A slate of EV automakers report earnings this week and will try to prove they can turn hype into production

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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 first-quarter earnings reports, which start in earnest over the next few days.

Year to date, the asset group has had a rough ride: The S&P Kensho Electric Vehicles Index is down roughly 25% since the beginning of 2022, and down 43% from its peak in February of last year. The index tracks electric automakers 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 are set to report earnings over the next two days.

First up, Fisker

California-based EV startup Fisker will report after the markets close Wednesday.

Fisker, founded by former Aston Martin chief designer Henrik Fisker, has more than 40,000 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.

Analysts will likely have questions about what’s shaping up to be an aggressive model-launch schedule, set before Fisker ships even one vehicle.

The company’s stock is down about 37% this year, as of Tuesday’s close, and is off 64% from its all-time high of $28.50 set in February 2021.

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 be topics of interest during its earnings call Thursday morning.

Nikola’s stock is down about 32% this year through Tuesday, and off 91% from its all-time 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 luxury sedan with huge range and performance, could be thought of as an updated take on the ideas that formed the Model S.

Reviews of the Air 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 of the Air 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.

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 49% this year through Tuesday, and off 66% from its all-time high of $58.05, set in February of 2021.

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