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A123 Electric Vehicle Battery Maker About to See Company Turnaround?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A123 Systems Inc., (AONE) Electric Vehicle Battery Maker About to See Company Turnaround?

Electric vehicles have been out of testing labs and on the market, at least in limited quantities, for a few years now.  There are not a large number of these vehicles on the roads just yet, but slowly they are starting to become more of a presence.  One of the biggest reasons why the vehicles have not gained more popularity is simply that they are harder to manage.  While a traditional vehicle can go around 300 miles before refueling at one of the many available gas stations, electric vehicles can traditionally go about 100-200 miles before needing to be charged using a proper power source.  But a recent deal with A123, a maker of batteries for electronic vehicles, indicates that things may soon be changing.

A123 has inked a deal with Detroit’s GM to supply batteries for vehicles that are intended to be announced later on.  While little is known about the deal or the vehicles that the batteries will be used for, speculation indicates that the company will be providing GM with thousands of batteries.  The batteries are expected to be engineered and produced by the end of 2012, with vehicle production to begin shortly thereafter.  In the time following this announcement, it has also been noted that the remainder of the year is expected to bring more announcements from A123, including deals with BMW as well as another major North American car manufacturer.

So, what does all of this mean for the electrical vehicle market?  Well, it seems that this, too, is open to speculation.  Are GM and BMW working on new electric vehicles?  It will be some time before those announcements are made, but indicators are certainly pointing in that direction.  With numerous major car companies producing electric vehicles, the race may finally be on for car companies to produce an EV that can go farther and longer without the need to recharge.  The recent announcement regarding solar panels with the new EV from Ford certainly shows that makers are working hard to improve EV lifespan between charges.

Electric vehicles are still in their infancy.  The technology is available, but improvements will likely need to continue before the general public is willing to make these vehicles the primary choice.  But with announcements like these indicating that major manufacturers are likely putting more work and research into creating better electric vehicles, the dawning of a new era in personal vehicles might not be as far away as you think.

Yahoo Finance: A123 Systems, Inc., (AONE)

People viewing AONE also viewed: XIDE FSLR JASO TSLA STP REE

A123 Headlines

  • A123 SYSTEMS, INC. Files SEC form 8-K, Change in Directors or Principal OfficersEDGAR Online(Tue, Feb 14)
  • You’re Not the Only One Buying Hereat Motley Fool(Tue, Feb 14)
  • Fisker pins hopes on Karma as it seeks more cashat Reuters(Tue, Feb 14)
  • Batteries to Compete With Gas Peaker Plants by 2016, A123 Saysat Bloomberg(Tue, Feb 14)
  • Electric Vehicles May Be Worth Another Lookat Motley Fool(Mon, Feb 13)
  • [video] Fisker Automotive Under Fireat CNBC(Mon, Feb 13)
  • Why A123 Systems Is A Buy And Offers 700% Upside Potential Over The Next 3 Yearsat Seeking Alpha(Mon, Feb 13)
  • Toyota, Alcatel-Lucent, A123 are market moversAP(Fri, Feb 10)
  • A123 Advances on Deal to Supply Battery-Storage Systems in U.K.at Bloomberg(Fri, Feb 10)
  • DOE Loan Curse: First Solar Latest To Face Funding Delayat Forbes(Fri, Feb

Business Summary

A123 Systems, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, manufacture, and sale of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and battery systems worldwide. The company’s battery products are based on its proprietary Nanophosphate technology for application development in the transportation, electric grid services, and commercial markets. In addition, it provides research and development services to government agencies and commercial customers. A123 Systems sell its batteries and battery systems directly to end-user customers, as well as through reseller and distributor channels. The company was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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The Chevy Volt Promised Greater Efficiency than Hybrids - Did it happen?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Electric vehicles are gaining rapidly in popularity, and with the end of 2011 bringing us a large number of EVs, there is little wonder why so many states and cities are working hard to install electric charging stations in public areas.  EVs are expected to sell fairly well in big cities, especially among two car families looking for a vehicle to be used primarily for city driving and commuting.  The Chevy Volt is one of the newest entrants in the EV game, and the car is promising big benefits over traditional hybrid vehicles.

One thing to understand about the Chevy Volt is that while the car does consume gas, it does not power the car.  Instead, the car has a range of about 35 miles that it can run on battery alone when fully charged.  After this initial period is up, the car’s generator kicks on to keep it powered.  This generator is the part of the car that is fueled by gas.  This certainly helps lower emissions, but it also serves to greatly increase overall gas mileage.  For consumers driving less than 35 miles per day, it is possible to go significant periods of time without ever consuming any of the gas in the car.

As to whether or not the car is more efficient than a traditional hybrid vehicle, the answer is an absolute yes for people who will be doing less than 35 miles of driving per day.  The cars will generally offer better performance even on longer drives, but if you plan to use your vehicle for frequent long distance trips, you will certainly experience a significant reduction in fuel efficiency.  The Chevy Volt is designed for the average city dweller and short distance driver and makes an ideal second car.

One thing that should be noted about the Chevy Volt is that the car has been given an EPA estimated fuel rating of over 90MPG.  This takes into account the daily driving habits of the average user, however, which is someone taking the vehicle to and from work and on daily errands.  The Chevy Volt certainly offers greater fuel economy than hybrid and traditional vehicles, as well as lower long term maintenance costs.  When coupled with the $7,500 Federal rebate currently being offered on the vehicle, it is certainly something that city dwellers, daily commuters, and two car households would be well advised to consider.

So whats better, Nissan’s Leaf all electric car or GM’s Chevy Volt EV/Hybrid?

GM’s Chevy Volt VS Tesla Motors

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Meet the Chevy Volt

If you were to walk up to a Chevy Volt in a regular parking lot you might not think of it as a car that could be powered entirely by electrical energy. This is because it has the looks and size of the more popular mass vehicles, and yet beats the hybrids to an amazingly high degree. In fact, some recent headlines explained that many of the new Chevy Volt buyers were people frequently trading in the other mass vehicles such as the Prius.

Most of the consumers questioned said that there were a lot of reasons to turn to the Chevy Volt, but the primary factors had to do with the unbelievable mileage equivalents they could enjoy with the EV (electric vehicle). For instance, the Prius will usually get around 44 mpg while most of the Chevy Volt owners can enjoy around 58 mpg, but this “mileage” must be translated to battery life, and also not exclude the fact that there are zero emissions coming from the car.

Let’s look at that battery life first. When considering the distance that a single full charge of a battery can provide, it is usually going to have to translate to the costs associated with the charging process. Unlike the pricing on gas, however, the owner of an EV such as the Volt is going to be able to rely upon the equipment that the manufacturer provides and which ensures the best charging process possible. For example, the device that charges the vehicle is going to run fault detection protocols to ensure that the outlet is going to deliver the properly grounded supplies into the device. Not many makers have this sort of option, and this is actually a problem that occurred with those who relied on household outlets for vehicles such as the Prius.

The programming equipment can also be triggered to take advantage of any off-peak rates available too. This can translate to a tremendous amount of financial savings because it could actually be said to reduce the “per gallon” price of fuel. For instance, if you use electrical charging during the lowest or “off peak” hours it would be the same thing as finding gasoline at a reduced price for a standard car.

The Volt is also a great communicator and can let the driver remain consistently aware of the level of battery left when using certain equipment or driving in a specific way. This is extremely useful because it prevents the owner from ending up without any energy to operate the car without gas.

NOW MEET TESLA MOTORS

Anyone interested in the green driving movement will be likely to have heard about Tesla Motors. This is going to be for a number of reasons, but primarily because it is a company producing sports cars that are entirely powered by electricity. Yes, sports cars. The Tesla Roadster is capable of 288 horsepower, reaching zero to fifty in less than six seconds, and has the lines and sleek looks of the world’s most glamorous sports cars too.

Among the other reasons that Tesla Motors has become such a well-known name is the fact that it was their car known as the Roadster that was selected for the Renew America Roadtrip in 2009. This was a cross country journey that few believed an electric car could manage. This was not without good reason when you consider that most electric vehicles can run for only a limited number of miles without a lengthy recharging process. The recharging equipment can be difficult to find, and has to be especially wired to accommodate the needs of the car.

Tesla Motors had already been thinking well into the future, however, and had designed a vehicle that can be plugged into the same wall outlets as a cell phone, lamp, or other standard electrical device. The charging process requires around four hours to complete and then the car can run for roughly 245 miles before the next recharging is required. Clearly, this was the sort of functionality that would easily get any vehicle across the country in a reasonable amount of time, but the Tesla Motors Roadster also did so without a single harmful emission.

The Tesla vehicles are known for their “zero tailpipe emissions” which means it is among the only electric cars that can deliver sports car performance without also dumping the same harmful chemicals into the air that most high-end vehicles are known for. Instead, the vehicle will “create” only the emissions connected directly to the generation of the electricity that is used to power or charge the batteries. This means that around 50% of standard emissions are reduced simply by relying on one of these electric cars.

The infrastructure necessary to support widespread EV usage is not yet available, but with a design like that in the Tesla Roadster there is really no need to worry about such things. The vehicles can recharge anywhere a standard 120v or 240v outlet is available and will go for more than two hundred miles without any problems.

A Look at the Chevy Volt

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

If you know a bit about electric vehicles (or EVs), you already understand that they are positioned to really “boom” in the United States in the coming years. In fact, a new wave of entirely electric cars is now entering the markets, and one of the most well-known is the Chevy Volt. It’s popularity has as much to do with the way that the manufacturer, General Motors, has promoted it as it does with the fact that the Chevy Volt is among the first of the mass market electric vehicles.

If you read about the different EVs, you might see that some boast of making electric vehicles affordable to the masses, but it is a model such as the Chevy Volt that will provide the familiar looks of the average sedan along with the benefits of a gas-free car.

This, however, is where vehicles such as the Chevy Volt might run into trouble because the cars do need fuel in the form of electricity. Unfortunately, though the markets are ready to receive EVs in a number of formats, the infrastructure necessary to feed the cars or EVs with the electricity that they need is not yet available. This is why there are so many options for home charging stations or for EVs that can be plugged directly into any wall outlet to get a full charge.

Okay, you might say, so what’s the problem? If there are cars that plug into outlets and home-based charging devices, why is there a big concern about public charging stations? It is because the average EV cannot go for hundreds of miles on a single charge in the ways that regular cars can go for hundreds of miles on a tank of gas. In fact, most EV owners have to plug their vehicles into charging stations whenever available.

So, the maker of the Volt vehicles used a very clever approach to finding an answer. They installed 26 solar charging stations (officially labeled as Green Zones) at the dealerships making the cars available. These solar charging stations are going to serve as pseudo-billboards advertising the presence of entirely electric cars, but will also demonstrate that the Volt is a vehicle that can actually be operated by a reliable solar panel array.

General Motors is demonstrating through the construction of Green Zones that ownership of one of their EVs is just part of the way that consumers can help improve the environment and come to rely on alternative energy sources.

What do people like about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

The summer of 2011 the Mitsubishi i-MiEV began appearing in auto shows and making its first impressions on the driving public. The media attention on the vehicle was more than above average because the details about the EV (electric vehicle) had intrigued so many different groups and individuals.

After all, the makers of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV claimed that it could go 62 miles on a single battery cycle and that it cost only one-third of the average gas powered vehicles to operate, but that this reduction could be increased by almost three-fold if the owner learned when their utility companies extended discounted pricing to EV owners. Continue reading “What do people like about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV?” »

As First Release Approaches, Consumers Await the Nissan Leaf

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

As winter of 2011 rapidly approaches, consumers, environmentalists, and car manufacturers alike will be waiting with bated breath as the newest models of electric vehicles finally hit the road.  Most of these vehicles, however, are actually at least partially powered by gas.  The 2011 Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is one of the few cars hitting the market that will be all-electric and therefore completely zero emissions.  The first production of 20,000 vehicles has long been sold out, so people looking to purchase the Leaf will have to wait until the next run.  Many consumers have already seen delivery of their first run vehicles, however, and so far, the response has been quite positive.

The Nissan Leaf is certainly something unique in today’s car market.  The average operating cost is surprisingly low, and the vehicle only costs about $2.75 or so to charge based on average electricity prices.  The vehicle can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge, which puts it at around 1/3 the running cost of your average hybrid vehicle.  The car can be charged using traditional 220V home outlets, but it is also possible (and recommended) for owners to purchase quick charging stations. Continue reading “As First Release Approaches, Consumers Await the Nissan Leaf” »

Virginia Alternate Fuel Vehicle Bill Signing

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In a bold and sort of unexpected move, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has signed an executive order calling for widespread use of natural gas, electric or other alternative-fueled vehicles throughout the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Office of Fleet Management Services, which oversees approximately 4,000 passenger-type vehicles used by some 175 state agencies and institutions, will be tasked with replacing much of its fleet with alternative-fuel vehicles.

Effective immediately, Virginia is to, “pursue all practicable and cost-effective options to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles.” Increased use of alternative fuel vehicles holds, according to Governor McDonnel, the potential to, “reduce our dependence on foreign oil, support the expansion of private-sector businesses and create new jobs here in the Commonwealth.”

Governor McDonnell says the state’s “all fuel approach” provides the Commonwealth with the best opportunity to meet its goals. Hit the jump to check out Virginia’s approved list of alt-fuel vehicles.

EV Revolution Has Begun - Walgreen Pledges to Host 800 E.V. Chargers by End of 2011

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) describes itself as the nation’s largest drugstore chain, and the company has another superlative to promote. On Thursday, it vowed to become the country’s biggest host for public electric vehicle charging stations by the end of the year. In total, stores will have about 800 EV charging points.

“Our stores are located along major commuting corridors, so we saw this as a great way to serve the environment,” said Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability at Walgreen, in a telephone interview. “We got a great customer response from the first stations we hosted, so for us this is a great fit. A national rollout seemed like the right thing to do.”

Walgreen said that its providers already had installed or were in the process of installing chargers at 60 stores in Houston, the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Chicago.

The retailer has signed on partners including 350Green, a charging-infrastructure provider, to perform the installations. The introduction will begin with the New York metropolitan area, particularly the outer boroughs, according to Tim Mason, the president and co-founder of 350Green. The company will account for 425 of the nationwide total. Continue reading “EV Revolution Has Begun - Walgreen Pledges to Host 800 E.V. Chargers by End of 2011” »

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