By Matt McCallNov 26, 2019
I couldn’t help myself… so I did it.
I haven’t had a driver’s license in 15 years. But in about two years, I’ll make the transition from electric scooter to electric truck.
Or, more specifically, Tesla’s new Cybertruck. It was just unveiled last Thursday, and while I didn’t immediately put my order in, the more I looked at it and researched it, the more excited I got.
So yours truly will be a proud owner of a Tesla Cybertruck in 2022, and I can’t wait. I better start practicing my driving again!
It was quite a week for cars in general, as Ford also introduced an electric version of the iconic American muscle car… the Mustang.
If there was any doubt, the events of the past week have cleared it up: This isn’t your dad’s auto industry anymore. With this transportation transformation comes big opportunity. Let me explain…
With their newest prototypes, Tesla (TSLA) and Ford (F) are tearing up the script completely – and as investors, that’s something that should make us all sit up and pay attention.
Below is Tesla’s Cybertruck. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before. That was also true of the Model S – which is still in a class by itself – and it’s true of everything Elon Musk does. It’s how Tesla earned such a devoted following, comparable only to Apple (AAPL). Sure, products this far ahead of their time aren’t for everyone. But I wasn’t the only one who jumped at it. With 200,000 preorders already, Tesla must be onto something.
It should also tell you something that the new Ford Mustang is an electric SUV. And it really tells you something when Ford expects to “make a profit from car one,” according to CEO Jim Hackett.
For one thing, the conventional wisdom about muscle cars is out the window. Until now, a four-door car would barely qualify – let alone an SUV crossover. And until recently, most electric vehicles (EVs) weren’t known for performance. But, with the Mustang Mach-E, Ford is claiming 0-60 acceleration in just over three seconds… which would be right up there with the Porsche 911. (So is Porsche’s (POAHY) own EV, the Porsche Taycan, for that matter.) Tesla’s Cybertruck is part of the club, too, with the company claiming the fastest version can go from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds.
All of this excitement has me again thinking about who the big winners in the EV race are. Let’s take a look at them today – as that tends to be where you find the best investment opportunities.
The idea that Ford can profit on the Mach-E “from car one” is a big deal. In the past, profitability from EVs was a long road. In 2014, one of Hackett’s peers – Sergio Marchionne, the late CEO of Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) – even said: “I hope you don’t buy” Fiat’s electric car, the 500e, “because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000.”
Yet Ford is pivoting hard toward the electric-car future: It will invest $11 billion by 2022, with the goal of 40 fully-electric or hybrid models in the Ford lineup. As for Fiat Chrysler, this June it was ready to spend $35 billion to get in on the Renault-Nissan partnership – and, thus, gain better access to the Japanese “battery cartel.”
European carmakers are bound to build more and more EVs, whether they planned to or not. They’re operating under a strict mandate from European Union bureaucrats: cut carbon dioxide emissions by one-third in just 10 years. China is also pivoting to EVs to combat its air pollution crisis. And so will Americans, whenever they want to save money on gas.
For the auto industry, this means they can kill two birds with one stone: keep regulators off their back – and build cars more efficiently.
Remember, EVs don’t have a big, complicated engine. They have a much simpler electric motor. The result, Ford says, is that its factories can cut work hours by 30% per car and spend 50% less on capital investment.
If electric cars need fewer parts and less manpower to assemble them, that’s a major shift for the automotive workforce.
It’s got a lot of folks worried that EVs are a job-killer. And, if the electric motors are so simple to build, what will the remaining jobs be like? The union guys at United Auto Workers are worried about EVs “undermining job quality.”
However, it will actually be the opposite.
In the future, automakers will need to hire a lot of computer programmers and operators… because robots will be the ones assembling the cars. So you’ll still be able to find a good job in the auto industry. You’ll just need more schooling to get one.
Anytime there’s a major technological revolution – like the auto industry is experiencing now – people fear losing their old jobs. It’s understandable, but history ALSO tells us that these major shifts create new jobs. Already, hot new startups are springing up all over the place to create that electric-vehicle future.
One of the first places where that “future” will become “the present” is China. As it tends to do, the Chinese government has set an aggressive goal: no fossil fuels by 2025!
Not only will people in China breathe easier without the infamous, overpowering smog in every major city. Chinese companies will have the chance to corner the market on EVs – simply by getting there first.
Since the Chinese government dropped $60 billion on electric cars, the country is now home to more than 100 manufacturers, shipping more EVs than the rest of the world combined.
That dominance includes what’s most important to the electric-car revolution: the battery.
When it comes to battery technology, the major players are the usual suspects: Japan, the United States, and Europe. But when it comes to raw materials, China is king.
Right now, China controls more than half of the global market for battery components… as much as 77%, according to the Yano Research Institute.
Those raw materials are in hot demand, as billions of people adopt not just EVs but smartphones, laptops, and all kinds of brand-new mobile technology in the Internet of Things (IoT).
So, China is getting creative to keep those batteries coming.
Did you happen to catch 60 Minutes last Sunday? It aired a whole story on rare-Earth metals – and the (literal) depths people are going to get them.
In the Pacific Ocean, believe it or not, there are trillions of “nodules” sitting right there on the ocean floor… just waiting to be picked up. These nodules seem like a miracle for battery suppliers: They’re made of the exact components they need – cobalt, nickel, copper, and manganese. And, CBS reports, they could be worth $8 trillion, even $16 trillion or more.
No wonder China and Russia are keen to get their hands on them.
If other countries want in on the battery-powered future, they’ll have to beat them… or join them.
Right now, a lot of politicians are reluctant to get involved with deep-sea dives for rare-Earth metals, primarily because you have to get past the United Nations to do it.
Luckily, scientists are working on new, game-changing battery technology that might not even need cobalt… and is much smaller, requiring fewer raw materials in general.
To me, the companies providing this technology are the most attractive. Why limit yourself to Ford, a Chinese state-owned company, or any of the many others that need this technology… when you can profit from all of it by going right to the source?
At this early stage, one tiny company holds some key patents. Automakers like Toyota Motor (TM) are relying on it for their electric cars. Yet this company is totally off the radar! That makes now the right time to get in… before everyone else. I’ve got a full presentation on the investment opportunity in next-generation batteries, which you can view for free by clicking here.
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