downs – and all in recent months. The company’s stock grew an astounding 721% in 2020, and then gained another 177% to reach its peak – and all-time high – in early February of this year. Since then, the stock has slipped 64%, leading investors to ask, ‘What gives?’
The explanations are actually simple; in Wall Street’s general view, FUV gained dramatically last year when the EV sector as a whole did well, and gave back some of those gains when the combination of inflation worries, rising Treasury bond yields, and questions about how to value equities during the pandemic recovery put downward pressure on markets in February and March.
Shlisky sees potential for Arcimoto – in fact, it is one of his ‘top picks’ in the sector – for both the near and mid-term, with a focus on the eponymous Fun Vehicle. He notes that Florida is seeing early success with the FUV.
“Congruent with the numerous happy social-media posts we have noted in recent weeks, FUV is shipping to Florida in earnest. Management noted that another truck full of vehicles was en route as we spoke at the conference. Given the significant number of tourist attractions, closed-village communities, campuses and golf facilities, Florida is a leading pre-order state for FUV. The company plans multiple physical locations in the state, including rental fleets,” Shlisky noted.
Of the company’s overall position, the analyst adds, “We can expect ongoing improvements in the production rate this year, scaling up to the new r-AMP facility and full-scale assembly capabilities next year.”
Based on all of the above, Shlisky rates Arcimoto shares a Buy, and his $20 price target suggests it has room for 57% share appreciation this year. (To check out Shlisky’s track record, click here)
Overall, there are two reviews on record for FUV, and they are evenly split Buy and Hold. This makes for a Moderate Buy consensus view, and the average price target of $14 implies a 6% upside from the trading price of $13.23. (See FUV stock analysis on TipRanks)
ElectraMeccanica Vehicles (SOLO)
ElectraMeccanica Vehicles represents a company vying for a similar niche to Arcimoto. The company markets a single-seat commuter EV, designed for the urban market and featuring an 80 mile per hour top speed, a 100 mile range, and three-wheel configuration. The chassis comes with more automotive-traditional body work than the FUV, a door on either side of the vehicle, and trunk for cargo stowage.
The Solo vehicle is available for pre-order, but ElectraMeccanica has not yet begun deliveries. The company has selected Phoenix, Arizona as the location for a proposed factory complex, that will include light vehicle assembly along with battery pack and power electrics testing workshops.
ElectraMeccanica is also starting to diversify the product line, with a pair of two-seat vehicles. These are the Tofino sports car and the Electric Roadster. Both feature more traditional automotive styling than the Solo, as well as significantly higher performance and range per charge. Like the Solo, both are available for pre-orders.
ElectraMeccanica remains a truly speculative investment; the company has yet to report more than $250,000 in quarterly revenues. At the end of the 2020, the company reported using $10.5 million in cash for operations, up from $3.6 million the year-ago quarter. However, the company also reported having $129.5 million in cash on hand as of December 31; this is a dramatic improvement from the $8.6 million reported one year earlier. The company has plans to begin vehicle deliveries later this year.
In his review of SOLO shares, Shlisky focuses on the upcoming vehicle deliveries as the major catalyst for ElectraMeccanica.
“SOLO reiterated that it expects to make its first retail deliveries in 2021, most likely vehicles manufactured by the company’s Chinese partner. The company also continues to roll out retail locations (20 in operation or announced, in total) to generate test-drives and incremental reservations…. SOLO has finally made its choice to build its assembly facility in Arizona; what we did not expect was its first official micro-mobility announcement at the same time. That said, this was something we had expected, given the SOLO model’s place between a moped and an automobile, both of which are widely rented,” the analyst wrote.
At the bottom line, Shlisky says simply, “The stock has been volatile, but we would stick with it as initial deliveries begin to reach driveways.”
In line with those comments, Shlisky gives SOLO a Buy rating. His $7.50 price target implies an upside of ~60% in the next 12 months.
Like the Colliers analyst, the rest of the Street is bullish on SOLO. 3 Buy ratings compared to no Holds or Sells add up to a Strong Buy consensus rating. At $8.92, the average price target is more aggressive than Shlisky’s and implies upside potential of ~90%. (See SOLO stock analysis on TipRanks)
Forum Merger III (FIII)
Last but not least is Forum Merger III, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which is in the late stages of the merger business combination process with Electric Last Mile Solutions. ELMS is an EV maker based in Troy, Michigan, not far from the Detroit heart of the US automotive industry. Electric Last Mile is working on an urban delivery van, a light cargo vehicle with 170 cubic feet of cargo space, a 150 mile range per charge – and a short 2-hour span for full charging.
ELMS’ EV van is specifically designed to compete with class 1 gas-powered delivery vans. While it has a shorter range than the combustion vehicles, it does boast a larger cargo space than the leading gas-powered van. In addition, the ELMS vehicle comes with an on-board over-the-air digital connection, allowing fleet managers to collect real-time data on vehicle routing, tracking, and efficiency. The Urban Delivery Vehicles are available for pre-orders.
While ELMS has not begun vehicle deliveries yet, it has acquired the production capacity it needs to meet anticipated demand. The company has a 675,000 square foot factory in Mishawaka, Indiana, and is ramping production capability to 100,000 commercial vehicles per year. The company has plans to begin production on the first 45,000 orders by the end of 3Q21.
As mentioned above, Forum Merger III will be taking ELMS public. The merger was announced in December; when complete, the combined entity will take the name Electric Last Mile Solutions, and list on the NASDAQ with ‘ELMS’ as the ticker symbol. The combination will produce a company worth $1.4 billion, and is expected to generate $379 million in funds available for operations and growth.
The upcoming SPAC merger got the attention of Colliers’ Shlisky, who describes ELMS as another of his ‘top picks’ in the EV space.
“ELMS is one of the more-promising EV-CV stories this year… ELMS plans to launch a Class 1-2 delivery vehicle in 2021… assembled from kits at its already-built Indiana facility,” Shlisky opined.
Shlisky goes on to outline the advantages of the vehicle, and its potential for future profitability: “[Its] Class 1-2 product has the same upfront cost as incumbent ICE vehicles, yet offers 35% or more cargo space, plus savings on fuel and maintenance from there. Following a 2020 in which US e-commerce activity increased over 30% and van production was down 15%, along with the exit of three important competitor models (10% share) in 2020-2021, there is a dire need for capacity and ELMS appears uniquely poised to fill that need, if execution is strong on the launch timeline. In our view, it all adds up to one of the more-promising EV-CV ideas.”
Based on these comments, Shlisky recommends Buying FIII before the merger. His price target on the stock is $13, which implies an upside of 30% from current levels.
All in all, FIII has a small, but vocal camp of bullish analysts. Out of the 2 analysts polled by TipRanks, both rate the stock a Buy. With a return potential of ~81%, the stock’s 12-month consensus target price stands at $18.(See FIII stock analysis on TipRanks)
To find good ideas for EV stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.