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John Petersen

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  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    I admire many things about Mr. Musk including his willingness to risk it all on a roll of the dice. As long as you understand that it's your money he's risking on the dice roll, it's your money he's squandering on meaningless hedge transactions and it's your money he's putting in second position behind $4,000 million in debt, I can only wish you the best of luck with your investment.
    Apr 8 07:17 AM | 34 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 286: Nov. 27 '13: Q3 '13 Results; Sale Of PowerCube™ ESS; John Petersen Joins EPower [View instapost]
    ePower Update

    This morning I got an e-mail from Jay reporting that Mexico has issued a patent to ePower that only required minor changes to the wording to do things like specify vehicle weight ranges instead of using the DOT classification system. He also indicated that we've responded to initial reviews by the Chinese, European and US patent offices that had very similar first office action comments. It's encouraging news that suggests we may get broader patent coverage pretty quickly.

    Cummins will be visiting tomorrow morning with its load testing equipment to make sure the genset is behaving the way we want it to. If all goes well, the installation process should be finished in a week to 10 days which would could well give us preliminary fuel economy data before Christmas.
    Dec 5 01:42 PM | 34 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 270: September 27: '13 AGM Feedback, 10Q Filing For Q2; Two Axion Forbes Articles; John Petersen On PIPE Mechanics & Incentives [View instapost]
    While I think AGM opinions from the other attendees will be more valuable than mine, I did notice several things that caught my eye and might have been missed by others.

    First, when we were leaving the building at the end of the electrode plant tour I saw a couple of shipping pallets stacked three feet high with carbon electrode sheets that were ready to go as feedstock for the electrode assembly fabrication line. Since the sheets are probably 4x5x1/16, it was an impressive sight.

    Second, at the end of the battery plant tour there were several hundred Group 30HT Pbc's on pallets and ready for shipment along with another 100 Group 30 PbC's like the ones ePower uses.

    Third, I learned that the flooded batteries Axion has been making for East Penn are heavy equipment batteries rather than the smaller automotive or UPS sized batteries I expected.

    Fourth, I noted that Axion was using all three lines. One of the flooded lines was doing nothing but making the East Penn Batteries. The AGM line was dedicated solely to the PbC. The most fascinating part was that they were using the second "flooded" line to make specialty AGM batteries for racing and car collectors. I had always assumed that it would take a huge equipment upgrade to make AGM batteries on a flooded line. The fact that they were doing so suggests that switching capacity from flooded to AGM may be less complex than I thought it would be.
    Sep 27 10:48 AM | 32 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 202: Jan. 24: Axion Power PbC Batteries Continue To Demonstrate Effectiveness For Railroad Applications Norfolk Southern [View instapost]
    I just got off a phone call with Dr. Buiel who will be joining our happy little group as a semi-active participant and will, within the bounds of propriety and confidentiality, answer some of the thornier technical questions that I normally punt on.

    I trust that he'll be welcomed warmly.
    Jan 24 11:10 AM | 32 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 354 July 31 '14: David DiGiacinto Appointed Chairman And CEO; Share Reverse Split And Authorized Share Reduction Approved; Q1 '1 CC Transcript & MP3 Available [View instapost]
    There are many talented people who made huge contributions to Axion over the years, but I can't think of anybody who's contributed more time and money or been a stronger supporter than Bob Averill. While he never accepted a day to day role in management, he was the most hands on director I've ever seen and the mentoring and guidance he provided the technical team over the years is beyond my ability to describe. Anybody who thinks Bob would ever do anything to harm Axion simply doesn't know the man.
    Jul 31 06:43 PM | 31 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Plug-in Vehicles: Toyota Tells the Unvarnished Truth [View article]
    In 100 years consumers have never been receptive to electric cars no matter what the range is. Even in Europe where they've been available for years, gas prices are high and travel distances are short the available EVs have always drawn yawns. Perhaps Toyota is tepid to cool because it knows the market's temperature.
    Jul 11 08:43 AM | 31 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 335: May 19 '14: Q1 '1 CC Transcript & MP3 Available; Q1 '14 Filing Released;Axion Receives 4 Powercubes Order; Reverse Split Consent Solicitation Filed [View instapost]
    FWIW> SA does not make money on Instablogs because there are no ads on the Instablog pages. While contributors get a penny per pageview for articles, keeping this Concentrator series going is a labor of love for the Hosts and they've done a wonderful job. The Hosts have nothing to do with SA.

    This Concentrator series started with an Instablog Mayascribe wrote after attending the 2011 stockholders meeting. When the comment section got too long, Maya threw up a second, and a third etc. After putting up 75 Axion Instablogs, Maya turned the reins over to the Axion Power Hosts who've added 259 more contributions to knowledge central.

    It's a lot of work to prepare and upload a new Instablog every few days and while it's very rewarding when it feels like you're providing a forum for deep due diligence and polite discussion of complex issues, it's nowhere near as much fun when participants get overly repetitive or just plain nasty with each other. (I've been guilty of both from time to time.) If we want to keep this community going, I think we all need to take our game up a notch and get better at disagreeing without being disagreeable.
    May 23 05:17 AM | 30 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 335: May 19 '14: Q1 '1 CC Transcript & MP3 Available; Q1 '14 Filing Released;Axion Receives 4 Powercubes Order; Reverse Split Consent Solicitation Filed [View instapost]
    I understand exactly where APH's is coming from.

    When I first started blogging my comment sections were often more interesting than the articles. Over time people seemed to forget that it's possible to disagree without being disagreeable and the value of different points of view lies in their expression, not their exhaustion.

    I've cut way back on my writing over the last couple years because I'm tired of dealing with commenters who go haring off on a tangent or insist on winning instead of contributing.

    I'm only human and that means I can only speak from the perspective of the shoes I stand in. Others have different perspectives but the fact that their views differ from mine does not make them wrong. It just makes them different.

    Moderating a forum like this one is a thankless miserable task. This has always been a remarkable forum because it focused on facts and principles rather than personalities. It was a great resource for investors who wanted to learn, question their own assumptions and try to understand the complexity of Axion's business and development path. I'll be deeply saddened if that usefulness is lost.
    May 22 06:42 AM | 30 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 327: Apr. 28 '14: Q4 & EOY 2013 Results & CC; CFO Resigns; David DiGiacinto Joins BoD; PV With Storage Financials; Petersen Worksheet Suggests PIPE Effects Nearing End [View instapost]
    As most regulars know from my Concentrator comments and my Instablog's summarizing Jay Bowman's bi-monthly updates, we’ve made solid progress at ePower over the last six months. Since my last Instablog, Jay and the engineers from Cummins, Marathon and Unico have concluded that we have the drivetrain efficiency issues under control and the odd readings we've been getting arose from from communication bugs rather than performance problems. In other words, it looks like the drivetrain is doing everything it should be doing and the primary reason for our less than exciting fuel economy was that we were working the system too hard by running the drive motor too far out of its optimal torque band. Mercifully that’s a problem we know how to fix.

    We’ve recently changed the shift-points on the transmission to slow down the drive motor and bring it back to an optimal point on its torque curve. The last remaining steps will be:

    • Swapping out the gears in the differential to optimize the system for power and speed;
    • Replacing one of the two rear-end differentials with a tag axle to boost fuel economy by about 5%; and
    • Replacing the dual tire rear wheels with low rolling resistance “super-single” tires and wheels.

    Jay expects to have that work completed with a couple weeks and we've come to terms with an independent trucker who will begin hauling freight with the sleeper tractor as soon as Jay’s willing to turn over the keys. He took the tractor out for a couple hours on Wednesday and loves the way it drives.

    We still have to take the tractor to the trucker’s freight broker for an inspection, but we believe we can accumulate a couple weeks of real world fuel economy data before the end of May. While the bigger fleets we want to approach next will be skeptical of any data we generate, we believe a detailed report on an independent trucker's experience while hauling brokered loads on day-trip routes will be compelling.

    Jay is confident enough in the drivetrain that he went out and bought four more 2003 model year Sterling day cab tractors for the ePower demonstration fleet. A recent picture of our first day cab retrofit which is coming together nicely and should be road ready before the end of May is available here:

    While we’re delighted with the pace of our development progress, we are less happy with the pace of our financing activities. We’ve raised about a half-million and while experience tells me that we’re doing a good job of keeping ePower funded, we need to take things up a notch if we want to accelerate the schedule and make a credible approach to the industry.

    Last week the ePower board decided to change our offering structure from a sale of straight common stock to a sale of units, each consisting of a share of common stock and a five-year warrant. Concurrently our lead investor agreed to match the next $400,000. The offering is limited to accredited investors. Anybody who wants more information should contact me by PM or e-mail.
    Apr 27 08:14 PM | 30 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 3 Billion Reasons Why Tesla's Gigafactory Will Be A Bloodbath [View article]
    In Q2-12 domestic demand for the Model S was 5,150 units. That demand slumped to about 3,000 units in Q-4 and Tesla does not expect that number to increase. It projects sales of 10,000 units worldwide in Q4-13 with two-thirds of that demand coming from Europe and Asia. I lived in Europe for 15 years and know that American cars are generally viewed as second-rate products in that market. This article from a Chinese news service doesn't exactly predict a walk in the park for Tesla in the Asian market. – – I don't know what actual demand in Europe and Asia will be, but I'm not as sanguine as most true believers.
    Mar 3 07:18 AM | 30 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Obscenely Expensive Cure For Range Anxiety [View article]
    I'm sure the driving experience is every bit as wonderful as Tesla's fawning acolytes claim. A good ride does not, however, trump economics for all but the smallest niche of the car buying public. Pretending that tax subsidies are justified or justifiable for the most inefficient use of advanced batteries is an intellectual abomination.
    Feb 15 09:38 AM | 30 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 349 July 13 '14: David DiGiacinto Appointed Chairman And CEO; Share Reverse Split And Authorized Share Reduction Approved; Definitive Reverse Split Consent Solicitation; Q1 '1 CC Transcript & MP3 Available [View instapost]
    It's probably worth observing that political commentary and personal arguments were the straws that broke our hard working camel's (NYSE:APH) back a few weeks ago. APH tries very hard to keep this Concentrator series focused on Axion issues, not DC. We all need to respect his efforts to avoid digressions that increase his work load as a volunteer.
    Jul 14 03:21 PM | 29 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 347 July 06 '14: Share Reverse Split And Authorized Share Reduction Approved; Definitive Reverse Split Consent Solicitation; Q1 '1 CC Transcript & MP3 Available; Q1 '14 Filing Released;Axion Receives 4 Powercubes Order [View instapost]
    I spoke with Mr. Granville this morning and his health issues were only discovered recently. He's apparently been working closely with Dave DiGiacinto for several months on marketing strategies, but this transition was not planned. On balance Tom seems vey confident that Dave will do a fine job, particularly with Tom at his elbow providing all the support he can.

    Since I haven't met Mr. DiGiacinto I can't offer a personal assessment but most of the former air force pilots I've met through the years were a little larger than life and highly disciplined. When I factor in Mr. DiGiacinto's operational and financial markets experience, I think he's well qualified to take Axion to the next level. It's an unfortunate turn of events but it could work out well for those of us who can only observe from a distance.
    Jul 8 10:33 AM | 29 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 322: Apr. 09 '14: Q4 & EOY 2013 Results & CC; CFO Resigns; David DiGiacinto Joins BoD; PV With Storage Financials; Petersen Worksheet Suggests PIPE Effects Nearing End [View instapost]
    Mother always told me “When you have to eat crow don’t nibble.” In my January 31st and February 2nd articles that predicted the imminent end of Axion’s stock issuances to the PIPErs, I made some assumptions that were inconsistent with the disclosures in Axion’s recent Form 10-K. As a result I underestimated the number of shares that would be issued to the PIPErs after the beginning of February.

    After the articles were published I got into a pretty heated argument with D-Inv because he was convinced the accelerated conversions were much lower. While both of our estimates were wrong, his were closer than mine and he deserves an apology. I hope this comment will suffice.

    My errors arose because my spreadsheet was an attempt to work backwards from the outstanding share totals at specific reporting dates to estimate the dollar value of the accelerated conversions. I originally concluded that it would take roughly $1.25 million in accelerated conversions to make the numbers balance. In Note 3 to its year-end financial statements, however, Axion reported that cumulative accelerated conversions were $525,000, so I was off by $700,000.

    As a result of that error, I predicted an early end to the PIPE share issuances that didn't happen. I now believe that instead of paying a final installment of $500,000 in early February, Axion paid PIPE installments of roughly $630,000 in early February and March and a final PIPE installment of roughly $230,000 in early April.

    The bottom line is there will be no more issuances to the PIPErs, but the issuances in February, March and April go a long way toward explaining the lingering selling pressure that we’re seeing from the usual suspects. That pressure should abate within a matter of days if it hasn’t already.
    Apr 11 12:26 PM | 29 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    stockferret, personal attacks on me do not change the basic facts of battery capacity and gasoline savings. Do your own homework, double check my numbers and make your own investment decisions. I can assure you that regular readers of my articles will.
    Aug 26 11:31 AM | 29 Likes Like |Link to Comment