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Author has a degree in Engineering and is an avid investor in the market. Experience in industrial materials and structures. In college studied atomic & nuclear physics as well as material engineering. Eastern European
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  • Why invest in Lithium?? Warren Buffett is the reason : He said last year that in 20 yrs all cars will be electric. Countdown is now 19 years to go...  1 comment
    Sunday, November 29, 2009
    Warren Buffett: In 20 years, all cars on the road will be electric

    Small Number of Miners and Split of the Pie - Eric Norris, Global Commercial Director for FMC's Lithium Division, offered a synopsis of the split for Li suppliers. In his presentation Norris put market demand of 93K tonnes for lithium carbonate equivalents in 2007 and offered the following split for market supply:

    Figure 4: Source; Notes taken by attendee to Jan./09 talk

    Note:Chemetall is a unit of Rockwood Holdings (NYSE:ROC)

    "Something is telling us that we are close to the right Time again, like Warren Buffett was spot on the money last Fall buying into BYD with 250 million and now, one year after and almost an eternity passed in investment world of a slow motion crash video, he is sitting on 1 billion stake in the company and has made BYD founder the China's richest person along the way. This something could be the coming Copenhagen Climate Change conference or Nissan Electric Leaf on North American Tour or even this article about GM Volt anxious to be on time on the road."

    BYD: "Build Your Dreams" - founder takes it quite literally and made his fortune already even without selling very many Electric Cars yet. One thing is to get Warren Buffett to advertise your product and another one is for Buffett to proclaim: "In 20 years, all cars on the road will be electric". China, Buffett and Electric Cars - what else do we need to start a new Trend? Bill Gates could help and Google guys are backing Aptera already...Jim Dines is all over it on Supply side with Rare Earth Elements and worries about Lithium oversupply will be blown away with every Electric Car sold. Maestro is giving us the most aggressive timing we ever heard or dreamed about rate of Electric Cars adoption - it is our "Big IF" in action.

    "Time is always an essence, we can not afford to live a life of an artist, when she will be admired long time after her time. Money as all particles, which come and go, have a dual nature inhibited in their reality: Money love to test your patience as much as they are impatient themselves. They refuse to grow without a catalyst, even in the most fertile environment. They are always searching for the Trend: they like to come early and enjoy when others will be piling in."

    Warren Buffet here is even more aggressive then Nissan in their estimations: Bloomberg Nissan, FedEx Seek Electric-Car Target of 200 Million and now you can put your own figures on Lithium Demand side to that picture.
    Published Sunday November 29, 2009

    By Steve Jordon


    In 20 years, all cars on the road will be electric, Warren Buffett told college students visiting Omaha recently.
    The Houston Chronicle reported that Jan Goetgeluk, president of the finance club at Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, asked what Buffett thought of the “peak oil theory,” the projection that oil production is at or near its peak and will decline rapidly.
    Goetgeluk also asked Buffett what would replace carbon fuel.
    Buffett made the all-electric prediction and said his investment in the Chinese battery and auto company BYD is working on technology to make the all-electric auto fleet happen. BYD founder Wang Chuanfu, Buffett said, is a genius.

    Buffett also admitted an investment mistake when it came to BYD — namely, that his investment company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., bought only 10 percent of BYD. Berkshire should have bought 20 percent, Buffett said.
    Todd Finkle, a former Omahan who heads Akron University’s entrepreneurship program and brought a group of Ohio students, said Buffett also expects high-speed trains in the United States.
    In a question-and-answer session and informally over lunch, Buffett discussed a wide range of topics.
    He said the United States still will be the leading economy in 25 years, but by a narrower margin. Success by emerging countries such as China is OK, because growth in their economies helps the U.S. economy, too, he said.
    Buffett said his sessions with students are similar to the classes Benjamin Graham taught at Columbia University in the 1950s. Graham taught one class a year and donated his salary to the school.
    Buffett said he wants business students to know that ethics and hard work are the most important things, and that people have a responsibility to try to improve society and help other people.
    “He’s kind of our idol,” Goetgeluk said. “It’s always interesting to get perspective from the most successful investor in the world.”


    That was the lithium demand that will come from electric cars, and we all already know the demand coming from cell phones, iPods and notebooks but what many don't know yet is the Lithium demand coming from "e-Bikes".

    E-Bikes: Turning the pedals with a little help November 29, 2010

    e-bikes.jpg While much of the transportation industry seems to be focused on electric cars this year, another electric vehicle is increasing in numbers on city streets – the e-bike. An e-bike, is a bicycle that incorporates an electric motor to assist a rider’s power output. Already popular in Asia with 21 million sold last year in China alone, e-bikes have struggled to find space in our car-centric culture.

    Last month, when I was offered the chance to try out the latest in e-bikes, I was somewhat hesitant. Having logged 6,000 miles this year on my collection of human powered bikes, I am decidedly not the target demographic for a battery-assisted bicycle. The idea of a using any kind of motor on bike somehow seemed like cheating. But, I figure that anything that encourages people to get out of their cars and get some exercise deserves a  second look.

    I spent a week testing an Optibike and an OHM XS750, two of the dozen or so brands available in the United States. Both look and pedal like regular bicycles, though weigh about three times more than a typical road bike. It is when their drive systems kick in that you really notice the difference.



    Optibike 850XLi

    price: $9,995

    modes: fast and economy

    range: 45 miles electric only, 57 miles with moderate pedaling

    battery:  22ah 36v Li-on

    weight: 58 pounds 


    The Optibike has been called “the Ferrari of e-bikes,” which means it is fast and expensive. The manufacturer says that their 22ah 36v lithium ion battery, the same used in Tesla cars, is the most powerful of any e-bike on the market. 

    Optibike earned more bragging rights last August winning the 24-mile race up Pike’s Peak. Two Optibikes competed the course with a total 7,700-foot elevation gain in 1 hour, 47 minutes, more than half an hour ahead of the first conventional bike and 73 minutes ahead of the next e-bike.

    When I first saw the Optibike, I was impressed how much it looked like a regular mountain bike. The high capacity battery is hidden and protected inside a custom made frame. A motorized bottom bracket shares the drivetrain with the rider.

    Riding the Optibike was a treat. The bike uses the same Fox front and rear suspension system as many high-end mountain bikes and felt like it could handle the roughest terrain. Because mine was a loaner from commuter Dan Rowell, I figured Baltimore city streets were rough enough.

    Optibike uses a thumb-throttle, so it is up to the rider to decide when to get an assist. It was a little tricky finding a balance between my pedaling and the motor. Most of the time it felt as if I were assisting the motor as opposed to it helping me.

    On my first day on the bike I took a 20-mile route into work that included 1200-feet of climbing. On the dreaded climb up Bellemore Road between Falls and Roland, the Optibike proved itself, powering up the steep grade at 15 mph. On my road bike, I would have been off the seat, struggling to maintain 10 mph.

    My normal commute is a six-mile, 19-minute sprint from Towson to downtown Baltimore. The elevation difference is about 400 feet so my ride home from work usually takes about ten minutes longer than the ride in. The Optibike essentially erased the gradual climb, getting me home in just under 19 minutes.

    Despite riding a 65-pound bike, I managed to average over 20 mph for the 46 miles I put on it in three days. Even with the electric assist, I still felt like I had gotten a workout.


    OHM XS750


    price: $3,799

    modes: 4 assist levels

    range: 56 miles with moderate pedaling

    battery:  10ah 37v Li-Mn

    weight: 53 pounds 

    If the Optibike is a Ferrari, then the OHM XS750 must be a Prius. It may not be as powerful, but it makes up for it with green technology.

    The amazingly quiet BionX motor built into the rear hub has the ability to capture and store energy when braking and going downhill. It even has an indicator similar to the Prius that shows how much energy you are using or producing.

    The bike uses a 37v 10Ah lithium manganese battery pack that can be removed from the bike for charging, very handy if you don't want to haul the entire 53-pound bike to the nearest outlet.

    While the OHM has a thumb-throttle available, a rider can choose from four levels of automatic assistance that kick in seamlessly while pedaling. A sensor in the motor keeps the power output proportional to the effort of the rider. If you are a glutton for punishment, you can even set the bike to generative mode, charging the battery while getting a thorough workout.

    The same 20-mile route on the OHM took 15 minutes longer than the Optibike. While it was a bit slower climbing Bellemore Road (about 11 mph), the most noticeable difference was going downhill. At somewhere over 20-mph, a governor kicks in, slowing the bike and generating power for the battery. I really had to work hard to get the bike over 25 mph going down one hill that I regularly top 40 mph on my road bike.

    The XS750 model comes with front suspension and all terrain components but I would hesitate to take it on anything rougher than the NCR trail. The bike handles the city streets fine but there was a noticeable rattle between the frame and the battery with every bump in the road.

    The OHM really shines as an equalizer. My wife, Karen, is fit and likes to ride but hates trying to keep my pace. Riding the OHM she had no problem keeping up with me on my road bike and thoroughly enjoyed kicking my butt up the longest hill of our ride.  

    The Bottom Line

    Although my family might argue otherwise, I still struggle to find enough time to ride my bike so I enjoy every calorie I burn on my six mile ride to work. If my commute was 20 - 30 miles each way, I think I would be considering an e-bike.

    Hopefully, by the time I am in the market, there will be a bike with the power and durability of the Optibike and the seamless assist and regenerative technology of the OHM. 


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  • tkotrade
    , contributor
    Comments (15) | Send Message
    I wonder what will happen if they start to power motorcycles with lithium or outboard engines or snow blowers.
    The market is huge and people are first beginning to realize the potential of this energy. I would also imagine that farm machinery could be powered by lithium and recharged overnight with no real down time. Also cargo vehicles at airports both for economy as well as safety.
    9 Feb 2011, 12:33 AM Reply Like
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