Second-quarter earnings provide a reminder this company is still in its early days.

Key Points

  • EHangs autonomous air taxis have gotten a lot of attention, but the company only generated $1.9 million in revenue in the second quarter.
  • The company says it is making progress in winning certification for its aircraft in China and abroad.

What happened

Shares of Chinese autonomous air taxi manufacturer EHang Holdings (NASDAQ:EH) fell more than 10% at the open Wednesday following the companys second-quarter earnings report. The stock has recovered somewhat from those lows, but still remains down on the day.

So what

EHang has a number of products under development, but most of the attention is on its EH216 flagship autonomous aerial vehicle. The company envisions fleets of its flying taxis shuttling passengers in the years to come.

Illustration

Image source: Getty Images.

But the companys earnings report served as a reminder that we are still years away from that dream becoming a reality. EHang lost 74.6 million renminbi ($11.6 million) in the quarter, down from a loss of RMB19.7 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue fell 65.9% year over year to RMB12.2 million ($1.9 million).

But EHang said it is seeing progress in getting its aircraft airborne. The EH216 is progressing through certification trials with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and in June the aircraft made its first flight in Japan.

We made meaningful progresses toward the certification process and trial operations for our existing AAV products such as the EHang 216 and the EHang 216F, and further made our product and solution portfolio well-rounded for urban air mobility by introducing the new model VT-30, founder and CEO Huazhi Hu said in a statement. We are confident in maintaining our leadership position and competitiveness among our industry peers in the burgeoning UAM market.

Now what

Theres a solid business case for these small, helicopter-like air taxis as a way to reduce the use of less-green options like small planes to connect regional airports to major hubs, and to bypass congested urban streets. But there is no shortage of companies developing e-taxis, and no real clear framework for how quickly they will be approved in Western markets.

For now, EHang remains a company with some promise but is trading at a rich 45 times sales and 30 times book value. Until the company begins to show it is turning that promise into revenue, investors would be wise to remain cautious on the stock.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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