The adoption of electric vehicles has been increasing around the globe, and almost all automakers are busy electrifying their lineup. But driving an EV may not be as hassle-free as some had thought, as YouTube star Marques Brownlee explains in a recent video on his Auto Focus channel.
Brownlee, who has over 16 million subscribers on his namesake main channel, is known for making technology-focused videos and driving a Tesla.
As the story goes, Brownlee went to a local mall to get food. A woman saw him arriving in a Tesla, flagged him down, and asked for help. As it turns out, she parked her son’s Tesla Model 3 at a ChargePoint charging station at the mall but could not get it to charge.
Brownlee explained to her that to charge a Tesla at a ChargePoint charging station, she would need an adapter. Since the woman didn’t seem to know what that was, Brownlee helped her open the trunk, find the adapter, and connect the EV to the charger. She also didn’t have a ChargePoint account, so Brownlee explained to her how to pay to start the session without requiring an account.
Once everything was set up, Brownlee headed inside the mall.
After grabbing his takeout, Brownlee headed back to his car but was flagged down by the woman again. He went to check and found that the charging still hadn’t started.
“At this point, I’m like, this could be one of those things where you don’t know what’s wrong,” he said frustratingly.
He then noticed that the car next to hers was charging properly but the person had crossed the wire from one side to the next, perhaps realizing that one of the charging stations was broken.
The video, titled “This is ruining electric cars,” has received more than 1.7 million views.
The importance of charging infrastructure
Brownlee pointed out that the charging infrastructure is “just as important to the electric car experience as the car itself.”
“Imagine explaining to your parents, your grandparents, or anyone who’s not super adept with technology especially, that instead of going to a gas station, they need to make sure they find a working charger with the right adapter and all this — it might take longer, it might be a slower charger, it might be broken.”
And it could be a major hurdle to electric car adoption.
“There’s been versions of this before, where people are actually, genuinely mad, like ‘I don’t think the electric car thing is for me,’” Brownlee remarked, adding that there are countless examples that keep bringing this to light.
While it’s true that the EV charging experience may not be as smooth as some had hoped, the infrastructure is rapidly evolving.
Here’s a look at three companies that are installing charging stations across the country. With an increasing number of EVs on the road, this trio stands to make money. Wall Street also sees upside in them.
Even though Brownlee didn’t have a pleasant experience with that particular ChargePoint charging station, the company is solidly positioned for the EV boom.
ChargePoint Holdings (CHPT) has one of the largest EV charging networks in the world. It has around 5,000 commercial and fleet customers, including 80% of Fortune 50 companies. Since its inception, ChargePoint has delivered more than 145 million charging sessions.
EV stocks weren’t market darlings in 2022 and this EV infrastructure play was caught in the sell-off as well. Despite the bounce in 2023, ChargePoint shares are down 10% over the last 12 months.
That could give bargain hunters something to think about.
JPMorgan analyst Bill Peterson has an ‘overweight’ rating on ChargePoint and a price target of $16 — roughly 38% above where the stock sits today.
With a market cap of around $600 million, Blink Charging (BLNK) is a relatively underfollowed name in the world of EV stocks.
Shares have been on a rollercoaster ride.
At the beginning of 2020, Blink Charging was trading at less than $2 per share. It shot up to over $60 per share in January 2021 before losing momentum. Today, it’s at $10.
Blink has deployed more than 58,000 EV charging ports across 25 countries. It uses proprietary-based software that operates, maintains, and tracks the EV stations connected to its network.
In Q3 of 2022, revenue rose 169% from a year ago to $17.2 million.
The increasing adoption of EVs should continue to fuel growth in Blink’s business.
Needham & Company analyst Vikram Bagri has a ‘buy’ rating on Blink and a price target of $18 — implying a potential upside of 80%.
Tesla (TSLA) has long been the go-to choice for people looking for EV stocks — its market cap is now several times bigger than Ford and General Motors combined. But other than being an EV manufacturer, it’s also a play on charging infrastructure.
Tesla has deployed over 40,000 Superchargers around the globe. Notably, these Superchargers can add up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
“Since charging above 80 percent is rarely necessary, stops are typically short and convenient,” the company says.
As an EV maker, Tesla’s business is going in the right direction. In 2022, the company delivered 1,313,851 EVs, representing a 40% increase year over year.
Barclays analyst Dan Levy has an ‘overweight’ rating on Tesla and a price target of $275. Since shares trade at around $199 today, the price target implies a potential upside of 38%.