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Brian Morin  

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  • Customers Pay For Value In The Battery Separator Market [View article]
    Not much. This was a result of an ongoing FTC case where the ruling was that they had to sell because of anti-monopoly laws, and they had passed the point of last appeal, so it had to be sold. It is unrelated to lithium ion batteries, and I believe (but do not know) that if they had not been ordered to sell it, they would have kept the business. I haven't done the work to be able to comment on whether they received a good price for the business or not. Financially, it may free up some cash for future expansion, but from my evaluation of their capacity, they will not need to start this construction for at least a year, and so they may use the cash for debt retirement instead. I have no visibility into any acquisition strategy.
    Oct 26, 2013. 08:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Customers Pay For Value In The Battery Separator Market [View article]
    Really it is two different questions, so two answers:

    Lithium Air: Lithium air is a long, long way off. At least 10 years, maybe 20. When it comes, it is tough to tell. It will need a separator, for sure, but my guess is a new concept in separator is necessary to make the lithium air batter survive for more than a few cycles. It will probably be an oxygen membrane without any holes but at this point it is anybodies guess because nothing works for more than a few cycles. Lithium air is not an engineering problem that can be solved in a few years--it is a science problem for which there is not yet a solution, and when/if one if found, then it becomes an engineering problem that can be solved in a few years...and 10 years after that, the auto industry will adopt it. See how long lithium ion has been around before being picked up by the auto industry?

    Supercapacitors: The other end of the spectrum. They are here, now, and use nonwoven separators made from fibers that are 1-3 microns in diameter. However, the energy density is low, and the cost high, so they will continue to fill a niche position in the market. I view supercaps as a product that will actually come alongside the batteries and expand their market position by making applications work well economically that otherwise might not work or might cost too much. Start-stop is a perfect example--it is tough to gather in that much energy, that quickly, and it will only get more difficult as we begin to think about electric vehicles that are even bigger (trash pickup is a classic example).
    Sep 26, 2013. 09:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Customers Pay For Value In The Battery Separator Market [View article]
    23% of Polypore's revenue was from Electronics & EDVs in 2012, from their annual report, which is only $167 million in revenue. The separator market is today around $1 billion. According to Lux Research, Tesla is buying between $50 - 60 million in batteries/month, so about $5-6 million in separator. If you believe that we are still at the infancy of EDVs, and that there are several other Tesla's out there at Ford and GM and T and etc., then it is quite an opportunity. I would be surprised if PPOs sales don't hit $300 million in 2015, and double that in 2020. The challenge for them is the size of each customer--if they lose one it's big--and the chunk of single-use capital they have to install to make their sales work. It's not like if t-shirts stop selling they can start making towels--their capital is devoted, and comes in big chunks, and so every several years their financials look lousy because they just built and everything is underutilized.
    Sep 25, 2013. 09:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • EV Sales Far Outstripping Model Introductions [View article]
    Prices per Wh for lithium ion batteries have dropped from $0.80 to $0.40 from 2005 to 2012 for laminate and prismatic cells, and over the same time period from $0.30 to $0.22 for cylindrical cells. My source is Avicenne, http://www.avicenne.com.
    Jul 24, 2013. 05:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • EV Sales Far Outstripping Model Introductions [View article]
    tblakeslee--you are right, but it's just a matter of timing. Current state of the art for supercapacitor energy density is only about 10% of batteries, which means you would need to drive a dumptruck to move a Prius. They are today being hybridized with batteries to accommodate charge cycles (primarily for regenerative braking), with the batteries carrying the bulk of the load. However, graphene and a few other enhancements will allow that to go down. It's kind of like memory chasing disks, though, when everything is getting smaller. It took about two decades longer than the pundits predicted to end up with the MacBook with no disk. My guess is we have a couple decades of battery powered cars before the supercaps start to carry the bulk of the energy.
    Jul 22, 2013. 09:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • EV Sales Far Outstripping Model Introductions [View article]
    Yes--Tesla already has an advantage in cost of the batteries, but an added complexity from the battery management system that has to charge them all up equally. I know that Tesla has their own battery design team, and they are working closely with Panasonic, so I wouldn't bet they stick with the current model if it stops making sense.

    Here are two things to consider--first, the advantage could fade away if the price of vehicle batteries shrinks faster than the price of laptop batteries. I suspect it will, but both will consider. However, the other side is that Tesla can switch at any time, and Panasonic will offer both options to them. And Tesla has plenty of other advantages now.
    Jul 22, 2013. 05:58 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • EV Sales Far Outstripping Model Introductions [View article]
    I have a friend who wrote a book, "Living 2 Cents per Mile," which provides a lot of insight. Here is the link: http://amzn.to/15bWtkt
    He gives a lot of justification to the cost--2 cents per mile on electricity. The basic math is that 16 kWh will drive 40 miles, and here in SC we pay about 7 cents/kWh. That's 2.8 cents. The emissions from US based coal plants are far lower than ICE for the energy delivered--I'll try to dig up a source for you and get back.
    Jul 22, 2013. 05:40 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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