Workhorse (NASDAQ:WKHS) and Ford (NYSE:F) stocks are having a pretty good week, but which stock will give you a better ROI going forward?
Over the past few months, the EV sector has been buzzing as the market heats up with a flurry of new EV companies making stock market debuts. While some companies have gone the traditional IPO or ADR way, others have gone down the newly popularized SPAC route.
One of the most interesting companies in the new lot is Workhorse Group. Workhorse is an Ohio based company founded by CEO Steve Burns in 1998. The company started its life as an OEM manufacturer and has gradually turned into an EV utility vehicle manufacturer. The company also recently spun off its manufacturing plant and Lordstown Motors, to produce an all-electric consumer pickup called the Endurance. Workhorse still owns a 10% stake in Lordstown Motors and will likely outsource production to it if it lands a big sale.
The United States Postal Service(USPS) has been in the news of late as the market is keen to know who it chooses for a $6+ billion next-generation delivery van contract. The USPS has been in talks with companies like Workhorse and Ford since 2018 and has been working closely with them for testing. The market was expecting Workhorse to be in pole position for this contract since 2018 as it was the only company in the running with an all-electric product and this sent Workhorse stock up more than 20x over the last two years, with the bulk of the rise during this year’s EV boom. However, things have changed a lot over the past few months.
For starters, despite being in pole position for the contract in the eyes of the market, Workhorse has a laundry list of problems that it needs to overcome if it wants the USPS contract or even a part of it.
During the coronavirus, the company was particularly badly hit as the virus infected more than a third of its workforce, this led to them producing just nine vehicles in an entire quarter.
Secondly, Workhorse is facing major supply chain issues regarding its batteries.
Thirdly, Workhorse has performed very poorly in USPS testing. In an earlier test, a USPS driver was injured due to a parking brake failure, in another instance, the truck’s suspension broke at a rail crossing. These instances left USPS in a foul mood and they have put a halt on all testing since.
However, the deepest blow came late last week when Ford launched their own all-electric cargo van called the E-Transit. Ford’s offering goes head-to-head with Workhorse’s in performance and practicality and comes with Ford’s experience as one of the world’s largest automakers.
Ford’s E-Transit also comes loaded with a next-gen cloud system allowing the USPS and other fleet operators to control and optimize package movement. The E-Transit lists for $45k. The E-Transit also comes with an 8-year 100000-mile warranty, which is very difficult for a new company like Workhorse to compete with.With cargo vans being an $18 billion market in the US alone, both companies have a huge opportunity. However, Ford has not directly entered the E-Transit into the USPS bid, instead they have a joint-venture with OshKosh Corp. for the USPS bid. Under their bid, OshKosh was offering a traditional Ford Transit van with some modifications for the Postal Service. As the OshKosh bid was based on an ordinary Ford Transit, Workhorse was the only all-electric option for the USPS. However, the launch of the all-electric E-Transit might be just what OshKosh needed to clinch the contract as their offering would come with Ford’s experience in high volume and high-quality manufacturing. Also, OshKosh already shares a relationship with the government as it has manufactured and delivered to other government branches like the military.
However, Workhorse has a very tall order in front if it wants to compete with the likes of Ford, especially in a crucial order like the USPS where the product has to be of extremely high-quality. If WKHS fails to get the contract or even a part of it, the company’s stock will be in for a very serious correction.