Alice in EVLand – Cracks in the Looking Glass

John Petersen In his 2006 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush said: "Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology." What a crock of balderdash! If you compare US fuel prices with those in other industrialized countries, gasoline is a screaming bargain and the same can be said for electricity. It's not the energy we use that's a problem. The problem is the...

BYD Hopes To Recharge With Asset Sale

Doug Young Bottom line: BYD’s latest asset sale, combined with its new auto finance joint venture, are both aimed at boosting its struggling EV business, but it may have to sell off more assets before the market finally starts to gain some momentum. Struggling electric car maker BYD (HKEx: 1211; Shenzhen: 002594; OTC:BYDDF)  is starting to look a bit desperate, announcing a major asset sale just days after it received approval for a stalled finance joint venture aimed at boosting its sputtering sales. The approval this week for its auto finance joint venture comes as rival...

Lux Research Confirms that Cheap Will Beat Cool in Vehicle Electrification

John Petersen On March 30th, Lux Research released an update on the vehicle electrification market titled "Small Batteries, Big Sales: The Unlikely Winners in the Electric Vehicle Market" that predicts: E-bikes and micro-hybrids carry minimal storage, but compensate with high volume. E-bikes show strong unit sales, as they sustain a 157 GWh storage market totaling $24.3 billion in revenues in 2016. Micro-hybrids benefit from increasingly stringent emissions limits, supporting 41 GWh and $3.1 billion in storage sales. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) like Toyota's Prius grow steadily while PHEVs and EVs are at the mercy of external factors....

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...

Energy Storage: Q3 2012 Winners and Losers

John Petersen I usually write a quarterly recap to summarize what happened in the energy storage and vehicle electrification sectors, but Q2 was a tough enough period that I don't see much sense in dwelling on the bloodletting. So instead of focusing on the past, I'll offer a quick summary table with lots of red ink and turn my attention to Q3, which is shaping up as a time of bright opportunity for some companies and profound risk for others. I expect three companies in my tracking group to perform very well in Q3 –...

Tesla Stock Collapses But Looks Massively Oversold

by Clean Energy Intel Image Source: Tesla Motors, with permission. Having traded in a tight range for most of the day, Tesla Motors (TSLA) collapsed in the last 45 minutes of trading on Friday. The stock hit a low of 22.64 and closed at 22.79, down 19.3% from its previous close. Although it was reported to have bounced 7% in after hours trading, the price action remains a clear worry. More worryingly, the move took place on what became the third highest volume day of the last...

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...

Tesla Tries To Jump-Start China Sales

Doug Young Tesla launches trade-in program. Bottom line: Tesla and other EV makers is likely to face an uphill road in China for the next year, but prospects could start to improve in mid 2015 as new initiatives gain momentum. Reports on a new trade-in promotion from Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) are recharging talk earlier this month that the high-flying electric vehicle (EV) maker isn’t doing as well as hoped in China, where sales have gotten off to a slow start. This kind of a sluggish start isn’t too unexpected,...

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...

Tesla Issues First EV-Related Climate Bond

by Sean Kidney Tesla issues $600m, 5yr EV convertible bond Tesla Motors’ inaugural bond issue has been, as you’d expect, electrifying (just had to say that). The US electric sports car manufacturer has just issued a 5 year, $600m convertible bond in a fundraising program which has seen it raise approximately $1bn through shares and convertible bonds. Coupon is 1.5-2%; conversion premium is 35%; bookrunners were JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley. Tesla had planned to raise $450m through convertible bonds, but this was raised to $600m after strong demand from investors. That demand allowed Tesla to drop what was going to be a 2-2.5% coupon down to...

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...

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...

Hoping Tesla Will Fail

By Jeff Siegel If you don't believe that folks are waiting impatiently for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) to slip up, look no further than today's action on the stock. After the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was selling fewer cars and offering new incentives, the stock tanked 6 percent. Of course, as it turned out, the decline in sales was only in the U.S. And it didn't take long for super genius Elon Musk to tweet the following message: Credit Suisse analyst Daniel Galves followed up on the piece, noting that...

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...

Why Cheap Will Beat Cool During The Next Decade Of Vehicle Electrification

John Petersen Last Friday I received my copy of the presentations from September's European Lead Battery Conference in Istanbul. Most of the presentations were written for a technically astute audience and don't offer much in the way of concrete guidance for investors, but an overview presentation from Ricardo PLC, a global leader in engineering solutions for low carbon, fuel-efficient transportation, included three slides that merit serious investor consideration and show why I'm convinced cheap will beat cool for the next decade of vehicle electrification. I've posted a copy of the Ricardo presentation here. Technology Timeline The...

It’s Time to Kill the Electric Car, Drive a Stake Through its Heart and...

John Petersen I was recently invited to prepare a memorandum on the battery industry for the electric mobility working group of the World Energy Council, a global thought leadership forum established in 1923 that includes 93 national committees representing over 3,000 member organizations including governments, businesses and research institutions. Since my memorandum integrated several themes from this blog and tied them all together, I've decided to publish a lightly edited version for readers. To set the stage for the substantive discussion that follows, I’ll start with an 1883 quote from Thomas Edison: “The storage battery is one...
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