The late great comedian George Carlin was often fond of saying that nobody could spout “nonsense” (he used a different term here) like organized religion. I’m curious what his thoughts would have been on electric vehicle firms like Canoo (NASDAQ:GOEV). While investments like GOEV stock appear compelling on paper, the actual performance for many of these industry newcomers have been anything but.
It’s disappointing because leading up to the debut of not only EV manufacturers but solid-state battery specialists as well, we’ve all been gaslighted with the same message: EVs are the future. Unfortunately, the market seems to have other ideas. For instance, GOEV stock is down 23% on a year-to-date basis, while shedding 64% over the trailing year.
Some future, eh?
Of course, that’s when you get the folks that claim GOEV stock is on discount. Because of geopolitical rumblings and soaring consumer inflation, investors are jittery. However, some of the factors undergirding inflation – such as supply chain disruptions – are likely temporary. Therefore, Canoo is a steal.
In this crazy market environment, anything’s possible. However, I’m going to stay on the sidelines for these three reasons.
The ‘Skateboard’ Problem for GOEV Stock
Back when most people first heard about Canoo, they were arguably impressed with its skateboard platform. With one standard underboard featuring an integrated battery and wheelbase, Canoo could attach any number of different chassis designs atop the modular system. From its signature lifestyle van to a performance vehicle to a commercial transporter, this EV could adapt to a number of needs quickly and (relatively) cheaply.
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Unfortunately, the issue for GOEV stock is that the skateboard concept is not exclusive to Canoo. For example, Rivian Automotive (NASDAQ:RIVN) uses a skateboard platform to deliver different-looking cars from the same framework. Another EV upstart, Arrival (NASDAQ:ARVL), deploys a similar skateboard solution. I’m probably missing many others.
But the point is that with everyone using the skateboard platform, the end product for these three companies tend to look the same. Without much differentiation, clients will probably look to whichever company can produce EVs the cheapest. Thus, the industry becomes commoditized, leading to a situation where whoever has the greatest resources will likely win out.
I’m not sure that’s a fight that suits GOEV stock.
Inflation and the Battery Problem
As you’ve seen yourself, prices for everything have gone up. With energy experiencing some of the biggest spikes, though, in some ways, investments like GOEV stock could benefit. Why pay $5 for gasoline when you could enjoy a much cheaper alternative?
However, inflation also makes the upfront cost of EVs that much more onerous. Further, with the cost of borrowing likely to increase robustly if the Federal Reserve implements aggressively hawkish monetary policies, enterprise clients may have difficulty justifying a pivot to electric commercial fleet vehicles.
What’s more, EV battery costs have been declining every year, with the 6% drop from 2020 to 2021 catching many analysts by surprise. Therefore, both individuals and enterprise clients have every reason to wait to acquire EVs. Basically, every year that goes by, they can theoretically save a few percentage points off battery costs.
Again, it’s not quite a circumstance that helps GOEV stock.
Don’t Overthink the Obvious
It’s old news so I don’t necessarily want to rehash it. Still, in the context of the other challenges affecting GOEV stock, I think it’s worth reminding ourselves that in December of last year, The Verge reported that Canoo was losing three top executives, including its chief technology officer.
More recently, a Business Insider article mentioned that two of Canoo’s vice presidents are also leaving the firm. Similar to the insider selling that I’ve mentioned for certain declining stocks, I don’t think you need to think too hard about the implications.
Obviously, I can’t speak for the individual circumstances that are causing key players to run for the exits. But it can’t be that every single one of them are nuts. In my view, they see the writing on the wall. It’s probably time you should too.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.
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