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The Next EV Boom

It’s one of the most devastating shortages in the energy markets since the 1970s. And soon, it could spark the beginning of the next phase of the EV boom. Creating opportunity for up-and-comers like Facedrive (FD,FDVRF). Mentioned in today’s commentary includes: Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), XPeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV), Blink Charging Co. (NASDAQ: BLNK).

Earlier this month, 5,500 miles of the Colonial Pipeline were shut down by a hacker group called DarkSide. The attack left millions along the entire east coast of the United States unable to fill their tanks.The operators of the pipeline were forced to pay an incredible $5 million in ransom to regain control of the pipeline again. 

Pandemonium Breaking Loose

The shortage has led to panic buying unlike any we’ve seen in years, which has led to bizarre tweets from government agencies warning against unsafe hoarding behaviors. And it’s even brought on physical brawls, breaking out at gas stations from Georgia to North Carolina and beyond.

It could still be several weeks before the disruption is totally solved and pumps are ready to fill tanks again throughout the United States. Which is why this could be a major inflection point for EV industry related companies like the ridesharing darling, Facedrive, which has launched for an impressive 437% rise since last March. And while this particular gas crisis may be short-lived, these types of shortages have been happening far too often recently.

This issue seems to pop up at least every few years, whenever the Florida coast is hit with hurricanes, shutting down pipelines and leaving cars with empty tanks again. In January 2021 there was a temporary shortage of natural gas that sent those prices soaring. And it’s brought on flashbacks of a time in 1973 when the oil embargo left Americans in a similar situation to what we’re seeing today.

After seeing the pumps dry up time and again, it’s brought many scrambling to find out what comes next.

That’s why Gizmodo recently said, “The east coast gas frenzy is a warning for the future of driving.”

Bloomberg wrote, “Drivers tend to shrug off high gas prices, but the gas crisis coincides with a wave of EV curiosity.”

And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, “Electric cars pick up speed during the gas slowdown.”

It should come as no surprise that this is probably accelerating the trend toward EVs, as this has been among the biggest trends in the market over the last several years. And with EV drivers hardly noticing the gas shortage (aside from the lines at the pump that they pass by on their way to their destination)…It’s leading to a brighter future for opportunities like Facedrive (FD,FDVRF).

The Next Stage of EVs

Facedrive may have found its golden moment after its revenue soared 552% since last year. It’s built a collection of EV verticals at a time when people are concerned about running out of gas and more enthusiastic than ever about electric vehicles.

Facedrive has built an ecosystem that sidesteps the issues we’re seeing today by creating a “people and planet first” philosophy. Their signature ridesharing service helped put them on the map over the last couple of years.

Facedrive is different from its competitors in that they offer riders the option to hitch a ride with an EV or hybrid vehicle rather than gas-powered vehicles. And this is particularly important as Bloomberg recently reported that Uber drivers are feeling the pinch today as well

With a continuing rise in demand for ridesharing today, right now there’s not enough gas in many places for Uber and Lyft drivers to even fill their cars to pick up passengers. But with Facedrive, their model helps many of their drivers steer clear of any issues in that area.

Getting Over the Last Hurdles

The EV craze has taken off recently with major companies and investment funds all pushing to get behind the growing green movement. But while many people are showing interest in going electric, the cost of buying a new EV can be a major barrier as most prices start around $37,000.

That’s why Facedrive also made a power move by acquiring the revolutionary EV company, Steer, from Exelorate Enterprises, a subsidiary company of the leading energy company, Exelon Corporation.

Steer initially set out to challenge the old car ownership model by adopting a monthly subscription model instead. So rather than paying $37,000 or more upfront for your own EV, Steer offers subscribers the chance to borrow one for a much lower monthly price.

With a Steer subscription, you’ve got your pick of luxury electric vehicles to choose from on their virtual showroom. And after choosing the EV of your dreams, you can either keep that for as long as you’re a subscriber or trade it in for another. This has been boosted during the age of COVID-19 when people would much prefer to drive solo.

That success has led Facedrive (FD,FDVRF) to expand Steer’s operations from Washington D.C. across the border to the major metro hub of Toronto.

Finally, with restaurants still opening up amid the gas shortage, Facedrive has seen huge growth with their investments in their food delivery service, Facedrive Foods. And while the pandemic has finally started slowing down, many are still embracing the contactless options to get their fix from their favorite restaurants.

That’s why Facedrive Foods has been offering completely contactless delivery with thousands of restaurant partners at the moment. And as this has continued to grow, they’re now delivering 5,000 deliveries per day on average.

Facedrive Still Heating Up

With concerns about gas shortages increasing during the EV surge, it hasn’t stopped Facedrive from continuing their year of massive growth. Even with most of the world shut down and staying home more than usual, Facedrive had a more than 6x jump in revenue in 2020 compared to the year before. And now that the world is set to open up again amid the vaccination push, Facedrive could see another major boost through the rest of 2021.

Today, the gas shortage from the Colonial Pipeline attack is looking like just the excuse many needed to make a shift to EVs. And while it could lead some to eventually buy electric vehicles of their own as the economy recovers, Facedrive has positioned itself to be a major player in the car as a subscripton portion of the recovery.

Between the ridesharing, food delivery, and subscription car ownership models, Facedrive looks set to continue their year of growth in the days ahead.

The EV Boom: 2.0

Tesla Inc. (TSLA) was one of the most exciting stock stories of 2020. And though it’s been caught in some controversial stances this year, like Elon Musk’s decision to buy…and then sell bitcoin, the company is still as promising as ever. Morgan Stanley has even set its price target at $900, which suggests there’s still a near 50% upside for the EV giant.

Visionary Elon Musk had his eye on prize long before the hype started building. In fact, ee released the first Tesla Roadster back in 2008, making electric vehicles cool when people were laughing at first-gen electric vehicles. Since then, Tesla’s stock has skyrocketed by over 14,000%. And it’s not just about cars, either. Musk is looking towards a much bigger picture, building the foundation for an electrified future on all fronts.

 Investors shouldn’t ignore legacy automakers. Toyota Motors (TM), for example, 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 ten years.

Bob Carter, TMNA executive vice president of sales explained, “We continue to be leaders in electrification that began with our pioneering introduction of the Prius nearly 25 years ago,” adding “Toyota’s new electrified product offerings will give customers multiple choices of powertrain that best suits their needs.”

Ford (F) is legacy giant that is looking to jump on the electric vehicle boom. And while it suffered a major downturn last year, Ford is already bouncing back, with its stock price more than doubling since March 2020. They recently announced they’ll be boosting their spending on EVs to $27 billion through mid-decade. 

This major investment includes plans of their own to create an electric cargo van and a plug-in version of their bestseller F-150 pickup truck. And this is just the beginning for the heavyweight automaker.

Just recently, Ford also announced its new F-150. An electric version of one of the hottest selling cars in the United States. While Tesla’s still-to-be-released Cyber Truck boasts higher specs, the announcement of the iconic F-150 electric model has been very well received, and it has been reflected in Ford’s stock price.

But it’s worth keeping an eye on the newcomers, too, like Xpeng Motors (XPEV), which has been making impressive gains thanks mainly to a growing demand for its stylish vehicles and promising financials.

Xpeng has also been drawing plenty of interest from Big Money, managing to raise nearly a billion dollars from heavy hitters such as Alibaba, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Qatar Investment Authority, Hillhouse Capital, and Sequoia Capital China.

Newcomers like Xpeng provide an excellent opportunity for investors who missed out on Tesla’s meteoric rise or Chinese Tencent-backed Nio’s (NIO) storming of the market in 2020–even if its shares did rise too far, too fast. 

The boom in electric vehicles 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 vehicles and charging stations adds further support.

Blink Charging really is a mature company, having been around since 1998. Its unique proposition is that many of the company’s charging stations are found in practical locations, such as airports and hotels, making it convenient for drivers to charge up while waiting on flights or in their rooms.

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.Dhttps://www.knightsbridgelaw.com
S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Economist at Knightsbridge holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Crypto, Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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