Stocks to buy

The electric-vehicle revolution and the evolution towards self-driving are two of the more exciting technological changes in our lifetime. The proliferation of EVs has not only enabled start-up automakers with enormous potential to be formed and begin selling tens of thousands of vehicles, but EVs have sped up the digitalization of automobiles. As a result, they’ve facilitated automakers’ ability to sell subscriptions to various apps and services. This has led to the rise of leading EV stocks to buy.

Similarly, the development of autonomous transportation has opened up new revenue streams to automakers, including robotaxis, subscriptions to semi-autonomous driving systems, and the use of autonomous vehicles to ship products. Given all of these points, leading EV stocks that are also well-positioned to benefit from  developing and marketing autonomous-driving systems are, in my view, great stocks to buy.

The combination is perhaps best exemplified by Chinese electric-vehicle maker Xpeng (NYSE:XPEV), which recently rolled out its self-driving system in Beijing.

Xpeng (XPEV)

Source: shutterstock.com/JLStock

On June 15, Xpeng rolled out a software update enabling some of its vehicles to self-navigate through Beijing’s streets, according to The South China Morning Post. The company’s autonomous-driving software, X NGP (Navigation Guided Pilot), is now operational in the four largest cities in Asia. Xpeng aims to launch it in dozens of cities by the end of 2023.

Some media outlets compare X NGP to Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Full Self-Driving system, labeling it as “semi-autonomous.” However, I think these descriptions undersell Xpeng’s groundbreaking offering.

I base this view on two reasons. Firstly, Xpeng’s G9 EV will soon operate as robotaxis on all general testing roads in Guangzhou, a Chinese city.

Secondly, Xpeng CEO Xiaopeng He stated on May 24, alongside Xpev’s Q1 results, that the system matches the driving abilities of a novice driver. With each update, its “driving experience” will improve by a year.

He also claimed that X NGP is a year ahead of its competitors. He predicted that by the end of 2023, the system would need human intervention only once “or fewer” on highways.

BYD (BYDDF)

Source: Marian Weyo / Shutterstock.com

China-based BYD (OTC:BYDDF) is the world’s leading seller of EVs if plug-in hybrids are included in the category. As a result, it is certainly one of the world’s leading EV stocks.

In recent months, the automaker has begun a big push in the autonomous-driving area. Specifically, it has recruited “between 4,000 and 5,000 software engineers” while creating “an intelligent driving research division” to bring all of its engineers working on such systems together in the same locations, Reuters indicated.  The company told the news service that it would unveil autonomous-driving innovations in “two to three years.”

Given BYD’s extremely impressive success in the EV space and its huge cash pile of over $66 billion as of the end of last quarter, I’m confident that it will unveil an impressive autonomous-driving system.

Meanwhile, BYD has huge opportunities in overseas markets, as its exports jumped 500% in 2022, and it still has yet to meaningfully penetrate both Western markets and those in Southeastern Asia and India, Seeking Alpha columnist Manuel Paul Dipold recently noted.

The stock has a very low trailing price-sales ratio of 1.46.

Aptiv (APTV)

Source: Ronald Rampsch / Shutterstock.com

Aptiv (NYSE:APTV) “develops advanced electrical systems including autonomous driving software for automobiles.” The company’s autonomous-driving joint venture with Hyundai, Motional, lost $1.15 billion from 2020 to 2022.

However, Motional looks poised to  start generating large returns on investment for Aptiv over the longer term. That’s because, late last year, “Motional and Uber…reached a 10-year deal to deploy robotaxis across multiple markets across the U.S.”

Given Uber’s tremendous reach and high sales in the U.S., the agreement should hugely boost Motional’s financial results, greatly lifting Aptiv’s top and bottom lines in the process.

In February, Aptiv reported that it anticipates that its sales would climb over 30% between 2022 and 2025, while its operating profit would “more than double” during the period.

Given that information, Aptiv’s forward price-earnings ratio of 23 is very attractive.

As of the date of publication, Larry Ramer owned shares of XPEV. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 15 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been PLUG, XOM and solar stocks. You can reach him on Stocktwits at @larryramer.

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