Lithium-ion Battery Stocks: Investment Opportunities or Subsidized Laggards?

John Petersen I'm often critical of public lithium-ion battery manufacturers based on objective investment metrics including their financial condition, their results of operations, their potential markets and the fundamental soundness of their business plans, but I don't usually drill down into thornier issues like technical merit and business execution because those questions are out of my depth and in the words of Harry Callahan, "A man's got to know his limitations." Every once in a while, however, organizations that are competent to evaluate those issues publish analytical reports that can help investors cut through the hype...

EVs, Batteries and Tales From The Valley of Death

John Petersen Today is the fourth anniversary of my blog on investing in the energy storage and electric vehicle sectors. Over the last four years I've penned 275 Articles and 45 Instablogs on topics ranging from technical minutiae to broad macroeconomic trends. Since most of my work focuses on challenges and risks instead of lofty and optimistic goals, I'm often derided as a curmudgeon who doesn't understand the dream. Truth is I've been a guide in the Valley of Death for over thirty years and while I love panoramic scenery, I can't overlook the dangers of old mine...

Tesla’s Gigafactory: Guessing Games

James Montgomery Tesla Motors (NASD:TSLA) made a splash last week with its proposed $5 billion "Gigafactory" and its eye-popping numbers: a 10 million square foot facility on an entire land area of 500-1,000 acres, with output of 35 GWh/year of battery cells and 50 GWh/year of battery packs by 2020. That'll be enough to support 500,000 of the company's forthcoming Gen-3 vehicles, compared with a little over 20,000 annual demand for its cars today. By comparison, the entire lithium-ion battery supply-chain produced about 34 GWh in 2013, the vast amount going not to electric vehicles but consumer electronics....

Storage: The Best Renewable Energy Integration Strategy?

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. In order to electrify transportation, well need batteries, with ultracapacitors and compressed air playing supporting roles.  Based on cost, John has been making the case that the batteries for economical cars are more likely to be advanced lead-acid (PbA) than the media darling, Lithium-ion (Li-ion.)  I generally agree, especially since recycling Li-ion batteries is an expensive and difficult process, although I see a future where both cars and oil are simply more expensive, and we have far fewer of them. But transportation is only one application for energy storage...

Energy Storage in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Here's some political context for my article on Energy Storage for the Smart Grid. For the moment, the Senate version of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes: "For an additional amount for `Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy', $14,398,000,000, for necessary expenses, to remain available until September 30, 2010: * * * Provided further, That $2,000,000,000 shall be available for grants for the manufacturing of advanced batteries and components and the Secretary shall provide facility funding awards under this section to manufacturers of advanced battery systems and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including...

The Obama Fast Track for HEVs

John PetersenToday I'm going to begin with an apology because I've done a terrible job of describing the basics of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology for energy storage investors. Many of my earlier articles dove straight into the mind-numbing details of battery technology without first providing an overview of what those batteries will be used for. In other words I'm guilty of putting the cart before the horse. It's time for me to make amends. While the differences between HEV technologies have always been important to automobile manufacturers, the public's understanding of those differences is limited. That...

Arotech Receives New Contract to Supply up to $24 Million in Zinc-Air Batteries to...

Arotech Corporation (ARTX) announced that its Electric Fuel Battery subsidiary has received from the US Army's Communications and Electronic Command (CECOM) a new contract to supply up to $24 million in zinc-air batteries and adaptors to the DoD over the next three years.