Electric vehicle (EV) stocks have gotten a lot of attention over the last few years as production has increased and multiple companies have come public, but that doesn't mean all EV stocks are good investments. Companies still have to make money building and selling vehicles, which has historically been the hardest part of the auto business. 

Given the current trends, I think General Motors (GM -0.17%) is the one EV stock to buy hand over fist, while ChargePoint (CHPT -1.45%) and Canoo (GOEV -5.00%) have some serious red flags. 

General Motors

GM isn't known as an electric vehicle company today, but its future is electric. Production is low but ramping up on the Chevy Bolt, GMC Hummer EV, and Cadillac Lyriq -- and that's just the start of a plan to be all-electric by 2035. On top of those vehicles, GM owns a majority stake in Cruise, which is launching a fully autonomous ride sharing vehicle that will be manufactured by GM. 

While the future is electric, GM is a highly profitable business today and trades at a reasonable value for investors. You can see that the trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is under eight, which is less than half of the market's P/E ratio of 20.6.

Chart showing GM's revenue and net income remaining steady since 2020, and its PE ratio spiking in 2020 and then falling.

GM Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts

What really gets me excited about GM's electric future is Cruise. The GM-made Origin (shown below) is launching next year, and Cruise announced recently that it will launch autonomous ride-sharing vehicles for public use in Phoenix and Austin, Texas later this year. The future is autonomous and electric, and GM is leading the way

Cruise Origin.

Image source: Cruise.

Red flags for ChargePoint

With all of these electric vehicles hitting the road, it would make sense that an EV charging company would be a great place to invest. But even a leader like ChargePoint has some major red flags. 

Let's start with the financials, where revenue growth is strong, but margins are falling and losses are expanding. 

Chart showing ChargePoint's gross profit margin and cash from operations falling, and revenue rising, since early 2021.


CHPT Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts

ChargePoint may not be the business investors want it to be, either. $84.1 million of ChargePoint's revenue in the second quarter of fiscal 2023 was from selling "networked charging systems," which "consists of the deliveries of EV charging system infrastructure, which include a range of Level 2 AC products for use in residential, commercial and fleet applications, and Level 3 DC, or fast-charge products for use in commercial and fleet applications." In other words, ChargePoint is selling EV chargers, which are a commodity piece of hardware.

$24.1 million in revenue last quarter was from subscriptions and "other" sources of revenue, which are higher-margin, but that's a tiny business for a company worth $6 billion. 

I don't think there's any moat in EV charging, and with ChargePoint's losses and high market cap, this is a stock with far too many red flags. 


The concept behind Canoo is reasonable enough: A platform electric vehicle design that could be turned into a uniquely designed lifestyle vehicle, pickup truck, and delivery vehicle. But creating an interesting concept and delivering vehicles profitably to customers are very different things. 

You can see below that Canoo is burning cash rapidly and only has $33.8 million in cash on the balance sheet, likely meaning the company will need to raise cash to produce vehicles, since it doesn't currently have revenue. 

Chart showing Canoo's cash from operations and cash and equivalents falling since early 2021.

GOEV Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts

Canoo is partnering with VDL Groep to build its vehicles, so there isn't a big capital outlay to build a factory, but that doesn't mean this business isn't full of risks. The balance sheet is terrible, the company is losing money at an unsustainable rate, and it's not yet clear if there's enough demand for vehicles to be profitable in a saturating EV market. 

If you like Canoo's concept, I think a better potential investment would be Rivian (RIVN -2.27%). The company has its own manufacturing facility, a similar platform design, and a bigger backlog for both individual customers and commercial customers. 

EVs are here, but not every stock will win

Despite the fact that electric vehicles are quickly gaining market share and continue to improve in cost and performance, that's not a guarantee that every EV stock will be profitable for investors. Given their businesses and financial results, I think GM is the one to bet on right now, and I would avoid ChargePoint and Canoo.