Apple Self-Driving EV Said To Be Years Away

PURCHASE ORDER

Workhorse Group (WKHS) announced that it has received a purchase order for 6,320 C-Series all-electric delivery vehicles from Pride Group Enterprises. The order is split between Workhorse's C-1000 and C-650 models and is subject to various production and delivery conditions. Initial delivery of the vehicles may begin by July 2021 and will run through 2026.

Commenting on the announcement, Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin said he does not believe the agreement covers Pride's own fleet, noting that Price Group only operates 260 power units and 640 trailers in its company-owned logistics business. The purchase order with Pride "seems like it could more closely resemble a sales and distribution agreement," Irwin added. The analyst is "cautious" on Workhorse shares at current levels "given the sluggish deliveries ramp." He has a Neutral rating on the name with a $19 price target.

LITHIUM PHOSPHATE BATTERIES

NIO (NIO) plans to launch models with lower-cost lithium iron phosphate batteries to expand its consumer base, CNEVPost reported, citing a WeChat account that follows the Chinese auto industry. According to the report, Nio has contracted a production line of lithium iron phosphate batteries from CATL and the new cells are being tested and prepared.

STRATEGIC INVESTMENT

Plug Power (PLUG) and SK Group announced that the companies intend to form a strategic partnership to accelerate hydrogen as an alternative energy source in Asian markets. Through this partnership, Plug Power and SK Group intend to provide hydrogen fuel cell systems, hydrogen fueling stations, and electrolyzers to the Korean and broader Asian markets. In conjunction with this partnership, the companies have also entered into a definitive agreement for SK Group to make a $1.5B strategic investment in Plug Power and are announcing a plan to form a joint venture company in South Korea to support the rapidly growing Asian Market. Under the terms of the investment, a U.S. subsidiary of SK Group will make a $1.5B investment in Plug Power by acquiring approximately 51.4M shares of common stock at a price of $29.2893 per share, the 30-day VWAP as of January 5th, 2021 at a zero percent discount. The investment is expected to represent an approximate 9.9% pro forma ownership stake in Plug Power. The investment transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first quarter.

RATINGS SHAKEUP AT GOLDMAN

Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Lee double downgraded First Solar (FSLR) to Sell from Buy earlier this week with a price target of $81, down from $101, as he believes the company's gross margins and earnings power are peaking in the near-term and as he sees more cyclical headwinds emerging. The analyst expects First Solar's earnings to decline by 17% annually over the course of 2021-2022 following a "peak" earnings year in 2020. This contrasts to most peers across the solar space averaging earnings growth of 20%-30% over the next few years, he contended. Lee believes First Solar's module selling prices will "decline sharply" starting in 2022 owing to the expiration of Section 201. The level of declines could be further exacerbated by the sheer amount of new module capacity being added across the industry over the next 1-2 years, he added.

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