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...

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...

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...

CarCharging Off to the Races?

by Debra Fiakas CFA CarCharging Group, Inc. (CCGI:  OTC) producers electric car charging stations.  It partners with property owners such as shopping malls or parking garages to operating the charging stations and collect fees from electric car owners.  At the end of September 2013, the last time the company reported financial results. CarCharging had eighty-seven strategic partnerships with a gaggle of private and public entities such as Walgreens, Icon Parking, the City of Miami Beach, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.    A mobile app helps car owners find locations by city or zip code. CarCharging...

Will Plug-in Vehicles Be Obsolete Before They’re Profitable?

John Petersen Last week I did a 40-minute interview for Hedge Fund Radio, a weekly investment program hosted by John Thomas, the Mad Hedge Fund Trader. While our conversation focused on the unassailable mathematics supporting my contention that plug-in vehicles are wasteful, I was fascinated by John's description of his recent conversations with Toyota Motors (TM) where Toyota confirmed its commitment to NiMH battery technology for hybrid drive and fuel cell technology for electric drive. Its somehow comforting to know that the world's most successful automaker agrees that the first modern plug-in, GM's EV1, died from congenital birth...

Beijing EV Campaign Targets Mass Buyers

Doug Young The BYD gas-powered S6 SUV debuted in Chile last month. Image Credit BYD. Struggling electric vehicle (EV) maker BYD (HKEx: 1211; Shenzhen: 002594, OTC:BYDDF) got a major boost last week when Beijing announced an innovative new plan to stimulate an anemic industry whose sales have failed to take off despite generous government support. The plan this time around looks much smarter than previous ones by focusing on big customers. Unlike previous campaigns that focused mostly on consumers, this new campaign takes aim at Chinese cities and mass buyers...

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...

EIA Electric Drive Forecasts – Running in Reverse Since 2009

John Petersen The hardest part of blogging on subjects like energy storage and vehicle electrification is synthesizing the mass of data that's generated every year. While I'm not an engineer and don't have any special technical expertise beyond the lessons I learned as a director and officer of a small battery technology developer, my training as a lawyer and accountant stand me in pretty good stead when it comes to reviewing statistical forecasts and comparing the current version of a forecast with earlier versions of the same forecast. Every year the US Energy Information Administration, a unit...

Tesla, Graphene, and the 1,000 Mile EV

By Jeff Siegel A good friend of mine recently took delivery of a brand-new Tesla (NASD:TSLA) Model S. This is the electric car you've read about in these pages before: a sleek, all-electric vehicle boasting high-end luxury, state-of-the-art design, and an all-electric driving range of 300 miles... Take a look: Not only is the Model S a top-notch vehicle that crushes every other electric car available in the marketplace today, but its ability to travel 300 miles on a single charge has proven to be a serious game-changer in the world of electric cars. In fact,...

The Cruel Realities of EV Range

John Petersen An English proverb teaches us to hope for the best but plan for the worst. With the imminent introduction of a variety of plug-in vehicles that will begin hitting showroom floors in the next few months, the phobia du jour is range anxiety, an entirely rational terror that an EV will get you to your destination in eco-chic style but only get you home with the help of a tow-truck. Sadly, most people who extol the virtues of electric drive are incurable optimists that have little or no regard for the risks inherent in complex systems...

Turning Conventional Battery Tech into Unconventional Profits

by Debra Fiakas CFA Near the end of February 2014, Highpower International (HPJ:  Nasdaq) announced its first order for large-format lithium ion batteries to use in electric vehicles. Its customer, Huizhou Yipeng Energy Technology will be integrating the batteries into buses destined for the sales outlets of China-based manufacturers. The boost in sales for Highpower is likely to be meaningful.  Management estimates each bus will use as many as 288 of the company’s 20-ampere-hour battery.  Guidance for annual sales from Huizhou Yipeng alone is in a range of $4 million to $5 million.  In the most...

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...

The Market Slowly Catches on to the Good News at Electric Vehicle Company Balqon

Tom Konrad CFA A recent financing transaction dramatically changes the outlook for heavy-duty electric vehicle company Balqon (BLQN.OB). Last summer, I mentioned Balqon Corporation (BLQN.OB) as one of ten electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid vehicle stocks as part of my Best Peak Oil Investments series.  At the time, I thought that Balqon's short-haul electric trucks were a better fit for EV technology than electric cars, but that Balqon's constant need for investor funds made the common stock a bad investment because of probable dilution.  Overall, I thought the stock was worth watching, in case the funding...

Tesla Finds Strength In Another Deal With Mercedes

by Clean Energy Intel Tesla Model S.  Image used with permission from Tesla   Last week was a very good week for Tesla (TSLA) stock - up 13% on the day on Thursday and ending the week at $32.31, up a solid 8.2% from the previous Friday's close. This was partly because the company's earnings statement provided a loss that was below expectations - but probably largely a result of the announcement that the company has secured another deal with Mercedes. Tesla's third-quarter net loss widened to $65.1...

Beijing Calls Taxis For Stalled Chinese EV Firms

Doug Young Beijing is turning to an old trick in its bid to boost new energy vehicles, with word of a major new program requiring local governments to buy huge volumes of electric taxis and buses to jump-start the struggling sector. I have to slightly commend China’s government leaders for their determination to boost clean energy vehicles with this kind of program that’s likely to produce a major jump in new sales. But at the same time this kind of program also looks quite ominous, as it will result in a flood of immature technology coming onto...

Tesla Hopes To Electrify Weak Chinese Sales

Doug Young Bottom line: Tesla’s weak China performance owes mostly to its lackluster marketing to wealthy, status-conscious Chinese car fanatics, but its situation could quickly improve if it finds a new marketing-savvy country head. After roaring into China last year on a wave of hugely positive publicity, electric car superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) has rapidly lost momentum and now appears on the cusp of a major overhaul in a bid to jump-start its prospects. This kind of development isn’t hard to understand, as Tesla’s charismatic CEO Elon Musk set the...