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Elon Musk Cozies Up To World Leaders, Lucid's Saudi Progress, Nikola Spikes After New COO Appointment: Biggest EV Stories Of The Week

Author: Shanthi Rexaline | September 23, 2023 11:52am

Electric vehicle shares fell across the board this week, as the Federal Reserve hinted that its rate-tightening cycle hasn’t ended. Market leader Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) also reacted to analysts’ rerating of earnings estimates and factored in an anticipated third-quarter deliveries shortfall.

Here are the key events that happened in the EV space during the week:

Tesla’s Giga Texas Pause, International Plans And More: Tesla is rumored to pause Model Y production at its Giga Texas plant through the end of September, as it prepares its production line for the Cybertruck. This set off worries concerning third-quarter deliveries falling short of expectations.

Future Fund's Gary Black said he isn’t too worried about the latest development as it was anticipated and had been factored in by the market. The Giga Texas plant upgrades were communicated by CEO Elon Musk andthen CFO Zachary Kirkhorn on the second-quarter earnings call, Black noted. Black added that Tesla will likely undershoot its deliveries target in the third quarter but make up for it with a fourth-quarter outperformance.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been meeting with world leaders, who are eager to have a Tesla plant built in their countries. This week, visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife were taken for a tour around Tesla’s Fremont facility in California and went on a Cybertruck ride alongside Musk.

New Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin also met with Musk this week on the sidelines of the United Nations in New York and apparently discussed SpaceX, Starlink and Tesla.

Rumors of Tesla setting up a factory in Saudi Arabia did the rounds this week, although Musk refuted it on X.

Tesla also plans to increase its Giga Texas workforce count to 60,000 once Cybertruck production ramps up, said Jason Shawhan, Tesla’s director of manufacturing at the plant, Teslarati reported.

See also: Best Electric Vehicle Stocks

Lucid Gets Saudi Arabian License: In a positive development, struggling EV startup Lucid Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:LCID) received an operating license to begin production in one of Saudi Arabia’s special economic zones, Electrek reported. The Middle Eastern nation has launched four new SEZs in April to propel key sectors such as EV, cloud computing and medical tech. Lucid is majority-owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has a 60% stake in the company.

Nikola Gets New COO: Struggling EV and hydrogen truck maker Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ:NKLA) said Mary Chan will join the company as its chief operating officer, effective Oct. 9. “In her capacity as COO, Chan will lead the company’s engineering, program, product, supply chain, and manufacturing teams,” the company said in a statement. The stock spiked about 38% on the day of the announcement, reflecting a positive reaction to the change.

Toyota Doubles Down On EV Plans: Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) has set its sights on nearly tripling EV production in 2025, a Nikkei report said. The company reportedly notified major parts suppliers of its plans to boost the production of Toyota and Lexus brand EVs from 24,000 units in 2022 to 600,000 units in 2025.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

VinFast Eyes Foray Into Europe, India: Vietnamese EV startup VinFast Auto Ltd. (NASDAQ:VFS), which created a buzz with its eye-popping valuation, has been quick with its international plans. A Reuters report said VinFast plans to ship its first EVs to Europe this year after receiving regulatory approval, as the European Union considers imposing punitive tariffs on Chinese vehicles.

Under the plan, about 3,000 of its VF8 crossovers would be delivered from VinFast’s factory in northern Vietnam to France, Germany and the Netherlands in the fourth quarter, the report said, citing a source. Another report said the company is planning to expand into India and has begun the hiring process in the country.

The KraneShares Electric Vehicles and Future Mobility Index ETF (NYSE:KARS) ended Friday’s session up 0.77% at $27.62, according to Benzinga Pro data.

Read Next: Tesla’s UAW Strike Dilemma: ‘Champagne on Ice’ Or Bumpy Road Ahead? Bullish, Bearish Analysts Clash

EV Stock Performances for The Week:

Performances (+/-)
Nio, Inc. (NYSE:NIO)-18.22%
XPeng, Inc. (NYSE:XPEV)-10.16%
Li Auto, Inc. (NASDAQ:LI)-3.37%
Fisker, Inc. (NYSE:FSR)-19.34%
Workhorse, Inc. (NASDAQ:WKHS)-27.63%
Lordstown, Inc. (OTC:RIDEQ)-28.35%
Hyzon Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:HYZN)-1.64%
Canoo, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOEV)-6.68%
Rivian Automotive, Inc. (NASDAQ:RIVN)-14.85%
Faraday Future Intelligent Electric, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIE)-23.29%
Arrival plc (NASDAQ:ARVL)-21.33%
Photo: Shutterstock