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London – May 17, 2021 – Electric vehicle sales jumped 43% in 2020 while overall car sales decreased by 20%, and there’s still plenty of room to run on the electric playing field, according to some of the biggest wealth managers, but there’s a potential big industry disruptor here … Mentioned in today’s commentary includes: Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), NIO Inc. (NYSE: NIO), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM), Blink Charging Co. (NASDAQ: BLNK).
One of the next big shake-ups in the auto industry – and one that will help, not hinder the adoption of EVs – is the burgeoning car subscription business.
The car subscription market is set to top $12 billion by 2027, and many of the big car makers are making moves on it, from Porsche to Volvo … and even to Hertz itself, since there is a big opportunity here. But Washington, D.C.-based Steer combines two big trends: subscriptions and EVs, making it one to watch in this sector.
Acquired by Canadian Facedrive in Q3 2020, Steer – like Facedrive itself – is all about getting out in front of the newest trends, first…And turning carbon-offset offerings into profitable tech-driven verticals.
Facedrive’s Steer (FD; FDVRF) knows a lot about millennials. They are millennials. And many millennials just don’t like to buy and own. They are far too dynamic for that. Leases were already becoming a favorite for many millennials as far back as 2016 when 34% of them chose leases over financing.
An EV Garage At the Touch of a Button
Steer is a new all-inclusive, monthly, low-risk car subscription service that features 100% electric, plug-in, and hybrid vehicles. And the company was created with an overriding ambition: To take the EV industry one step further by helping to change the way people view car ownership, forever…
Let’s not mince words, here: The car ownership experience is woefully lacking. From the annoyance of haggling with that special breed of car dealers… to the hassle of shopping for, paying for, and attempting to understand the nuances of insurance… to myriad financing options, all of which tie to you a car you don’t want to be committed to for so long…
There was minimal flexibility in this market until the advent of subscriptions.And there were very few carbon-offset subscription options for that rapidly growing lineup of new EVs… until Steer.
Steer is one of the answers to the last remaining hurdle 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.
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. And the growth runways are excellent when you consider that 70% of Steer members have never even driven an EV before. That means that these are new converts.
The Next Phase of Change
Facedrive (FD; FDVRF) acquired Steer from Exelon (EXC) in a deal that included a $2-million strategic investment by energy giant Exelon’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Exelorate Enterprises, LLC.
Together, they could pose a positive challenge to an auto industry that’s already trying to adapt to the changing EV industry. And the leaders are emerging as those who can do two things: tie their business into the “ESG megatrend”, where big money is starting to flow; and understand what today’s market wants: on-demand service and dynamic options.
Steer’s seamless, hassle-free technology and its lineup of hot EVs do both. It’s what some are calling a Netflix style of new car use. In the meantime, Facedrive is all about clean, tech-driven verticals, and Steer is just one. Facedrive recognized the need for a big energy-related lifestyle change long before it became a “trend”.
It was developing an answer to the pollution of companies like Uber and Lyft way back in 2016 and launched the first carbon-offset ride-sharing platform in 2019 in Canada, giving riders a choice of EV or hybrid and planting trees in cooperation with local authorities along the way.
Today, in the name of corporate responsibility in a time of pandemic, Facedrive is focusing more aggressively on Steer, carbon-offset food and pharma deliveries, and 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.
There’s an important shift happening in consumer behavior, and Facedrive (FD; FDVRF) intends to be out in front of it all the way. In our view, this is definitely one stock to watch closely.
Other companies to watch as the electric vehicle boom accelerates:
Tesla Inc. (TSLA) emerged as the stock story of 2020. Throughout the year, the de facto king of electric vehicles dominated headlines and defied expectations. Tesla has continued to defy bearish expectations that low oil prices would put a damper on its core business of selling electric vehicles. Despite this, for the fourth consecutive quarter, the EV maker posted yet another blowout that beat top-and bottom-line expectations. More importantly, it exceeded Wall Street delivery estimates and reported record profits to boot.
Armed with slick cars, game-changing technology and an out of this world CEO, Tesla had its eye on prize long before the green energy hype started building. In fact, the company released the first Tesla Roadster over a decade ago, making electric vehicles cool when people were laughing at first-gen electric vehicles.
The meteoric rise by Tesla stock has seen CEO Elon Musk leapfrog several billionaires including Bill Gates to become the second-richest man on earth with a net worth of over $155 billion. And if things keep going the way they’re going, there’s a very good chance that this year, Musk could surpass even Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world.
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 (NIO)…In fact, there were even rumors that the automaker was on the brink of bankruptcy. But the Chinese Tesla rival powered on, blew away estimates, and most importantly, kept its balance sheet in line. And its efforts have paid off – in a big way.
Nio has made all the right moves over the past year to turn heads on the streets and in the marketplace… From its stunningly beautiful – and fast – EP9 supercar to its new line of family-friendly high-performance sedans, Nio is well on its way to retaking control of its local market from Elon Musk’s electric vehicle giant. And as Chinese EV sales continue to soar…Nio’s already-impressive ascension to electric superstar is only going to accelerate from here.
On January 1st, 2020, Nio was trading at just $3.24 per share…But after reporting a record number of deliveries, launching its revolutionary “Battery-as-a-service” platform, and a multi-billion-dollar bump from Chinese investors, the company’s stock price skyrocketed by 1604%, starting off the year at $59 per share, before falling back to earth and settling at its current price.
Apple (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 went above and beyond to cut the environmental impact of his company.
Apple has made significant moves towards renewables. All of Apple’s operations run on 100% renewable energy, and it is even extending this philosophy to its distributors and manufacturers. Not only have they decreased their average product’s energy use by 70 percent. They’ve reduced their total carbon footprint by more than 35 percent in just a few short years. All while securing the title as the World’s First Trillion Dollar Company. And it’s not ignoring the EV boom, either. “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.
Investors shouldn’t ignore legacy automakers, either. Toyota Motors (TM) is a multi-national automaker who hasn’t ignored the massive shift in the transportation business. In fact, it was ahead of the curve, even. The Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrids to hit the road in a big way. While the legacy hybrid vehicle has been the butt of many jokes throughout the years, the car has been a major success, and more importantly, it helped spur the adoption of greener vehicles over the past decade.
“We continue to be leaders in electrification that began with our pioneering introduction of the Prius nearly 25 years ago,” said Bob Carter, TMNA executive vice president of sales. “Toyota’s new electrified product offerings will give customers multiple choices of powertrain that best suits their needs.”
Though the Prius hasn’t exactly aged as well as some green competitors, Toyota hasn’t left the green power race yet. Just a few weeks ago, actually, the giant automaker announced that three new electric vehicles will soon be coming to United States markets
Tesla’s success has also fueled a boom in other EV-related companies. Blink (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. A wave of new deals, including a collaboration with EnerSys and another with Envoy Technologies to deploy electric vehicoes and charging stations adds further support.
Aric Ohana, CEO of Envoy noted, “We’re excited to work with Blink on the deployment of their fast Level 2 charging stations as part of our exclusive electric car-sharing service. The vision of our two companies is aligned: to advance the adoption of electric vehicles. To continue to drive the growth and success across our expanding locations, we have to ensure that our clients have easy and efficient access to high-quality, reliable charging equipment. Blink has an established reputation as an innovator in the EV market, and we are thrilled to add them as a preferred partner.”
Michael D. Farkas, for his part, the founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Blink noted, “This is an exciting collaboration with EnerSys because it combines the industry-leading technologies of our two companies to provide user-friendly, high powered, next-generation charging alternatives. We are continuously innovating our product offerings to provide more efficient and convenient charging options to the growing community of EV drivers.”
By Ed Johnson
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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; 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; and that Tracescan will be mass manufactured and will help get workers back on the job. 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. 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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