I’m one who believes that battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will dominate in the future, because of environmental regulations, low operating cost, simplicity of design, and high performance. I follow the space and have for years.
So who are the leaders? I’ve not evaluated what kind of investment these companies might make, but here’s what I’ve learned.
Panasonic has been a longtime leader in advanced automotive batteries. Supplying battery cells for the Toyota hybrids (10+ million sold, IINM) and now Tesla. Panasonic is also trying to expand its other automotive parts, including into sensors for autonomous driving.
It’s a huge company though, so the battery and other advanced auto parts are not a real big part of it’s income. Traded in Tokyo, the ADR symbol is PCRFY, if I’m not mistaken.
LG Chem has numerous design wins for EV and plug-in hybrids, notably including the Chevy Bolt’s 60 kwh battery (both cells and pack) and much of the rest of the car including electric motor, inverter, infotainment, etc … The company has numerous other businesses. Traded in Korea, the ADR symbol is LGCLF, IINM.
Tesla is way out ahead of everyone else with their battery electric cars. They make their packs using Panasonic cells of collaborative design. Panasonic manufactures the cells within Tesla’s Gigafactory.
Tesla put the whole package together and intelligently attacked the automotive market from the top down, where the performance advantages of a big battery and electric motors make up for the additional expense. Obviously also among the leaders in autonomous cars. Heavily invested in solar and have quickly become a leader in grid-attached large scale batteries. The Gigafactory dwarfs other battery factories, going for massive scale. They have a great image and brand and visionary leadership. Love the company. Won’t comment on valuation of the stock, but my experience points to looking to invest in value plays, not growth stories, for what it’s worth.
BYD in China is also big-time, manufacturing the cells, packs, cars and buses. Their battery electric buses are impressive.
I can’t speak to whether any of these would be good investments, but they are the big players right now.