Tesla Motors; Automaker or Graphic Novel?

John Petersen One of the hardest parts of blogging about energy storage and vehicle electrification is the inability of some readers to wrap their minds around large numbers. We throw around numbers like thousand, million, billion and even trillion with surprising alacrity, but many fail to grasp their significance because the underlying realities are too big to comprehend. The other day I stumbled across a website that tracks the national debt and uses the humble second to put incredibly large numbers into perspective: A thousand seconds is 16.6 minutes; A million seconds is 11.6 days; A...

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....

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...

What Does GM Really Think About The Volt?

John Petersen I love IPO registration statements because they have to provide full and fair disclosure of all material facts and forward-looking statements must "bespeak caution." The following quote from the risk factors section on page 19 of the prospectus included in the Form S-1 Registration Statement that NewGM filed yesterday says everything you need to know about the Volt and the other plug-in vehicles that currently reign as media darlings. "In some cases, the technologies that we plan to employ, such as hydrogen fuel cells and advanced battery technology, are not yet commercially practical and depend...

Can Uber Save BYD?

By Jeff Siegel Back in 2007, we jumped on a small electric car company called BYD Company (OTCBB: BYDDF). We actually crushed it on that one as we took a position before Warren Buffett announced he was taking a 10% stake in the company. Of course, when we started covering the company, I had no idea Warren Buffett even knew that a Chinese company was making electric cars. The stock had a nice ride, but shortly after Uncle Warren jumped in, the stock soared and got very top heavy. It got way too hot, way too fast. We...

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...

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...

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...

Tesla’s Troubling Risk-Reward Profile

John Petersen While the broader market focuses on trivial issues like Asia, the Eurozone and an upcoming presidential election, a small but extremely vocal segment of the car shopping public is breathlessly awaiting the dawn of a new age with the first deliveries Tesla Model S electric cars to customers on June 22nd. The excitement among fervent Tesla Motors (TSLA) acolytes is palpable, but I have to at least ask whether their view of the company's risk-reward profile is rational. Is Tesla a great investment opportunity, or are we witnessing a weird form of transference that...

Chinese Remain Skeptical of Domestic EVs

Doug Young Chinese local media were trying to accentuate the positive when they reported that China’s new energy vehicle sales rose 10-fold in the first 4 months of this year. (Chinese article) That figure caught my attention, but then I read further into the reports and saw that even after the huge jump just 10,000 new energy vehicles were sold in China in January through April, averaging a meager 2,500 per month. Adding further gloom to the picture, the vast majority of vehicles were purchased by fleet operators of taxis and buses. Within the larger figure, half of all...

Tesla Considering Shanghai For New China Plant

Doug Young  Bottom line: Tesla will announce a joint venture production facility in Shanghai within the next 1-2 months, and could see its China sales pick up sharply after its more affordable Model 3 reaches the market next year. Just a week after Disney (NYSE: DIS) launched its newest theme park in Shanghai, media are saying that new energy car superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) is also eyeing China’s commercial capital as the location for a new production base costing up to $9 billion. We should note from the start that the potential partner mentioned in the reports, the Shanghai...

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...

Tesla’s Chinese Reboot Complete, But Questions Remain

Doug Young Bottom line: Tesla’s China reboot appears to be complete, paving the way for it to gain some traction in the market by year end if it can effectively target the nation’s wealthy, image-conscious trend setters. Nearly a year after driving into China on a wave of fanfare and big hopes, electric vehicle (EV) superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) is pressing the reset button on a market that has huge potential but also some major obstacles. This particular reset has been in the works for the last few months, but appears to be near completion with indications...

Updating My Buy Exide and Short Tesla Paired Trade

John Petersen On November 15th I suggested a paired trade where investors would buy 11.5 shares of Exide Technologies (XIDE) and short one share of Tesla Motors (TSLA). Over the last two months, investors who made the trade on November 15th would have realized the following gains. 15-Nov-11 13-Jan-12 Net Entry Exit Gain Buy 11.5 Exide -$30.59 $36.69 $6.10 Sell one Tesla $33.93 -$22.79 $11.14 Pair trade total...

Alice in EVland Part III; Cost Benefit Analysis For Dummies

John Petersen Sometimes I think bloggers like me are the real dummies. We spend so much time delving into the minutiae of a stock or sector that we manage to obscure the big picture with too much detail. I've certainly been guilty of that particular flaw over the last couple years and want to offer an apology to readers I've confused rather than enlightened. Yesterday a reader sent me a copy of a presentation that Exide Technologies (XIDE) used in its December 2010 Investor Meetings. The slide on page 6 of the presentation did a great job...

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...
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