An Apple Car (or iCar) by computer giant Apple (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report has been rumored for a long time and some meetings with Porsche mean it could be on its way.
Porsche is one of the luxury brands of the German giant Volkswagen (VWAGY) – Get Volkswagen AG Reportwhich wants to give that car group its independence in the coming months.
There are no specifics, but Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said during a video conference on the annual earnings call that his people met with Apple’s people in California last year to discuss joint projects. Blume said Porsche and Apple “continue to talk, but said it was too early for any specifics,” a spokesperson told TheStreet in an email statement.
These meetings between the representatives of the two recognizable brands around the world have launched speculation on a possible union to jointly develop vehicles together in the image of the partnership between Apple and Goldman Sachs. This last union is behind the Apple credit card, a symbol of the ambitions of Tim Cook’s group in financial services.
“My iPhone on wheels?” one person on Twitter asked.
“VW Group and Apple make the most sense,” another commenter said. “VW is moving to electric partly as a way to change their image from the company that cheated with diesel. Partnering with Apple would also be a good look for VW.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that Apple and Porsche have teamed up. The two companies have gotten together on projects in the past, including Apple CarPlay, which enables a car radio or head unit to be a display and a controller for an iOS device.
Like all of the major auto makers, Porsche has plans to rid itself of the internal combustion engine in the very near future. Blume said he expects more than 80% of the company’s newly sold vehicles to be fully electric in 2030.
TheStreet Quant Ratings does not have a rating for Volkswagen.
Can The Average Consumer Afford EVs?
Electric vehicles have always been a costly premise for both automakers and consumers.
According to car-shopping website Edmunds, the average transaction price for a new EV climbed to $60,054 in February, Bloomberg reported.
Kelley Blue Book data estimated the rise was even higher. The average transaction price for an electric vehicle is $62,876, according to January 2022 Kelley Blue Book data. That is about $15,000 higher than the overall industry average of $46,404, which includes gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrids, and EVs.
Four years back, Tesla’s (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report charismatic CEO Elon Musk had offered customers a lower cost, mid-range Tesla Model 3 sedan priced at an affordable $35,000. That price point is an unlikely proposition today.
The Model 3 rear-wheel drive now costs nearly $47,000.
Earlier this week, however, Tesla however announced price hikes across its entire range of vehicles to offset rising raw material prices. It was the electric vehicle maker’s second price increase this month, in response to rising inflation that has pushed up the price of nickel, a key component in EV batteries, to record high levels.
Similarly, legacy automaker General Motors (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report, which introduced the electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck last year as well as two smaller, cheaper SUVs that have raised its prices. GM’s Chevrolet Bolt EV launched at a starting price of $33,995 is temporarily out of production.
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GM’s EV models are also nowhere near the prices they were originally set at. The company plans to launch more electric vehicles in the market this year, the company said during its latest earnings call in February.
Ford Stands Out from Tesla, GM On Price Increase
Besides Tesla and GM, Chinese automaker BYD has also hiked the price of their cars, citing soaring costs of raw materials. So one reasonably would expect other automakers to follow suit and protect their profit margins. But, Ford is the exception.
The company is not planning any immediate price hikes yet but the automaker told TheStreet it was “monitoring volatility in raw material and component availability and prices.”
“Nothing to add specifically on pricing for now,” the spokesperson added.
Ford’s F all-electric Mustang Mach-E that was launched at a starting price of $43,895 now costs $46,375 and the E-Transit all-electric commercial van at an entry-level comes for $43,295.
The spokesperson also said that Ford’s exposure to raw materials mined or shipped through Russia and Ukraine is limited: “It’s worth noting that we have very limited direct sourcing from Ukraine and Russia.”
In addition, the group, led by Chief Executive Jim Farley, one of Wall Street’s newer darlings, said it had secured its nickel supply over several months. In the short term that enables Ford not to pass on the surge in nickel prices to customers. Nickel is a key metal in EV batteries.
“We have supplies of nickel contracted through the next few years to support our ambitious EV goals,” the company told TheStreet. “Beyond that, we don’t intend to give real-time updates about individual materials and components.”
Will The Steep Rise in Gas Prices Push Consumers to EVs?
Surging fuel prices are prompting more people to consider greener cars, but the costs and savings are complicated.
Online shopper visits for energy-efficient vehicles, that do not run on gasoline primarily, including hybrids, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric cars rose 25% in the four weeks ending March 13, Edmunds data showed. Online curiosity for EVs peaked 39% in the week ending March 6 and increased 18% the week before that.
Here are more of the top electric vehicle stocks to watch this week:
Ford is transitioning to electrification like other legacy vehicle makers. To gain market share quickly in this competitive sector, the group led by CEO Jim Farley is developing electric versions of its legendary models and also electric versions of its bestsellers. This is the case of the F-150 pickup, one of the best-selling vehicles in North America since its launch. Its electric version, the F-150 Lightning is eagerly awaited in the coming months.
Ford has just confirmed that the first deliveries scheduled from spring are on schedule. Basically, there will be no delays as consumers who have placed an order might have feared due to the continued disruption of supply chains, shortage of chips, and soaring prices of raw materials.
TheStreet Quant Ratings rates Ford as a Buy with a rating score of B.
General Motors at a product launch said that it intends to lead the world in electric vehicles eventually, in a direct challenge to market-leading Tesla. Company executives made the remarks during a press conference marking the beginning of production of its “Tesla killer,” a new luxury, all-electric Cadillac dubbed the Lyriq, that sold out in 10 minutes when GM opened reservations for it on Sept. 18.
The company also said that it had moved up production by nine months of the Lyriq because the share of the market that comprises luxury electric vehicles will jump from 13% to 36% by 2025. GM added that it will offer an additional 240,000 reservations to “ hand-raisers,” or people interested in buying the luxury EV, on May 19. Lyriq is also a more wallet-friendly option than most Tesla models, with the first model priced below $60,000. It is also being made domestically, in Spring Hill, Tenn.
TheStreet Quant Ratings rates General Motors as a Buy with a rating score of B.
Everything seems to be going against Rivian (RIVN) – Get Rivian Automotive, Inc. Class A Report. Until recently the electric-vehicle manufacturer presented itself as a key challenger to the throne of Tesla. But two key stumbles — involving pricing and production — have severely clouded Rivian’s path forward. The first: an ill-advised effort to raise the prices of its vehicles, a move applied to customers who have already placed their orders. The backlash was more brutal than the rise in prices. The other concerns an increase in production rates that hasn’t happened. Rivian must manage this crucial step to make the transition from a niche carmaker to a major player.
The carmaker currently produces three models — the R1T electric pickup, the R1S electric SUV, and the DEV electric delivery van — at a plant in Normal, Ill. It currently has the ability to produce 50,000 vehicles a year, but Rivian has said it will be able to manufacture just half that number in 2022. The reason? Rivian points particularly to the supply chains disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s been worsened in the short term by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And this year things aren’t likely to improve.
TheStreet Quant Ratings does not have a rating for Rivian.
By inaugurating the Berlin Gigafactory on Tuesday, Musk once again took his audience off guard by starting to dance. “This is a great day for the factory,” Musk said in English. This “will be another step in the direction of a sustainable energy future.” On his Twitter account, he wanted to thank Germany in German. “Thank You, Germany!!!” Musk wrote surrounding his message with two German flags on the left and on the right. The opening near Berlin of Tesla’s first European “gigafactory” was announced with great fanfare in November 2019. It marked a turning point for the automotive industry in Germany with the arrival in the country of Volkswagen and Mercedes (DDAIF) of their main rival in the race for the electric car.
Musk’s a genius with very little filter. That leads him to talk about things that don’t exist and may never exist. These include the Tesla Cybertruck and its long-discussed $25,000 sedan. Are we getting one? Well, Musk confirmed that Tesla won’t be building a $25,000 car, but his reasoning appeared to be that doing that isn’t necessary. “It’s — really the thing that overwhelmingly matters is when is the car autonomous? I think, at the point in which it is autonomous, the cost of transport drops by, I don’t know, a factor of four or five,” he added.
TheStreet Quant ratings rates Tesla as a Hold with a rating score of C+.