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...

Electic Vehicle Subsidies May Clear A Lane In Chinese Traffic Jam

Bottom line: Traditional car makers will suffer from weak sales growth and plunging margins in China in 2015 and into 2016, while EV makers will start the new year slow but could see improvement by the end of 2015. A flurry of headlines this week are sending ominous signals for the car industry in the year ahead, with both traditional and new energy vehicle makers likely to face an uphill road as China’s economy slows. The problem could be compounded as big new capacity comes online from many major automakers that have invested billions of dollars on expansion over...

Plug-in Vehicles, Unconscionable Waste and Pollution Masquerading as Conservation

John Petersen For eighteen months I've been blogging about the energy storage sector and discussing the current and potential markets for batteries and other manufactured energy storage devices. A recurring theme that I've discussed many times is the unrecognized but undeniable truth that while plug-in vehicles masquerade as conservation measures at an individual level, they're incredibly wasteful at a societal level. The conclusion is counter-intuitive and my articles on the subject invariably draw heated criticism from self-anointed defenders of the faith. Their arguments, however, do not change the inescapable truth that plug-in vehicles are one of the most...

Ener1 Nanotech Unit Prepares to Commercialize Revolutionary Battery Electrodes

ENER1 INC (ENEI) has established and equipped a pilot nanotechnology-based manufacturing facility to fabricate electrodes for high discharge rate, lithium-ion batteries. The company's battery subsidiary, EnerDel, Inc., in which Delphi Corporation holds a 19.5% interest, is in discussions with automotive OEMs regarding evaluation of samples for use in hybrid electric vehicles where the high discharge rate characteristic is viewed as key to performance and cost. EnerDel also plans to explore applications of this technology in other markets.

Toyota’s Asset Backed Green Bond: This Is Big

Sean Kidney Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) will close mid-next week on what will be the world’s first green bond backed by auto loans – electric vehicle and hybrid car loans to be specific. And what a kickstart for that market, at $1.75 billion. According to a report in International Financing Review (IFR), the bond will be in multiple tranches, each at a different ratings level: A2 tranche, A3 and A4 (Moody’s ratings). First thing to know: they told the media a week ago it would be a US$774.675 million bond. Rumour has it that initial investor interest...

Solid Hydrogen Storage Powers a Practical Hydrogen Hybrid Vehicle

Energy Conversion Devices Inc (ENER) and ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures LLC, is demonstrating the use of its metal-hydride hydrogen storage system in a modified hydrogen-electric variant of today's best-selling hybrid sedan. The modified hydrogen hybrid will be available for test drives at the South Coast Air Quality Management District's "Hydrogen - Fueling the Clean Air Future" conference today and tomorrow, August 16 and 17, at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert, Calif.

Energy Conversion 4Q Sales Disappoint

Energy Conversion Devices Inc (ENER) announced quarterly results on Monday. They beat Wall Street expecations with a less than expected loss, but did not meet sales estimates. They posted a loss of $6.9 million, or 23 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30, compared with a year-ago loss of $11.5 million, or 44 cents per share. The company's loss from continuing operations was 22 cents per share. Wall Street estimates on the loss were 26 cents a share. The stock is currently trading down over 4% in pre-market trading. I have been looking for a...
car insurers and community solar

Car Insurers Can Help Community Solar Find EV Customers

By Joe McCabe, P.E. The insurance industry has lots of exposure to climate change. But as Warren Buffet has explained, not so much for companies that do annual policy adjustments, like Berkshire Hathaway. Their exposure is limited because the trends are baked into the premiums. But there is an opportunity for reducing insurance risk due to climate change, and it comes from the insurance industry itself. The business model is to have car insurance salespeople provide leads to virtual electric car charging services. This has perfect demographics because electric vehicle owners are very receptive to solar electricity. Who wouldn't want...

A Plug for Plugs

CO2 reduction and fuel savings are not the only reasons to own a Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV.)  There is real value in the ability to plug in to the electric grid which is not captured by price projections. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA There will be gas lines. Alternative energy saw its first flowering during the 1970's and 1980's, fueled by the OPEC oil embargo and late oil shocks which followed the peaking of domestic United States oil production.  Demand exceeded supply, and domestic price controls meant that the market could not balance supply and demand; instead gas was...

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...

Western Lithium to Profit from Electric Car Stimulus

Jason HamlinThe lithium market is buzzing as GM, Nissan and other car manufacturers get set to roll out a new series of electric cars that will greatly increase demand for the obscure silver-white alkai metal. GM has announced plans to construct a $43 million plant in Michigan to build lithium-ion batteries for its Chevrolet Volt electric-powered car, which captured headlines with its claim of 230 miles per gallon. Adding to the lithium mania is Washington’s support in the form of $2 Billion in stimulus funding: “New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run...

Hybrid cars drive a company, and its stock

Energy Conversion Devices Inc (ENER) founded by the now-82-year-old Mr. Ovshinsky in 1960, developed the battery technology that is being used in Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius the popular "hybrid" car model that has given U.S. automobile titans Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. a run for their money. And the Rochester Hills, Mich., company though it still is unprofitable, making iit a risky bet is drawing backing from serious investors who see a hot market for its products. This story hit the news wires and the Wall Street Journal late last night. ENER...

UQM Technologies Receives Order From Delphi Corporation for UQM(R) Motors and Controllers to Drive...

Unique Mobility Inc (UQM) announced today that it has received an order from Delphi Corporation (DPH) for UQM(R) motors and motor controllers to drive an electric air conditioning compressor for a hybrid electric vehicle. "We are pleased that Delphi has selected UQM(R) hardware for their electric air conditioning program. The electrification of under-the-hood auxiliaries, such as air conditioning, provides efficiency, packaging and performance advantages over conventional belt-driven systems, which can contribute to improved fuel economy in an automobile. Our proprietary motors are ideally-suited for these applications, which we believe represent a significant opportunity for our company in both...

Electric Cars and the Fixed Cost Conundrum

John Petersen Later this month, Tesla Motors plans to launch its initial public offering and sell about 12% of the company for $200 million. If the IPO is successful, Tesla's stock will trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market (TSLA) and its initial market capitalization will be roughly $1.5 billion. Since the IPO has spawned a series of analytical articles from better writers, I'll avoid the temptation to analyze the deal terms and focus on product issues instead. Like their cars, Tesla's IPO will undoubtedly attract vanity investors, the philosophically committed and the mathematically challenged. The more cautious element...

ZAP Car Certified by Executive Order

ZAP (ZAPZ) announced that the California state's Air Resources Board has certified its ZAP WORLDCAR(TM) as a "Zero-Emission Vehicle." The Air Resources Board has certified the 2005 Model Year ZAP WORLDCAR (NEV) and the ZAP WORLDCAR (Utility EV). The certification allows ZAP vehicles to be licensed and sold in the State of California. The certification also gives the purchaser access to incentives created for drivers of Zero-Emission vehicles. Drivers can qualify for a special Zero-Emission Vehicle parking decals that allow them to park and refuel at designated recharging parking spaces, as well as preferred locations at airports, shopping...

Why Long Range EVs Can Never Be Cost Effective

by John Petersen America’s love affair with the automobile has always been based on the freedom of the road and the ability to hop in the car and drive wherever we want to go; be it to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread or out to the lake for a long weekend. Even though most of our trips are short, people invariably want the flexibility to go for a long drive when the open road beckons. Unfortunately, that mentality is disastrous when it comes to EV economics. I’ve been writing about energy...
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