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  • Axion Power Concentrator 402: August 1, 2015 [View instapost]
    An aside - I was on a flight yesterday and ended up next to a guy who worked in the automotible sector. The general consensus in the industry is that the first self-driving cars will be introduced in 8-10 years. Frankly, that was considerably less than I was expecting. He felt that someone (non traditional car industry participant) will be first to market with a small intercity car and will basically put them on the street and dare the regulators to turn it down, using the examples of Uber where they bully local governments to change the laws. He thinks that the gov't will allow this otherwise companies will move the tech to SE Asia. Gov't in response will set laws at use only under 35 mph to get people used to it, issues fixed, etc. Highway driving will be 5-10 years beyond that.

    Biggest issues is maintenance of sensors, cameras and weather. For example GOOG does not take the self driving cars out in rain on public streets and has not taken it into snow covered roads as the system is not smart enough when it can't see the marked roads. I predict it will be 15 years before they hit the roads.
    Aug 21, 2015. 11:50 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merger Arbitrage Forum (PART 2) [View instapost]
    Last financial statement said there was 7M shares issued with a float of 2.2M. In the last 4 days 10% of that float traded.

    I called the # and left a message. Is this just a fraud?
    Jul 30, 2015. 04:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 400: June 22, 2015 [View instapost]
    I know this is a common refrain that China will steal IP however there is some work being done that the Chinese gov't will enforce patent issues for items that Chinese companies want to export beyond their borders.

    At my current employer we are dealing with the remnants of failed JV. The Chinese company before the JV had 90% of the process complete but couldn't meet the quality standards. Due to the type of product shipping was a major cost and this is a fairly low margin item so a sourcing agreement in China was felt it was needed as it was a large and growing market for us. We taught the Chinese JV partner how to improve the product, how to QC the good and how to maintain and sell. We also gave them access to our distribution channel. Our sales slowly then quickly died to a fraction of before. Turned out they ran the line and private labeled this good when our rep was not in the building and sold below us by 10%.

    We broke off the agreement but complained legally to the gov't. Surprisingly the Chinese gov't didn't stop them from selling within the mainland but will not let them export this. The gov't is becoming more aware and knows that live in a global world they need to enforce patents/trademarks. Its still a wild world in China but some of the concerns about them selling it out of country are lessened.

    My understanding is that our experience is fairly consistent with other recent issues in the legalities in China per talking with our lawyers over there and here. Maybe not the wild west but more 1910.
    Jun 30, 2015. 09:49 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 399: June 8, 2015 [View instapost]
    An interesting article about trying to lower battery costs - not by materials but by manufacturing methods. I'm a skeptic but I'll watch his company going forward.
    Jun 22, 2015. 01:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 398: May 26, 2015 [View instapost]

    thanks for posting these two articles. I enjoy reading your posts much more when you are sleuthing and sharing information vs when you are pontificating on the viability of a Russian patent or other items when no one (atleast in my knowledge) on this board is Russian Patent Attorney.

    These two patents to me look like the fact that these large battery companies are validating the idea of the PbC. I hold no opinion if they violate the PbC patents (assuming they hold up). What it tells me is the PbC seems to have been a good idea poorly executed. I hope whomever holds the company and the patent gets a mgmt. team and provides them the money needed for a real shot at success. If that happens and they are wildly successful I'll tip my hat to them from the sidelines as then atleast I would have known that I bet on a good horse with a crap jockey.
    Jun 9, 2015. 09:20 AM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 398: May 26, 2015 [View instapost]
    That announcement doesn't really change anything from a cost perspective other than a small bonus for being on a committee for the president/chairman.

    No day to day positions were eliminated.
    Jun 5, 2015. 09:58 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 398: May 26, 2015 [View instapost]
    Reading Ed's paper, btw ed fantastic job, reminds me of what I thought I was investing in when I bought axion those many years ago.

    If what is to be believed from Ed and to be honest from how John explained the company as of 2010 is correct its a damn shame at all levels of what happened here.

    I predict that in 6 months somebody is going to get a pretty good battery and that they be successful with it in 3-5 years but never at the size it could have been if mgmt didn't screw it up.

    Before there were Harvard business case studies they were done at UW-Madison. I am friends with an accounting professor there and have sent him a short summary of Axion and maybe he can do a college style business case and interview the parties now and get the real story as the tech seems real with some shortcomings that seem manageable and a disterous mgmt team.
    Jun 3, 2015. 10:31 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 398: May 26, 2015 [View instapost]
    I doubt a truck going out of that distribution facility is any lighter than any normal Amazon distribution facility or in general a normal FedEx or UPS bulk truck.

    Generally FedEx and UPS already bulk out before hitting their weight limits. John has already stated this is the market for ePower. They couldn't before hit the max weight. Its why FedEx and UPS really pushed for the tandem trailers.

    I really don't understand how ePower didn't see the heat issues before this. I would have expected way more miles being put on before turning the key over to a private owner/operator. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
    Jun 3, 2015. 02:22 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Merger Arbitrage Forum (PART 2) [View instapost]
    Remember Orbitz was originally created by the various airlines. The beta version before launch even had on it. Southwest pulled out when it was clear that they prices were not always the lowest. (I had a friend who worked for one of the airlines and was a founding employee of Orbitz)
    May 29, 2015. 11:58 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 398: May 26, 2015 [View instapost]
    I agree with this. It appears that nothing happened from 2009 to 2014 and probably went backwards. An opportunity with BMW seems lost and dead.

    Honestly, this should be a case study from Harvard Business Review.

    I know people want answers from Bob A and others on the board but the board has a duty and I can see them staying quiet as they don't want to get sued. I would do the same.
    May 29, 2015. 11:56 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 398: May 26, 2015 [View instapost]
    Averill is just a person in place. Its telling about the makeup of the board when the guy who just joined the board probably being a friend of DDG is the guy who has to take over the company. That means that Granville didn't groom anyone. The CFO quit once and hired DDG to probably clean it up and sell and is simply doing the job as they need someone. Phil Baker the COO has never been seen, and from discussions in these APC was the fact that the production line still didn't work after how many years. The manufacturing process was so inefficient that they lost money on the deal spending more on labor than they sold it back to East Penn. Clearly he's not qualified but I don't understand why he's around. Vani is gone, good.

    The PbC should have some value and I'd be an investor if I saw Ed Buiel there and I'd probably be one if Bob A did. Other than that I'm not coming back unless I see a large order from NS to be delivered immediately.
    May 29, 2015. 11:53 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 398: May 26, 2015 [View instapost]
    Billion - I think you have your answer in the letter/document/white paper just filed with regards to NS.

    I just got the email and so I just scanned the white paper posted on the axion website. They mention the NS as a successful project but there is nothing about further work with NS.

    I wish you luck if you go. If mgmt. which is simply trying to keep the ship afloat for the time being is honest they will state what happened in the past and why it won't happen again. I'm going to be in Vancouver on vacation that week otherwise I'd want to go to ask some similar questions:

    My questions:
    1. Why isn't NS (entire train market) a future target market as you have it listed as a success? If this is a success then why don't you expect future order/growth?

    2. Why do you think you will be successful with other automotive companies when you had a multi year testing environment with a german automotive company and then it seemed to fall apart?

    3. The NJ project in theory should have led to other projects. The private marketplace has not responded in the past, how do you think that this time is any different?

    Basically, this is the same story/potential as when I came here 4 years ago but the market has moved. In general there has to be something wrong with the battery and mgmt. If Ed Buiel is to be believed the battery works in a lab. I think the manufacturing is screwed up (producing a bad battery long term) but the 80% reason is mgmt.

    I was furious at the time that Axion has NS recharge their batteries. The right answer with that company which could have made them was to give them new 2.0 batteries as they were supposedly better. That was just stupid mgmt. if there really was a difference in batteries.
    May 28, 2015. 05:15 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 397: Apr. 30, 2015 [View instapost]
    Actually they didn't pay staff in full. A few months back I posted an article I found this winter from SHRM (Human Resources Mag) that spoke about how their HR group in the past went to rolling layoffs when they had down time in order production (I assume from the tolling contract). The assumption is that mgmt. felt that these staff were needed and worked out a way for these guys to get 75% of their hours and therefore not cost the company in layoff related expenses, unemployment insurance, etc.

    I constantly watched the manufacturing staff #s as I figured that would be a sign of growth or death. Instead it never changed which tells me that mgmt. wasn't really watching the costs.

    I shake my head at what the hell the company really did on a day to day basis the last 5-7 years.
    May 21, 2015. 07:13 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GCVRZ Forum [View instapost]
    Anybody have any thoughts on the volume today. Over 10M shares traded with the majority in two large chunks.

    Anybody have any thoughts - Wondered if that was the company buying up shares or just a pre arranged transaction.
    May 20, 2015. 05:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 396: Apr. 16, 2015 [View instapost]
    NS owes a report to the FRA at the end of July on their battery project. I do not know if it will be public but it will be interesting to see.

    If available I expect that the 999 has not been used in the rail yards but out.
    May 8, 2015. 05:19 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment