Congress Restores $2,000 Hybrid Car Tax Credit

Tens of thousands of taxpayers have purchased hybrid electric vehicles this year, and the thousands more who plan to buy these gas-saving, environmentally-friendly vehicles in coming year will receive a bigger tax incentive than expected for their socially-responsible purchases, thanks to yesterday's action by the U.S. Congress on the middle class tax cut bill.

Aggressive New CAFE Standards; The IC Empire Strikes Back

John Petersen Last Friday President Obama and executives from thirteen leading automakers gathered in Washington DC to announce an historic agreement to increase fleet-wide fuel economy standards for new cars and light trucks from 27.5 mpg for the 2011 model year to 54.5 mpg for the 2025 model year. While politicians frequently spin superlatives to describe mediocre results, I believe the President's claim that the accord "represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil" is a refreshing example of political understatement. After three decades of demagoguery, debate,...

Two Stocks For Grid Storage – ZBB Energy and Axion Power

John Petersen On March 4, 2011 the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory published a comprehensive review of "Electrochemical Energy Storage Technologies for Green Grid" that is a must-read for serious investors who want to understand the technical and economic intricacies of the energy storage sector. It explains why storage is a key enabling technology for wind and solar power, the smart grid, efficient transportation and a legion of high-technology manufacturing and service enterprises that can't survive without reliable power. It also explains why energy storage is an investment mega-trend that will endure for decades. While I normally try to...

Linamar: A Bright Spot In A Sea Of Doom & Gloom

Linamar (LNR.TO or LIMAF.PK) is a Canadian auto parts designer and manufacturer whose primary customers include GM, Chrysler and Ford. Before you rush to the exits because of their exposure to the North American auto industry, consider the following. Often, cyclical downturns beat a stock down far more than is deserved. We've seen it over the years with home builders, as discussed here, and we've discussed here how cyclical downturns offer opportunities for value investors to buy companies while they're cheap. Many will argue that this is in fact a secular downturn for a company like Linamar. However,...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #1 Johnson Controls, Inc....

Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) has long been one of my favorite energy efficiency picks, with an added bonus coming from their joint venture with Saft to produce batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.  They have also shown some energy saving innovation making parts for auto interiors. Building EfficiencyEfficient buildings are much more complex than simply replacing inefficient HVAC and lighting with more efficient versions.  Quite often, the most cost effective measures come from using systems more efficiently.  As an analogy to the home, look at any list of quick tips for energy saving around...

Two Hundred And Twenty Billion New Reasons To Be A Plug-in Vehicle Skeptic

John Petersen On April 8th the Electrification Coalition, a recently formed industrial lobby comprised of top-level executives from Cisco Systems (CSCO), Aerovironment (AVAV), NRG Energy (NRG), Rockwood Holdings (ROC), Nissan Motors (NSANY.PK), FedEx (FDX), A123 Systems (AONE) and a gaggle of private companies released a slick but wholly unenlightening white paper titled, "Economic Impact of the Electrification Roadmap." I haven't seen so many finely sculpted curves and unspoken assumptions since the tax shelter forecasts of the early-80s. The only clear message is that electric drive will be little more than a footnote in automotive history unless the powers...

Electric Cars, The Insanity Escalates

John Petersen On January 28th the DOE announced the closing of a $1.4 billion ATVM loan to Nissan North America, a unit of Nissan Motors (NSANY), for the purpose of retooling a factory in Smyrna, Tennessee to produce the Leaf, a zero emission electric car that will be released later this year. Nissan will use the loan proceeds to create "up to 1,300 American jobs" at a cost of about $1.3 million each and the 200,000 Leafs it hopes to produce and sell each year will "conserve up to 65.4 million gallons" of gas, a whopping 327 gallons...

China’s First Auto Works Chooses Enova for Hybrid Drive Systems

Enova Systems Inc (ENVA)announced today that it has entered into a development and sales agreement with China's First Auto Works (FAW) for parallel hybrid drive systems for their hybrid buses. FAW signed a two-phase development agreement with Enova for hybrid-electric motors and power controllers for its newest hybrid buses. Enova is working with both FAW and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) of Texas to integrate and validate the new Enova parallel hybrid drive system for these buses.

Visual Comparison of Alternative Transportation Fuels

I've recently agreed to do a of couple presentations on "Investing In Green Energy" at conferences this October, and so I've decided it's time to update and expand on some graphs I constructed this spring: I created a pair of graphs which give an overview of how different electricity generation technologies compare.  These are not precise graphs with anything resembling scientific accuracy, but I think they're a useful too for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various technologies.   This is my attempt to do the same for transportation fuels.  Note that I'm really only talking about cars and trucks...

The Best Peak Oil Investments Meet the Smart Grid: Telvent GIT SA (TLVT)

Tom Konrad CFA I'm bullish on Smart Transportation, which is my term for applying information technology to make our transportation system more efficient.  The majority of my list of Smart Transportation Stocks focus on GPS navigation.  I've been a fan of GPS navigation ever since 2001, when I first experienced the relief using one while driving in an unfamiliar city.  But I'm much less enthusiastic about GPS Navigation stocks: I feel the industry is too competitive, which is great for the consumer, but not so great for the shareholder.  Hence, I'm drawn to the three Smart...

10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2021: Diversification

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Rounding out the discussion of the stocks in my 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2021 list are the two that don’t fit either of the themes I highlighted for 2021: Picks and Shovels or a Possible Yieldco Boom.  Both help with diversification, both in terms of their industry and geography. MiX Telematics (MIXT) was retained from the Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2020 list because I expect its prospects to improve rapidly as the world comes out of covid lockdowns.  The global vehicle telematics provider has a large number of its customers among mass transit, logistics,...

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...

A123 Systems Files Price Range Amendment

John Petersen This morning A123 Systems filed another registration statement amendment for its planned IPO. The amendment specifies a preliminary price range of $8.00 to $9.50 and a preliminary offering size of 25 million shares (28.85 million shares with over-allotment option). Amendments like today's filing occur during the late stages of an IPO and it's not unusual to see the price range or offering size increase in later filings. Both of the preliminary values are about half of what I expected. The price range surprises me because of its rough parity with the $9.20 per share...

UQM Technologies Announces Contract With Marine Corps to Develop Hybrid Electric Propulsion System to...

Unique Mobility Inc (UQM) announced today that it has received a $599,000 contract from the U.S. Marine Corps to develop a hybrid electric propulsion system to power small unmanned ground combat vehicles with vehicle weights of 500 pounds to one ton. The propulsion system to be developed includes a 10 kW propulsion motor, an in-line planetary gear set and a dual motor controller with an integrated 60-hertz inverter, which will operate when the vehicle is stationary.

UQM Technologies Propulsion Systems and Generators Drive Hybrid Electric Transit Buses Delivered to Los...

Unique Mobility Inc (UQM) announced that two low-floor, hybrid electric transit buses manufactured by Hybrid Bus Technologies, LLC, Denver, Colorado, that are fueled by clean burning natural gas, have been delivered to Los Angeles International Airport ("LAX") and will be placed in service to transport passengers within the airport. The hybrid electric transit buses are each powered by two 100kW UQM® propulsion systems and a 100kW UQM® generator. The hybrid electric transit buses are an updated design of the 45-foot, low floor bus that has been transporting 63,500 passengers daily across the 1.3-mile long 16th Street pedestrian mall in...

Electric Vehicle and Lithium-ion Battery Investing For Imbeciles

John Petersen In their 1969 bestseller "The Peter Principle" Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull quoted a Latin-American student named Caesare Innocente who lamented, "Professor Peter, I'm afraid that what I want to know is not answered by all my studying. I don't know whether the world is run by smart men who are, how you Americans say, putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." After watching the events of the last few weeks, I think most of my regular readers would agree that the imbeciles are clearly steering the ship. Last March I went...
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