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Putting EV Valuations Into Perspective

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Putting EV Valuations Into Perspective

The global push for lower emissions has created a mania around pure-electric automakers. While Tesla leads the charge, institutional investors have also piled into many of its younger rivals.

For example, in 2019, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $1.3 billion into Lucid Motors. One year later, it was revealed that Amazon had a 20% stake (worth $3.8B) in Rivian.

To see how quickly EV valuations have ballooned, we’ve visualized the historical market capitalizations (market caps) of 10 prominent automakers.

Legacy vs Pure-Electric

The legacy group includes five top traditional automakers, while the EV group includes the five most valuable pure-electric automakers that are listed on an American exchange.

The following table lists the market caps of these companies at various dates. While XPeng and NIO are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, they do not currently sell cars in the U.S.

AutomakerType20102015202102/22/2022
🇺🇸 TeslaEV$3B$31B$1,061B$849B
🇯🇵 ToyotaLegacy$124B$191B$255B$256B
🇩🇪 Volkswagen GroupLegacy$59B$79B$129B$128B
🇩🇪 Mercedes-BenzLegacy$61B$94B$83B$89B
🇺🇸 FordLegacy$63B$57B$83B$69B
🇺🇸 General MotorsLegacy$55B$51B$85B$68B
🇺🇸 RivianEVN/AN/A$93B$55B
🇺🇸 LucidEVN/AN/A$63B$42B
🇨🇳 NIOEVN/AN/A$50B$35B
🇨🇳 XpengEVN/AN/A$41B$30B

Source: Companies Market Cap

At the end of 2021, Tesla and its four EV rivals were worth a combined $1.3 trillion. This was more than double of the legacy group, which was worth $635 billion. EV valuations have cooled since then, though Tesla is still the world’s most valuable automaker by a significant margin.

U.S. Sales in 2021

Comparing U.S. sales gives an interesting perspective on these companies’ relative scale. Once again, note that XPeng and NIO do not sell cars in America. We’ve provided figures for their home market (China) instead.

AutomakerU.S. Sales in 2021
General Motors2.3 million
Toyota2.2 million
Ford1.9 million
Volkswagen Group630,000
Tesla361,000 (est.)
Mercedes-Benz330,000
XPeng98,000 (China)
NIO91,000 (China)
Rivian920
Lucid 520 (est.)

Source: Good Car Bad Car

Impressively, Tesla has overtaken Mercedes in the U.S. to become one of the country’s top luxury brands.

The Long Road Ahead

To satisfy investor expectations, Rivian and Lucid will need to rapidly scale their production and sales. Failing to do so could lead to significant stock price volatility.

Investors should also note that both companies could experience similar challenges as Tesla, which Musk has referred to as “production hell”. Rivian has already pushed back deliveries of its first SUV, while Lucid customers have been notified of delays due to “fit and finish” issues.

Nevertheless, these young manufacturers are setting some serious goals. Rivian aims to produce one million cars annually by the year 2030, while Lucid is targeting a more conservative 49,000 cars in 2023.

Tesla Goes on the Defensive

Tesla is still the undisputed EV leader, but competition is rapidly heating up.

On one hand, legacy automakers have been investing heavily in EV development, and new models are coming en masse. The Volkswagen Group is the biggest threat, selling 453,000 EVs globally in 2021 (up 96% over 2020). For reference, Tesla reported global sales of 936,000 in 2021.

On the other hand, Tesla must also defend its market share from an onslaught of Chinese entrants. This includes XPeng and NIO, which appear to be on similar trajectories. Both firms were founded in 2014, both sold nearly 100,000 EVs in 2021, and both have recently expanded into European markets. A U.S. expansion also seems to be imminent.

With the entire auto industry moving towards battery powered vehicles, will the market rethink its valuation of Tesla?

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Automotive

Global EV Production: BYD Surpasses Tesla

This graphic explores the latest EV production data for 2022, which shows BYD taking a massive step forward to surpass Tesla.

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Global EV Production: BYD Surpasses Tesla

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

2022 was another historic year for EVs, with annual production surpassing 10 million cars for the first time ever. This represents a sizeable bump up from 2021’s figure of 6.7 million.

In this infographic, we’ve used data from EV Volumes to visualize the top 15 brands by output. The color of each brand’s bubble represents their growth from 2021, with the darker shades depicting a larger percentage increase.

Data Overview and Key Takeaways

The raw data we used to create this infographic is listed below. Volume figures for 2021 were included for convenience.

RankCompany20222021Growth from 2021
1🇨🇳 BYD1,858,364598,019211%
2🇺🇸 Tesla1,314,319936,24740%
3🇩🇪 VW Group839,207763,85110%
4🇺🇸 GM (incl. Wuling Motors)584,602516,63113%
5🇺🇸 🇮🇹 🇫🇷 Stellantis512,276381,84334%
6🇰🇷 Hyundai Motors (incl. Kia)497,816348,66043%
7🇩🇪 BMW Group433,164329,18232%
8🇨🇳 Geely Auto Group351,35699,980251%
9🇩🇪 Mercedes-Benz Group337,364281,92920%
10🇫🇷 🇯🇵 Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance335,964289,47316%
11🇨🇳 GAC Group287,977125,384130%
12🇨🇳 SAIC Motor Corp.256,341237,0438%
13🇸🇪 Volvo Cars253,266220,57615%
14🇨🇳 Chery Auto Co.253,141107,482136%
15🇨🇳 Changan Auto Co.245,555105,072134%
16🌎 Other (41 companies)1,927,2111,326,26245%

Includes BEVs and PHEVs

BYD Auto

BYD Auto has leaped past Tesla to become the new EV king, boosting its output by a massive 211% in 2022. Given this trajectory, the company will likely become the world’s first automaker to produce over 2 million EVs in a single year.

BYD has a limited presence in non-domestic markets, but this could change rather quickly. The company is planning a major push into Europe, where it expects to build factories in order to avoid EU tariffs on Chinese car imports.

The company is also building a factory in Thailand, to produce right-hand drive models for markets like Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Tesla

Tesla increased its output by a respectable 40% in 2022, staying ahead of Western brands like Volkswagen (+10%) and GM (+13%), but falling behind its Chinese rivals such as Geely (+251%).

Whether these Chinese brands can maintain their triple digit growth figures is uncertain, but one thing is clear: Tesla is facing more competition than ever before.

The company is targeting annual production of 20 million cars by 2030, meaning it will need to keep yearly growth rates in the high double digits for the rest of the decade. To support this initiative, Tesla is planning a multi-billion dollar factory in Mexico capable of producing 1 million cars a year.

Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Company, which also owns Kia, posted a similar growth rate to Tesla. The South Korean automaker was a relatively early player in the EV space, revealing the first Hyundai Ioniq in 2016.

In late 2022, several countries including South Korea expressed their disapproval of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which withdrew tax credits on EVs not produced within the United States.

Hyundai is currently building a $5.5 billion EV factory in the state of Georgia, but this facility will not become operational until 2025. In the meantime, South Korea has revised its own EV subsidy program to favor domestic brands.

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