Lately, QuantumScape (NYSE:QS) stock has held up well.
Several factors have played a role in this, but alongside factors like the resurgence of a “risk off” mindset among investors on promising macro data, some sector-related news is also giving QS stock a boost.
If you’ve been monitoring this electric vehicle battery technology company, chances are you know what I’m talking about. As InvestorPlace’s Samuel O’Brient reported on June 13, global automotive giant Toyota (NYSE:TM) plans to develop and build its own solid state batteries, or SSBs, for use in its EV lineup.
Based on QS’s performance since this story broke, clearly the market believes it to be a positive development.
However, taking a closer look at the news, that may not necessarily be the case. Instead, this could yet another reason why this stock is not worth it, even as a speculative buy.
What the Toyota News Really Means
QuantumScape shares have moved higher on the Toyota news, due to the view that Toyota’s decision to pivot toward SSB-powered EV is a sign that these types of batteries (argued to be safer, faster to charge, and more efficient) are viable on a large-scale.
But while Toyota’s decision may underscore that SSBs batteries are scalable, don’t assume this translates into big upside ahead for QS stock. The fact the Japan-based automaker has opted to develop its own SSBs shows that, even if QuantumScape brings one to market, it’s not as if the company will be the sole player in the space.
Other automakers may follow Toyota’s lead, and decide to go the in-house route in lieu of partnering up with this company. Of course, that doesn’t mean QuantumScape will be left out in the cold if this happens. QS still has a strategic partnership with Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY). Other automakers are also evaluating the company’s samples.
Still, even if it reaches the production stage, at best QuantumScape will sign up just Volkswagen as a buyer, and possibly some automakers evaluating its samples. At worst, Volkswagen could end up being its only major customer.
A Short Path to Higher Prices? Not So Fast
Sure, you may think that just having Volkswagen as a buyer of its SSBs is enough to drive a big QS stock comeback. As one of the world’s largest automakers, being its exclusive provider of these batteries would certainly mean billions in annual revenue.
However, don’t assume this means a short path back to higher price levels for QS. Much less, a certain one. The company first needs to fully get to the production stage. As I have argued in past coverage of QuantumScape, the company remains vague about when exactly this will happen.
Not only that, just because Toyota is throwing its hat into the SSB ring, doesn’t mean QuantumScape is now more likely to work through current headwinds with commercializing this technology.
Hiccups and delays could persist. Even worse, as Larry Ramer recently argued, Toyota could beat QuantumScape to the punch, rendering this one-time early mover into an SSB “also-ran.”
Finally, if it becomes more likely that QS will bring SSBs to market, who’s to say that Volkswagen (which already owns 23.1% of the company) won’t just decide to maximize its own upside, in a manner that causes outside shareholders to lose out?
Still a High Risk/Questionable Reward Situation
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that Volkswagen will ultimately buy QS outright, at a big premium to current prices.
VW could increase its ownership, without having to create a windfall for everyday investors. How? First, while QuantumScape currently has enough cash to fund its operations through 2025, chances are it will need additional capital to move into the production stage.
Volkswagen can then come in, and infuse billions of additional capital into the company, by purchasing new shares. Depending on the extent of future dilution, this could water down returns, or quite possibly, result in negative returns, for outside shareholders, including those buying today.
Again, this is all assuming QuantumScape continues to make progress. If QS fails to commercialize, it could end in tears for everybody, Volkswagen included.
Still a high risk/questionable reward situation, don’t read too much into the latest SSB-related news with QS stock.
On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.