Lucid, Nikola, Fisker are eyed by Wall Street

Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson poses at the Nasdaq MarketSite as Lucid Motors (Nasdaq: LCID) begins trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange after completing its business combination with Churchill Capital Corp IV in New York City, New York, July 26, 2021.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Investors holding beaten-up electric vehicle stocks are bracing for a slate of first-quarter earnings reports, which roll out over the next few days.

The asset group has had a rough ride, with the S&P Kensho Electric Vehicles Index off 25% since the beginning of 2022 and down 43% from its February 2021 peak. The index tracks EV makers like Tesla and Honda as well as major auto industry suppliers like Visteon and Lear.

Some of the best-known stocks in the sector have fared even worse. They mostly claim little to no revenue, and minimal, if any, production — and three of them report earnings in the course of two days.

First up, Fisker

California-based EV startup Fisker reported after the markets closed on Wednesday that it lost $122.1 million in the first quarter, or $0.41 per share. That was a slight miss: Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a loss of $0.39 per share.

Fisker’s shares fell about 1.5% in after-hours trading following the news.

Fisker has more than 45,000 reservations for its upcoming Ocean, a sleek electric SUV that will start around $38,000.

Fisker doesn’t have a factory of its own; global auto supplier Magna International will build the Ocean at its contract manufacturing facility in Austria. Production is expected to start in November.

Last year, Fisker announced plans for a second vehicle, a lower-cost model code-named PEAR that will be built by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group starting in 2023. And earlier Wednesday, Fisker announced a third model, a sports car called Ronin, planned for late 2024.

Fisker said on Wednesday that Magna has begun building Ocean prototypes for testing, and that it remains on track to begin building vehicles for customers in November. CEO Henrik Fisker told CNBC’s Phil LeBeau that Fisker and Magna now plan to triple production of the Ocean from 50,000 vehicles in 2023 to 150,000 annually by the end of 2024.

Fisker has about $1 billion in cash on hand, it said, enough to see it through the beginning of Ocean production.

Year to date, the company’s stock is down about 33% as of Wednesday’s close, and is off 63% from its February 2021 peak of $28.50.

Production plans at Nikola

Electric heavy truck maker Nikola Motors will report before the markets open on Thursday.

Nikola, based in Phoenix, is probably best known for the scandals that led to the abrupt departure of founder Trevor Milton in September 2020. Milton is now facing federal charges on allegations that he misled investors about the state of Nikola’s technology — but after paying a settlement to the U.S. government, his former company has moved forward.

Under Milton’s successor, CEO Mark Russell, Nikola has simplified its go-to-market plan, forged some key partnerships, and begun production of the battery-electric version of its Tre heavy truck. A longer-range version of the Tre, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, is expected next year.

Nikola said Monday it raised about $200 million from a private sale of convertible notes. Its current cash balance — thought to be around $1 billion — and anticipated funding needs will likely stir questions during its earnings call Thursday morning.

Nikola’s stock is down about 27% year to date through Wednesday, and is off 91% from its high of $79.73, set in June 2020.

Clarity from Lucid

Unlike Nikola and Fisker, Lucid will have some revenue to report when it releases its first-quarter results after the markets close on Thursday. The Arizona-based maker of luxury EVs began production of its first model, the Air sedan, last fall.

Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson served as chief engineer on Tesla’s landmark Model S. The Air, a no-compromises, high performance luxury sedan with a huge range, is seen as an updated take on the ideas that shaped the Model S.

Reviews have been very good: among other accolades, the Air was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. But Lucid has struggled to ramp up production amid ongoing global supply chain disruptions. In February, it cut its 2022 production target from 20,000 vehicles to between 12,000 and 14,000 units.

The status of Lucid’s production ramp-up is likely to be a hot topic on Thursday’s earnings call.

Lucid’s stock is down about 47% this year through Wednesday, and is off 65% from its February 2021 peak of $58.05.