Another Reality Check for EV Investors

John Petersen Earlier this month Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s Global Manufacturing Industry group rained all over the plug-in vehicle parade when they published the results of a survey of over 13,000 individuals in 17 countries that concluded: "The reality is that when consumers actual expectations for range, charge time, and purchase price (in every country around the world included in this study) are compared to the actual market offerings available today, no more than 2 to 4 percent of the population in any country would have their expectations met today based on a data analysis...

Exide: Many Alliances, Fewer Results

Debra Fiakas Alliance photo via BigStock  Exide Technologies (XIDE:  Nasdaq) is one of the largest transportation and industrial battery suppliers in the U.S., vying for market share with Johnson Controls (JCI:  NYSE) and EnerSys (ENS:  NYSE) among others.  Batteries are a competitive business, even as the automotive sector has attempted a recovery from the 2008 free fall in new car sales.  Electric vehicle and renewable energy storage applications have helped expand addressable market.  However, for a conventional battery producer capturing a share of these...

OMG! A Cheap Specialty Chemical Company

by Debra Fiakas CFA Most investors probably pass over specialty chemical producer OM Group, Inc. (OMG:  NYSE).  It has a recent history of losses and by the usual multiples of sales and earnings its stock appears pricey.  I have taken a second look.  The modernization of the chemicals industry is a key step in attaining a sustainable and environmentally benign economy. OM Group has undertaken an ambitious reorganization.  Besides specialty chemicals, the company produces advanced materials and technologies for a variety of industries.  OM Group has held leading positions in cobalt-based and nickel-based chemicals.  Its advanced materials...

The Lithium-ion Battery Glut Will Be Massive

John Petersen I hate being wrong, but Mother always taught us, "if you have to eat crow don't nibble." In February 2010 I wrote an article titled "Why I Don't Expect A Lithium-Ion Battery Glut" that's shaping up as one of the worst predictions in the history of my blog. This week Lux Research published a report titled "Using Partnerships to Stay Afloat in the Electric Vehicle Storm" that has me convinced that the capacity glut in lithium-ion batteries will be massive for at least a decade. I humbly and sincerely apologize to any readers...

Solar Storage Dream Becomes Reality

By Jeff Siegel While the solar industry continues to heat up, I maintain that one of the best plays in the space is SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE). This is an aggressive operation, run by incredibly smart people. The company is well-capitalized, fairly liquid, and well-diversified in the energy space, boasting both a top-notch, vertically-integrated solar operation, and a basket of healthy wind assets, too. The company is also now advancing on energy storage – the final obstacle to the creative destruction necessary to alleviate the world's reliance on fossil fuels. In a press release this morning, SunEdison made the following...

Axion Power: Is There Light At The End Of The PIPE?

Tom Konrad, CFA A light at the end of the PIPE? Photo by Tom Check In my last article, Axion Power’s Potential For Explosive Growth, I outlined a number of near-term business opportunities for Axion Power International, (OTC:AXPW) any one of which could catapult the company into profitability in 2014, and more than one of which could produce significant revenue growth this year.  While I’m quite bullish about Axion’s prospects, I concluded with a skeptical comment about Axion’s stock:  f I owned the stock today, I would be a seller at the current...
BioSolar battery

What Do Investors Get With BioSolar?

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Last week management of energy storage developer BioSolar, Inc. (BSRC:  OTC/PK) provided an update on the company lithium-ion battery design.  The company’s engineers along with a manufacturing partner are still making changes to the design called the 21700 cell.  Additionally, the company recently decided to take greater control over raw materials supply, potentially sourcing and processing materials in the U.S.   Engineers at BioSolar have been trying to increase the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries by improving the anode component.  The plan is to sell 'super anodes' to battery manufacturers to make existing lithium-ion batteries work like super batteries.  Prototypes were tested in July...

Western Lithium to Profit from Electric Car Stimulus

Jason HamlinThe lithium market is buzzing as GM, Nissan and other car manufacturers get set to roll out a new series of electric cars that will greatly increase demand for the obscure silver-white alkai metal. GM has announced plans to construct a $43 million plant in Michigan to build lithium-ion batteries for its Chevrolet Volt electric-powered car, which captured headlines with its claim of 230 miles per gallon. Adding to the lithium mania is Washington’s support in the form of $2 Billion in stimulus funding: “New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run...

Electro Energy Receives Approval for NASDAQ SmallCap Market Listing

Electro Energy Inc (EEEI) announced it has received approval for listing on the NASDAQ SmallCap Market. The company's common stock is expected to begin trading on the NASDAQ SmallCap Market on December 31, 2004 under the symbol "EEEI."

Arotech’s Batteries and Power Systems Division to Develop Zinc-Air Batteries for UAVs for Major...

Arotech Corporation (ARTX) announced that its Batteries and Power Systems Division has received a second development contract from a major US agency. Under the contract, Arotech's Electric Fuel Battery Corporation subsidiary will develop prototype zinc-air batteries for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to achieve extended flight times. The funding is expected to cover development costs.

A123′s Deal With China’s Wanxiang Would Value the Stock at $0.55 a Share

Tom Konrad CFA A123 Systems battery cell products (Source: A123)  It was no secret that A123 Systems (NASD:AONE) was desperate for money.  It’s also no secret that Chinese companies are interested in buying Western companies, especially when they can acquire useful technology in the deal.  So this morning’s announcement that Wanxiang Group Corporation, a Chinese largest autoparts manufacturer which has significant US operations, had signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to invest up to $450 million in A123 through a combination of bridge loans, convertible notes, and warrants seems...

How The Micro-hybrid Revolution Will Radically Change The Battery Market

John Petersen In late October I gave a keynote presentation at Batteries 2012, one of the largest lithium-ion battery conferences in the world. During the conference, I was buttonholed for a couple hours by the chairman's global strategy team for one of the top three lithium-ion battery manufacturers in the world. They started by explaining that their Global 100 company is abandoning the plug-in vehicle market to focus on sensible applications where it can earn a reasonable margin. Then they started drilling down with a series of detailed and probing questions about whether any of the principal lead-acid...

Exide: Bargain Basement Battery Stock Ready to Start

Tom Konrad CFA Exide's Sundancer Electric Car.  Photo by Frank Lodge, EPA.  Public Domain NOTE: Since this article was first published, Exide Technologies (NASD:XIDE) stock has risen 22% from $2.31 to $2.82, but much of that rise was due to media confusion about a positive Credit Suisse research report on the unrelated Indian company Exide Industries, Ltd.  Details here. Exide Technologies (NASD:XIDE) is shutting down its battery recycling plant in Frisco, Texas, and selling the surrounding 180...

A123 Systems Files Price Range Amendment

John Petersen This morning A123 Systems filed another registration statement amendment for its planned IPO. The amendment specifies a preliminary price range of $8.00 to $9.50 and a preliminary offering size of 25 million shares (28.85 million shares with over-allotment option). Amendments like today's filing occur during the late stages of an IPO and it's not unusual to see the price range or offering size increase in later filings. Both of the preliminary values are about half of what I expected. The price range surprises me because of its rough parity with the $9.20 per share...

Why Baby Steps For Fuel Efficiency Mean Major Revenue Gains For Lead-acid Battery Manufacturers

John Petersen If EV evangelists have everything their way and lithium-ion battery developers can achieve their lofty cost and performance goals, your long-term future may include a car with a plug. While we wait for that glorious day to arrive your short-term future will almost certainly include a car with stop-start engine technology. The issue is simple – sitting at a stop light with the engine running wastes fuel and fouls the air. Depending on traffic, weather and driving habits, the waste can range from 5% to 15%. On a personal level the waste may seem modest,...

Congratulating Chrysler and A123 Systems

On April 6th, Chrysler LLC announced the creation of a strategic alliance whereby A123 Systems, Inc. will become a primary battery supplier for Chrysler's planned line of plug-in electric vehicles. This is a huge step toward rebuilding America's domestic battery manufacturing infrastructure and both companies should be congratulated. The next steps I see in my murky crystal ball are finalization of A123's pending IPO coupled with an announcement that A123's $1.8 billion loan request under the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program has been approved. If the foundation has been properly laid, it will all come together very quickly....
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