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Why EVgo, QuantumScape, and Blink Charging Stocks All Popped

Rich Smith

Feb 14, 2024

Electric car stocks got a charge out of Blink's earnings pre-announcement this morning.
Blink is anticipating "record-breaking" revenues for both Q4 and 2023 as a whole.
Profits, however, probably remain another two to three years away.

Investors think today is a good day to own EV stocks. Are they right -- or should you wait?

EV investors got a charge out of earnings news from electric car charging company Blink Charging (BLNK -3.68%) this morning, sending Blink shares up 21.6% through 10:45 a.m. ET. Rival charging company EVgo (EVGO -2.08%), which reported its own earnings last month, likewise rose today -- up 11.2%. A few electrons even kept bouncing all the way over to battery tech start-up QuantumScape Corporation (QS -3.72%) -- up 1.7%.

Now let's find out: Is the excitement justified?

Blink Charging Q4 earnings

Blink Charging's report this morning wasn't technically an "earnings" report -- partly because Blink doesn't actually earn anything, but also because it was only a "preliminary full-year" estimate of Blink's 2023 revenues. (EVgo's own report on Jan. 17 was similarly abbreviated, and similarly preliminary.) 

Blink announced that in Q4 2023, it believes it collected more than $42 million in revenue, bringing its total for the year to $140 million or more -- above its previously guided revenue range of $128 million to $133 million.

CEO Brendan Jones hammered on this theme, that both Q4 and 2023 were "record-breaking" for Blink's revenues, without getting too specific on how much the company actually earned (or lost) in amassing these revenues. Management did reaffirm that it has a target of reaching a "positive Adjusted EBITDA run rate" by the final month of this year.

But (1) that's just a target, not a goal achieved, and (2) "positive adjusted EBITDA" is a very non-GAAP way of describing what Blink might (or might not) earn in the future. It basically translates to "profit not counting any costs from interest on our debt, depreciation of our equipment, or anything we might want to consider a one-time cost, and on top of all that, assuming that nothing at all changes over the next 12 months."

GAAP profit this is not.

When will Blink earn a profit? For that matter, when will EVgo and QuantumScape earn a profit?

Not to put to fine a point on it, then, "positive adjusted EBITDA" is a pretty fudgeable term, and can end up being pretty much anything a creative accountant wants it to be. So it's not a lot of help for investors who need a good idea of real profits in order to figure out how much a stock is worth.

The good news is that Blink management does seem pretty optimistic that it's on the right path to growth, and analysts agree that it will get to profitability...eventually. According to data collected by S&P Global Market Intelligence, most analysts see Blink reaching profitability sometime in 2026, with EVgo following a year later. (QuantumScape, which is still in what we kindly call the "pre-revenue" stage of its life cycle, isn't expected to turn a full-year profit before 2030.)

The bad news, though, is that Blink is nowhere near earning an actual GAAP profit (and neither is EVgo or QuantumScape). Not this quarter. Not this year. Not even in December of this year. All three of these stocks remain speculative in the extreme.

Invest (or don't) accordingly.

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