Tag: AONEQ

Plug-in Vehicles and Their Dirty Little Secret

John Petersen Over the last few months I've had a running debate with some die-hard EVangelicals who insist that plug-in cars will be cleaner than simple, reliable and relatively inexpensive Prius class HEVs. Since most of my readers have enough to do without slogging through the comments section, it's high time we lay the cards on the table and show why the myth of zero emissions vehicles is one of the most outrageous lies ever foisted on the American public. The following graph comparing the life-cycle CO2 emissions of conventional, hybrid and plug-in vehicles comes from a...

Valuation Primer For Energy Storage Companies – Lesson #2

John Petersen On November 6th I published Lesson #1 in this series, which provided a quick side-by-side comparison of Ener1 (HEV) and Exide Technologies (XIDE). Yesterday two more companies that I track, A123 Systems (AONE) and Enersys (ENS), reported results for the September quarter. The quick summary is that Enersys handily beat street estimates while the bleeding at A123 continued unabated. To follow up with the format I introduced last week, the first graph is a simple market performance comparison of the two companies over the last year. The second graph comes from my...

Alice In EVland; Six Impossible Things

John Petersen Many of my regular readers know I'm a working securities lawyer, a humble scrivener who writes reams of deathless prose that private companies use to raise money from investors, and public companies file with the SEC in the form of registration and proxy statements, and annual, quarterly and current reports. I've spent a couple years as an oil company executive and a few more as board chairman of an advanced lead-acid battery technology developer. The balance of my 30-year career has been devoted to natural resource and technology-based businesses that needed somebody elses' money to pursue...

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...

Earnings Season Surprises In Energy Storage

John Petersen Now that the earnings season is almost over, a review of surprises in the storage sector seems appropriate. Before digging into performance surprises, however, I want to share a surprising excerpt from "Reinventing Capitalism: How to jumpstart what the marketplace can’t," an interview with Bill Gates that served as the closing presentation at this month's Techonomy 2010 Conference. While I commend the entire video for those who have 50 minutes to spare, I was particularly intrigued by Mr. Gates response to a question about whether we could reasonably hold out hope that Moore's Law class gains...

Toyota’s Straight Talk On Plug-in Vehicles

John Petersen Most investors know that Toyota Motors (TM) is the world's biggest manufacturer of hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs. Since 1997, Toyota has sold over two million cars using its Hybrid Synergy Drive® and earned a sterling reputation for fuel efficiency and customer satisfaction. What many don't realize is that Toyota is also the world's biggest manufacturer of advanced automotive battery packs. Toyota entered the battery business in 1996 when it bought a 40% interest in Panasonic EV Energy, a joint venture company that was formed to make NiMH batteries and battery packs for the Prius. Over...

A Contrarian’s Take On Goldman’s Advanced Battery Report

John Petersen On Wednesday a reader sent me a new Goldman Sachs research report on the advanced battery sector titled "Advanced Batteries: Light, but the tunnel is long; Buy ENS, HEV Neutral, AONE Neutral." If the essence of legal argument is "the plausible boldly asserted," then I'd suggest that the essence of sell-side analysis must be "the implausible accepted without question." While I agree with Goldman's conclusions that Enersys (ENS) is a bargain at the current price and caution is best when it comes to A123 Systems (AONE) and Ener1 (HEV), I have major problems with their assumptions...

The Big Oil-Electric Vehicle Connection

Neal Dikeman For those of you interested in the sector under the sector in electric vehicles, the guts of Li Ion battery technology, the week just got more interesting than an overpriced, over hyped Tesla (TSLA) IPO. Check out a very quiet unnanouncement in A123's SEC filings noting a multi-year supply deal with ConocoPhillips' Cpreme, the emerging leader in anode materials for Li On batteries.  The technology is a processing technology to make high performance graphite based powders out of plain old petroleum coke materials, that has the potential to be very low cost at scale.  A123 has...

Electric Vehicles Will Increase China’s Air Pollution

John Petersen Last week the American Chemical Society published a white paper in Environmental Science & Technology from a team of researchers at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Argonne National Laboratory Center for Transportation Research titled "Environmental Implication of Electric Vehicles in China." This white paper concludes that: Implementing electric vehicles in China will increase national CO2, SO2 and NOX emissions; and Gasoline HEVs are more environmentally friendly, more commercially mature, and less cost-intensive. The following graph comes from page 4 of the white paper and compares the relative fleet wide CO2 emissions for gasoline ICEs,...

More Common Sense in Energy Storage Investing

John Petersen Since last week's article, Common Sense in Energy Storage Investing, was well-received by readers who've recently discovered this blog and want to better understand the energy storage sector, I've decided to continue with the theme and drill down deeper into some broad issues. Most of today's material is pretty basic stuff, but when the hype machine starts spinning a firm grasp on economic reality and investment fundamentals can be important to investors that want to avoid a boom and bust bubble like we had in corn ethanol. In the fall of 2008 I confessed to...

Two Hundred And Twenty Billion New Reasons To Be A Plug-in Vehicle Skeptic

John Petersen On April 8th the Electrification Coalition, a recently formed industrial lobby comprised of top-level executives from Cisco Systems (CSCO), Aerovironment (AVAV), NRG Energy (NRG), Rockwood Holdings (ROC), Nissan Motors (NSANY.PK), FedEx (FDX), A123 Systems (AONE) and a gaggle of private companies released a slick but wholly unenlightening white paper titled, "Economic Impact of the Electrification Roadmap." I haven't seen so many finely sculpted curves and unspoken assumptions since the tax shelter forecasts of the early-80s. The only clear message is that electric drive will be little more than a footnote in automotive history unless the powers...

EPA and NHTSA Predict 42% Market Penetration for Start-Stop Systems by 2016

John Petersen On April 1st the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency announced a joint final rule establishing fuel economy standards for all light duty vehicles sold in the United States. In my last article, I focused on the overall fuel efficiency improvements the new CAFE regulations will require. After spending a couple days reading and digesting the Final Rule Release, which runs to 1,469 pages, I've concluded that my initial optimism over the future of start-stop technology was understated. The Final Rule Release begins with several hundred pages of introductory...

Vehicle electrification – sticker shocks, delays and manufacturing capacity forecasts

John Petersen Today we have a bit of a hodge-podge as I consider sticker shocks, delays and manufacturing capacity forecasts in the vehicle electrification and energy storage sector. Since the sticker shock and delay discussions involve recent news, I'll touch on them first before getting into the fuzzier aspects of manufacturing capacity forecasts. I'd like to begin with a note of thanks to one of my Seeking Alpha followers, MRTTF, for sending me links to both news stories. For readers who don't delve into the comment streams, MRTTF is a PhD chemist who works in R&D...

Plug-in Vehicles Combine Immense Risk With Insignificant Reward

John Petersen Albert Einstein once said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." So when the editor of Batteries International asked if I could present my analysis of plug-in vehicles in two pages and prove my numbers in a way that any open-minded adult could follow, understand and verify with an Internet search engine, I jumped at the challenge. The article was published yesterday in their Winter Edition. Since the numbers have profound implications for the energy storage sector and an expected flurry of ill-conceived electric vehicle projects like the planned Tesla Motors...

Lithium-ion Batteries Are Too Valuable To Waste On Plug-in Vehicles

John Petersen In November 2006, a slick issue-oriented documentary asked the provocative question "Who Killed the Electric Car" and argued that General Motors' EV1 project was terminated because of collusion between the auto and oil industries. The truth is nobody killed the electric car. It died in infancy from congenital birth defects and the same flaws that killed the EV1 will probably kill Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive, Nissan's (NSANY) Leaf and GM's Volt. This is not a question of cost, performance, abuse tolerance or cycle-life. It's a fundamental flaw in the economics of using batteries to replace a...

Grid Enabled Vehicles – I Told You So!

John Petersen On Monday of this week the Electrification Coalition, a newly organized industrial lobby that styles itself as a "nonpartisan, not-for-profit group of business leaders committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security dangers caused by our nation’s dependence on petroleum" released a 170 page policy paper titled, "Electrification Roadmap, Revolutionizing Transportation and Achieving Energy Security." Like most industrial lobbies jostling for position at the Federal trough, the coalition's core membership includes a baker's dozen...