Shares of electric vehicle makers have largely sold off this year, following the trend of tech stocks. The Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF has tumbled around 27% year-to-date, while leading EV maker Tesla’s losses have outpaced the wider market — diving around 32%. Rivian has declined even more — around 67% year-to-date. Nevertheless, one analyst is optimistic about the planned energy transition — and that includes EVs — calling it one of the “greatest” investment opportunities since the internet revolution. Here’s what George Gianarikas, senior analyst at Canaccord Genuity, says about buying EV market leader Tesla and younger upstart Rivian. Tesla — ‘Apple on steroids’ Tesla is the “clear leader” in the EV space, Gianarikas told CNBC’s ” Squawk Box Asia ” last week. On top of that, he sees the company as “greater than” Apple . “We see staggering similarities between Apple and Tesla, except Tesla is Apple on steroids. Both have leading industry margins and share of profits thanks to product focus and vertical integration; except we see Tesla’s manufacturing chops as a key differentiating factor,” he said separately in a report. Tesla has distinguished itself from Apple with its “maniacal focus” on manufacturing, whereas Apple has stuck to outsourcing, Gianarikas said. That could help Tesla retain its competitive edge as manufacturing competence will help it cut costs — even in an environment of increasing costs, he told CNBC. He noted that Tesla has been directly sourcing minerals from mining partners for some time. “Tesla’s manufacturing gambits have nearly cost them everything … but their unrelenting manufacturing focus has yielded tangible improvements in profitability,” he said. Gianarikas said Tesla is turning into “more than an EV company.” The company is also involved in solar, energy storage and robotics businesses — which he said will add “duration and durability to the Tesla growth story.” Gianarikas gave Tesla a buy rating and price target of $801 — an upside of around 190%. That would be a significantly higher target than those of other analysts covering the stock. According to FactSet, 64% of analysts have a buy rating on the stock, and an average target price of $307.27 — or a 12% upside. Rivian — a potential ‘leader’ Rivian, an EV startup, has been struggling with supply chain issues , which have hit its production. But a recent partnership with Amazon has given it a much-needed boost. Amazon is set to buy 100,000 custom-built electric delivery vans from Rivian , as part of its move to electrify its last-mile fleet by 2040. That followed a $700 million investment into the EV startup in 2019. “Not only has the relationship with Amazon provided Rivian with capital and an initial order but strategically it has afforded Rivian immediate scale through which it can achieve several cost, manufacturing, and design advantages,” said Gianarikas. “Furthermore, through the autonomous features, Rivian can improve upon its autonomous offering by gaining data/miles through the Amazon trucks on the road,” he added. Though it’s facing strong competition from fellow upstarts and established automakers, Rivian has differentiated itself, said Gianarikas. While traditional automakers use “disparate” technology from various sources, Rivian has designed most of its hardware and software, he said. “This full-field approach should drive product differentiation, enhanced customer service, and strong margins,” he said. “Rivian has the ingredients to develop into a leader in the EV and mobility marketplace.” He gave Rivian a price target of $61, an upside of around 83%. Of the analysts covering the stock, 61% have a buy rating on it, with an average price target of $56.80 — or 71% upside, according to FactSet.
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