NIO struggle to pay its employees
Market Analysis

Which is the Better Tesla Competitor Right Now: NIO or Nikola?

EV sales are growing rapidly and these two Tesla competitors have vastly different approaches, but is NIO or Nikola a better investment?

Thanks to governments around the world enacting anti gas-powered vehicle legislation, the market has witnessed surging electric vehicle (EV) sales and stock prices. An ETF that tracks the sector, Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles, is up over 96% in the last year and market leader, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), has gained more than 240% in the same time period. 

NIO (NYSE: NIO) and Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA), two competitors to the EV giant, have seen some serious activity this year as well. Which is the better stock to buy right now?

NIO: Bull vs Bear Arguments

NIO’s stock price is up over 523% over the past 12 months and its revenue is up nearly 481% in Q1 2021. From the same time last year, vehicle sales are up over 489%, a fantastic achievement given the global chip shortage. The Chinese company will enjoy tailwinds from government policy of having 50% of all new vehicle sales be “new-energy” vehicles by 2035 and the other half to be hybrids. That number was only 5% in 2019 and such a large increase will certainly benefit the company. 

With all that said, there is some caution to take before investing. For example, NIO’s stock is highly overvalued. At $45 per share, NIO’s market cap is more than $73 billion right now.This gives them a lofty price/sales ratio of close to 30.. 

The company holds a significant portion of market share in China. However, with stronger companies like BYD occupying the top spot — not to mention foreign companies like GM, VW, BMW, and the almighty Tesla selling more vehicles as well — NIO has its work cut out. These companies have more money in their coffers and are all profitable, unlike NIO, so they’re all forces to be reckoned with.  

Nikola: Bull vs Bear Arguments

In May, Nikola signed a deal that could result in an order of 100 trucks from Total Transportation Services. The company said it will start delivering trucks before the end of 2021 and plans to develop battery electric vehicles (BEV), hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), and heavy-duty trucks. 

Nikola has also made progress in building manufacturing factories in Arizona and Germany, expecting to start trial production in both in the next two months. 

Now for the negatives. Nikola is still yet to report revenue and hasn’t even delivered its first truck. The firm has already revised down its projected 2021 revenue from $150 million to $30 million, with many believing $15 million is more likely.  

One of the biggest things against Nikola was a short report from Hindenburg Research which revealed that their trucks did not move by themselves. The news  sent the stock sliding but the firm said the findings were false and misleading. 

Which stock is a better buy right now?

The best choice of the two is obviously NIO, a company that has solid revenue, sales, and a good stock price that is expected to further swell in the near future. Nikola, shamelessly using Tesla’s first name, is years from making a sale, let alone turning a profit, so steer clear until it has a successful product launch, at the very least. 

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MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently holds long positions in companies mentioned above. Read our full disclosure policy here

David Pinkhasov
David fell in love with the stock market in 2000 after making $30,000 overnight on Techniclone. His favorite stocks today are Netflix, Google, Amazon, and Apple as they are the market leaders in their sectors and are safe long-term investments.