By Michael Elkins
Investing.com -- Here is your weekly Pro Recap of the past week's biggest headlines in the electric vehicle space: Tesla breaks ground and reaches milestones; GM readies itself to fight for Ford’s fleet business; TuSimple is in hot water; and emerging EV brands report Q1.
Tesla Breaks Ground on Lithium Refinery, Aims for 1M EVs by 2025
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) broke ground Monday on a new Texas lithium refinery, with which CEO Elon Musk aims to produce enough of the battery metal to build about 1 million vehicles by 2025. That would make it the largest lithium processor in North America. Tesla's pioneering approach distinguishes it as the only major automaker in the country that not only manufactures vehicles but also refines its own minerals, most notably lithium.
Tesla is going to need the materials, as its Texas facility has reached a 5,000-unit weekly production rate for its Model Y, equating to roughly 260,000 vehicles annually, per a company announcement on Tuesday.
With things heating up at Tesla, supporters of the brand worry that the multi-billionaire Musk is needed now more than ever. They may get their wish, as Musk announced Thursday that he is stepping down from his post at Twitter and will be devoting more time to Tesla.
Mixed Results for Emerging EV Brands
A number of emerging EV brands disclosed their Q1 results this week, and Fisker (NYSE:FSR) and Lucid (NASDAQ:LCID) unfortunately fell short of expectations on Tuesday.
Fisker reported EPS of ($0.38), $0.08 worse than the analyst estimate of ($0.30), while Lucid reported a $0.04 miss of its own. The poor showing had U.S. EV shares trending downward early in the day, with FSR slumping 5.3% and LCID sliding 9% in early trading.
Fisker followed the poor 1Q results by cutting production targets in the face of supply-chain constraints. Fisker now expects to produce between 32,000 and 36,000 units in 2023, compared with its previous target of 42,400 cars.
Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) followed the trend, losing 9.3% Tuesday after the company reported a wider quarterly loss and said it would pause truck production. The company’s cash burn came in at $240 million as it produced 63 vehicles.
"This level of cash burn is not sustainable for our business, and we are looking at every option for reductions in spending," Nikola finance chief Anastasiya Pasterick said.
On Wednesday, Rivian (NASDAQ:RIVN) and Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI) impressed investors and industry analysts alike with their earnings releases, which InvestingPro subscribers got in real time.
Rivian surpassed expectations with earnings per share of ($1.25), outperforming the consensus estimate of ($1.61) by $0.36. Similarly, Li Auto delivered strong results, reporting an EPS of RMB1.35, surpassing the analyst estimate of RMB0.34 by an impressive margin.
LI’s performance earned it praise from several analysts, with Barclays writing that the company “has proven itself to be one of a few that has staying power.” And that the Chinese automaker “has clearly pulled away from the rest of the pack of emerging EV makers."
Following Rivian's successful first-quarter performance, the company's CEO, RJ Scaringe, appeared on CNBC's "Squawk Box" for an interview conducted at the company's manufacturing plant in Illinois.
During the interview, Scaringe emphasized Rivian's commitment to scaling up production and hinted at potential partnerships beyond its existing collaboration with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
GM restructures to compete with longtime rival
At its annual Fleet Solutions Summit Thursday, General Motors (NYSE:GM) announced the consolidation of its North American sales operations for commercial vehicles, parts, and telematics services under a new brand called GM Evolve. This move positions GM to compete with longtime rival Ford (NYSE:F) and its Ford Pro unit, as well as other players in the industry, for revenue from business vehicle fleets.
Shares of GM ended trading at $32.40, down 2.85% for the week.
TuSimple in danger of delisting
TuSimple (NASDAQ:TSP) ended its week in a hole after the autonomous trucking company received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq, as it announced Thursday. The notice was issued due to the company’s failure to file its quarterly report within the designated time frame.
Shares of TSP plummeted over 30% on the news. According to the company, the exchange intends to suspend trading of its shares on May 15 unless it files an appeal.
TSP ended the week down 26.7%