Lux Boosts Their Micro-Hybrid Vehicle Forecast to 39,000,000 Cars a Year By 2017

John Petersen A couple days ago Lux Research published a new report titled “Every Last Drop: Micro‐ And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel‐Efficient Vehicles” that focuses on rapidly growing markets for micro-hybrid vehicles and their battery systems. During 2011, automakers sold an estimated 5,000,000 micro-hybrids worldwide, mainly in Europe. By 2017, Lux forecasts global micro-hybrid sales of 39,000,000 cars a year and a $6.3 billion annual market for their battery systems, which represents an across the board average of $161 per vehicle compared to an auto industry average of less than $60 per...

Maxwell Stakes its Claim in a $2.7 Billion Niche Market

John Petersen Last Wednesday Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) announced the launch of a new ultracapacitor product that insures reliable engine starting for commercial trucks and other heavy vehicles. According to the Energy Information Administration, the existing US fleet includes 4.2 million heavy-duty diesel trucks. All of these vehicles are subject to strict anti-idling laws and regulations that strain their battery systems and increase the risk that the engine won't be able to start when it needs to. While a dead battery is a pain for the average consumer, it can cause a world of problems for a commercial truck...

UQM Technologies Receives Contract From the U.S. Army to Develop Advanced Vehicle Propulsion Motor

Unique Mobility Inc (UQM) announced that it has received a contract from the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) to develop an advanced vehicle propulsion motor for application as a wheel mounted electric propulsion system for hybrid electric combat vehicles being developed under the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. The one year development effort will focus on the validation of a proprietary new design for a permanent magnet electric motor that has the potential to triple the torque capability compared to existing UQM(R) propulsion motors. Army funding for the cost-share project is $242,548 or 77...

The Next Zipcar

By Jeff Siegel Well, I was partly right.. Last year I wrote the following about the car sharing company Zipcar (NASDAQ: ZIP): “... because Hertz and Enterprise are foaming at the mouth to tap the car sharing market, I wouldn't be surprised if one or both eventually made a bid for ZIP in a couple of years. Either way, I don't think Zipcar is under any serious threat in the near-term, and I may be looking to pick some up on dips.” When I got to the office on Wednesday morning, I read the following headline:...

How Growing HEV Markets Will Impact Battery Manufacturing Revenues

John Petersen For the last three weeks I've been writing about why rising oil prices, tightened CO2 emission standards in Europe and accelerated CAFE standards in the U.S. will combine to foster rapid implementation of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology in the automotive industry and result in huge revenue increases for all automotive battery manufacturers. These articles have generated record numbers of comments and questions from readers that want a clearer understanding of what the rapidly changing demand picture means for battery investors. While I generally try to avoid revenue forecasts because they require pricing assumptions...

UQM Technologies Receives Additional Order From Carnegie Mellon for Two UQM(R) Generators to Provide...

Unique Mobility Inc (UQM) announced today that it has received an order for two UQM® generators that will provide generated power for two additional "Spinner" hybrid electric unmanned ground combat vehicles being built by a team led by the National Robotics Engineering Consortium, a unit of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute. The UQM® generators will be integrated with a small diesel engine to generate the power required by the two additional unmanned ground combat vehicles (UGCV's) which are propelled by high torque wheel-mounted UQM® propulsion motors.

Lithium Ion Batteries And GEVs Are Faith-based Cures for Oil Addiction

John Petersen Last Tuesday a reader sent me a copy of "Ending the ICE Age," a new industry overview from Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich on the future of plug-in vehicles, which the newly organized Electrification Coalition has christened grid enabled vehicles, or GEVs. After spending several hours studying the report I concluded that Mr. Milunovich has found the true religion of the new millennium while I'm still an unwashed pagan, or worse yet a heretic. The grim reality is that when you look at American energy policy as a faith-based initiative,...

Is There Any Hope For The Big Three?

Two related pieces of news yesterday, one that was the day's headline and the other that drew a little less attention. First, the big news: auto makers, especially US-based ones, got hammered by their product mixes. As expected, Americans are responding to a rise in gasoline prices by turning away from trucks and demanding cars, especially small ones. Of course, this spells nothing but hard times for the likes of Ford, GM and Chrysler, who are still hungover from a decade-long party fueled by high-margin pick-up trucks and SUVs. Economic incentives, whether state-imposed or market-driven, work after all....

Cobasys to Provide Battery Systems for Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid SUV

Cobasys announced today that they will provide their advanced NiMHax® Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery systems for GM's 2007 Saturn VUE Green Line SUV which will be made available to consumers in the summer of 2006. Cobasys is a joint venture partnership between Energy Conversion Devices Inc (ENER) and Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation (CVX) ENER gapped up this morning on this news and has been trading nicely for the last couple of months. However, it has run into upside resistance at the 52 week high. The stock is...

Less Well Known Autonomous Car Stocks

Car manufacturers have fully embraced self-driving or autonomous cars.  It is not because they have heard a loud clamor for such technology from consumers.  No, automakers are keen on the idea because manufacture of self-driving cars could help them overcome the short comings of highly cyclical sales pattern associated with its car dependent upon a single driver.  In other words, they are in it for themselves whether consumers benefit or not. If consumers are not so important, at least investors should benefit. Besides the car manufacturers there are a few smaller companies that can give investors a taste of the self-driving car phenomenon. LiDar and...

Wise Energy Use Stocks Part 3: Electric Vehicles

Either or both lean economic times and high oil prices are likely to lead to lower use of cars over the next few years, and this will likely weigh on car companies.

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part III: Natural Gas Vehicles

Tom Konrad CFA There are many proposed solutions to the liquid fuels scarcity caused be stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  Some will be good investments, others won't.  Here is where I'm putting my money, and why.  This third part looks at the possibility of displacing gasoline with natural gas, by converting vehicles to natural gas. In Part II of this series, I listed five potential substitutes that have been proposed to replace oil as limited supply and growth in developing markets draw oil away from traditional users.  These were:...

Micro-hybrids And The Multi-Billion Dollar Battery Battle

John Petersen Last week the stock of A123 Systems (AONE) soared 52% in a day after it announced that an enhanced chemistry would improve the cold and hot weather performance of its LiFePO4 batteries, reduce the need for ancillary temperature control systems and make them more competitive in a rapidly evolving micro-hybrid battery market that's dominated by lead-acid battery manufacturers like Johnson Controls (JCI) and Exide Technologies (XIDE). Investors seem to understand that micro-hybrids will generate several billion dollars of incremental annual revenue for battery manufacturers by 2015, but they haven't quite figured out who the winners will...

Interview with Dr. Mike Gallagher, President & COO of Westport Innovations

One of the companies I have followed for some time is Westport Innovations, Inc., (TSX:WPT or WPIVF.PK) out of Vancouver. The technology and product suite allows large diesel trucks to run standard diesels on a 95% natural gas mix, enabling fuel switching as well as significantly improved NOx and PM, as well as CO2 emissions. The company's rapid expansions date from a late 1990s joint venture with Cummins (NYSE:CMI), and Westport has led this market sector since then. I had the opportunity at the recent Greenvest 2007 Conference I chaired in San Francisco to hear...

Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious

John Petersen Thanks to a recent comment from JLBR, I've found a new hero in Dr. Peter Z. Grossman, an economics professor from Butler University who cogently argues that government attempts to force alternative energy technologies into an R&D model that was created for the Manhattan Project and refined for the Space Program will always result in commercial disaster because "the goal of the Apollo Program was the demonstration of engineering prowess while any alternative energy technology must succeed in the marketplace." In a recent article titled "The Apollo Fallacy and its Effect on U.S. Energy Policy" Dr....

Portec Rail Products Beats Estimates, Gets Clobbered

Portec Rail Products (PRPX) released  fourth quarter results on Thursday, comfortably beating analyst expectations.  The stock promptly dropped 18% to just below $5, continuing a two-week decline from around $7.50. I'm baffled.  Although the rail freight industry is a victim of falling oil prices (which means they lose market share to trucking) and the overall drop-off of the transportation industry, this is not news. Portec has several things going for it.  The company has a strong balance sheet, with current assets exceeding total liabilities, and strong cash flow from operations.  Total revenue is down slightly from last...