Which Of These Electric Vehicle Stocks Should You Buy This Month?

With Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) as the king of electric vehicle stocks in the west, many have been turning their attention to two automotive giants in the east – Nio Inc (NYSE: NIO) and Xpeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV). While the EV market is still in its infancy in many Asian markets, Nio and Xpeng are butting heads in an attempt to carve a bigger piece of the Chinese market among themselves. Fierce competition and research development between both companies not only fueled investors to look for top EV stocks to buy. But it also created tremendous growth in the EV industry as it moves one step closer to replace fossil fuel vehicles in the near future. 

electric vehicle stocks
Source: BarChart.com (DRIV ETF vs SPY ETF 1 year performance)

Fueled by both awareness of climate change and an ever-growing scarcity of non-renewable resources, investors banking on greener alternatives are searching for the best EV stocks to buy. However, not all investors are willing to pay the high price for TSLA stock which closed at $654.87 per share last Friday. Moreover, traditional automakers like Ford (NYSE: F) and General Motors (NYSE: GM) are shifting their attention to EVs. This may saturate the market, limiting the potential growth for EV stocks in the U.S.

Such predicaments have definitely made NIO stock and XPEV stock favorites among investors. That’s because these are some of the top players in the world’s largest EV market. Moreover, both companies have received funds from regional governments in China. You could say they have the green light from the Chinese government to expand and convert its fossil fuel automotive market. With that in mind, let’s dive into the details to see which of these two EV stocks stands out.

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Nio (NIO)

Even with Tesla making a move into the EV market in China, Nio firmly believes that its company creates a far superior “ownership experience” than what Tesla can offer. Investors may worry that Tesla’s price cuts in its product lineup may lure away Nio’s business. But Nio CFO Steven Feng is confident it would be quite the contrary. “While Tesla may attract owners of fuel-combustion vehicles to opt for EV, in the end, they would end up buying Nio’s cars,” said the CFO. Why the stark switch? The answer lies within Nio’s dominance of brand awareness, making its EVs a household name among the Chinese market.

NIO Stock Setting Up Its Vertical In China

Reaching 44,000 vehicles delivered in 2020 may seem small for Nio, but it is a feat since the company focuses primarily on premium SUVs. Such specialization definitely created a following among EV users, As CFO Feng highlighted, “Nio’s EV is admired for its interior design, handling & suspension, and a post-purchase service”. The post-purchase service is Nio’s strength, where its EV owners can replace or upgrade its batteries with ease.

NIO stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Dubbed as a “battery-as-a-service” solution, adopters lauded the move, with over 55% of Nio users having subscribed to the service. In January 2021, Nio revealed its ET7 sedan, claiming a range of over 600 miles for the top-spec model. If that is indeed the case, that would be a significant step-up from what the Tesla Model S currently offers. We will have to wait for production models of the ET7 to find out.

Nio’s Set On Expansion Overseas.

While consolidating its foothold in China, Nio has already set its eyes on expanding its reach to the European market later this year. The company may be looking at capturing a considerable market share in China. But if it can capture even a tiny sliver of the European, that would be quite an achievement. To entice European prospects, Nio plans to offer a custom-tailored design of its EV that would suit the local market. In tandem with its expansion plans, the company will be ramping up its production capacity to 150,000 cars per year by the end of 2021.

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Xpeng (XPEV)

Xpeng has recently announced that it was able to raise $76.9 million in a new round of investment from Guangdong Yuecai Investment Holdings Co., a dedicated investment arm of the Guangdong provincial government. The investment is meant to support both Xpeng’s EV production and R&D for its autonomous driving.

XPEV stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

To highlight its market sophistication in autonomous driving technology, Xpeng has kicked off an autonomous driving expedition. Utilizing a fleet of Xpeng’s P7 lineup, it is set to become the longest autonomous driving expedition in China. The expedition will cross a total distance of 3,675km across six provinces.

Expanding Sales Growth

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the company’s revenue grew by over 345% to $437 million. That is thanks to strong sales numbers during the quarter. The delivery of 12,694 vehicles represented an increase of about 303% year-over-year. Total production for 2020 tallied up to 27,041 vehicles. That was a 112% increase from  the previous year. Xpeng is looking to ramp up its EV deliveries to compensate for the slow seasonal Chinese New Year festive. It targets to deliver 12,000 vehicles for the first quarter of 2021.

Robust Product Lineups

It’s worth pointing out that Xpeng focuses on more affordable segments in comparison with Nio. You could say they are not direct competitors. Besides its compact G3 SUV Lineup, Xpeng released a P7 electric sedan back in June 2020. The company also launched a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery option across all of its models. Unlike the nickel counterparts, LFP batteries are economical, have a longer lifespan and reduce the risk of overheating.

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Bottom Line: NIO Stock Vs XPEV Stock

Both Chinese EV automakers presented distinctive strengths. On one end, Nio has created a strong position with its superior brand power, extensive battery subscription service, and a vision to expand outside China. On the other hand, Xpeng has its lead on autonomous driving technology, strong growth numbers, and varied vehicle and battery lineups. While it is safe to say Nio is currently leading the Chinese EV market, continued progress between the two will keep both companies neck and neck for the crown of Chinese EV automakers in the east.

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