Why shares of Tesla, Workhorse, and other electric-vehicle makers are skyrocketing again

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The stock prices of companies in the electric-vehicle sector continued to zoom down the highway on Monday, while fueled by a bevy of positive developments.

Leading the pack as usual was Tesla, as Elon Musk’s company confirmed that it will announce new battery technology on Sept. 22. Analysts expect the breakthrough will enable Tesla’s cars, already the top-selling electric vehicles in the world, to travel farther on a single charge while bringing down the cost of manufacturing.

Tesla shares shot up 13% in midmorning trading on Monday to $1,746.69, an all-time high, giving the company a stock market valuation of $324 billion. Tesla’s shares have gained 87% over the past month.

Workhorse stock gains

The other big gainer on Monday was electric-van maker Workhorse Group. The company said it received a positive executive order for its C-Series electric delivery trucks from the California Air Resources Board, a step toward gaining acceptance in the state’s zero-emission subsidy program. Workhorse says it’s the only “medium duty” electric-vehicle maker to have acceptances from both the California board and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

As a result, Workhorse shares shot up 9% in midmorning trading on Monday to $16.58. The shares have gained 343% over the past month amid investor mania for all things having to do with electric vehicles.

Fisker going public

The positive news helped bolster other stocks in the sector, as well. Shares of Chinese EV maker Nio rose 6% to hit $15.89, an all-time high and representing a one-month gain of 159%. Chinese electric-scooter maker Niu also hit an all-time high at $23.62 on Monday. That was a 5% gain on the day and 102% over the past month. U.S. upstart electric-car maker Nikola, which went public in June by merging with a special purpose acquisition corporation, gained 4% to $56.40. That’s well off its all-time high of $79.73 from a few weeks ago, and the stock is actually down 11% over the past month.

Other previously hot EV stocks cooled off as well. Three-wheeled EV maker Arcimoto, which sold $10 million worth of new shares to investors last week, dropped 16% on Monday morning to $5.96. It is still up 92% over the past month. And Canadian startup ElectraMeccanica Vehicles lost 9%, sliding to $4. It is now up just 135% in the past month.

Elsewhere in the electric-vehicle sector came news of two private companies that want to go public, perhaps unsurprisingly given the current mania.

Following in the tire tracks of hot stock Nikola, Fisker said it would merge with an already public special purpose acquisition corporation called Spartan Energy Acquisition, which is backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Fisker, which has been through several pivots and some struggles, is the electric car company started by BMW and Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker.

Though the deal is not expected to close until the fourth quarter, shares of Spartan Energy shot up 16% in midmorning trading to $19.34.

The other EV company planning to go public is Chinese startup Li Auto, which began selling its Li One plug-in hybrid in December. The company saw total sales of $40 million last year, which jumped to $120 million in the first quarter of 2020. It is not yet profitable, reporting a net loss of $344 million for 2019 and $11 million for the first quarter. The company did not offer a planned price range for its shares, suggesting an IPO is at least a few months away.

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