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EV Roundup: NSANY's $1.4B Outlay, VWAGY's China-Specific EV Platform & More

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Chinese EV player NIO Inc. (NIO - Free Report) announced a collaboration with Changan Automobile for battery swapping. China-based electric scooter manufacturer Niu Technologies (NIU - Free Report) incurred loss per share and reported a year-over-year decline in revenues in the third quarter of 2023. China’s auto giant BYD Co Ltd (BYDDY - Free Report) hit a historic 6 million new energy vehicles milestone with the latest Fang Cheng Bao Leopard 5 SUV and unveiled the flagship Han sedan in the UAE amid the Middle East's growing EV landscape. Japan’s auto giant Nissan (NSANY - Free Report) announced a $1.4 billion investment in Sunderland for electric Qashqai & Juke production, revving up its electrification strides. Germany-based Volkswagen (VWAGY - Free Report) , in a strategic move to regain its foothold in China's competitive automotive market, has announced a bold plan centered around an innovative, affordable electric car platform.

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NIO and Changan signed an agreement on battery swapping. Both companies will come together to formulate standards for swappable batteries, build and share the battery swapping network, develop swappable vehicles and set up an efficient battery asset management mechanism. Changan has 39 years of experience in vehicle production and operates 12 manufacturing bases and 22 factories globally. NIO is the leading operator of battery-swapping networks for smart EVs in the world. It has more than 2,100 Power Swap Stations worldwide. This year, NIO had plans to install 1,000 new stations in China. It provided over 32 million battery swaps for users as of Nov 20, 2023.

Chinese authorities are actively promoting the creation of battery-swapping networks for EVs. They have released documents and guidelines to encourage widespread adoption of this model, supporting the development of standards for battery-swapping architecture, universal platforms, and swappable batteries. The documents and guidelines include the NewEnergy Vehicle Industry Development Plan, the Implementation Plan for Further Enhancing the Service Capability of Charging and Swapping Infrastructure and the Notice on Launching Pilot Program of Swappable New Energy Vehicles. The partnership between NIO and Changan Auto delivers to the requirements of these guidelines.

Niu posted third-quarter 2023 adjusted loss of 14 cents a share as against a profit of 1 cent a share in the year-ago period. Revenues totaled $127 million, declining 19.6% on a yearly basis. Gross margin for the quarter under review came in at 21.4%, down from 22.1% in the corresponding period in 2022. E-scooters sold by the company totaled 265,923 units (comprising 230,455 units in China and 35, 468 units in the international markets), declining 17.1% from third-quarter 2022, primarily due to conservative spending in China for the company’s premium series products.

Total operating expenses were $39 million, up 9.5% year over year. As of Sep 30, franchised stores in China totaled 2,834 and the international sales network strengthened to 55 distributors encompassing 53 countries. At the end of the quarter under review, the firm had cash and cash equivalents of $104.4 million. NIU anticipates fourth-quarter revenues in the band of RMB 490-612 million, implying a year-over-year contraction of 0-20%. 

BYD reached a significant milestone as its 6 millionth new energy vehicle, the Fang Cheng Bao Leopard 5, rolled off the production line at the Zhengzhou factory. This plug-in hybrid SUV, slightly smaller than the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, debuted last August, with production and deliveries starting in November. BYD's new energy vehicle (NEV) sales are surging, with the company taking 13 years for the first million NEVs, just one year for the second million, and a mere six months for the third million. Subsequently, an additional 2 million NEVs were achieved in the following nine months, and the sixth million mark was reached in only three months, primarily due to increased production capacity.

BYD highlighted its active global expansion, particularly in public transit electrification, with new energy buses and taxis operating in over 400 cities across more than 70 countries. Additionally, it recently launched its flagship Han sedan in the United Arab Emirates, with the ATTO 3 model also offered for sale. This move aligns with the growing interest in electric vehicles in the Middle East, where countries like Saudi Arabia are implementing multi-year plans to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

BYD currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Nissan is set to spend $1.4 billion to upgrade its Sunderland factory in northeast England. This investment aims to transform the facility for the production of electric versions of its two top-selling models - the Qashqai and the Juke crossover vehicles. Currently, the Sunderland plant, which employs around 6,000 workers, manufactures gasoline and gas-hybrid versions of these models. The $1.4 billion investment will not only facilitate the production of electric successors for Qashqai and Juke but also spur broader investments in related infrastructure projects and the supply chain. The Sunderland plant will also see the development of a new gigafactory for EV batteries as part of this investment, reflecting Nissan's commitment to EV production.

This move by Nissan has been welcomed by the British government, especially amid efforts to revitalize the country’s economy. The company plans to produce the next generation of its long-running Leaf electric car at the Sunderland factory, further cementing its commitment to the EV market. Nissan's Sunderland factory faced uncertainties following the 2016 Brexit vote, but this investment signals a strong future for the plant. The company has set a target to electrify its entire European passenger car lineup by 2030, and this recent announcement is a key step in realizing that vision.

Volkswagen (VWAGY - Free Report) intends to develop a new, China-specific platform, tentatively named the “A Main Platform.” This platform will derive from the existing Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB) but will emphasize cost-efficiency, primarily through increased use of locally sourced components. This approach aims to make EVs more accessible to the Chinese market, where price sensitivity is a major consideration.Volkswagen's shift comes amid changing market dynamics, with the brand losing its top-selling status in China to BYD in late 2022, largely due to declining gasoline car sales. Despite this, Volkswagen has seen success with its ID.3 model, which, after a price cut, saw a significant increase in sales volume.

The new platform targets the entry-level segment, with vehicles priced between $19,570 and $23,760. Volkswagen plans to introduce four models based on this platform, manufactured through existing joint ventures with SAIC and FAW. Additionally, starting in 2026, the company aims to launch two more all-electric models in collaboration with XPeng, bringing the total to six new models. The latest development is part of a broader global strategy by Volkswagen, which includes launching 10 new all-electric cars worldwide by 2026 and accelerating the pace of new vehicle launches.

Price Performance

The following table shows the price movement of some of the major EV players over the last week and six-month period.

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What’s Next in the Space?

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