Elon Musk’s dizzying ascent in 2020 hit a new peak this week as he’s about to become the head of an S&P 500 Index company. That’s just days after surging to the second-richest person on the planet with a $139 billion fortune.
But the Tesla Inc. CEO isn’t the only electric-vehicle entrepreneur to have turned fabulously wealthy this year. Some rivals are growing their net worths at an even quicker rate, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Nio Inc. founder William Li has gotten 12 times richer in 2020 through his holding in the U.S.-listed carmaker, the fastest pace of gains among the world’s 500 richest people. The net worth of He Xiaopeng, chairman of XPeng Inc., has jumped more than 600 percent. Overall, fortunes of the handful of people tracked by the Bloomberg index in the EV industry have increased by more than $140 billion -- including Musk’s $111 billion surge.
That doesn’t take into account the ancillary parts required for electric cars. The top shareholders of battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., for example, are worth $40 billion collectively, up about $23 billion this year.
“The No. 1 technology in vehicles in the future is software, and the chips that you have,” Henrik Fisker, co-founder of EV maker Fisker Inc., said in a recent webcast. “So it’s not anymore who makes the axles of a car or who stamps this piece of metal.”
Traditional automakers and parts manufacturers are mostly playing catch up. Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen Group, Continental AG and Toyota Motor Corp. -- all down or barely up this year -- are among those seeking to shift their business to comply with stricter emission rules. One exception has been General Motors, whose ambitious goal of rolling out 30 new EVs by 2025 has helped buoy its shares to a three-year high.