When you hear about electric vehicles (EVs), your mind probably immediately turns to Tesla (TSLA 1.16%). And rightfully so -- the Elon Musk-led enterprise is the king of electric cars, boasting a 26% share of the global battery electric vehicles (BEVs) market. That said, there are several other pure-play EV companies that should be on your radar moving forward.

Two companies in particular, Rivian Automotive (RIVN 1.44%) and Lucid Group (LCID 1.89%), have been making their names heard recently. Both stocks have collapsed more than 50% year-to-date in light of company-specific issues and an unstable macroeconomic environment. But has the latest pullback created unique buying opportunities for shrewd investors?

Let's examine the current situation for both Rivian and Lucid to help investors determine which stock is the better buy right now.

Person charging white electric vehicle.

Image source: Getty Images.

Rivian is further ahead in the EV race

Rivian, which specializes in electric trucks and SUVs, posted a mixed second-quarter earnings digest on Aug. 11. On one hand, its $364 million in revenue beat Wall Street estimates of $337.5 million, but on the other hand, management cautioned investors that it will likely suffer a wider loss in fiscal 2022 than previously expected. When all was said and done, the EV company endured a net loss of $1.7 billion during the quarter. 

For the full year, management now believes its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) will conclude at negative $5.45 billion, versus the negative $4.75 billion that it initially expected. Despite projecting a heftier loss, the company reiterated that it's on path to achieve its production goal of 25,000 vehicles in 2022.

In the second quarter, Rivian's total production surged 72.4% year-over-year, up to 4,401 units, and it also noted that its current pre-order backlog is 98,000 as of the end of June. And as part of its partnership with e-commerce king Amazon (AMZN -0.22%), Rivian has begun rolling out its EDV 500 electric delivery trucks in dozens of cities across the United States. Although ambitious, the plan is to have electric delivery trucks in 100 cities by the end of the year, and to provide 100,000 units in total by 2030.

Lucid Group's journey is just getting started

Geared toward the luxury EV market, Lucid Group has struggled on the production front of late. The company has only produced 1,405 units in the first half of 2022, and it delivered just 679 cars in the second quarter. And to rub salt in the wound, management cut its original full-year production guidance of 12,000 to 14,000 units in half to 6,000 to 7,000.

So although its revenue experienced a huge boost to $97.3 million, up from $174,000 a year ago, the company is falling behind in its product roadmap.

For the full year, management expects to spend $2 billion in capital expenditures, which is a lot of capital to shell out for a business that is greatly underperforming expectations. Even so, the company remains confident that it has sufficient liquidity well into 2023. The situation could be worse, but that's not necessarily a whole lot of time for a company that recently slashed its production guidance by 50%. 

According to the company itself, it currently has north of 37,000 car reservations, which translates to roughly $3.5 billion in potential sales. Knowing that, it's clear that Lucid Group doesn't have a demand problem; rather, it has an execution problem. Moving forward, the company's future depends on its ability to efficiently manage challenges and expand operations in a timely manner.

Which stock should investors buy today?

There's no sugarcoating the situation -- both Rivian and Lucid Group are dicey investments today. However, Rivian has been much more successful in expanding its business than Lucid Group, prompting me to believe it's a better buy right now. While Rivian reaffirmed its production guidance for the year, Lucid Group cut its guidance by 50%. Although demand appears high for both companies' cars, it really comes down to execution -- and Rivian is the clear winner in that domain right now.