By Ed Johnson
Some say that car ownership won’t be a thing of the future.
The future is electric …
And it could be much more than that.
It’s about on-demand cars, virtual showrooms, and an end to insurance, maintenance and commitment.
This is where we get super clean and wildly convenient.
EV sales broke just about every previous EV record in 2020, even in the middle of a pandemic.
EV sales soared by over 40%, while overall car sales dropped by 14%.
And we’re just getting started and now there’s another potential huge disruptor. This one won’t hinder the mainstreaming of EVs, but it could help rock the auto industry to its core.
According to one analyst, the car subscription market is set to top $12 billion by 2027.
Big names are jumping in on this opportunity too, from Volvo and Porsche to Hertz and others.
Both Facedrive and Steer are tech-driven innovators working in the EV space, where the most lucrative tie-ins appear to be shaping up as major investment opportunities.
Facedrive has made it its mission to turn eco-friendly services into profitable tech-driven verticals.
And Steer is on the right track. It looks like they know what people want, especially one of our most important consumer classes: millennials.
Millennials don’t like hassle, and they want everything on demand, without commitment.
That’s exactly what Steer aims to offer …
An On-Demand Virtual EV Showroom, Hassle Free
Steer’s all-inclusive car subscription service features 100% electric, plug-in, and hybrid vehicles. And it fully intends to change the way people view car ownership, forever…
For many, the car ownership experience is a dismal one. Steer wants to put an end to haggling with dealers, complicated financing, long-term commitments and even insurance and maintenance. Steer’s subscription service provides something consumers have been after for years: flexibility.
We think Steer is one of the answers to the last remaining hurdles of full-on adoption of EVs: cost and charging technology.
A subscription to Steer comes with your own concierge who delivers your car wherever you need it and assists with charging, either at home or on the road. And there’s no mileage limit—one of the banes of car leasing.
With Steer, members get their own virtual gallery to fit various budgets, including everything from the Audi e-Tron and the Hyundai Kona to your favorite Tesla, and beyond.
The growth runways look highly promising. Already, the company reports that 70% of Steer members have never even driven an EV before. In other words, new converts could be coming easily.
One Giant and One In the Making
Facedrive (TSX.V:FD; OTCMKTS:FDVRF) acquired Steer from Exelon (NASDAQ:EXC) in a deal that included a $2-million strategic investment by energy giant Exelon’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Exelorate Enterprises, LLC.
That connects another big name into the Facedrive story to help exert positive change in the auto industry. And the EV industry tie-in couldn’t come at a better time.
We think It’s all positioning Steer to become the Netflix of EV car ‘ownership’.
And Facedrive itself is aiming to become the Netflix of a number of other eco-friendly verticals too.
As far back as 2016, Facedrive was coming up with its potential solution to help reduce the massive pollution caused by ride-hailing. It’s answer to Uber and Lyft? The 2019 launch of the first carbon-offset ride-sharing platform in Canada, giving riders a choice of EV or hybrid and planting trees in cooperation with local authorities along the way.
It also pioneered a model for carbon-offsetting food and pharma deliveries.
That didn’t stop it from jumping in on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, either. It developed TraceSCAN, the Ontario government-backed COVID contact-tracing wearable technology that is aiming for rapid manufacture and deployment to help enable essential workers to get back on the job – safely – and in turn to help enable the economy to reopen, and stay open.
From Steer to TraceSCAN and Facedrive Foods, this Canadian ‘Silicon Valley’ style company has focused on people and the planet, without sacrificing the pursuit of profits.
It’s straddling multiple potential megatrends at once, and its revenue growth potential might be what investors are eyeing. And the abrupt shift in consumer behavior says Facedrive (TSX.V:FD; OTCMKTS:FDVRF) is definitely one to watch.
Other companies to watch as the electric vehicle boom accelerates:
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) has emerged as one of the fastest-growing stocks of all time. And that’s a big deal for the electric vehicle market. As one of the world’s most exciting -and important- car makers, it has made going green a must in this incredibly competitive industry. Its modern design has become an industry standard. Tesla has single-handedly made electric vehicles cool, and has fueled the dramatic rise in this burgeoning market since its inception.
Elon Musk is truly a visionary of the times. From his electric vehicle innovations and space ambitions to his forward-thinking approach to cryptocurrencies, Elon Musk may well become the first trillionaire, and Tesla shareholders are set to ride the wave. In fact, he released the first Tesla Roadster nearly 15 years ago, making electric vehicles exciting at a time when people were making fun of first-gen electric vehicles. Since its IPO, Tesla’s stock has skyrocketed by over 18,000%. Largely thanks to its innovative approach to the market.
It’s not just about electric cars, either. Tesla has been going wild with its solar and battery business, as well. Tesla’s Solar Roof project has the potential to change the way houses built in the future. It replaces traditional roofs with stronger, and arguably more aesthetically pleasing, solar panels that can power your entire home. And it’s even one of the cheapest sources of electricity in all of the United States.
It wasn’t so long ago that analysts and investors alike were ready to write off their losses and give up on electric vehicle manufacturer Nio Inc (NYSE:NIO). But China’s answer to Tesla’s dominance powered on, eclipsed estimates, and most importantly, kept its balance sheet in line. And it’s paid off. In a big way. Nio Tesla’s largest competitor in China, has also started to offer a batteries-as-a-service concept, in which car buyers can ‘lease’ the battery of their vehicle and save as much as $10,000 on the price of a new vehicle, while also offering buyers the option to swap batteries after a few years of use.
This could be huge for Nio, which is already making major moves. In fact, just last fall, Nio revealed a pair of sedans that even the biggest Tesla die-hard would struggle to pass up. The vehicles, meant to compete with Tesla’s Model 3, could be just what the company needs to pull back control of its local market from Elon Musk’s electric vehicle giant.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), has always been a pioneer in the tech world. Ex-CEO Steve Jobs paved the way to a greener future for the company and the industry as a whole. From the products themselves, to the packages they came in, and even the data centers powering them, Steve Jobs, and now Tim Cook have gone above and beyond to cut the environmental impact of his company, and help win over a new generation of investors.
And now, it’s even getting into the transportation business. “We’re focusing on autonomous systems. It’s a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.” Apple CEO Tim Cook on Apple’s plans in the car space. Electric vehicles aren’t likely to be left out, either…
Apple’s rumored electric vehicle means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate which is inherently less risky than lithium-ion batteries, which could be a game-changer for the industry as a whole.
Old school automakers shouldn’t be ignored in the alternative transportation boom, either. Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM), for example, is a leader in the industry. Beginning with the Prius, Toyota has been on the cutting edge of green transportation for years and years. And now, it has developed a fuel cell system module and looks to start selling it after the spring this year in a bid to promote hydrogen use and help the world achieve carbon neutrality goals, the world’s largest car manufacturer said in February.
According to Toyota, the new module can be used by companies developing fuel cell (FC) applications for trucks, buses, trains, and ships, as well as stationary generators.
The fuel cell system module can be directly connected to an existing electrical instrument provided with a motor, inverter, and battery, Toyota said, noting that the modularization significantly improves convenience.
The boom in electric vehicles success has also fueled a boom in other EV-related companies. Blink (NASDAQ:BLNK), for example, an electric vehicle charging company, has risen by over 300% in just a few months, and the sky is the limit for this up-and-comer. And that’s great news for investors, as well.
BLNK has also been particularly active inking new deals, including 26 dual-port Level 2 IQ 200 EV charging stations at key Burger King locations across the Northeast; 20 Blink-owned IQ 200 electric vehicle charging services with Illinois’ Blessing Health, and an exclusive seven-year agreement with Lehigh Valley Health Network for the former to own and operate charging stations across the health network’s extensive portfolio of locations.
All in all, Blink Charging really is a mature company, having been around for over 2 decades. Its unique proposition is that many of the company’s charging stations are both abundant and convenient. Two things that are absolutely key when you need to keep your new electric car on the road.
GreenPower Motor Company (NASDAQ:GP, TSX:GPV) is an emerging company that produces mass electric transportation. At the moment, it is primarily focused on the North American market, but the sky is the limit as the pressure to go green grows. GreenPower has been on the frontlines of the electric movement, manufacturing affordable battery-electric busses and trucks for over ten years. From school busses to long-distance public transit, GreenPower’s impact on the sector can’t be ignored.
GreenPower Motor has seen its share price fall significantly from its January highs, but that doesn’t mean investors shouldn’t keep an eye on it. It is a strong company with ambitious goals, and one of the few Canadian automakers making significant moves in the space.
NFI Group (OTCMKTS:NFYEF, TSX:NFI) is another one of Canada’s emerging companies in the electric vehicle space. Not only does it produce transit buses, but it also producers motorcycles. NFI had a difficult start to the year, but it since cut its debt and begun to address its cash flow struggles in a meaningful way. Though it remains down from January highs, NFI offers investors a promising opportunity to get in on the inevitable transition to electric vehicles.
In addition to its increasingly positive financial reports, it is also one of the few in the business that actually pay dividends out to its investors. That’s huge news for investors who would like to take a wait and see approach while still cashing out some dividends in the meantime.
Another great way to get some exposure to the alternative fuel vehicle boom is through stocks like AutoCanada (OTCMKTS: AOCIF, TSX:ACQ). It is a company that operates auto-dealerships through Canada. The company carries a wide variety of new and used vehicles and has all types of financing options available to fit the needs of any consumer. While sales have slumped this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AutoCanada is already seeing a rebound as both buying power and the demand for electric vehicles increases. This runup could even be accelerated as exciting new cars like Ford’s hybrid fuel cell electric vehicle or Toyota’s new line of EVs hit the market.
Year. To date, AutoCanada’s stock price has more than doubled. And this is only the beginning. The economy is finally beginning to recover, more cars are on the road, and people are increasingly looking for cleaner alternatives to their dirty ICE vehicles.
Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR) is major player in the Canadian telecoms sector. It owns a ton of infrastructure throughout Canada and its cloud services and open-source projects look to address some of the biggest issues that its customers might face before the customers even face them. As online gaming depends on solid internet connections, Shaw will likely become a backdoor benefactor in increased online activity. Not only that, it’s growing higher on ESG investors’ lists, as well, thanks to its forward-thinking approach to the environment and it’s governance.
Magna International (TSX:MG) is a really interesting and roundabout way to get in on the explosive commodity market without betting big on one of the new hot stocks tearing up among the millennials right now. More than a decade ago, Magna International was already making major moves in the battery market, investing over half a billion dollars in battery production while the market was still in its infancy. At the time, electric vehicles as we know them had barely hit the scene, with Tesla launching its premiere car just two years prior.
By Ed Johnson
**IMPORTANT! BY READING OUR CONTENT YOU EXPLICITLY AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that subscription based car services for ride sharing services will help with the adoption of EVs; that millennials will like the flexibility of a subscription based car service for ride sharing; that subscription based ride sharing services will create flexibility and a carbon reduced option in the auto industry; that Facedrive and Steer will pose a positive challenge to the auto industry and gain consumer acceptance; that Facedrive and Steer will emerge as leaders in the business of car subscription services for ride sharing; that there will be an important shift in consumer behavior and Facedrive will be in front of it; that Tracescan will be manufactured on a commercial scale and will help get workers back on the job as pandemic restrictions are reduced; that Facedrive’s other business models for food and pharma deliveries, including Facedrive Foods, will gain consumer acceptance and market share despite existing and future competitors; that increases in the EV market will increase consumer and investor interest in ride sharing subscriptions models generally and in Facedrive and its carbon offset business models specifically. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include that subscription based car services for ride sharing may not help the adoption of EVs; that subscription based ride sharing services may not be popular with millennials or others as anticipated or at all; that ride sharing subscription services may not become widely accepted or used by consumers; that Facedrive and Steer may not emerge as leaders in the business of car subscription ride sharing as anticipated or at all; that there may not be a shift in consumer behavior leading to increased popularity in ride sharing subscription services and that such services may not gain the anticipated or even any popularity among consumers; even if they do, Facedrive may not be able to profit or become a profitable company; that Tracescan may not achieve consumer acceptance or commercial viability; that Facedrive’s other business models for food and pharma deliveries, including Facedrive Foods, may fail to gain traction or market share; and that increases in the EV market may not increase consumer or investor interest in ride sharing business models generally or in Facedrive and its carbon offset business models. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
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