Why Range Anxiety is the Mortal Enemy of EV Efficiency

John Petersen Last week the green car press was abuzz with stories that General Motors (GM) was increasing the electric drive range of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt from 35 miles to 38 miles. The increase is due to better batteries. GM's battery supplier LG Chem (LGCIF.PK) has apparently improved the volumetric energy density of their cells to a point where GM can fit 16.5 kWh of storage into a space that could only accommodate 16 kWh in January 2011. The GM press release also noted "tests have revealed less battery degradation, the ability to withstand temperatures...

The Chinese Key to Electric Vehicle Adoption

Tom Konrad CFA Kandi Technologies Vertical Parking Garage Mock-up at 2012 Hangzhou Green Expo. Source: Kandi investor presentation. The Chinese State Council Development Research Center Enterprise Institute, “a leading policy research and consulting institution directly under” China’s State Council, just released a policy whitepaper endorsing business model innovation as the key to China’s goal of rapid electric vehicle (EV) adoption. The policy details the well-known differences between electric and conventional car technology which create barriers to rapid EV adoption: Limited range when compared to gasoline vehicles (100-150km, compared to 400-500km) High cost...

Geely Joins New Energy Buying Binge

Doug Young Chinese car makers are fueling a new global buying binge of clean-energy assets, with the latest word that Geely Automobile (HKEx: 175) is buying a British electric car startup. This is in addition to Geely announced a new joint venture to produce electric cars with Kandi Technologies (Nasdaq: KNDI).  Geely’s deal comes just weeks after China’s Wanxiang Group completed its second major acquisition of a clean energy firm in the US, hinting at a growing wave of global M&A by tech-hungry Chinese car makers. This flurry of deals also comes as China’s leading electric vehicle (EV)...

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 ...

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...

High Conviction Paired Trade – Short Tesla Motors And Buy Exide Technologies, The Sequel

John Petersen Last November I broke with tradition for the first time in over 30 years and suggested a paired trade that bought Exide Technologies (XIDE) and shorted Tesla Motors (TSLA). Over the following three months, investors who made the trade and bought four Exide shares while shorting one Tesla share pocketed the following gains. 16-Nov-2010 16-Feb 2011 Net Entry Exit Gain Buy Four Exide -$29.76 $49.68 $19.92 Short One Tesla $30.80 ...

Will Tesla’s Next Car Cost you $25,000?

By Jeff Siegel While I've long been an outspoken supporter of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), as well as a huge fan of both Elon Musk and the Model S, it is the company's smaller version of the Model S that gets me most excited. The bottom line is that cost will be the determining factor for most Americans considering electric cars. After all, you'd be hard-pressed to find many folks who wouldn't love to own a Model S. But at around $75,000, few can afford it. Of course, the vision of Tesla is not one based solely around supplying high-end...

Car Charging Group Shifts into ‘Park’

by Debra Fiakas CFA The chief executive officer of Car Charging Group (CCGI:  OTC/PK), Michael Farkas, made an appearance at the Marcum Microcap Investment Conference in New York this week.  Farkas used the forum to brag a bit about this company’s practical accomplishments in providing electric vehicle charging stations and services to residential and commercial customers.  Farkas is particularly proud of snapping up the EV charging network of bankrupt ECOtality (ECTYQ:  OTC/PK) at a price he claims was about two pennies on a dollar of ECOtality’s government-funded assets.   Only thinly disguised was his scorn for government investment to...

Tesla’s Gift Box – Inefficiency Wrapped in Hype

John Petersen Congratulations! You've been appointed Energy Czar for the island of Self Sufficiency; a wonderful place that can satisfy the bulk of its energy needs from domestic resources, but needs to import gasoline for a 10,000-unit automobile fleet that gets replaced at a rate of 1,000 cars a year. The island's battery factory can manufacture 45,000 watt-hours of lithium-ion batteries each year and depending on how they set the machines; the factory can make high-power batteries for HEVs or high-energy batteries for EVs. Your mandate as Energy Czar is to minimize Self Sufficiency's fuel imports and...

Kandi Technologies Bags Largest Single Electric Vehicle Order Ever

Tom Konrad CFA The Kandi KD501 Mini-EV to be leased in Hangzhou. Photo by Marc Chang. The city of Hangzhou just signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Kandi Technologies (NASD:KNDI) and nine other companies to supply 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) for the city’s “pilot” EV leasing program.  Kandi is the only EV supplier to take part; other companies involved will supply the batteries (Air Lithium (Lyoyang) Co. Ltd.) and charging by the local utility.  The utility will fund construction of a charging and battery swap station network as well as paying for...

While Tesla is Heading into the Valley of Death, Kandi has Already Crossed

Tom Konrad CFA   My friend and frequent electric vehicle (EV) critic John Petersen recently worried that Tesla (NASD:TSLA) shareholders now buying the stock because of the launch of the company’s new Model S were doomed to lose money, since the company is just entering the “trough of disillusionment,” as shown in this stylized diagram of the losses a company suffers in the Valley of Death from Osawa and Miyazaki. Although Petersen is relentlessly negative on EVs, he has a great depth of experience with launching new technologies, and...

Lux Research Dissects Lithium-ion Battery Mythology

John Petersen We all know that you can't have a cost-effective electric car without a cost-effective battery. We also know that a small but vocal hodgepodge of ideologues, activists, politicians and dreamers wants everyone to believe that rapid and stunning advances in lithium-ion batteries will finally make the dream a reality after a century of one abject failure after another. I frequently caution readers that it won't be anywhere near as easy as the proponents claim. In a new report titled "Searching for Innovations to Cut Li-ion Battery Costs" Lux Research did a yeoman's...

Kandi Technologies (KNDI): The Business

Part II - The Business Arthur Porcari. This is part two of a four-part series on Kandi Technologies (KNDI).  Part I was an introduction, and Part III and Part IV will look at the company's financial condition and stock price, respectively. Kandi was founded by its effectively sole controlling shareholder Hu Xiaoming in late 2002 in Jinhua City, Zhezjiang Province, PRC as a prolific developer and manufacturer of two, three and four wheeled gas powered, mainly off road, recreational vehicles exclusively for the US export market. By 2007 KNDI rose to the status of being...

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...

China’s Electric Vehicle Subsidies: Winners And Losers

Tom Konrad CFA On September 17th, the Chinese Ministry of Finance announced the long anticipated renewal of China’s New Energy Vehicle (i.e. electric vehicle or EV) subsidies.  The new subsidies for cars were in-line with market expectations, but will be reduced to 10% below the current levels next year, and 20% below the current levels in 2015.  Subsidies for buses fell short of expectations. Conventional gasoline-electric hybrid models were not included in the subsidies, but some plug-in hybrid (PHEV) were.  The subsidies amount to 60,000 ($9,802) yuan for pure electric autos with a range over 250 km (155 miles),...

Vehicle Electrification And The “Too Good To Be True Rule”

John Petersen One of the first lessons investment professionals learn is that if an investment proposal sounds too good to be true, the proposal is probably materially false and misleading. On November 15th, the Electrification Coalition released its Fleet Electrification Roadmap and once again proved the wisdom of the "Too Good To Be True Rule." I know that lobbyists are supposed to take a policy position and make the best case they can; but when their case is based on deliberate distortions, somebody has to point out the differences between current realities and bafflegab. In building the...
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