Tesla's Ongoing Austerity Measures, Rivian-Apple Partnership Buzz, Biden Administration's Clampdown: Biggest EV Stories Of The Week

Zinger Key Points
  • Tesla, which is on a job-cutting spree, is planning to invest half a billion dollars on its Supercharger network, Musk confirmed.
  • The Biden administration is reportedly planning to hike EV tariffs, which are likely to quadruple under the new plan.

Electric vehicle stocks retreated in the week that ended on May 10 amid profit taking, with some earnings reports from the space weighing down on several stocks.

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

Another Key Tesla Executive Departs, China Sales Woe And More: The week did not bring respite to the ongoing right-sizing efforts at Tesla, Inc. TSLA. Rich Otto, who served as head of product at the company, announced this week that he was departing after a seven-year stint at the company. In a LinkedIn post that has since been deleted, Otto reportedly said, “The recent layoffs that are rocking the company and its morale have thrown this harmony out of balance and it’s hard to see the long-game.”

In another development, Tesla removed most job postings on its website, with the North American websites listing just three open manufacturing jobs. Gizmodo reported, citing an archived version of Tesla’s career page, that as of May 1, had listed 3,400 jobs openings in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Although Tesla nearly disbanded its Supercharger network team, it could expand the network, according to comments from CEO Elon Musk.

“Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500M expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year,” he said in a post on X.

“That's just on new sites and expansions, not counting operations costs, which are much higher,” he added.

Tesla’s troubles in China appear to continue. Data released by the China Passenger Car Association showed that the company shipped 62,617 made-in-China EVs in April, down 18% year-over-year, with 30,746 units of those meant to be exports, CnEVPost reported. Domestic sales totaled 31,421 units, marking a decrease of approximately 50% from the previous month and a decline of over 21% compared to the same period last year.

Reports suggested that Tesla sent former China head Tom Zhu back to the country as the company struggles with sagging sales amid competitive pressure. Zhu was promoted to Tesla’s top leadership team last year and was stationed in Austin.

See Also: Best Electric Vehicle Stocks

Rivian Earnings, Apple Rumor: Startup Rivian Automotive, Inc. RIVN reported first-quarter revenue that exceeded estimates; however, loss per share widened compared to a year ago. On a positive note, the company maintained its 2024 production forecasts of 57,000 units. CFO Claire McDonough said on the earnings call that the 2024 capital expenditure guidance stands reduced by $550 million to $1.2 billion, attributing the cut to the savings stemming from a decision to move the first line of R2 production to the company’s Normal, Illinois plant.

The stock received a shot in the arm early this week after DigiTimes reported that Apple, Inc. AAPL is “assessing the possibility of teaming up with a certain U.S. EV startup, and Rivian is a very likely candidate.” Both companies, however, did not clarify on the rumor.

Fisker Files For Insolvency In Austria: Beleaguered EV maker Fisker, Inc.’s FSRN Austrian unit Fisker GmbH voluntarily filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. The subsidiary clarified that no other Fisker entities are included in the restructuring. The company faced more negative headlines this week, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opening another investigation into potential issues with the Ocean electric SUV's automatic emergency braking.

Pushback For China EV Makers? The Biden administration is set to act to protect the domestic EV industry from Chinese competition. Wall Street Journal reported that the White House will announce on Tuesday tariffs on Chinese imports in strategic sectors such as EVs.

The report said the U.S. would maintain existing tariffs on many Chinese goods set by former President Donald Trump, while adding new tariffs to semiconductors and solar equipment. The government is also reportedly planning to hike EV tariffs, which are likely to quadruple.

Ford Slows European EV Plans: Legacy automaker Ford Motor Co. F has gone back on its plan to fully transition to battery EVs in Europe by 2030. Martin Sander, head of Ford’s passenger cars business in Europe, said at the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit on Tuesday that demand for pureplay EVs has been softer than the company expected.

The company will continue to sell internal combustion engine cars beyond 2030 if customers demand them and will focus on selling plug-in hybrids, he said.

The KraneShares Electric Vehicles and Future Mobility Index ETF KARS ended Friday’s session down 1.87% at $22.14, according to Benzinga Pro data. For the week, the ETF fell 2.55%.

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

Read Next: Tesla Vs. Uber: If You Invested $1,000 Each In These Companies In 2022, Here’s How Much You Would Have Now

EV Stock Performances For Week:

Performances (+/-)
Nio, Inc.NIO-8.98%
XPeng, Inc. XPEV-14.68%
Li Auto, Inc. LI-4.68%
Workhorse Group, Inc. WKHS+12.50%
Hyzon Motors, Inc. HYZN-12.50%
Canoo, Inc. GOEV-7.58%
Rivian -0.79%
Lucid Group, Inc. LCID-4.49%
Faraday Future Intelligent Electric, Inc. FFIE+12.71%
Nikola Corp. NKLA-18.33%
VinFast Auto Ltd. VFS+4.15%

Photo: Shutterstock

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