An In Depth Guide To Buying and Installing a Home Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Most plug-in vehicles (both pure electric and plug-in hybrids) come with a "level 1" charging station which allows the vehicle to be charged from a standard household outlet.  If your vehicle is a plug-in hybrid with limited electric range, or you don't drive much, this is likely all you will need.  Otherwise, you will want a "level 2" charging station.  If you are a do-it-yourself-er and like to get into the nitty-gritty, you should read the whole article.  If you just want some quick advice about the best charging station for you, skip...

There’s Graphite In Them Electric Vehicles

by Debra Fiakas CFA The market for lithium ion batteries is expected to reach $46 billion by 2022.  That represents 11% compound annual growth over the next six years.  Few other markets if any are growing at such a feverish pace.  The adoption of electric cars is the center of the excitement, but the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices also plays a part.  Suppliers of critical battery materials such as lithium, cobalt and graphite are salivating over potential sales to battery manufacturers. Graphite with its strong conductivity and heat-resistant qualities is a perfect material...

Tesla and SolarCity: When Acquisition Strategies Run Amok

by Paula Mints When two companies with negative financials and high debt marry a good response to the nuptials is … Huh? When Toto pulls back the curtain in the Wizard of Oz to reveal that the Wizard is just a normal man with no special powers the Wizard says: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. In the case of the proposed stock acquisition of SolarCity by Tesla pulling the curtain would reveal two debt ridden companies with cash flow problems. Just the Facts Please The facts are: two companies with...

Tesla Considering Shanghai For New China Plant

Doug Young  Bottom line: Tesla will announce a joint venture production facility in Shanghai within the next 1-2 months, and could see its China sales pick up sharply after its more affordable Model 3 reaches the market next year. Just a week after Disney (NYSE: DIS) launched its newest theme park in Shanghai, media are saying that new energy car superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) is also eyeing China’s commercial capital as the location for a new production base costing up to $9 billion. We should note from the start that the potential partner mentioned in the reports, the Shanghai...

Chinese Green Subsidies: When Lifting All Boats Becomes Bailing Them Out

Doug Young Bottom line: Strong response to Tesla’s latest EV in China and a major new solar plant plan from SolarReserve reflect Beijing’s strong promotion of new energy, which is also creating big waste by attracting unqualified companies to the sector. A series of new reports is showing how Beijing’s strong support for new energy technologies is benefiting both domestic and foreign companies, as China tries to become a global leader in this emerging area. But the reports also spotlight the dangers that come with such aggressive support, which often leads to abuse of subsidies and other...

Right About Tesla, Wrong About Yingli

Doug Young  Bottom line: Beijing should promote cutting-edge companies like Tesla that can help advance its new energy agenda, while abandoning ones like Yingli that use old technology to make cheap copycat products. Two green energy stories were in the headlines last week, spotlighting China’s drive to become a global leader in the new technology and also the right and wrong ways to achieve that aim. An item involving US electric vehicle (EV) powerhouse Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) represented the right approach, with reports that the company might near a deal with Beijing to build a manufacturing plant in China....

Some BYD Buyers Wanted Subsides, Not Electric Vehicles

Doug Young Bottom line: A new report spotlighting suspicious sales by BYD shows that last year’s EV explosion in China was fueled by people seeking to pocket government subsidies. A story from China’s new energy (electric) vehicle space is shining a spotlight on the challenges companies are facing after becoming too reliant on government support. It is a twisted tale involving electric car maker BYD (HKEx: 1211, OTC:BYDDF), and shows how its boom in sales last year may have been largely due to big government rebates for buyers. BYD experienced a rocky road over...

Trina and BYD Grow With State Support. How Will They Do Without?

Doug Young Bottom line: Trina’s new loan and BYD’s uncertain outlook for EV sales this year reflect continued reliance of new energy technology companies on state support, which could pressure them as government incentives get retired. Two new energy stories are in the headlines today, reflecting the progress but also the continued reliance on government support that this up-and-coming group of companies faces. That particular reality isn’t new, though some who were hoping the industries would become commercially independent more quickly may be disappointed. But more important, this reality could challenge many of the companies in the...

BYD Increases Profit Projections On Accellerating EV Sales

by Doug Young Bottom line: BYD’s EV sales are likely to see strong growth based on government-supported buying in China this year, but could slow sharply in 2017 if China’s economic slowdown accelerates. Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker BYD (HKEx: 1211; Shenzhen: 002594; OTC:BYDDY) shot into the headlines in 2008 when investment guru Warren Buffett bought 10 percent of the company. But it has struggled to find a mass audience for its cars since then, at times raising doubts about its future. That seems to be changing recently, as a nascent surge in its home China market has...

AeroVironment Hits Pay Dirt

by Debra Fiakas CFA After the market close Tuesday, AeroVironment, Inc. (AVAV:  Nasdaq) is scheduled to report financial results for the quarter ending October 2015.  Management is holding conference call with investors and analysts directly following the announcement.  It is going to be an interesting call. AeroVironment has some crowing to do.  Hyundai recently tapped the company to provide electric vehicle charging stations at its dealerships for the 2016 Sonata plug-in hybrid model.  Sonata drivers will also have the option to buy the company’s TurboCard charging system or the wall-mounted EVSE-RS charging station.  Hyundai is the...

Tesla Mulls Local Chinese Production

Doug Young Bottom line: Tesla’s newly announced modest China sales and announcement of a plan for potential local production reflect the uphill road it faces in the Chinese market, which is unlikely to get much easier in the next 2 years. China is fast becoming the land of promising upstart companies that failed to reach their potential, with word that former new energy superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) has posted very ho-hum car sales in a market where it once held out big hopes. The rare China sales figures...

Holistic Approach Needed to Charge Up China EVs

Doug Young Bottom line: Beijing should take a more holistic approach to developing green cars in China, which should include education of owners and creation of owner communities in addition to financial incentives and infrastructure building. China made the latest new move to boost its sputtering electric vehicle (EV) program over the holiday, disclosing an ambitious plan to sharply accelerate installation of charging stations across the country. The plan was aimed at countering one of the biggest obstacles to EV development, namely concerns from potential owners about difficulties they might face recharging their vehicles. The new move...

NRG Wants To Charge Your Car

by Debra Fiakas CFA New Jersey-based NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG:  NYSE)  NRG serves about 2.8 million customers in the northeastern U.S. with electricity generated from a mix of conventional and renewable power sources  - 95 fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, 14 utility-scale solar power plants, and 35 wind farms.  It has been good business for NRG, raking in $16.2 billion in total sales in the twelve months ending March 2015.  NRG converted $1.4 billion of those sales to operating cash.  That helps support a dividend payout policy that will put $0.58 per share in holders’ pockets next...

Plugging Into Car Charging Stocks

by Debra Fiakas CFA Earlier this week, the quieter half of Tesla Motors (TSLA:  Nasdaq) founding team and the company’s chief technology officer, JB Straubel gave a speech at a solar energy conference in San Francisco.  He is largely responsible for Tesla’s innovative battery technology, so it should be no surprise that he thinks that eventually all vehicles will be powered by batteries.  As profound a this view might seem, let’s remember that if hammers could see, the world would look like a nail. Nonetheless, I thought it worthwhile to take Straubel at this word.  This is...

2017 Electric Car Investment Guide

By Jeff Siegel The car world is obsessed with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)... And for good reason. After all, in the world of vehicle design and alternative fuels, no one has taken this disruptive technology further than Elon Musk and Tesla Motors. The days of glorified golf carts are long gone. And although few can actually afford an $80,000 Model S, Tesla isn’t the only game in town. In fact, Nissan (OTCBB: NSANY), which makes the all-electric LEAF, recently announced that after four years, its alliance with Renault has officially sold 250,000 electric cars. That may not sound like...

How A Part-Time Uber Driver Can Buy A Tesla

By Jeff Siegel “My next car will definitely be a Tesla,” (NASD:TSLA) my Uber driver said with great enthusiasm. As he was driving me from the Hyatt in Newport Beach to John Wayne Airport, a Tesla P85D quietly flew passed us. It was black, shiny, and clearly driven by an individual that was in a hurry. He must've been doing at least 90, and this 20-something part-time Uber drive could barely control his excitement. While I certainly shared his enthusiasm, I was unsure of how a part-time Uber driver (I believe he was a college student driving for Uber to...