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John Petersen  

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  • Axion Power Concentrator 400: June 22, 2015 [View instapost]
    Do me a favor, put together a complete list of battery technology developers who have been knocking it out of the park with orders from customers who are spending their own money.

    Tesla seems to be doing alright, but they've got a long mailing list of suckers who couldn't care less about basic economics and they're masters at gaming the subsidy regimes in California. Everybody else that I know of is struggling because the customers don't understand their own needs.

    Criticizing a laggard is one thing. Criticizing a company that's in the same basic position as all its peers is another.
    Jul 1, 2015. 09:54 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 400: June 22, 2015 [View instapost]
    The world is not as binary as many make it appear. ePower knows that the battery packs it used for the maiden FedEx Ground trial did not meet expectations. The poor performance may have arisen from heavier loads, ventilation issues, pack architecture, inherent limitations of the PbC technology or a combination of these factors. We are diligently working with Axion to find ways to minimize the heat issues we encountered. The process is iterative and ongoing. I'm perfectly willing to accept failure if that's the way things work out, but it's silly to scream failure when the only thing we've had is a lesson in what doesn't work.
    Jul 1, 2015. 09:45 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Summary Of The Axion Power (AXPW) 2015 Annual Meeting [View instapost]
    The press release for the carbon sheeting process came out in March 2013.
    Jun 30, 2015. 07:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Summary Of The Axion Power (AXPW) 2015 Annual Meeting [View instapost]
    The mystery is solved. "Since January 2013" includes the completion of the continuous sheeting method.

    http://tinyurl.com/qfp...
    Jun 30, 2015. 06:01 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Summary Of The Axion Power (AXPW) 2015 Annual Meeting [View instapost]
    As far as our potential customer was concerned the test was a smashing success. Everybody involved knew there was an unquantifiable breakdown risk and we had a tow truck on standby "just in case." We didn't need that rescue option and the loads were delivered on time. We were't happy with the battery temps and neither was Axion, but the customer was thrilled with the outcome.

    Until you know what the magnitude of a potential problem is, front-end engineering to mitigate a potential problem of unknown magnitude is an exercise in futility that could easily result in unnecessary complexity and cost.

    ePower did't know what the GCWRs would be until the day before the test. At that point the choice was "fish or cut bait." We chose to fish and make no apologies for that decision. In the process we learned a lot about the PbC that we didn't know before the test and we're taking appropriate steps to minimize the future risk.

    There's a reason they call this kind of work R&D and as long as you learn something from your test problems there's no shame in having those problems. Remember the wisdom of Thomas Edison, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
    Jun 24, 2015. 01:45 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Summary Of The Axion Power (AXPW) 2015 Annual Meeting [View instapost]
    By the time you factor in the fuel savings and industry standard fuel surcharge provisions we're expecting a payback period in the two to three year range for a single driver tractor like you typically see at FedEx Ground and payback periods under two years for multi-driver tractors like you see in fleets like R&L.

    Over the long-term financing structures will need to be created to suit the needs of smaller fleets, but the best number I've been able to find for rebuilt engine sales in the US is on the order of 300,000 units per year. At $100,000 a pop for conversions, even a 1% market penetration is more than we'll be able to say grace over for the foreseeable future.

    For now Job #1 is satisfying FedEx Ground that our drivetrain can do the work, deliver 40% to 60% better fuel efficiency and minimize the fuel efficiency gap between experienced and inexperienced drivers. Until those goals are accomplished, developing financing structures for small fleet operators isn't even interesting.
    Jun 23, 2015. 10:25 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jay Bowman's June 20th EPower Update [View instapost]
    NiMH is a solid contender, but we're in no hurry to try lithium because our duty cycle is too harsh.
    Jun 23, 2015. 08:29 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Summary Of The Axion Power (AXPW) 2015 Annual Meeting [View instapost]
    Al> I think Jay mis-spoke or you mis-heard because $5,000 a month is what most FedEx contractors pay for fuel (10,000 miles a month/6mpg*$3 a gallon). So the anticipated savings are more like $1,500 to $1,800 a month – roughly equivalent to the monthly lease payment on a new Class 8B tractor.

    Our plan is to finish the preliminary testing with the FedEx contractor who brought us to the dance and then open trials to the other contractors who haul to and from the Florence Hub. That will require us to build 8 more tractors as funding becomes available; but a completed demo fleet of 10 tractors on a one-month rotation will give 120 contractors a year a chance to haul their cargos on their routes with their drivers and judge our performance for themselves. It will also give us the ability to collect reliability data at a 1.2 million mile per year rate instead of the 240,000 mile per year rate we can get with two tractors in service.

    The unbridled angst in the Concentrators over our battery temperature issues is amazing to me because the FedEx contractor was thrilled with the first run and is chomping at the bit to continue. From his perspective, he got a 40% boost in fuel economy with a happy driver and on time delivery of all three loads.

    The same goes for our simple approach to battery box ventilation. We knew what the air flow would be and so did Axion. I think it's fair to assume that Axion has more experience in battery pack engineering than we do and if they were worried about the simplicity of our design, they would have said something. We all knew that heat build-up might be an issue, but quantifying the scope of a possible problem and fixing it in advance is difficult unless you're prepared to over-engineer everything. Sometimes it's better to have a small failure because it gives you a better understanding of both the problem and the best solution.

    The other area where I think your focus is a bit off is your concentration on the easy payment requirements of the single truck owner-operator. They're an important part of our market, but we see the huge fleets as our most likely first customers because the huge fleets are the ones who have the EPA breathing down their necks. FedEx Ground runs 25,000 tractors and is actively searching for sensible sustainability solutions. R+L carries runs 13,000 tractors and is in the same boat. Neither of them needs ePower to finance their business operations.

    Maya> ePower is far from broke and while raising money for R&D is never easy, we've been able to muddle through and continue down the path we mapped out a couple years ago. Over the last nine months the normal difficulties of financing an R&D stage company have been exacerbated by (a) falling oil prices, and (b) investor concerns that Axion might not survive. I can't talk about our ongoing negotiations with potential investors and strategic partners, but we're very pleased with the way things are going and we certainly don't share your survival concerns.
    Jun 23, 2015. 05:00 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Summary Of The Axion Power (AXPW) 2015 Annual Meeting [View instapost]
    Thanks for going to the meeting and taking the time to write this detailed summary Al. As I recall the birth of the Axion Concentrator was a similar summary Mayascribe wrote after the 2011 Annual Meeting:

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    Jun 22, 2015. 07:31 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jay Bowman's June 20th EPower Update [View instapost]
    If you look at the pictures and remember that our battery boxes are mounted outside the chassis and spend most of their time cruising in open air at 65 mph, it's hard to believe that a fan will help much.
    Jun 22, 2015. 05:38 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jay Bowman's June 20th EPower Update [View instapost]
    That kind of detail is outside my area of focus and I wouldn't want to guess.
    Jun 22, 2015. 03:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jay Bowman's June 20th EPower Update [View instapost]
    The only items that require stockholder approval are the preferred stock and convertible debt issuances. That being said, the other contracts will almost certainly be filed with the SEC as material contracts.
    Jun 22, 2015. 11:31 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jay Bowman's June 20th EPower Update [View instapost]
    My record for accuracy when it comes to reading between the lines of Axion's SEC disclosures has decayed with time and distance. After several years of climbing out on limbs and having them cut off behind me, I'm disinclined to try the same thing yet again expecting different results. There will be plenty of time for analysis when the lawyers are finished with the agreements.
    Jun 22, 2015. 11:19 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jay Bowman's June 20th EPower Update [View instapost]
    The language strikes me as clumsy. It appears to say there will be no licenses of the carbon electrode IP and no exclusive licenses without prior approval, but there can be a license to manufacture batteries (presumably using electrodes provided by Axion).
    Jun 22, 2015. 10:02 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jay Bowman's June 20th EPower Update [View instapost]
    I've always hated interpreting LOIs and MOUs because we can't know the precise terms until the lawyers are done. Since I have not participated in any of the discussions or negotiations, I'd rather not speculate on the intent of the parties. I will note, however, that restrictions requiring approval of a territorial licensee are usually interpreted as carrying an implied condition that approval will not be unreasonably withheld.
    Jun 22, 2015. 09:50 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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