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John Petersen  

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  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I fully expect that we'll see all manner of innovation as people try to maximize the efficiency of everything they do. It's a normal economic process. These are exciting and frightening times where it's far easier to identify things that can't work than things that will work.
    Feb 8, 2011. 01:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I'm an agnostic about CO2 because I don't believe that behavior in North America and Europe will change the amount of fuel consumed by humanity. We can cut and conserve until hell freezes over, but that cutting and conservation will merely increase available supply in other parts of the world and I can assure you that given a choice between burning a dirty fuel or freezing in the dark, the world's less fortunate will burn the fuel every time. I believe advanced countries have a duty to reduce waste wherever possible because there isn't enough water, food, energy or commodities for the 6.6 billion people on this planet. But I don't delude myself into believing that our conservation of anything will reduce global consumption of anything.

    There are many who will strenuously disagree with that position, but I think the only solutions that will stand the test of time are economic and the cure for high oil prices will be higher oil prices, because that's what will be required to change wasteful behavior.
    Feb 8, 2011. 01:35 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    The goal of this blog is to point out opportunities and give careful investors an incentive to begin their own investigations. Most of the calls I make are easy ones and it didn't take a genius to know that Exide was undervalued at $2 and it was still undervalued at $5. Now that the price is north of $10, I'll need to be a good deal more cautious because stocks that have already gained 400% are bound to stabilize sooner rather than later. Exide's a fine company and I expect that the pain of the last few years of restructuring will pay off well going forward. I won't be holding my breath for the next 400%.
    Feb 8, 2011. 01:25 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I agree wholeheartedly that a more complex analysis of the highest and best use of materials would be quite useful. Unfortunately it would also be more than a little bit out of my depth and require assumptions that would be fertile ground for endless debate. I can't recall ever seeing an analysis where adding granularity changed a conclusion that was patently obvious to begin with. The process can identify exceptions to the rule, and there are always a few of them lurking about, but it won't change the rule itself.
    Feb 8, 2011. 01:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    Control electronics can be very profitable, particularly if you have quality products and an innovative team. Only time will tell if this particular acquisition was good for ZBB, but I do think they're heading in a sensible direction where they're capturing as much of the value chain as possible.
    Feb 8, 2011. 01:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    An "order of magnitude" is basically 10x. Last November I published a series of graphs from a joint Axion - BMW presentation at September's European Lead Battery Conference in Istanbul. It showed that the charge acceptance of AGM batteries plummeted within a couple thousand stop-start cycles while the PbC stayed stable for 40,000 and the stabilized charge acceptance of an AGM was in the 10 amp range while the PbC maintained charge acceptance of 100 amps. These are big differences.

    You're correct about the PbC being lighter, but the weight savings comes at a cost. Total energy is usually dictated by the weight of a battery. If you reduce the weight in a given case you reduce the total amount of energy that case can hold. For applications like stop-start, total energy is not a critical metric. But if you took an AGM battery and a PbC and hooked a lightbulb to each of them, the PbC would run out of juice first.
    Feb 8, 2011. 01:00 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    A few weeks ago I calculated that the capital cost of an HEV was roughly $24 for every gallon of annual gasoline savings and that the capital cost of a plug-in was $46 for every gallon of annual gasoline savings. The plug-in might work for an idealist with a deep wallet, but the rest of us will likely be content with the lower hanging fruit.

    seekingalpha.com/artic...
    Feb 8, 2011. 12:48 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Battery Recycling Realities for Energy Storage Investors [View article]
    Thanks for the explanation. I was hoping we had a materials scientist or two out there who could fill in the detail beyond the limits of my competence.
    Feb 8, 2011. 12:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I suspect that Pikens and the crew would be more than happy if the government would simply get out of the way and let the market decide. Unfortunately, the ruling class has other priorities.
    Feb 7, 2011. 04:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I watched it on YouTube this morning. Priceless - absolutely priceless.
    Feb 7, 2011. 04:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    After a round of comments from you that were deleted by Seeking Alpha because I objected to their insulting and personal nature, I'm reluctant to even respond to this question. The following is as far as I'm willing to go so don't even bother with a follow up.

    The current price is within 20% of the $.57 per share institutional investors paid in December 2009 before there was any information about BMW, before there were any significant testing results on the PbC technology and before there was any information about Norfolk Southern. Since then we've learned about the relationships, learned about performance and heard about the purchase and installation of a second generation electrode line that should be operational in the current quarter.

    My average cost for the Axion shares I own is significantly higher than the current market price. I feel far better about my risk reward profile today than I did a couple years ago. What you decide to do with that information is up to you.
    Feb 7, 2011. 04:15 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I wouldn't call the CNG advocates myopic or visionary. The words practical and rational seem more appropriate. From what I know of CNG it's an almost perfect fuel that's 100% domestic. While the implementation costs are high today because of low production volumes, it's a technology that actually leaves a lot of room for economies of scale with a high recycling potential.

    The car you're talking about was a CNG Camry Hybrid that Toyota made for the 2008 LA Auto Show. As far as I know it's still the cleanest car ever built.

    green.autoblog.com/200.../

    The most charming advantage of CNG is the supply chain is all domestic and when you start putting a fiscal multiplier on top of the environmental benefits eliminating $250 billion a year in oil imports would probably add a trillion or more to GDP.
    Feb 7, 2011. 04:01 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I also remember the early days of Microsoft. I switched to Apple in 1988 because they had a clearly superior operating system. In spite of all the hard times, Microsoft never even got close to Apple in terms of technology.

    The one advantage Microsoft had was an inexpensive product that it was willing to sell to anyone. For the next 15 years Microsoft was the only game in town for investors. When Apple finally learned how to make ultra-cool technology cheap enough for the masses, it became a titan. But if you want to see a terrible long term stock price chart look at Apple from 1985 through 2000.
    Feb 7, 2011. 03:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    Every commercialization agreement leaves a number of terms that will have to be negotiated at a later time. As that time draws near the parties put on their poker faces and prepare for bare knuckles negotiation. Companies develop negotiating strategies that play to their strengths and their adversary's weaknesses. When the terms are finally hammered out appropriate announcements are made. Axion's CEO is an old school labor contract negotiator and I'm comfortable that Axion's interests will be well represented. Until we have news we wait.
    Feb 7, 2011. 03:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    We all grew up with surplus as the status quo. That allowed us to focus on doing our job and assume that others would do theirs. The world is changing very rapidly and the days when 10% of the worlds population can consume 80% or more of its resources are coming to an end. Professionals who focus on the technically possible without also considering global supply chains and rapidly escalating demand for commodities can easily arrive at a bad conclusion. It's not so much a question of specialized competence as generalized awareness.

    We've spent a lot of years nursing a love-hate relationship with natural resource companies. We want oil wells and mines, but only in somebody else's neighborhood.

    If you listen to what Dr. Chu actually says at events like the Cancun Global Warming Summit, it's clear that he doesn't think current battery technology is up to the task. He has a scientist's optimism that solutions will be found. I have a lawyer's pessimism that finding the solutions will take longer and cost more than the scientists predict.

    I'm not saying these things can't or won't happen. I'm saying they can't and won't happen fast enough to justify high market value premiums.
    www.youtube.com/watch?...
    Feb 7, 2011. 03:15 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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