Energy storage and the future of transport are two of the “most attractive” climate themes to invest in right now, according to HSBC analysts. “After outpacing global equities (FTSE All World) by 8% in 2022 and 15% in 2021, global climate stocks have started 2023 on a strong note, up 3% on a relative basis (YTD),” analysts led by Thomas C. Hilboldt said. Energy storage, in particular, has shown strong price momentum this year so far, and leads with the highest returns – 10% – among the climate themes that the bank covers. “While long-term valuations are still below average, consensus expect earnings to grow c40% higher than global climate stocks over the next 12M,” said the bank’s analysts in a Feb. 20 note. Transport efficiency is also among the “most favourable,” the bank wrote. ‘Amid inexpensive valuations, strong 12M forward consensus EPS growth outlook (12% relative to climate stocks) and an increasing focus on decarbonisation of the transport sector, companies in the Transport Efficiency theme appear attractive, in our view,” the note said. Stocks with the most upside HSBC named buy-rated stocks under both of these themes which have among the highest upside to the bank’s price targets. In energy storage, electric vehicle battery maker CATL (55% upside), lithium producer SQM (40% upside) and lithium producer Livent (38% upside) made the list. For transport efficiency, HSBC highlighted Warren Buffett-backed EV maker BYD (Hong Kong-listed, over 97% upside) and automaker Stellantis , the company created when PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler merged (38% upside). Outlook for battery demand, prices Average prices for lithium-ion batteries, which are used in EVs, rose 7% year-on-year in 2022, according to HSBC. It expects battery prices to remain high this year before dropping in 2024. “The global energy storage market continues to grow, despite higher energy storage costs in 2022. Global demand for batteries has been steadily rising, principally due to the fast growing clean-transport sector, driven by increasing adoption of electric vehicles,” said HSBC, adding that demand should double this year from last year’s levels. Given the strong growth in demand for energy storage, the companies in this sector are the “potential frontrunners,” the note said. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.