Tesla: What’s In A Chinese Name?

Doug Young How do you say in Chinese? This week had US electric car maker Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) officially driving into China despite its failure to resolve a trademark dispute, meaning it has no official Chinese name as it enters the market. All of the world’s top car makers now manufacture in China. But that’s a very expensive business, and other companies have been chasing more niche-oriented spaces in the market. Online car information provider Autohome (NYSE: ATHM) is one of those, and successfully sold investors...

Two EVs for the Other 99%

Tom Konrad CFA The Tesla Model S, from the unveiling on 26-Mar-2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) An EV for the 1% The chatter among electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasts and investors is all about the launch of the Tesla (NASD:TSLA) model S.  A cool ride, no doubt, but not many of us are ever going to buy a sedan that starts at $49,900, even after the $7,500 tax subsidy. Fortunately for the rest of us, this week also brought news about two much more affordable EVs. An EV for the 99% Chicago...

Energy Storage: Q4 2012 Winners and Losers

John Petersen In late June I wrote a forward looking article that identified several companies in my energy storage and vehicle electrification group that I expected to perform well or perform poorly during the third quarter. Since short-term market changes are notoriously hard to predict, it’s worthwhile to look back and see where I got things right and where I got them wrong. So I’ll start today with a quick summary table and assess the relative accuracy of my Q3 calls, and then turn my attention to Q4, which is shaping up as a time of bright opportunity...

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...

Electric Vehicles – The Opportunity of Which Decade?

John Petersen Hardly a day passes without some talking head breathlessly describing electric vehicles as the opportunity of the decade. The fine point most investors miss, however, is that the decade they're describing won't begin until 2020 and for the next seven to ten years electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla Motors (TSLA) and lithium-ion battery manufacturers like Ener1 (HEV) and A123 Systems (AONE) will hemorrhage cash as they try to traverse the trough of disillusionment that runs through the cruel black heart of the valley of death. The following graph is a stylized view of the...

Tesla: Time to Take Profits?

by Debra Fiakas CFA The Tesla Model S, from the unveiling on 26-Mar-2009. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)   The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday morning that Blackrock has cut its position in electric sports car innovator Tesla Motors (TSLA:  Nasdaq).  Blackrock is a widely known and respected fund manager.  I imagine more than just a few investors grabbed whatever device might be available at the time and punched in sell orders on the supposition that smart money always know best.  The really smart investors had already looked at...

Alice in EVland Part II; The Hall Of Mirrors

John Petersen Mark Twain reportedly said that "Figures don't lie, but liars figure." Truer words were never spoken. On November 22nd the EPA issued an official fuel economy sticker for Nissan's (NSANY.PK) Leaf that shows an impressive electric drive equivalence of 99 MPG. Two days later it issued an official fuel economy sticker for General Motor's (GM) Volt that shows a comparable electric drive equivalence of 93 MPG, a gasoline drive fuel economy of 37 MPG and a combined equivalence of 60 MPG. Both stickers were heralded as the dawn of a new age in transportation. Unfortunately,...

EVs, Lithium-ion Batteries and Liars Poker

John Petersen Last week I stumbled across a link that led to a 2010 report from the National Research Council titled "Hidden Costs of Energy, Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use." This free 506-page book takes a life-cycle approach – from fuel extraction to energy production, distribution, and use to disposal of waste products – and attempts to quantify the health, climate and other unpriced damages that arise from the use of various energy sources for electricity, transportation and heat. After studying the NRC's discussion of the unpriced health effects, other nonclimate damages and greenhouse gas...

Kandi Technologies’ Art of War

Denny Schlesinger Machiavelli's The Prince and Sun Tzu's The Art of War are the two best known classic treatises on strategies to conquer and to govern. As Kandi Technology Group's electric vehicle strategy unfolds, I'm reminded of these masterpieces. The Challenges There are many of them. To start with, the current personal land transportation paradigm, the internal combustion engine, is not just well entrenched, it is becoming more efficient as time goes by. The fears of peak oil are vastly exaggerated specially now that fracking technology has added billions of barrels of recoverable...

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...

BYD Testing The EV Market In China

Clean Energy Intel BYD at the Central China High-Tech Fair, Shenzhen, November 2009.  Source: Wikipedia / Brucke-Osteuropa. Over the course of the past few weeks we have seen a couple of noteworthy developments at Chinese auto maker BYD (BYDDF.PK). I have previously discussed the troubles at BYD, which by mid-September had taken the stock down 72% year to date. However, a couple of developments suggest that the Warren Buffet-backed automaker is at least worth keeping an eye on in the period ahead. In late October, the company opened its US ...

EV Woes at Tesla and Toyota: The Week In Cleantech, 9-28-2012

Jeff Siegel September 25: Toyota (NYSE:TM) Scraps Electric Car 2012 Toyota Prius photographed in Washington, D.C., USA.. (Photo credit: IFCAR via Wikimedia Commons) Claiming the company misread the market, Toyota (NYSE:TM) is scrapping its plans for a global roll-out of an electric mini-car called the eQ. To be honest, I'm not particularly surprised. Toyota has not been very aggressive, or interested really, in pursuing the electric vehicle (EV) market. And I get it. When it comes to delivering a superior conventional hybrid vehicle, Toyota still runs...

Tesla’s Troubling Risk-Reward Profile

John Petersen While the broader market focuses on trivial issues like Asia, the Eurozone and an upcoming presidential election, a small but extremely vocal segment of the car shopping public is breathlessly awaiting the dawn of a new age with the first deliveries Tesla Model S electric cars to customers on June 22nd. The excitement among fervent Tesla Motors (TSLA) acolytes is palpable, but I have to at least ask whether their view of the company's risk-reward profile is rational. Is Tesla a great investment opportunity, or are we witnessing a weird form of transference that...

OECD Analysis Suggests That Electric Cars Are Not Ready For Prime Time

John Petersen On June 14th the International Transport Forum of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development released a Policy Brief that asks the rhetorical question "Electric Cars: Ready for prime time?" I was very surprised that the OECD, an organization of 34 democratic, industrialized and overwhelmingly western nations, would even ask the question. I was even more surprised by their conclusions that most claimed benefits of electric passenger cars are illusory while the societal costs are $9,000 to $15,000 more per vehicle than conventional automobiles. In other words, every EV produced and sold makes society poorer. No...

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...

Electric Vehicles: No House of Cards

Tom Konrad CFA Once again, John Petersen  has gone too far with his petrol-head arguments against Electric Vehicles (EVs.) In a recent article fetchingly titled, Why The Electric Vehicle House of Cards Must Fall, he argues that because "the incremental cost of vehicle electrification an up-front capital investment of $190 for each equivalent barrel of oil saved." Since the oil price currently barely tops $100, he considers this (to put it mildly) a bad investment.  He concludes, Electric drive proponents are selling a house of cards based on fundamentally flawed assumptions and glittering...