The “Coke” Of Trucks Goes All-In On Electric… Time To Buy?

It’s official: Ford (NYSE: F) is going all-in on electric.

The No. 2 automaker in the United States debuted its brand-new, all-electric, F-150 model Wednesday night. Dubbed the Lightening, it could usher in a new era for the legacy automaker as it looks to surpass the likes of Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) in the electric car battle.

Now, I should note that we’re a Chevy truck family — but I couldn’t help but take a closer look at the truck for more reasons than one.

Source: Ford Media

First, it should be noted, that Ford’s electric reimagining of the Mustang (the Mach E) as a sport utility vehicle drew some polarizing reactions. But it’s reportedly drawing a lot of attention from buyers. Besides, the die-hards who care about the Musang legacy are growing fewer by the day.

The F-series pickups, on the other hand, are the No. 1 selling vehicle in the U.S. — so this is kind of a big deal.

The Lightening looks a lot like the traditional internal combustion model — which is undoubtedly a strategic choice. For the company to appeal to its traditional base, it needs to look like a Ford truck. (As Ford CEO Jim Farley noted on a podcast, there’s only one Coke.)

But it also needs to bring the goods, so to speak, it it’s ever going to appeal to EV buyers and traditional truck buyers alike. And it seems like Ford has taken a big leap forward on this front.

The performance numbers are incredible… The company claims the extended range model can drive up to 300 miles, with 563 horsepower, 775 pound-feet of torque, and go from 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds. (That makes it the fastest F-150 ever made.)

It’s full of all kinds of neat features, too… Wide touchscreen monitor, an internal scale that will adjust your fuel range if you’re towing or hauling something, over-the-air software updates, and even an 80-amp home charging station for the extended range model that can charge your pickup in 8 hours or power the average home for three days. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… (For a full overview of the truck, this piece does an excellent job.)

The extended range model will set you back by about $50,000, while the base model (230-mi. range) will take about 40 grand (Federal tax credits notwithstanding).

What Should Investors Do?

In the bigger picture, Ford is planning to invest up to $22 billion in its EV product lineup. That includes not only the vehicles themselves, but also the batteries.

In the meantime, Ford has made an incredible comeback since the dark days of the Covid-selloff, up more than 50% this year.

Does this mean Tesla is in trouble? Does this mean you should buy Ford now?

Well, the truth is, only time will tell. You probably can’t go wrong with Ford. Either way, it’s clear that EVs are happening, and investors should take notice. So rather than play favorites, you may find better luck investing in the resource that makes electric batteries possible: lithium.

As my colleague Nathan Slaughter pointed out in this piece, lithium is the lightest of all metals and has twice the energy storage density of materials previously used. This ideal combination is why lithium is coveted by battery makers. But while lithium has been used for years in everything from smartphones to power tools to golf carts… the big catalyst is obviously electric vehicles.

As Nathan put it:

“A plug-in hybrid vehicle needs 20 pounds of lithium materials. That’s 320 times more than a laptop and 3,200 times more than a phone. So a single electric vehicle battery needs more lithium than a few thousand phone batteries combined.”

And here’s the thing… The world’s not exactly brimming with lithium deposits. In fact, about 90% of the world’s deposits are located in the Atacama desert, in Chile.

Action To Take

So for more or a pure-play investment in lithium, consider looking at Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) — the world’s top lithium producer.

I mentioned this company back in February 2020. And while shares have nearly doubled since then, a key part of what I said then still holds true today:

“…the stock trades for much cheaper than Tesla. And unlike Tesla, it actually makes money on a consistent basis. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a play on EVs, this is one worth looking into further. The tailwinds behind EVs and lithium demand should continue pushing the stock to new heights.”

According to its latest earnings call, ALB is in the final stages of construction for two major projects that are expected to double its capacity to 175,000 metric tons per year. This couldn’t be happening at a better time. We have global automakers going all-in on electric… increasing demand from consumers… and a gentle push on both from governments (like it or not) in the developed world.

It’s the perfect recipe. ALB could continue to see record demand — and a soaring share price, despite what’s already been an impressive run.

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