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Retired, active small investor. Former executive search, defense contracting, business development and M&A consulting, ecommerce and manufacturing experience.
  • Axion Power 2011 Q4 March Conference Call Questions List 173 comments
    Mar 28, 2012 11:35 PM | about stocks: AXPW

    With the recent financing behind Axion funding the company until sometime in 2013 this is a critical year in Axion's history. Nothing is more important in 2012 than sales. The Gen2 production line is fully operational and Axion is capable of filling substantial orders in house for the PbC battery. The company has hired a Senior Vice President of Sales to lead the charge. Where do they expect sales in 2012?

    Another area of concern is capital expenditures. Where will they be investing in plant and equipment? Will they be ordering a Gen III production line? Will they upgrade the current Gen2 line to Gen2-A.

    Does Axion have a flooded battery toll contract for 2012? What are the revenue expectations from flooded batteries in 2012? Then there is the auto sector. In answer to Q3 2011 questions about sales to auto OEM's this past year Tom Granville, Axion's CEO, said they were 24 months away. Any change in this time line? The company also signed an MOU with Rosewater Energy for Powercube sales to utilities and other markets. What progress is Rosewater making towards closing a deal?

    This and many other questions will be on the minds of Axion shareholders who follow Axion's progress in the Axion Power Concentrator Instablogs when the Q4 conference call is held in March. To aide this group in organizing questions for the conference call I have created this instabolog as an organization tool for the conference call.

    Let's get ready to gain the maximum benefit from the conference call by beginning to organize our questions now. I look forward to everyone's questions and helping prepare us for a critical conference call in a potential "make or break" year for Axion Power.

    Post your questions for the conference call here and they will be organized into a matrix by topic (Sales, Finance, Demonstration Projects, R&D, Capital Expenditures, Customer Activity, Organization, Strategic Partners, etc) for quick reference. The matrix will be prepared within an online Google Doc with access by a link posted here and in the Axion Power Concentrators.

    Disclosure: I am long OTCQB:AXPW.

    Stocks: AXPW
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Comments (173)
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  • Thanks for setting up this instablog, bang.


    On quick reaction to your text stating, "There is an existing flooded battery toll contract. What are the revenue expectations from flooded batteries in 2012?" My understanding was that the toll contract covered battery assembly in calendar year 2011 so in absence of any announcement regarding its extension I don't think we can assume the contract continues.


    Some questions that come to mind include


    -- Now that Vani Dantam is on board to help build and guide Axion's sales efforts can you provide guidance on size of sales force expected and the specific market areas of immediate focus?


    -- How many specific PbC products is Axion actively marketing?


    -- When will more concrete PbC pricing information be available?
    4 Feb 2012, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Changed the wording for the flooded battery contract question. Thanks. Also corrected the date of the previous conference call where we all acted together to Q3 2011 and not my earlier typo Q3 2012.
    4 Feb 2012, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » "Now that Vani Dantam is on board to help build and guide Axion's sales efforts can you provide guidance on size of sales force expected and the specific market areas of immediate focus?


    That's 1 on my question list. Your batting a 100% so far.
    4 Feb 2012, 05:28 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » It wouldn't be my favorite question, but I wonder how we can get a sense of Rosewater's sales acivities? Rosewater is itself a start-up selling products from a development or early commercial stage company. TG said they had a number of proposals in progress. I'll have to think how a question could be worded. Perhaps something like this:


    1. "I understand there are a number of active proposals in progress via Rosewater Energy. Could you characterize the number and dollar volume of all the outstanding proposals you have in concert with Rosewater?


    2. When do you expect Rosewater's prospective customers will begin making final decisions about these proposals?"
    4 Feb 2012, 07:43 PM Reply Like
  • We have heard a few times about a residential product, but little detail beyond that. Are we coming to the point where some of that can be filled in? What will the product or range of products do? What is/are the ball park selling price(s)? Will it need UL certification and what is the timeline for introduction?
    4 Feb 2012, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • Is there an updated timeline for the NS 999?


    Is it progressing, technically, as expected?


    Are we still making weekly contact?


    4 Feb 2012, 06:03 PM Reply Like
  • Questions about the NS999
    Setting the stage:
    The conversion to the PbC batteries must have occurred by now. Given that a successful battery operated locomotive should result in dramatic reductions in air pollution and reduced fuel costs, it seems the project should have a high priority. Yet there are numerous sightings that report the NS999 is mostly sitting in the yard. This gives the impression that the project is on-hold and leaves investors with a bad impression with respect to the revenue generating potential of battery powered locomotives.


    1) Can Axion provide ANY information with respect to the current status of the NS999 project?


    2) Does the NS999 include the regenerative breaking feature? If so, on-average, what percent of energy is recovered through regenerative breaking?


    3) How are the PbC batteries holding up under the simulated/ actual operating conditions?


    4) It’s doubtful that Axion would be pursuing a battery powered yard slug if the application was not associated with revenue generating potential. What is the revenue potential for each converted battery powered yard slug?


    Some starting questions related to Axion R&D.
    Setting the stage:
    Axion is likely doing R&D work to improve their product/ manufacturing process.


    1) Can you provide any information on R&D projects that Axion is currently working on, and describing the benefits of a successful completion of those projects?
    4 Feb 2012, 06:05 PM Reply Like
  • FPA, btw supplied in APC60 or APC61 an URL providing a description of the NS 999 and its history. That wiki states that It was built by NS's Altoona shops with regenerative breaking before Axion and the PbC entered the picture. The project as I understand it is now proceeding entirely with NS financing and direction.
    6 Feb 2012, 11:58 AM Reply Like
  • Ok, i will try.....


    Does Axion expect to need additional revenue doing another share puchase through a private placement.?


    If so why?


    Then add if it is possible to offer existing shareholders an opportunity this time as we have been patient and a little reward on the pricing might help US with our own cash flow. This way the company is showing they care about the shareholders..Someone posted that maybe we cannot sell those shares for a certain amount of time. But i doubt those who just bought have that over their heads..
    5 Feb 2012, 11:03 AM Reply Like
  • MAP,
    There are three or four more Conference calls before the next offering is due out. Probably way to early to bring up this question. So much can and will happen before that time.
    7 Feb 2012, 07:16 AM Reply Like
  • I would like to know about the current LA contract with East Penn. Will it be extended and/or expanded? or how much revenue can be expected from the existing contracts for 2012.
    6 Feb 2012, 08:40 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I think East Penn is speculation Tim. You would have to follow a delivery truck to know who the customer is - they haven't released a name.
    6 Feb 2012, 11:35 AM Reply Like
  • The PR announcing the toll contract did not mention who issued the contract and talked only in terms of 2011 business. I don't think we can assume the contract continues.
    6 Feb 2012, 11:47 AM Reply Like
  • I like the train of thought. Perhaps we could ask something less specific such as:


    "Axion earned significant revenues in 2011 from the sale of LA batteries in the "toll contract". Should we anticipate that that revenue stream will continue in 2012?


    Also, in terms of revenue, what should investors expect from other LA contract manufacturing activities for 2012?
    6 Feb 2012, 11:17 PM Reply Like
  • "I think East Penn is speculation Tim"


    You are right BW, speculation with some hope mixed in even...
    7 Feb 2012, 08:57 AM Reply Like
  • And of course the battery cases with East Penn pre-printed upon them.
    I believe we got this from a really reliable source back when the contract was issued. Further I have to remember that the contract occurred at exactly the moment Axion was fending off Exide.


    Speculation combined with reliable sources combined with heavenly timing?


    Call it what you will ,but I bet every worker at the plant can name the business that provides the battery cases to Axion to fill.
    7 Feb 2012, 04:19 PM Reply Like
  • 1) Regarding military sales, what are the branches and what uses do they have in mind (buildings, vehicles, lifts on ships, etc)?


    2) When (if at all) do you project PbC sales driving conversion from the current flooded lines to PbC?
    6 Feb 2012, 08:36 PM Reply Like
  • In the August 2011 CC, you (TG) stated that progress had been made on the hybrid locomotive front, on the automotive front, with our US strategic partner, in the grid storage area in our on-site PowerCube ™. Would you provide us with an update as to what progress has been made in each of those areas since that call?


    Regarding the on-site PowerCube, you had stated in the last call that "...the on-site PowerCube will allow us to test our product in numerous grid applications, including dispatchable power, back-up power, power quality, load leveling, and potential arbitrized utilization. We will also be able to test large strings of batteries for other applications, such as the hybrid locomotive, distributed and renewable power, and back-up and ancillary service systems for applications such as oil rigs." Can you tell us how much of that testing has been completed and how much is in progress, and, as well update us on the results of that testing?


    In the August, 2011 CC you stated that Axion's residential energy storage product had been completed and was undergoing testing at our New Castle facility. Can you tell more about the product, its specific target market, anticipated annual sales, etc and specifically what has been found in the testing to date?
    6 Feb 2012, 11:21 PM Reply Like
  • I believe your first question should be broken up into components. Otherwise TG could either just forget, or forget on purpose to address a particular area.
    7 Feb 2012, 09:40 AM Reply Like
  • wtb,


    Can't argue with that.
    7 Feb 2012, 02:12 PM Reply Like
  • More General questions:


    Can you inform us of the production capability of the PbC today at Axion? How will that change in 2012?
    What is the anticipated sales volume of PbC batteries for 2012 compared to 2011?
    7 Feb 2012, 07:29 AM Reply Like
  • I think its important to remember that TG will not want to get boxed into a corner with a too specific question. (still worth a try)


    One such question might be, How are things going with the auto companies? Do you see any roll outs in the next 6 months? 12 months? and would that be,,,hundreds? thousands? tens of thousands?


    If one were to mention a specific customer, he not only would clam up, he would have to clam up.
    7 Feb 2012, 08:04 AM Reply Like
  • Amishelvis: Even though brishwain nailed it down, I don't recall TG ever stating that GM is/was testing the PbC.
    13 Feb 2012, 04:43 PM Reply Like
  • Could you give us some color (seems to be a favorite analyst word!) on how the NS's need to interface with the EPA has affected testing and the timing of past and future orders to Axion?


    Are there key steps to be performed by the EPA over which NS and Axion wouldn't have control?


    Are there other Independent Companies (which may create delays) involved in the EPA relates processes?
    7 Feb 2012, 09:48 AM Reply Like
  • When connected to the PJM grid last November, the PowerCube was capable of providing frequency regulation services by managing power off-take from the grid. Have capabilities of the PowerCube expanded since its introduction to include supply of power to the grid? Could you address current and future enhancements planned for the PowerCube?
    7 Feb 2012, 05:21 PM Reply Like
  • I would like to know what is the status of the relationship with BMW. They have been "testing" the PbC since summer 2009 and nothing concrete so far...


    Any update on this project is welcome!
    16 Feb 2012, 02:06 PM Reply Like
  • It's important to understand that 30 months for an entirely new class of battery is not at all unusual for an automaker. At ELBC 2010 Renault explained that their standard qualification process for a new manufacturer of commodity flooded starter batteries takes 24 months.


    The first six months is in-house lab testing of the new manufacturer's batteries. If the batteries work properly in their standard testing protocols, the next 18 months involves more extensive testing and exhaustive due diligence and process control evaluations of the manufacturer.


    The PbC is not a commodity flooded battery and it's not being tested for a simple application like a conventional starter battery. It's a whole new sub-species of lead-acid battery that will be used in a whole new sub-species of micro-hybrid. Since automaker testing procedures are designed to eliminate unacceptable products at the earliest possible stage, the longer the testing runs the higher the probability of success becomes.
    16 Feb 2012, 02:47 PM Reply Like
  • Amouna: Our last update happened on November 28th, when TG, at the Powercube/Viridity Energy/PJM ribbon cutting ceremony, stated BMW was, "fast tracking the PbC." (I was present and was the one to report this in the APC.)


    I'd like an update, too. I'd also like to hear TG confirm that GM has been testing the PbC, and would like to also know both GM's and Ford's status.


    Problem is that anything car makers do that's new, is usually a closely guarded secret.


    Maybe I should sneak down to Chester, PA and have a sit with whomever runs the export office--from this port is where I found on the Internet a document that showed BMW had shipped back batteries from Germany to New Caslte. Maybe Axion might use the same port to export new PbC batteries to BMW.


    I could get some Texas Hold'em in on the trip as there's a Harrah's Casino just five minutes away.
    16 Feb 2012, 02:33 PM Reply Like
  • I'd be very cautious about mentioning company names that Axion has not disclosed. We found out about GM because an Axionista got ambitious and did a FOIA request. While Ford is joined at the hip with BMW on starter systems, Axion has never mentioned their name. Asking questions that could put existing non-disclosure agreements at risk will not elicit detailed responses.
    16 Feb 2012, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • I find it incredible that the market currently gives a capitalization of 35 millions to a company that since 2003 has racked 50mil+ just in R&D and cumulated expenses!
    17 Feb 2012, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • Ammonia,


    Is that a productive question relevant to the upcoming CC? Simple minds are simply amazed.
    17 Feb 2012, 06:36 PM Reply Like
  • We may need a risk-management professional here to reduce the risk that a blog dedicated to garnering questions for an upcoming CC won't be trashed with irrelevant comments from folks that apparently have no interest in helping to achieve the purpose of the blog.


    There's probably lots of ego-trip blogs around that would be well suited for this type of comment.


    17 Feb 2012, 06:42 PM Reply Like
  • HTL,
    How can you blame Amouna for stating how amazing it is that Axion has only spent 50+ million in developing the third generation of lead acid battery technology. I applaud him in recognizing that. Since the plant alone is worth 35 M and the patents equally, if not more, valuable, I have to say I agree.
    Question for TG:


    How can Axion only be valued at 35 Millon when its 10 Mil cash + the Factory and the patents ( let alone the current battery contracts) total more than that amount?


    OK, just for Amouna sake I will admit. The above is purely sarcasm.
    If you didn't know these facts then shame on you. If you did know and published your horseradish, then shame on you.
    17 Feb 2012, 10:11 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » PPS multiplied by shares outstanding is how that number is determined. Pure math without regard to past expenditures, balance sheet items, unknown intellectual property values, etc.
    17 Feb 2012, 10:50 PM Reply Like
  • Simple: this blog is to capture questions for the CC. Stating a fact and having no follow-on question would suggest the comment belongs elsewhere.


    Being aware of how much work is required to do what BW is doing, I think all should respect the purpose of the blog.


    18 Feb 2012, 10:09 AM Reply Like
  • Nothing shuts pie-holes like success. That and hard cash results. But until then, bring it on. Every dark alley we shine a bright light down helps clear the fog of war...
    17 Feb 2012, 10:34 PM Reply Like
  • Hard and eggwis: You guys are fantastic, and HTL, you know how I consider you a best pal, and feel fortuitous that you consider me the same. However, I think you both were a little too quick on the draw regarding Amouna's comment. If I were doing some deep research because some dude named Mayascribe gave me a stock tip called Axion Power, I would be incredulous as to how the market cap relates to total assets, minus liabilities.


    How can we even begin to calculate goodwill?


    I've been lucky enough to twice tread the grounds in New Castle, yack it up with some of the board, see solar trees, flooded batts being made, to being "inside" the PowerCube, seeing that small mountain of hollow battery casings, the robotic line in action, to understanding what the local government granted rights to make batteries is worth.


    Book value plus goodwill of Axion plus who Axion is involved with is worth so far more than the present market cap it's almost...dial 911 time for rape.
    17 Feb 2012, 10:53 PM Reply Like
  • Maya,


    I wasn't being critical of Amouna's comment, at least not directly. I was only bringing to his attention that this insta was intended as a repository for questions for the upcoming CC and discussion directly related to the same.


    If I was out of line, I do apologize.
    17 Feb 2012, 11:38 PM Reply Like
  • See my reply about the purpose of the blog above.


    "Axion Power 2011 Q4 March Conference Call Questions List"


    18 Feb 2012, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Prefacing a question with a 10 paragraph statement about "you said" etc is not productive in my view. Best to just forget the preambles and ask a simple direct question that gives TG some wiggle room to answer within constraints of its non-disclosure agreements with customers in my opinion.


    We all know that the partner on the DOE bid was GM. We also know how that information was obtained. I suspect that Axion has a non-disclosure agreement with GM and asking TG to violate this agreement is an invitation to a non-answer.


    It is far better to ask the question in the same manner that TG has described the relationship, as one of the largest automotive manufacturers.


    If I were going to ask about progress on that topic I would simplly say "You anticipated the PbC testing with a major auto company who bid with you on the DOE contract would continue even if you did not succeed with DOE. Is that program still continuing, and how would you describe progress if it remains an ongoing program?"


    The objective of the questions is to get information, and painting TG into corners with long preambles robs us of time for more questions and puts TG into a position where he has to deal with both your preamble and the question. Just ask the question in an open-ended inviting way that gains the information you want and let it go at that is my advice.


    If you save time when asking your question I am sure TG will appreciate it and it will let the conversation flow naturally. You could probably slip in an appropriate follow up question with the time saved. Bear in mind how real analysts ask questions. They ask one or two direct questions and get off the line - not 5 with preambles and follow up questions on each of the original 5 questions.


    Shortening your question, leaving TG room to answer, and respecting TG's and other people's time on the Conference call line is what is most important to getting the best answer to your question.
    17 Feb 2012, 11:04 PM Reply Like
  • It seems TG gives direct answers when questions are "to the point". I think the link below give us an idea of the types of QnA to expect and hope for. There are some things hinted in there that can be followed up on for the curious.

    19 Feb 2012, 07:35 AM Reply Like
  • Good info Bazooooka.


    I wonder about the EIA's assessment of biomass though. Not that I think they're wrong, but I was recently made aware of another important metric that needs consideration regarding our energy sources: water consumption. Look at the tables near the bottom here.



    Unfortunately, "biomass" is not addressed. My suspicion is that it is water-intensive.


    You haven't run across any data about average water requirements per KwH (or equivalent) for biomass have you? With water continually becoming a scarce commodity, I think that insufficient attention is given that factor, generally.


    Thanks for posting that link.


    19 Feb 2012, 08:30 AM Reply Like
  • Hmm, it looks like link is back up.


    As to biomass, I know very little. However I do agree with you about H2O and have deployed some funds with that scarcity theme in mind (ex. HEK in China).
    19 Feb 2012, 07:41 PM Reply Like
  • Bang: I don't get it. Who in this column is asking long-winded questions? Am I missing something?
    17 Feb 2012, 11:54 PM Reply Like
  • Maya,


    I think he may have been referring to the questions I posted. They begin that way; "In the last CC you said,...". But I think it's an appropriate way to frame the context of the question and it also puts the person on the receiving end on notice that they this what they said previously. IMO, they'll be less likely to side-step questions this way.
    18 Feb 2012, 07:03 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I haven't heard TG sidestep a question as long as it was a question he was free to answer.
    18 Feb 2012, 10:01 AM Reply Like
  • One of the markets for the Power cube is oil rigs and the petroleum industry. It would be interesting to know if there are any contacts being made with O&G companies for testing purposes. Also if TG can give an indication of how much revenue per cube in this sector we could expect, that would be really great!




    18 Feb 2012, 08:04 AM Reply Like
  • It's not about revenue, but about profit. Remember, a big part of the cost of a PowerCube is the cost of the power electronics, which largely goes to someone like Princeton Power Systems. So lets be precise (without being so much so that TG won't answer the question) on how we ask the question, a good one, which we're all very interested in.


    A related more general and open-ended question to add would be something like "Could you talk a bit about your relationship with Rosewater Energy ... how often do you communicate and how might we expect communication to stockholders to be co-ordinated w.r.t to the oilfield application given that Rosewater is a private company?"
    18 Feb 2012, 10:54 AM Reply Like
  • You are right, profit margins are whats important, but since we still have no public information about the PbC cost structure yet, I would be content with just the revenue stream at this stage...
    18 Feb 2012, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • Amouna,


    Good question and thanks for the contribution. Actually, I see merits to knowing both profits and revenue. Profits obviously because that is the ultimate goal, but revenue as well because even if the actual profit is a smaller portion of the sale, cash flow is very important to a growing little cash-strapped company.
    18 Feb 2012, 02:30 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Eggwis> TG can't disclose profits on a Powercube sale because it would compromise his ability (and Vani's and Rosewater's) to negotiate a sale with a prospective client. You can't show your hole cards in poker and you can't disclose your profit margin when negotiating a business deal. He won't answer it and he shouldn't answer it.


    Secondly, at Axion's stage of development revenue growth year over year is the main driver in price per share, not profits. He isn't going to do a deal that robs himself of working capital.
    18 Feb 2012, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • Bang,
    "TG can't disclose profits on a Powercube sale ...." ~ Good point. Hadn't thought of that.


    " Axion's stage of development revenue growth year over year is the main driver in price per share..." ~ Agreed, I think that's probably why Amouna asked the question. I would certainly hope the CEO isn't cutting deals that rob the company of cash flow. I don't think, however, that that precludes a shareholder from asking about revenue/cash flow from the product. I thought it was a good question.
    19 Feb 2012, 01:56 AM Reply Like
  • Axion Power's TurboStart division offers a 12V, AGM battery for $149. That battery's specs indicate CCA @ 0 degrees fahrenheit of 650, reserve capacity of 130 minutes @ 25 amp draw and wieght of 51 lbs. Is the TurboStart S12VOR battery a PbC product? If not, why doesn't Axion offer one or more PbC batteries through TurboStart?
    18 Feb 2012, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • The PbC is a third-generation battery that offers a completely new set of performance specifications. At this point in time, there aren't any vehicles or other devices out there that have been designed to take advantage of the PbC's strengths.
    19 Feb 2012, 01:03 AM Reply Like
  • Regarding the PJM/Veridity testing, the last we heard your initial bids into the system had not produced an acceptance yet.


    Are you still bidding into the system?


    If so, have a good percentage been accepted?


    If so, have you found the price points to be ... pretty low, acceptable or better than acceptable? Does this offer any clues as to future Power Cube pricing that might be obtained? Favorable, marginal, ... Looking for some assessment of potential margin I guess.


    Do the results give you an outlook on how the customer-base for this configuration might develop - maybe like a CAGR figure?


    Regardless of the above, have you been able to garner enough technical data to make an estimate of "success" or "more work needed", etc for the Power Cube?


    Any other color you might offer about the product and its potential market now that you've had a little time with the testing scenario?


    19 Feb 2012, 08:40 AM Reply Like
  • HTL,
    I might approach it this way.


    TG, the media so far indicates that a PowerCube can produce enough revenue to pay for itself in 3-5 years. Can you update us on the testing data so far?


    My thinking is to get some color on the test results. If a confirmation of the payback is received then we can figure sales will follow since Viridity will need PowerCubes for its customers to use, so they can sell the software.
    19 Feb 2012, 07:21 PM Reply Like
  • It seems my earlier link didn't work. Anyhow here are some good questions and fodder for follow-up from Spring 2011.

  (see page 2)


    Earthrise: What is unique about Axion's patented PbC battery technology?


    Granville: The substitution of a carbon electrode for the lead negative electrode gives our battery
    its unique characteristics such as: faster discharge, accelerated recharge and much greater
    charge acceptance-- all critical for the rapidly growing new start-stop vehicle technology.


    Earthrise: How much greater is the charge acceptance then that of a conventional lead acid


    Granville: Ten to fifteen times greater charge acceptance than lead-acid, with a six to seven
    times faster rate of charge. It rivals that of nickel metal hydride or lithium-ion batteries, which are
    new types of, advanced batteries. Axion’s durability (cycle life) is also longer than that of
    advanced lead acid batteries, three to four times longer in some applications.


    Earthrise: What is the pricing relative to lead acid batteries and relative to lithium-ion and nickel
    metal hydride?


    Granville: A top of the line advanced lead acid battery sells for $240-$260 and Axion's battery will command some premium over that. Axion's battery is about one third the price of a lithiumion or a nickel metal hydride battery solution.


    Earthrise: What is start-stop vehicle technology and how important a trend is it in automotive


    Granville: Start-stop is the term used for the technology that turns off a car’s engine when normally it would be idling. Ford announced recently that all its U.S. vehicles will employ startstop by 2016. Several manufacturers in Europe already use start-stop technology and all of the “majors” have committed to hybridization (employing stop/start) across their entire fleets.


    Earthrise: There are various ways of accomplishing start-stop. Why do you think Axion’s battery will be a preferred solution?


    Granville: The advantage with Axion is in cost when compared to other advanced battery
    technologies. Our PbC batteries are a fraction of their cost. Our advantage when compared to
    lead-acid batteries is in our performance. Simply put, lead-acid batteries don’t allow the stop/start
    vehicle to operate the way it was designed to operate (i.e., the engine won’t shut off as frequently
    because of the lack of charge in the battery).


    Earthrise: Which vehicles do you expect will be the first to use the stop/start technology?


    Granville: Initially passenger vehicles, especially the large gas-guzzlers. There will initially be
    fuel savings of 10 to 15% if advanced battery technologies, or Axion’s technology, are used. The
    next step is regenerative braking and “rolling stop” applications, which could result in fuel savings
    and CO2 emission reductions of 25% or more.


    Earthrise: How far behind is the U.S. with this new technology rollout?


    Granville: The U.S. is not as far behind as people may assume. GM just announced it is introducing a form of mild hybrid technology for greater fuel economy. It currently uses a lithiumion battery, an expensive solution. We expect that GM and other automakers will want a lowercost alternative for widespread adoption.


    Earthrise: How large is the projected market for start-stop technology for new vehicles?


    Granville: The estimate is 12-18 million vehicles a year by 2016 in the U.S. and Europe. That is
    a several billion dollar annual market for batteries. This is an estimate for micro-hybrid cars only.
    It is estimated that a large percentage of new auto sales will be micro-hybrid sales by 2016, due
    to tougher emissions standards in Europe and more stringent fuel economy standards in the U.S.
    Most automotive manufactures cannot meet the looming change in emissions and mpg standards
    without hybridization.


    Earthrise: How do you distinguish between micro-hybrid and mild hybrid?


    Granville: Neither micro-hybrid nor mild-hybrid are full hybrid vehicles with electric drive
    capability. Micro-hybrid vehicles use stop-start technology but not regenerative braking. They
    may include other improvements such as low resistance tires. Mild-hybrids include regenerative


    Earthrise: What progress are you making on other applications such as large-scale energy
    storage and hybrid locomotives?


    Granville: Both on-site and with our Office of Naval Research program, we continue testing
    batteries and electronics for our Power Cube. Our PowerCube can be used for back-up power,
    power smoothing, power quality and other power ancillary services, and is scalable up to 25MW.
    In hybrid locomotives, Norfolk Southern (NS) will soon begin to test our batteries at their facilities.
    We have had a service agreement with NS for more than a year and, as part of that agreement,
    we have tested their application and our battery management system extensively. We are highly
    confident it works; the next step is to test it in a field application where the large test strings mimic
    real world application. Pending final testing, Norfolk Southern plans to use the PbC battery for
    “yard switchers”, as well as over-the-road locomotives.
    19 Feb 2012, 04:56 PM Reply Like
  • Bazooooka: your link worked for me.


    I'll check it again now.


    Seems to be working. Unless I'm not seeing everything I'm supposed to see.


    19 Feb 2012, 06:56 PM Reply Like
  • BW, Maya, JP


    My apologies up front if mentioned in the past...lots of comments...lots of good ideas/theories posted.
    But, if Tom Granville is as sharp and shrewd as opined by a few...(and I tend to agree)...if I were he, I'd have all these questions lined up in advance, comment about as many in his (staff) presentations at the CC, and have the balance lined up with ready made answers for the Q&A...honest answers of clear as he can be within the regs.
    20 Feb 2012, 10:52 AM Reply Like
  • Magounsq,
    I hope your right. Perhaps someone at Axion is using this particular blog for deciding what is on the minds of the shareholders. It certainly will be great if all the questions are answered during the call prior to the Q&A session.
    20 Feb 2012, 02:57 PM Reply Like
  • A recurring question is the production capacity of the New Castle plant and I'd love to have more detail. We know the permitted capacity is 3,000 batteries per day and there are three production lines. We don't know what the rated capacities of the three lines are and while I've always worked with an assumption that daily capacity is 2,000 flooded and 1,000 AGM batteries, it sure would be nice to have some confirmation or correction.
    22 Feb 2012, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • John: From my July 28 notes I have, "3600 electrodes per shift. 2000 batteries." These notes were taken in the PbC plant.


    Also, "700 flood acid/day. Good day." And, "Carbon sheets is the limitation." These notes were taken in the LA plant.


    Please remember that this was my first visit to New Castle.


    What kills me is that I can't recall seeing where the PbC cathodes were made.
    22 Feb 2012, 02:59 PM Reply Like
  • Quick question. Are we sure we will be allowed to ask questions this time? I wanted to ask questions in the last two conference calls, but could not.
    23 Feb 2012, 03:38 PM Reply Like
  • There were technical problems on the last call and Tom couldn't take questions, but he was clearly upset about it because he called several Axionistas afterward to answer their questions directly.
    23 Feb 2012, 03:46 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Sandip179> I was on the line 2 conference calls ago also and like you never got a chance to ask. It would be inexcusable for the conference call line to malfunction again. The early termination of the CC line didn't help as the same day there was a "going concern" risk announced and the stock tanked big the day of the conference call.


    I think it really hurt Axion that the conference call ended prematurely because answering the questions we were prepared to ask might have reassured some of the nervous retail investors who sold that day.
    23 Feb 2012, 11:21 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » The only questions I wanted answered are about sales prospects. I don't care about any factoids related to organization, the PbC, production issues, finances, or anything else. All I want to know is what the prospects for sales look like this year and in what time frame they might occur. Anyone's idea about exactly how to ask this question and get the best possible answer are welcomed by this Axionista.
    23 Feb 2012, 11:32 PM Reply Like
  • bang: So lets play some biz poker. Axion leadership knows they have a band of hardened believers who've endured rocky times, yet continue to own and add Axion shares.


    In a way I feel for TG, as he has to deal with an I-Net phenomena which has never before happened.


    He almost has to speak within this framework of which somehow we've all created. I am convinced we're going to hear some sort of development very soon. Probably a couple of others before the March CC.


    Plural purchase orders in-hand. We've only heard of one.
    24 Feb 2012, 12:10 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I have no doubt that TG will answer any question he can and as a former officer level sales executive I know there are many times sales circumstances are so sensitive you simply have to keep your mouth shut. That's why I think framing questions about sales correctly is very important.


    Rosewater is a wild card because they are out there promoting deals but we have no way of knowing how things are going for them or what proposals they have outstanding. I would think TG would be loath to make any revenue predictions either. Perhaps the 10Q will address sales in some level of detail - previous 10Q's offered decent sales insight. I intend to scan the 10Q quickly before I ask any questions.


    I think I am going to ask only one question. "What are your goals for Axion Power this year?" and then perhaps a follow up to TG's response.
    24 Feb 2012, 01:29 PM Reply Like
  • Maya > "Plural purchase orders in-hand. We've only heard of one."


    And that "one" was for a grand total of 36 batteries.


    I want to know why more technical information on PbC batteries is not available and why the batteries themselves are not on the market. Marketing of the company and PbC technological concept is more than a little old. It is time to market PRODUCT.
    24 Feb 2012, 01:35 PM Reply Like
  • The batteries themselves are not and probably never will be products without systems that are designed to take advantage of the PbC's capabilities. Axion said its first product was the power cube. The Mini Cube is a second product. Batteries for automakers and railroads may also become products, but only when they design systems that can effectively capitalize on the PbC's characteristics.
    24 Feb 2012, 02:02 PM Reply Like
  • JP, seems to me the touted PbC characteristics deep cycle tolerance and slow rate of self discharge make them well suited for a host of typcial consumer oriented BATTERY applications such as starting power for season equipment (lawn tractors, snow blowers, sump pump backup systems, etc.) If that is not the case, I want to know why.
    24 Feb 2012, 02:45 PM Reply Like
  • The PbC is a third-generation lead-acid battery, but it is not a drop in replacement for conventional lead-acid batteries in devices that are designed for flooded or AGM batteries. Because of the PbC's unique design features, it's voltage, power and energy curves are different from conventional lead acid batteries. Unless a device has been designed for the PbC most of the PbC's strongest attributes will be wasted. Axion has nothing to gain and much to lose by selling PbC batteries to users who can't benefit from them.
    24 Feb 2012, 03:21 PM Reply Like
  • JP > "Because of the PbC's unique design features, it's voltage, power and energy curves are different from conventional lead acid batteries. "


    Just what those curves look like and how they differ from "conventional lead acid" batteries should not be difficult for the company to state and I see no reason for the information to be withheld from investors. Performance characteristics of PbC batteries are clearly made known to OEMs. If they can be disclosed to some potential customers, why not to all?
    24 Feb 2012, 04:05 PM Reply Like
  • Public companies have a huge degree of latitude in deciding what information they want to make public and what information they want to keep confidential for business reasons. While detailed technical data is beyond the depth of substantially all investors. it is potentially very valuable to competitors. Axion's disclosure policies are set by its board of directors and unlikely to change given the competitive nature of the battery business. If you can't live with that reality you might feel more comfortable investing in a company that makes a commodity product.
    24 Feb 2012, 04:33 PM Reply Like
  • :-) You certainly alluded to one thing, at least, that you have absolutely correct, JP. It is my prerogative whether I continue to hold, or liquidate, my position in Axion Power International, Inc. stock.


    It is also my prerogative to ask questions of management that I believe pertinent to my investment and the company's viability as an ongoing concern. Whether management responds affirmatively to my question(s) is a choice they are empowered to make, at least for the present. Are you purporting to speak for management here, JP? If not, are you arguing that the question should not be put to management?


    As to the argument of nondisclosure as it may be "very valuable to competitors", I find it well short of convincing it light of past agreement with Exide , grant application in cooperation with GM, extensive testing of PbC batteries by the Navy/Marines, BMW and Norfolk Southern. And, I recall an earlier argument that Axion originally planned on developing small markets and building up to Tier 1 marketing, but ditching that model when Tier 1 clients expressed interest directly. Further, the argument that PbC batteries are not suitable for "drop-in" replacements in many applications does not appear to square with statements made by TG to effect that PbC batteries are indistinguishable from conventional AGM except for about 30% lighter weight and longer life cycles.


    Bottom line here is I am not going away any time soon and neither are my questions except on my terms.
    24 Feb 2012, 08:44 PM Reply Like
  • I wouldn't dream of speaking for management, but as the former board chairman my assessments of how management thinks and why choose to keep information tight are generally pretty accurate. The same is true of my description of the technology and the way the marketing plans have developed over time. I answered your questions and you're not likely to get a different response on a conference call.
    25 Feb 2012, 12:10 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I've decided on my questions for the conference call if I get the opportunity to ask them.


    1. Where do you expect to gain the most traction in sales this year?


    2. What are your most important goals for Axion over the next 6 months?


    I'll probably putz with the wording on those two questions right up until I have a chance to ask them.
    3 Mar 2012, 11:29 AM Reply Like
  • Question. Johnson Controls, Inc. recently announced a significant capital investment program to comply with new EPA regulations regarding lead. Do the recently announced lead regulations also impact Axion's battery production activities and capacity? Will Axion need to make more investments to maintain/achieve compliance with EPA regulations or end battery production?
    8 Mar 2012, 09:15 PM Reply Like
  • Das a good one D-inv.
    9 Mar 2012, 12:25 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Yep
    10 Mar 2012, 08:54 AM Reply Like
  • Still thinking here,,, "Has there been any tier one customers that have tested the PBC and decided that it wasnt a good fit?"
    or, Have any tier one customers discontinued testing of the PBC ?


    I would prefer to stay more on the positive side here, but if the answer is no, that would be a great indicater.
    18 Mar 2012, 02:28 PM Reply Like
  • I don't know how appropriate or valuable this question might be, but I'd sure be curious to hear TG's answers: "Sir, as a company, what would you say your three biggest challenges or headaches are right now?"
    18 Mar 2012, 02:49 PM Reply Like
  • How much revenue do you expect to generate from your PowerCube and PJM?
    18 Mar 2012, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • Another which may be problematic, but one I'd sure love to learn an answer to:


    "What is the status of your relationship, if there is any remaining, with Exide? To your knowledge, does Exide have any intent to use Axion carbon electrodes to manufacture PbC batteries at the Georgia AGM plant (which is undergoing expansion with the DOE grant money)?"
    19 Mar 2012, 02:42 AM Reply Like
  • 4,
    yeah, that may be a touchy one. Though I'd definitely be interested in the answer! :-)
    19 Mar 2012, 01:32 PM Reply Like
  • How long can Axion Power operate on its current working capital without new purchase orders? What month/quarter?


    (I'd like to have it clarified how far into the future the recent capital raise keeps us solvent, if we are not successful with any new sales / etc.)
    19 Mar 2012, 06:34 PM Reply Like
  • Ever since this excellent idea/blog was created, I pondered over what question I would ask. I think it will be this one:


    Tom, how many light duty cycles has the PbC so far achieved?


    In July it was ~ 100,000 cycles. Late November, 300,000 + cycles. Is this thing still cranking to where it just might be that the endurance of the electrode comes into question?


    Tom eluded to this humorously so during the July shareholders' conference, in that the PbC might just be a first battery ever in existence in which the electrode lifespan may not out last the cathode.
    20 Mar 2012, 10:39 PM Reply Like
  • ya lost me Maya. If it's already at 300K+, which is superior to any other battery on the market,, why would they care? If the electrode dies at 500,000, haven't they still gotten more value fronm the battery than they would anywhere else?
    21 Mar 2012, 03:54 PM Reply Like
  • One of the things every battery testing program includes is "test through failure," which can be a tough one to complete if the darned battery refuses to give up the ghost.
    21 Mar 2012, 04:30 PM Reply Like
  • egg: It's because light duty discharging and charging cycles are important in all applications Axion is involved with (that we know of). Having the PbC go 500,000...750,000 cycles, or more, makes the PbC that more important to the railroads, the automakers, wind mill and solar farms, as well as the Navy's zero carbon footprint push. Making the PbC that much easier to be the battery of choice by all these applications.


    To me, the more cycles the PbC can go, the more likely we may not just have a multibagger winner on our hands, but just maybe a Golden Goose.
    21 Mar 2012, 05:53 PM Reply Like
  • Right. Obviously. that makes sense. Don't know what the hill I was thinking about.... sorry.
    21 Mar 2012, 07:06 PM Reply Like
  • > Maya - "Having the PbC go 500,000...750,000 cycles, or more, ..."


    :-) Would sorta solve a share of lead recycling issues and costs.
    21 Mar 2012, 09:32 PM Reply Like
  • D-Inv: Gotcha! Or, at least put off recycling issues, which in fact are no issue at all, as when compared to lithium batts.
    21 Mar 2012, 10:09 PM Reply Like
  • More important than we might think?


    Imagine Duke Energy doing a TCO evaluation and includes:
    1. (A)periodic battery-bank replacement cost (20 years) ..... $0.00[1]
    2. Yearly failed battery replacement (~1%/yr. 20 yrs) .......... $xxx.xx


    [1] Savings from this cost avoidance include purchase, disposal/recycling, transportation and labor costs, and lost-revenue avoidance. See note 15 for details and assumptions.


    Further savings accrue as no short-term interim capacity need be brought on-line for the change-over duration. See note 17 for details.


    In fact, there will ultimately be a go/no-go based not on comparison to li-ion (that comparison will occur during early preliminary feasibility stage, when the PbC would be selected as the most likely candidate), but on what value, tangible and otherwise, accrues to Duke if deployment proceeds.


    A scenario such as what I suggest would be a significant factor.


    22 Mar 2012, 04:31 AM Reply Like
  • Where did Duke Energy testing the PbC come from?
    23 Mar 2012, 12:57 AM Reply Like
  • "Imagine Duke Energy ..."


    I have a good imagination and "associative processor" and Duke, being a large electricity provider that happens to service my area, prompted me to use them as an example of how it might go.


    If Duke were to adopt any particular technology it would be widely noticed I think. So that's one reason I used them in my hypothetical scenario.


    23 Mar 2012, 07:04 AM Reply Like
  • With all the research going on with carbon paste additives in AGM, do you have any thoughts you could offer regarding:
    1) Will they likely be significantly cheaper to produce?
    2) Much chance they will be deemed "good enough" for major auto manufacturers?
    3) Will those batteries likely have to undergo the same testing regimen the PbC has endured?
    4) Do they offr potential competition to PowerCube applications?


    21 Mar 2012, 05:10 AM Reply Like
  • If you read the Axion abstract that Stefan Maroney just posted in APC 78 it pretty clearly states what Axion thinks of carbon-paste additives and their limitations. I doubt TG will be able to say anything about what major auto makers feel about it.


    My opinion.
    21 Mar 2012, 08:17 AM Reply Like
  • jakurtz, well I hope they are not underestimating the carbon/graphite additive performance because there are folks at the ECS Meeting who think differently...

    21 Mar 2012, 09:01 AM Reply Like
  • Here is a quote from that paper you posted: "By using different types of carbon in various amounts the charge acceptance could be
    improved by almost 50% depended on the state of charge
    (SOC) of the battery as well as the test procedure used."


    Here is a quote from the paper from Axion abstract: "Efforts to increase VRLA charge acceptance include additive modifications to negative paste formulations (typically addition of carbon materials)5 and frequent high voltage “refresh charges”.1 However, these approaches affect little change in, or are at the expense of, optimal BER and ISS event frequency, thereby decreasing the efficiency potential of the MHPS."


    I don't think they are underestimating anything. A 50% improvement is fine but it is not going to get manufacturers to where they want to go with more advanced S/S efficiency systems. With a little research Axion's opinion on the matter is pretty evident. However, it surely does not hurt any if someone wants to ask TG what he thinks of the latest carbon additives, I am sure he will be more than happy to share his opinion, I guess it is better getting it from him rather than research papers.
    21 Mar 2012, 09:25 AM Reply Like
  • The trouble is that things are constantly changing. As new information becomes available, in this case diffrent blends, different types of carbon, application to AGM, a smart man, which I take TG to be, may develop a different thought.


    If he doesn't, then I worry because that suggests that he may not be adjusting strategies to keep the wolves at bay.


    As to "a little research", I already have read and understood (to my best ability) everything posted that been presented here, except the latest stuff (allocating time among other tasks).


    But it's always possible that one of my two brain cells has taken a hiatus, so thanks for the reminder.


    21 Mar 2012, 09:32 AM Reply Like
  • Many times I get the same question in my mind that I already answered myself a week earlier and just forgot I already answered it.
    It happens when you go over and over and over these things to be sure you have not made a mistake...I don't think it is indicative of a lack of brain cells.


    I don't think there is one iota of a possibility TG does not adjust his strategies in the face of reality considering the companies journey and survival mentality.
    21 Mar 2012, 09:58 AM Reply Like
  • Carbon additives can increase dynamic charge acceptance in AGM batteries. What they can't do is eliminate the degradation of dynamic charge acceptance as the battery ages.


    In Axion's current investor presentation, slide 19 shows that:


    1. The DCA of a new PbC is 2x the DCA of a new AGM battery;
    2. After 1 month in service, the PbC's DCA is 5x greater than an AGM battery;
    3. After 2 months in service, the PbC's DCA is 10x greater than an AGM battery;
    4. After 6 months in service, the PbC's DCA is 15x greater than an AGM battery;
    5. After 9 months in service, the PbC's DCA is 20x greater than an AGM battery;


    The fundamental issue is that the AGM degrades where the PbC does not. There is a massive difference between slowing the rate of degradation, which carbon paste additives can do, and eliminating degradation in its entirety.
    21 Mar 2012, 10:40 AM Reply Like
  • jakurtz, perhaps I should have worded it differently. My quote from the abstract:


    "It is shown that the carbon and graphite addition improves the charge acceptance significantly and therefore the lead acid battery will meet the future requirements of Micro hybrid Vehicles. Further down the road it might also be possible to use this technology for cost effective Mild Hybrid Applications in smaller cars."


    There is a lot of momentum behind the additives. You have the ALABC who seems to be obsessed with the addition of carbon/graphite to the NAM. From what I can tell (abstract 705) ALABC and CPT commissioned AVL Schrick for the conversion of the LC Super Hybrid which just debuted with Exide Spiral w/Carbon additive.


    The additives seems to be the last open territory for the addition of carbon/graphite to a lead acid battery. It's this momentum that I hope our folks are not underestimating. We now have people in place to get the word out and I remain hopeful...
    21 Mar 2012, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • Other important details gleaned from the "session 4" Axion slide presentation (referenced earlier by JP) include:


    The carbon-added VRLA Dynamic Charge Acceptance dropped to 20 amps and charge time increased past 60 seconds at less than 10K cycles (slide 14), while the PbC maintains 100 amp DCA and 30 second charge time past 40K cycles (slide 21).


    I do not think a 20 amp charge which takes more than 60 seconds to build is going to be effective in the start-stop paradigm of driving in traffic and stopping at lights every minute or two. As pointed out in slide 21, a 100+ amp charge is the target of the OEM's for making the SS system reliable. To maintain the SS functionality, the owners will have to replace even an "advanced VRLA with carbon additives" annually or more frequently, depending on how much city driving they are doing. The cost of the battery replacement with expensive new carbon VRLA batteries every year could easily outweigh the cost of fuel saved.
    21 Mar 2012, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • "...depending on how much city driving they are doing".


    It is very important and must be taken into account, large and medium cities remain congested throughout the day.
    27 Mar 2012, 08:06 AM Reply Like
  • I also recall in one of the papers that carbon additives also impose some tradeoffs, namely higher leakage current and faster self-discharge... nothing's for free in this world.
    21 Mar 2012, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • Mr. Investor raised this question for the CC in the APC #79 and I wanted to make sure it appears in this thread so bang can notice it:



    His question: "So, I come back to the question of how much carbon is covered by Axion's patent? I.e., does every other lead-acid battery cathode with any amt of carbon violate their patent? If so, that means that they could and might want to defend against the 'carbon-creep' that's taking place already.


    "But if not, then what %age is not allowed? 51%? 99%? Does a 99.99% (activated, etc.) carbon cathode work essentially as well as the PbC? If so, isn't it just a matter of time before someone else tries to make one? "


    Put another way: What would be a 'red flag' to raise an IP dispute?
    21 Mar 2012, 04:06 PM Reply Like
  • Still no official word on the CC I take it?
    23 Mar 2012, 12:58 AM Reply Like
  • April 2 at 11 a.m. –
    23 Mar 2012, 01:46 AM Reply Like
  • Egg, CC is sked for 02 April at 1100 Eastern...
    23 Mar 2012, 01:49 AM Reply Like
  • Got it 4. Thanx! I fell behind the last couple of days. I asked the question before I had finished getting caught on the APCs
    23 Mar 2012, 07:23 AM Reply Like
  • Poul Brandt wrote an excellent comment on 3 March that discussed the capacitor-like characteristics of the PbC whereby the voltage of the PbC battery declined as it discharged... Poul suggests 16V output at 100% SOC and a lower level of 9V output at 56% SOC (44% discharged).


    This compares with a conventional battery that begins at ~12.6V at 100% SOC and remains at ~12V output at 10% SOC. The voltage remains about the same. Electrical components that ship today in cars (apparently) operate at 12V, but may not operate at 9V or 16V on the PbC immediately - that is, without changes.


    This would raise implications for the other electrical components of the car- stereo, headlights, etc- as they would need to be re-designed to expressly tolerate the wider voltage load of the PbC (9V to 16V).


    Here is Poul's comment for his much more thorough analysis:


    What questions would we like to ask related to this?


    - (Confirm the issue) Does the voltage of the PbC decline with SOC?
    - What is the optimal lower level of discharge for a battery (Is it 44% discharge like Poul suggests?) in a vehicle application? In a power grid application?
    - Are there any electrical car components that would present a problem to operating at the wider limits of 9V or 16V?


    - Is it true that the prospective OEM auto comps would need to re-design ancillary electric devices to operate at new, wider voltages?
    - Have they indicated any reluctance or aversion to pursue these changes in ancillary electric components?
    - Have OEMs begun testing alternative electrical components yet that accommodate the wider voltage range? What about BMW?
    26 Mar 2012, 05:33 AM Reply Like
  • Very good questions...


    I believe the voltage tolerance in the auto industry will come with the move beyond a 12v system. I also believe it will be the SS system that will be the catalyst for this. The LC Super Hybrid demonstrates this perfectly – 12v to start, 12-48v within a year. The PbC should play very well in the 12-48v environmental.


    The Princeton inverter (PowerCube) input specs allow for a voltage range of 280-750 VDC. If you assume the sweet spot for the PbC to be 7-12v or 9-16v then it fits nicely in that range. Forty 16v batteries will have a range of 360-640v. Most inverters on the market have a wide range on the DC input side.


    This is the reason for the “PbC: King in a String” nonsense we went through a couple concentrators ago. It appears to me that the real strength of the PbC is in a string configuration and at a higher voltage. I think it has a very narrow market in the 12v world for all the reasons stated for why it is not a drop in replacement. Now if you could parallel it with a LA or AGM battery to help with the voltage curve then we might have something...
    26 Mar 2012, 09:43 AM Reply Like
  • The micro-hybrid architecture lets batteries fall to an 80% SOC and then disables the systems until the SOC returns to 80% A 16-volt PbC at an 80% SOC has more than 12-volts of capacity and as long as the car is running a micro-hybrid duty cycle it never falls below that number.
    26 Mar 2012, 10:00 AM Reply Like
  • Is this then one of the main reasons why there has been so much talk (even on Axion's part) about a dual-battery system, with a standard LA as starter and PbC for stop/start?
    26 Mar 2012, 12:31 PM Reply Like
  • The automakers are already going to dual battery systems in micro-hybrids because single battery systems have a devil of a time with cold weather starts after a car has spent two or three weeks sitting in an airport parking lot with an 80% partial state of charge. The dual battery solution costs about $50 and eliminates the problem.


    As near as I can tell Axion is not pushing a dual battery solution, but it is more than happy to let automakers take a belt and suspenders approach until they develop more experience with the PbC and its capabilities.
    26 Mar 2012, 12:55 PM Reply Like
  • So, the drop in replacement (of sorts) is the 16v PbC...


    Calculating the SOC on the fly is complicated to say the least. If we assume a ~12.8v at 100% and ~12.5v at 80% for a standard AGM (see link), we have a range of .3v. Most alternators charge at the 13.6-14.4v range so we know the range for the electronics go as high as 14.4 (likely more). When the car is shut off and the AGM battery is fully charged the voltage on the buss will drop from 14.4v to 12.8v. However, what will it drop to with a PbC? 14.4v would be my guess since it's a 16v battery. Does that mean the voltage curve with the PbC in place is 12.5-14.4v or 1.9v?


    A 16v AGM battery would not last long if it never reached 100% SOC since birth. Since the 16v PbC is the recommended product, one can only assume the PbC is immune from the need to be 100% charged on each cycle. It appears we have a bit more of a voltage curve than I first thought. Am I understanding this correctly?

    26 Mar 2012, 05:08 PM Reply Like
  • The PbC white paper from last August says:


    "As a result, Axion is promoting one specific approach to a potential architecture utilizing PbC® batteries in micro-hybrid vehicles. The architecture is based on the use of an 8-cell, 16V L5 PbC® battery. As shown in Figure 13, the resistance profile as a function of SOC for the PbC® battery is “U-shaped”, thus an 8-cell battery increases the optimum operating voltage range and the minimum discharge voltage to values aligned with vehicle electrical systems."


    Because of the hybrid nature of the PbC, its voltage declines faster than an AGM battery, but keeping a PbC in the 80% SOC range is ideal for both the battery and the voltage requirements of the vehicle.


    You have just reached the limits of my technical depth and the water is lapping at my ears. For more detail you'll need somebody smarter than me.
    26 Mar 2012, 05:30 PM Reply Like
  • Tim, I believe one of the defining characteristics of the PbC, which can be both a liability and an asset, is the fact that voltage declines predictably as a fairly steep function of SOC. This is good in one way because SOC can be very accurately determined from the voltage. It's bad of course because many kinds of loads prefer constant voltage, and so there must be added engineering. I think of the battery-capacitor hybrid a little like superheated steam... at first you get energy out of it as its temperature drops (ie capacitance) until you reach saturation and you draw further energy out in the phase-change at constant temperature (ie galvanic battery)... it makes it a unique device for sure, and if I understand the sulfation issue, the PbC is indeed immune from the need to be kept at 100% SOC...
    26 Mar 2012, 06:18 PM Reply Like
  • Max (86), I am familiar with things not working below a given voltage such as our AC will not function below 14v. But wouldn't these things have already been engineered to work at a lower voltage if they are currently powered by 12v LA/AGM batteries?


    While I have our attention, why can't we just parallel a 12v AGM with the 12v PbC?
    26 Mar 2012, 09:22 PM Reply Like
  • Tim, I would think in current practice, bus voltage never falls much below 12V except during cranking. As far as simply paralleling a 12V AGM with a 12V PbC (two quite dissimilar devices), I think a problem there would be that the AGM would attempt to charge the lower voltage PbC and thus follow the PbC down in voltage along the discharge curve and it wouldn't be good.... really would depend on the application though I'm sure...whether it's more for power or energy... maybe it works better with a 16V PbC held at some PSOC and the diode.... without the diode the differing discharge curves would just seem to complicate things though. Again, hard to wrap my head around... it's really the nature of the intended load that would govern the configuration.... I'm sure these are issues with the ultrabattery somehow as well..
    27 Mar 2012, 12:01 AM Reply Like
  • It's my understanding that the Ultrabattery is experiencing some problems because its lead negative electrode half and its carbon negative electrode half don't accept and release charge at precisely the same rates. As I recall the lead reacts first to discharge demands and charge currents, which leads to *a bit* of system imbalance. It may be possible to eliminate the imbalance with control electronics, but I'd be concerned that paralleling an AGM and a PbC would lead to similar issues.


    If you look at the dual battery solution in the PbC white paper, there's a cut out that separates the starter battery from the PbC, and while the starter battery is kept at a 100% SOC the 16-volt PbC will be kept at an 80% SOC. Getting a string of PbCs to play nicely together is a snap. I don't know whether the same is true for a mixed string of PbC and AGM.
    27 Mar 2012, 01:33 AM Reply Like
  • They are very dissimilar and that is the part that intrigues me. A wild thought for sure. What if it propped it up instead of following it down? You are probably right but it would be an interesting experiment. There was a piece on the Ultrabattery that seemed to favor this interaction which is what got me started down this path. I need to find it and read it again.


    So back to the beginning of this thread. How would we ask the questions like these in a CC? “Have their been any new developments in the SS architecture that have lead to modifications to the White Paper on Micro-Hybrids published last year?”
    27 Mar 2012, 09:29 AM Reply Like
  • That's a point worth emphasizing repeatedly: That a LAB, AGM or otherwise, will incur damage and die due to sulfation if left to sit at a low PSOC for any length of time...
    26 Mar 2012, 03:01 PM Reply Like
  • For some of us it is very difficult to hear and understand the CC. I ask a favor AXION POWER lords and later transcribe the conference to read it.
    27 Mar 2012, 08:22 AM Reply Like
  • "AXION POWER lords "


    LoL! First we have to find some "lords"!


    But it's a good idea - several folks volunteer to take certain minutes, combine them all and post it.


    I'll bet we get several folks willing to do a few minutes each.


    27 Mar 2012, 08:52 AM Reply Like
  • The transcripts appear on the Axion website. I bugged investor relations concerning posting of Q2 and Q3 transcript and it appeared a day or two afterwards. Carlos, you should hustle Axion investor relations to post the upcoming transcript in advance of and immediately after the cc, citing your difficulties.
    27 Mar 2012, 06:34 PM Reply Like
  • H.T. Love:
    I have the investment (AXPW) in deficit.
    For now I am learning English and producing laughter.
    Have a good night.
    27 Mar 2012, 07:27 PM Reply Like
  • Carlos: I meant no offense. I have long loved playing with words. I knew what you meant. I did not have the self-discipline to *not* play with that word. It was meant to be in fun.


    28 Mar 2012, 05:39 AM Reply Like
  • H.T.: Thas is good. I feel good with his words and I also laughed.
    Have a good day.
    28 Mar 2012, 07:45 AM Reply Like
  • Anthlj
    Great. Well done. I shall enjoy reading the q3 transcript tonight.
    28 Mar 2012, 11:28 AM Reply Like
  • Anthlj
    .... except fot the fact that I can only find the transcript for q2, not for q3.
    Can you give me directions?
    28 Mar 2012, 12:39 PM Reply Like
  • Go to the investors page on Axion's website. The 3rd Quarter 2011 transcript shows up as the top entry in the right hand column under the caption "Transcripts Archive."
    28 Mar 2012, 12:48 PM Reply Like
  • Thank you.
    I wonder how I could overlook that.
    28 Mar 2012, 01:28 PM Reply Like
  • Thanks. I will do.
    27 Mar 2012, 07:24 PM Reply Like
  • Carlos, I have come to really enjoy and appreciate your input, not only from the chuckles it provides as you struggle in a foreign language, but from the earnestness and persistence and good humor you show, despite the struggle, that should inspire all of us Axionistas to do our best to contribute constructively to the dialog and forgive each others' foibles.


    Please keep us chuckling.
    28 Mar 2012, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • Hear! Hear!
    28 Mar 2012, 11:18 AM Reply Like
  • SMaturin:
    Thanks for your words.
    Have a good day.
    28 Mar 2012, 02:48 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I've been busy with my mother and a dental emergency this week, but I have organized the questions for the conference call from my Conference Call Questions Instablog into a PDF file that can be downloaded or viewed from this link:


    I'm wrapped around the axle at the moment. I sent a link to the PDF to HTL for posting in some manner if he wishes to do so. You can get your own copy from the above link and save it on your own computer for reference also.


    In general, to many of the questions are to specific to be answered, or consist of 5 questions that require to much detail to be answered during a conference call. Questions about revenue, pricing, and profits are not going to be answered either. Axion is
    - to small to offer revenue guidance,
    - to smart to lock in its pricing in a public comment without considering the size of the order, the customer and potential future business,
    -and since the company is going to expend all its funds attempting to build the business any statements about profits would be misleading and false. Obviously selling price minus direct costs provides gross profit but it ignores overhead, interest, selling expenses, etc.


    I hope anyone who intends to ask questions with careful consider how to ask the question and invite TG to respond to the degree he is comfortable making public. If you need input on how to phrase the question please read some conference call transcripts from major company conference calls for examples of questions from real stock analysts.


    I hope I am not offending anyone with my remarks, but I think it important not to ask TG a bunch of questions he will simply answer with "I can't comment on that." Please be careful and thoughtful with your questions and ask them in an open-ended fashion that lets TG expand on the subject to the degree he is comfortable.
    28 Mar 2012, 11:24 PM Reply Like
  • BW,
    Good work. I still see some that may not be answered for reasons of confidentiality, but very good over all.
    28 Mar 2012, 11:38 PM Reply Like
  • Bang,
    A very fair compilation of questions. I suspect many will be answered during the call itself. I find it difficult to believe that updates about NS, BMW, and the PowerCube testing will not be made prior to the Q& A segment.
    I will not be available for the call. Hopefully, the production line capacity question will be answered. It would be nice to know the AGM line capacity.
    29 Mar 2012, 08:14 AM Reply Like


    Is this Form 10K old news? Anyway, it was my first look at the FY2011 data.
    31 Mar 2012, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • It's the Form 10-K that was filed yesterday after the market closed.
    31 Mar 2012, 05:12 PM Reply Like
  • The call is Monday morning 11AM EST (just a day away) right?


    Are we divvying the questions or should we just cross them off if someone else asks one? Also how many Axionistas are for sure asking a question?
    1 Apr 2012, 04:57 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » We didn't try to divy up the questions in the last conference call - to hard to do. Best to just have a personal list of your favorite questions and cross any of them off if they are asked ahead of you. That was the intent last time and the only hitch was the conference call ending prematurely. However, because we were all watching the APC thread when the line died we all acted quickly together and then posted the answers we got to the APC. Prevented a complete disaster for the APC crowd but definitely hurt the stock and fed the huge sell off that day.
    1 Apr 2012, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • I am unavailable to participate in the cc, but have a question I hope might be addressed. In the 10-K mention is made of the military silent watch program for developing battery systems to run vehicles silently in stealth mode. Where does axion stand with this project?


    A web search did not turn up any more info about this, but did return hits about Firefly Energy developing proprietary batteries for the program. They appear to be developing a carbon foam electrode battery that might infringe Axion's patents. See:



    Can the company comment on this concern, whether Firefly's technology infringes or may become a direct competitor to the PbC?


    Is there a research program or contract with DOD around the silent watch program, and if so, how is it progressing?
    1 Apr 2012, 11:20 AM Reply Like
  • Let me rephrase the second question. They were awarded a $1million grant for the silent watch program. Has that research program been concluded, and is a continued relationship or grant or future contract anticipated?
    1 Apr 2012, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » It has been concluded and there is only one outstanding invoice for 40K. Secondly, Firefly went bankrupt because it refused to accept the equivalent of a .35 cent capital raise and never recovered. It is history.
    1 Apr 2012, 11:42 AM Reply Like
  • Firefly's batteries use a carbon foam current collector that's then pasted with conventional sponge lead. The foam is a structural element of the battery that's designed to reduce weight. The added capacitance is incidental. From what I know of the differences between the Firefly battery and the PbC, I'd guess that there's no infringement.


    Bang is correct in his observation that Firefly went bankrupt, but its assets were bought by a firm out of India and I don't know anything about the current status of its operations.
    1 Apr 2012, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • John, you may have just answered this in the negative, but just to be certain, to your knowledge, has anyone shown up on the scene (LA battery conferences, research reports or presentations, industry events) recently with any kind of reincarnation of the firefly tech? Are we safe to conclude that it's likely dead or dormant, or is it fairly possible that development is continuing somewhere in earnest in stealth mode? In short, how highly would you presently rate it (the firefly tech) as a threat to PbC?
    1 Apr 2012, 12:18 PM Reply Like
  • Thanks, BW and JP for the quick answers. According to the still up website for firefly, they had some patents on the carbon foam electrode technology. Do we know who owns the patents now?


    86's question about whether the tech may still reemerge seems cogent.
    1 Apr 2012, 12:32 PM Reply Like
  • The Firefly technology is very cool in terms of increased energy density that results from increased surface are on the sponge lead pastes, but it presents huge manufacturing challenges.


    If you look at the battery cutaway slides in the investor presentation, you'll see that every electrode is built with a connector tab that gets top welded within cells so that the top welds can be used for the required series connections within the battery.


    Now imagine the engineering challenge. I want you to replace a cast lead grid with a wafer of carbon foam that must be top-welded to insure battery conductivity and must withstand years of heavy vibration and kinetic forces without losing structural or electrical integrity at the carbon-lead weld interface.
    1 Apr 2012, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » I've considered a few questions that people might want to consider and will post them here.


    1. What is the currrent rated capacities for each of your three individual production lines?


    2. Can you add some color to the carbon sheeting production issues and how you stand today in terms of PbC production capacity?


    3. Do you have sufficient PbC battery production capacity to fill any potential near-term orders within the current sales pipeline?
    1 Apr 2012, 01:48 PM Reply Like
  • Given


    1) Norkfolk Southern patent application being granted March 20th titled "Battery-powered all-electric locomotive and related locomotive and train configurations "




    2) this line from the annual report ""We have also begun promising work with other manufacturers in the hybrid locomotive field."


    how should we understand the differences in these two market opportunities and also how encompassing NS's patent might be w.r.t Axion's potential sales in the Locomotive Market.


    Have there been any consideration of an international Locomotive market?
    2 Apr 2012, 01:48 AM Reply Like
  • The NS patent application is for a pure battery locomotive and as soon as you add any generating capacity to the chassis you're outside the scope of the patent. NS took a holistic look at a train and found a good way to mix and match conventional diesel and battery power. It's not, however, the only way.
    2 Apr 2012, 02:15 AM Reply Like
  • So NS is Luke and the "other manufacturers in the hybrid locomotive field" is Princess Leah?
    2 Apr 2012, 05:25 AM Reply Like
  • I personally think the flexibility of the NS system is superb because they can mix and match a six or eight locomotive consist any number of ways to suit the needs of a particular route. The green goat and Ecominagination hybrids don't have as much inherent flexibility, but there's a lot to be said for a standard platform that has X hp of diesel and Y kWh of battery power power in each unit.


    Innovation in rail transport is all about saving fuel dollars and gaining bragging rights. I have a hard time believing it will generate the same kind of patent disputes one sees in consumer products because there are only a handful of customers who do compete on some routes, but generally have monopoly power in the bulk of their service areas.


    If NS gets bragging rights for a pure battery locomotive and another railroad gets bragging rights for a hybrid, they both win on that score and then they can share technologies as appropriate to help them both reduce fuel costs. It's a win win situation as long as Axion can keep pace with demand.
    2 Apr 2012, 05:48 AM Reply Like
  • "It's a win win situation as long as Axion can keep pace with demand."


    I can only hope that this is the largest problem Axion faces from this point out. :-)
    2 Apr 2012, 07:49 AM Reply Like
  • New verbiage emailed with the year end release:


    "During 2011 there were important sales of PbC batteries, most notably to Norfolk Southern (NS), one of the nation's largest class-A railroads. The Norfolk Southern batteries were accepted and are being used for large string platform testing for battery-powered locomotives. Axion has had a program with NS since the Fall of 2009 and believes it is one of the very few advanced battery companies in the world that has an initiative designed to provide a major rail company a "clean, green" energy storage solution for their hybrid locomotive initiative.


    Also during 2011, Axion Power celebrated its first connection to the huge PJM electric power grid for saving and storing electricity. Axion provided a 0.5MW PowerCube™ ("CUBE") that was connected into the PJM network this past December. Initial use of our Cube will be for the frequency regulation market via demand response and curtailment, but the Cube has broad application beyond this use. Subsequent to year end the Company announced a contract for a Zero energy building in the United States Washington Naval Yard. Axion believes the potential for micro-storage applications on the US electric grid is very large and that the opportunity exists on both sides of the meter.


    The hybrid vehicle market continues to be a major focus for Axion, and during 2011 studies and demonstrations continued with European and US automakers, primarily in the stop/start application for the micro-hybrid vehicles market. Axion feels that the PbC battery, because of its large charge acceptance and fast recharge capabilities, can offer a low cost solution for operating the ancillary load (i.e. hotel load) in the micro-hybrid platform.


    Subsequent to year-end, on February 3, 2012, Axion completed a registered-direct offering of common stock that provided $8.6 million of new financing that will be used for working capital and for general corporate purposes. It is important to keep this new financing in mind when studying the financial statements for December 31, 2011.


    Chairman & CEO Thomas Granville commented, "Although the road has been longer than we anticipated, we are finding the market opportunities for our PbC product applications are larger and more diverse than we had initially forecast. The industries we are working with include the U.S. military, the electrical generation industry, vehicle manufacturers and railroads – each of them well known for having long decision cycles and difficult, demanding requirements. So far we have passed all the hurdles and made excellent progress in each of these markets, even as other, more exotic and more highly publicized battery chemistries, and battery companies, have fallen by the wayside.


    "We believe that our PbC batteries will be one of the ultimate winners in the contest for new energy storage technologies. Our batteries have unique properties that include a very high rate of charge acceptance and fast recharge capabilities. The PbC batteries are a fraction of the cost of more exotic chemistries. The PbC battery can be manufactured in existing factories in normal manufacturing environments (not clean rooms). They provide superior performance in all weather conditions, unlike competitive products. PbC batteries are completely recyclable and they don't require high-cost, low-availability raw materials. We have every faith in PbC technology, and strong belief in our extraordinary and hard-working Axion team."


    Granville concluded: "We're still here; we're still viable; we're still servicing our customers and rapidly expanding our customer base; we're still improving our product; we're still improving our team. We're here and we plan to be here for the long run."
    2 Apr 2012, 08:23 AM Reply Like
  • The strong tone of the Form 10-K and the press release portends a strong CC to match.
    2 Apr 2012, 08:48 AM Reply Like
  • Interesting the narrowing of focus of SS/MH to specifically that of hotel loads... And the language here seems a touch milder than elsewhere previously: "Axion feels....can offer a solution..." rather than (what I recall) previously as 'compelling' or 'best solution' ... Anyone else sensing this? Is my impression off base here?
    2 Apr 2012, 09:02 AM Reply Like
  • I have always felt the PbC is best suited as a two battery solution for hotel loads. When you start talking about implementing S/S when not only breaking but also coasting you begin talking about an extraordinary amount of "hotel load" events and a battery dedicated to only that function seems necessary to my uneducated perspective. The coasting function for North American S/S is essential because of the increase in highway miles compared to European driving. imo
    2 Apr 2012, 09:33 AM Reply Like
  • Jak, I totally get that. I definitely want to see the more aggressive SS implementations prevail. It was just the "feels" and "can offer" qualifiers kinda threw me a little initially... as John said, just jumping at shadows...
    2 Apr 2012, 09:39 AM Reply Like
  • Since the Form 10-K says "We feel we have the best potential product for the emerging micro-hybrid (stop-start) market and therefore we have devoted considerable time and money in working with our strategic partners and prospective customers in this area," I think you may be jumping at shadows.
    2 Apr 2012, 09:21 AM Reply Like
  • Quite possibly I am...And the more I think about it, the more intriguing it gets, albeit in the opposite direction...could the more specific mention of hotel loads mean that a targeted product win (ie PbC for a dual battery solution) is more imminent? After all, the main thing one should do before pulling the trigger is aim...
    2 Apr 2012, 09:34 AM Reply Like
  • In the investor presentation this is written and has been for awhile: "Ideal configuration for stop-start is a small lead–acid battery for
    cranking (starting) load and a PbC® battery for the stop-start auxiliary
    loads (lights, heater, radio, locking systems, etc.)"


    I believe they have been targeting the two battery configuration for some time. imo
    2 Apr 2012, 09:47 AM Reply Like
  • Roger that. And I've been watching that presentation for updates every couple of days (which they sometimes slip in without fanfare) ... What I should have said though was "tighten your aim".. in order to make my idea clearer. Here they are in a press release with considerably narrowed language addressing a specific aspect of an application. Just makes me think the "initial" product in that space must be getting close... ;)
    2 Apr 2012, 09:54 AM Reply Like
  • I agree. If I could just take it to the next step which is what I think you are thinking is that they with BMW made this two-battery solution the target. We will know more as BMW gets set to release efficient dynamics with Eco Pro-mode in North America that they say gets 20% fuel efficiency; a number BMW said could only be done with a battery that can accept a 100amp charge i.e. the PbC.

    2 Apr 2012, 10:14 AM Reply Like
  • My bet that it will be 2 PbC in parallel <smile>. I know, I know, why use a second PbC when a LA will work - more on that after we get on the other side of this CC...
    2 Apr 2012, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • 877-317-6789 is the CC number... webcast is concurrent and in addition to I believe..
    2 Apr 2012, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • Thank you 481086!
    2 Apr 2012, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • Webcast link on investors page or here...
    2 Apr 2012, 10:57 AM Reply Like
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