Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lithium and REE: Nissan charges toward electrics TNR.v, CZX.v, NSANY, SQM, FMC, ROC, DAI, F, BYD, TM, TTM, GOOG, AAPL, RIMM, FXI, HUI, XAU

" It is the first sign of coming mass market for Electric cars, which is the must for our Next Big Thing to take off. McDonalds is a mass market - when these guys start to think Electric: it is coming and soon. First people will realise that there is infrastructure to support it - it is already existing at home and will be build in public domain. Then McDonalds customers will get the Electric Car economics."

This is our mass market coming:

"We're serious about this, and it's going to happen," Standish said. "We're the only ones committed to going to mass-market with an electric car."
"Lets check first on "Zero to 1 Billion" matrix:
1. Market place for Lithium and REE products: Huge potential -
auto market is growing...China has become largest market in the world. Electric cars could be the only way to bring mobility to hundred of millions without destroying environment in China and India.
2. Transition potential: groundbreaking - Fleet conversion to Electric mobility plus Electric cars economics. Money are going directly into the pockets of most in need. Basis for the next industrial revolution and manufacturing base in the West including US Corp. with High Tech jobs.
Geopolitical implications: the only way, in our opinion, for US corp to survive and maybe one day prosper again. Options are not whether to chose or not, but how to be able to join Electric mobility revolution. You can not compete with China as a producer with electric mobility on the cost side against your oil addiction. With oil above 100USD/barrel wealth transfer is 1 trillion dollars per year. US Corp is bankrupt without this kind of hazard, but here we are talking about cash flow and mere market existence...
4. Moral hazard, Feel good and other Beetles' staff - we still believe that even Wall Street guys have kids and do not like them to suffocate. After
they have raped the middle class by "housing for all", short the market and now split bailout - we are pointing them on 6 trillion energy sector to be transformed with part in mobility applications - why not to join?"

New battery technology will widen cars' range

Nissan believes it finally has the breakthrough battery technology that will bring electric cars into the mainstream.

The automaker's new lithium-ion battery, jointly developed by Nissan and Japan's NEC Corp., will expand the range of the purely electric car to more than 100 miles between charges, while decreasing the battery's size and weight, said Mark Perry, director of product planning for Nissan North America, which is based in Franklin.
While 100 miles isn't nearly as far as automakers had hoped for with fresh advances in battery design, it's a vast improvement over the 40-mile range of earlier electric vehicles. Those earlier versions used lead-acid or nickel-metal-hydride battery packs, such as those now found in vehicles like the Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid.
"This battery offers advancements not only on mileage, but also on weight and size, giving us the ability to package it in the vehicle more easily," Perry said.
With a lighter, more efficient battery, "good things begin to happen" in development of the electric car, he said, "allowing us to go to mass market, putting us in the heart of the market rather than on the fringes."
Nissan is so sure of its battery design that it will invest billions of dollars to introduce an affordable electric car in the United States — and other markets — over the next three years.
On Aug 2, a concept of the electric car will be unveiled in Japan.
The car will go on sale in the United States in 2010, with the first models imported from Japan.
Nissan has said it plans to assemble an electric vehicle at its Smyrna manufacturing plant beginning in late 2012, using batteries that will be made in a new facility on the same site — financed in part by a $1.6 billion loan from the U.S. government.
Construction will begin on the battery plant during the second quarter of 2010, said Mark Swenson, the Nissan North America vice president for manufacturing engineering. The battery plant will open in mid-2012 and employ more than 1,000 people, running on three shifts, when it is at full production, which is about 200,000 units a year, he said.

"It's going to be a new ballgame from what we have done here in Smyrna in the past," Swenson said. "The training and expertise level for final assembly of the batteries will be the same as for car production. But the engineering know-how will intensify in the earlier steps, and those workers will need more specific technical training."
Nissan has not said what qualifications will be required of battery-plant workers, but it has said that former employees who took buyouts during the past two years would be allowed to apply for the new jobs.
The battery plant will have a strictly controlled, low-humidity environment, and workers will have to wear protective clothing to help prevent the introduction of contaminants into the manufacturing area, Swenson said.

Electric car history

Electric cars are not a new idea. At the turn of the 20th century, there were more electric cars on the road than gasoline-powered cars. Around 1915, there was even a gasoline-electric hybrid car on the market that used a drive system similar to the one found in today's Prius, minus the Toyota's computerized controller.
But those early cars didn't have much range, and a lack of advancements in battery technology kept later versions of electric vehicles largely out of the limelight for decades because motorists couldn't drive them very far before needing more juice.
Now, with the memory still fresh in consumers' minds of last year's steep gasoline price increases, and a growing movement to try to move away from using imported oil for transportation, the idea of purely electric cars is getting a more serious look.
"The major advantage of our electric vehicle is that no gasoline is required," Swenson said. "We feel that with more than 100 miles per charge, our vehicle will work for most consumers."
Nissan will continue working on battery development, though, and Swenson said the company believes that the technology "will improve rapidly over the next 10 years," allowing for even greater range.
Nissan's decision to build batteries and electric cars in Tennessee is "huge" in the quest for alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, but it also represents "the validation of the lithium-ion technology," said Jim Frierson, director of the Advanced Transportation Technology Institute in Chattanooga, an electric-vehicle think-tank that has helped that city develop its fleet of electric buses.

"This is a very important endorsement from a major automaker that lithium-ion is the right technology for a pure battery-operated vehicle," he said. "And instead of trying to find a battery manufacturer, Nissan is doing it themselves."
The electric car probably isn't the "silver-bullet answer to all of our transportation energy problems," Frierson added. "But it does have a significant role to play in both fleets and personal transportation.
"And the coolest thing is that electric liberates you. I have driven electric vehicles, and when you drive by a gas station and think, 'I don't ever need to go there again,' it's a great feeling."
But will it sell?
Still, with the advances in battery technology, an electric vehicle with only a 100-mile range might be a hard sell for many American consumers, although it has potential for weekday commutes, said George Peterson, president of the marketing research firm AutoPacific.
"There is not a mass market here for the electric vehicle yet," he said. "Pure electric is still hampered by a short range and a long recharge time, and until those issues are resolved, a hybrid seems to make more sense."
Still, most American families are "managing a fleet of cars," and it could be that "they would have an electric car strictly for weekday commuting, but never take it out on the weekends when they need a vehicle with more range," Peterson said.
The way Nissan markets its electric vehicle also could play a big role in how well it succeeds, Peterson said, citing Toyota's highly successful efforts to promote the hybrid Prius.
"Nissan might be able to make this a success if it can do the kind of public-relations magic that Toyota did with the Prius," he said. "But until they can convince people that 100 miles is fine, they will have an uphill battle."
Other efforts to bring electric cars to market are already under way.
BMW is testing an electric version of its popular Mini Cooper subcompact sedan on the East and West coasts, leasing the "Mini E" to 500 people for $850 a month for one year. This vehicle, which can be recharged in three hours with a special 220-volt system set up at each consumer's home, has a range of 100 to 120 miles, BMW says.
In the Mini E, the lithium-ion battery pack weighs 600 pounds and takes up all of the back seat space, leaving room only for two passengers up front. BMW says the car costs about $2 a day to recharge.
Nissan's car will use a more-advanced lithium-ion battery that can be fitted into a smaller space, leaving room for five passengers and luggage. It weighs about 500 pounds, Swenson said.
The automaker is developing a 440-volt quick-charge system for use in commercial locations that could charge the battery in less than a half-hour, but home charging, using 220 volts, will take six to eight hours, Nissan spokesman Fred Standish said.
No pricing has been announced for the Nissan electric car, but the automaker has promised that it will be "affordable."
AutoPacific's Peterson said the price would have to be in the low $20,000s for it to be considered reasonable by most consumers, similar to the price of the entry models of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight hybrids.
"We're serious about this, and it's going to happen," Standish said. "We're the only ones committed to going to mass-market with an electric car."
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