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Ken Fields
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Life long investor, entrepreneur and business development consultant. Investment Style: Short term event driven trading & long term buy and hold. Real estate developer and owner of diverse portfolio of properties which have included - affordable housing, office buildings, The Creek South... More
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  • 2013 Round Up Of Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales

    It's well through the first few weeks of 2014 and the tally of Plug-In electric vehicle sales has started to be added up for all of the relevant auto manufacturers. 2013 was effectively the third full year of sales for the industry - although we can be excused in thinking that with the media cacophony surrounding Tesla (TSLA), they have been around forever, in point of fact by 2010 the company had only sold 1,000 roadsters. 2010 was the same year that Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) introduced the Leaf, Mitsubishi (OTCPK:MSBHY) made available to the I-MiEV to the mainstream public and the Chevy (GM) Volt didn't get on the road until December. I think that introduction serves the point to establish 2010 as the appropriate base year to compare sales and sales growth.

    Top 3 Plug-In Electric Vehicles

    Cumulatively there were roughly 96,000 plug-in EV sales in 2013, just shy of double the 53,000 sold in 2012 and far above the 17,500 for 2011.

    The Chevy Volt maintains the lead for unit sales with 23,094, about even with their 2012 sales.

    The Nissan Leaf took the number two spot with 22,610, far surpassing the previous two years which collectively were less than 20,000.

    Tesla, has of course discontinued the Roadster, however Tesla's Model S has been on fire (pun intended) and full end of year number is expected to be around 22.450.

    Hybrid Electric Plug-Ins

    Toyota (TM) and Ford (F) are the two leaders in the hybrid space. The Prius plug-in sold 12,088 units, while Ford, with two models, the C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi, sold 13,243.

    Honda (HMC) Accords plug-in only sold 526 for the full year.

    A new entrant in the space well worth noting is Porsche with the Hybrid plug-in Panamera - in December, their first month of sales they only tallied 45 units, but the brand itself is worth watching. Personally I would love to see an all electric or at least hybrid 911.

    Other Makes / Models

    There are other makes and models of plug-ins on the road, which fall into what is called either the low volume or California zero emissions compliance cars.

    The Mitsubishi i-MiEV sold a respectable 1,029 for the year. Smart electric had 923 for the eight months that it's been on sale.

    The compliance cars, which include Chevrolet Spark EV, Ford Focus Electric, Honda Fit EV, and Toyota RAV4 EV had sales of 539, 1,738, 569 and 1,096 respectively, totaling 5,050 - no small number to scoff at.

    As an additional note, the Fiat 500e by Chrysler has not broken out their sales figures, separate from the full 500 line.

    Conclusion

    2013 was an excellent year for plug-in cars, with strong growth in the industry, however, as what is arguably a new technology, or at least sector within the automotive industry it's still a little early to tell what will be the prevailing long term growth rate. 2014 and 2015 promise to be breakout years with all of the major auto manufacturers releasing their plug-in models.

    I haven't really found a lot of other individuals covering the full sales for the industry here on Seeking Alpha So I am hoping to make this something of a quarterly update, and of course add more for those interested in the industry in general.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

    Tags: F, GM, HMC, MSBHY, NSANY, TM, TSLA
    Jan 22 5:02 PM | Link | 2 Comments
  • Solar Securitization Is A Greentech Game Changer

    The past couple of weeks has seen a couple of interesting developments in the renewable energy space, with two companies in particular that I have followed for some time, Real Goods Solar (RSOL) and SolarCity (SCTY).

    Real Goods Solar completed is acquisition of Mercury Solar, which will give the company a overall larger footprint in the solar installation business, specifically on the East Coast where Mercury is based with eight regional offices. Real Goods also announced projects in Vermont and Massachusetts in partnership with Green Lantern Capital and Blue Wave Capital respectively.

    SolarCity announced that it would now be selling debt direct to retail investors through it's acquisition of Common Assets, LLC - SolarCity became the first company to securitize roof top solar assets with a debt offering of $54.23 million at 4.8% interest maturing December 2026.

    For those who know the solar industry well enough, securitization has been the obvious next step in the evolution of Greentech.

    My "ah ha" moment came a few years ago after I had read Jacobson & Delucci's write up in Scientific American: A Path To Sustainable Energy By 2030 - I will not go into detail attempting to summarize their efforts, the original article can be read here at The Stanford website. Their purpose to the study was to show that it is well within our global reach to power the planet with 100% renewable energy by 2030 - the price tag for this endeavor was estimated to be about $100 trillion. Reading through their numbers and having a basic education on solar and wind install costs, then extrapolating to a global scale, it would be hard to argue that their estimate is that far off.

    Can We Afford It

    Where are we going to find $100 Trillion - it sounds like an astronomical number, but on a global scale and over the course of 20 years how feasible is it? Basically over a 20 year period the planet is going to have to spend $5 trillion a year.

    In 2012 Global GDP was somewhere between $71 trillion (nominal GDP) and $85 trillion (PPP). Using the lower more conservative number, $5 trillion represents only about 7%, a relatively low and palatable percentage. For comparisons sake, by doing a quick google search for "global expenditure on energy" we'll discover that global the planet already spends about 8% of it's GDP on energy.

    While hardly a detailed analysis on a absolute apples to apples basis, the two numbers - percentage we need to spend and percentage we already spend are close enough that we can make the leap to say, we do not need to find the money to convert the planet to renewables, we're already spending it. The challenge becomes how do we swap one form of energy (fossil fuels) for another (renewables) - and the most obvious answer is by financing it. Buy it, install it, wrap it up, re-sell it - lather rinse repeat, until we hit the $100 trillion dollar mark.

    Will We See 100% Renewable Energy In Our Lifetime

    If you're wondering whether or not we will seen a planet powered by 100% renewable energy within our lifetime, one need look no further than The Magic 8-Ball, which has repeatedly replied "Signs Point To Yes" - the Wall Street money machine is perpetually looking for ways to make more money charging more fees, if you think the mortgage and asset backed securitization market was a feeding frenzy, with only a couple trillion dollars to wrap and repackage, it will be put to shame by the shear enormity of securitizing renewables - $5 trillion a year, let the games begin - and since Wall Street loves their acronyms, I vote for GEO's (Green Energy Obligations).

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jan 20 11:30 AM | Link | Comment!
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