Saturday, October 31, 2009

EVs mass market: Nissan Aims to Cut Electric-Car Cost TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, WLC.v, CLQ.v, RM.v, LI.v,, RES.v, QUC.v, NSANY, RNO, F, DAI,

"International Lithium Corp. put a new presentation on its website with timescales for different type of Lithium and REE deposits. If we are going to enjoy advance in Lithium-ion battery's technology in our electric cars in five years time on a truly mass market scale with penetration more then 5% Lithium supply must be doubled. Time is today to develop the new secured resources for strategic commodities of the nearest future"

Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn is on a road show, after USA promotion tour he is in Beijing and the chart above tells you why. Electric cars are serious this time and people involved means business investing billions in new disruptive technology - with further technological development cost will go down and electric cars will be within reach most of the consumers even without government subsidies. Now we can say that we have a very serious effort on the part of Nissan-Renault group to make electric cars happen for real this time after so many false starts. Our Lithium Demand model needs to be adjusted with Nissan-Renault production figures from 250000 to 500000 and his estimation of 10% share by electric cars in global auto sales by 2020 could translate into 2.4 times increase in global demand for lithium.

"WSJ Nissan Aims to Cut Electric-Car Cost
Economies of Scale Should Lower Expense of Batteries, CEO Ghosn Says

BEIJING—Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said the Japanese auto maker intends to overcome the high cost of making advanced batteries and make its all-electric cars price-competitive even without government subsidies.
Mr. Ghosn, speaking to a small group of reporters in the Chinese capital, gave a timeframe of around three years for the cost-cutting effort, though he said the price of oil would play a large role in determining the effort's success.

CEO Carlos Ghosn, shown in August, says Nissan will sell its all-electric Leaf first to fleet customers.

"How long do we need government incentives going to the consumer?" Mr. Ghosn said. "We think [such incentives] are necessary for a period of time we estimate to be three years."
The executive said Nissan believes demand for all-electric battery cars is likely to keep increasing, and that the resulting economies of scale in producing batteries will allow Nissan and other companies to significantly slash costs involved in making electric cars. "Scale is absolutely important," he said.
Technological improvements are also expected to help cut the cost of producing lithium-ion batteries, high-power motors and other new technologies needed to build electric cars.
Nissan plans to make a big global push for its line of battery cars, starting in the second half of next year with the Leaf, a hatchback it plans to make available to corporate-fleet customers in the U.S., Europe and Japan. It is staking its future on all-electric battery cars even as its rivals express skepticism over that technology, at least over the short to medium term. Some of them have chosen to invest instead in plug-in electric hybrid cars.
In China, Nissan said it plans to test-market the Leaf in 2011 by making it available to government agencies and other fleet customers in the city of Wuhan.
Initially, Nissan plans to make the Leaf price-competitive with comparable gas-fueled compact cars around the world by relying on government incentives for private purchases and separating the car's battery from its purchase price. Nissan executives have said the company plans to lease the battery to Leaf buyers and charge them a monthly payment that is comparable to the monthly expenditure for gasoline to operate a gas-fueled compact car.
One factor manufacturers of all-electric cars can't control, and which is likely to have a profound impact on demand for electric vehicles, is the price of gasoline, Mr. Ghosn said. However, he said he believes gasoline prices will remain high in coming years and keep pushing up demand for cars powered by alternative fuel sources.
"The higher the price of oil, the faster" it will be to overcome the high cost of building electric cars because that would spur demand, Mr. Ghosn said. "I am confident that the model is going to work," he said, referring to the business model for the Leaf and other electric cars Nissan plans to launch in coming years. Mr. Ghosn expects electric vehicles to account for 10% of overall global vehicles sales by 2020.
As a sign of Nissan's confidence that demand for all-electric cars is going to take off, Mr. Ghosn said Nissan is planning to put in global capacity to produce 500,000 battery packs a year in the medium term. Many of those batteries are going to be used to produce electric cars by Nissan and its alliance partner Renault SA."

Lithium: Battery Of The Future: New Storage Material Improves Energy Density Of Lithium-ion Battery TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, ROC, FMC, WLC.v, CLQ.v,,

Technological progress today is taken for granted, but just twenty years ago mass market for mobile phone did not exist at all. Today its technological advance transformed businesses, economies and societies. Most people today are introduced first to Internet via mobile phones and not computers any more. It is the power of disruptive technology in action. It is how all major Bull markets were started: Automobiles, PCs, Internet. Next Big Thing, in our vision, will be an adoption of technological advance in storage of most convenient form of energy - electricity, when Lithium-ion batteries with its capacity, density and specific power made it possible to build an electric cars with all utility functions of a "normal car" and acceptable range for mass market consumers.

Lithium based battery solution is already an industry standard for advanced Hybrids and for all Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). Industry insiders from automakers and battery producers are all expecting further rapid technological advance with price per battery going down in half with double capacity within next five years. It is a gestimation at this stage, but just check your mobile today and picture above for further thoughts on power of disruptive technology with a potential to affect all modern societies.
We have covered this topic already in:
Next Industrial Revolution - The Lithium and REE Bull is born.

And we are pleased that our estimations are reflected now in share prices of companies involved and news flow coming from this sector. You can find more information here:

Investing in Lithium and REE: Hype, Dreams and Economics.

Mass market for electric cars is already on its way even with existing technology, but its coming could be much more dramatic in scale if progress in price per battery capacity can drop below 250USD per kWh. Electric cars do not need automatic transmission with gear box to bring the same driving experience as in automatic conventional car. 250 USD per kWh will bring cost of battery for full BEV with average 20 kWh to 5000USD which will be comparable to conventional power train. After the prices for batteries will drop substantially, range extension will become crucial in further market penetration. Please, do not forget that idea in the lab has a long way to go before it hit the road, but Mobile Communication Revolution is still vivid with its memories from early nineties, when advance in quality, price, weight and functions could be hardly imagined just twenty years ago. Talking about time - International Lithium Corp. put a new presentation on its website with timescales for different type of Lithium and REE deposits. If we are going to enjoy advance in Lithium-ion battery's technology in our electric cars in five years time on a truly mass market scale with penetration more then 5% Lithium supply must be doubled. Time is today to develop the new secured resources for strategic commodities of the nearest future.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2009) — High-performance energy storage technologies for the automotive industry or mobile phone batteries and notebooks providing long battery times -- these visions of the future are being brought one step nearer by scientists from Graz University of Technology.
Researchers at the Institute for Chemistry and Technology of Materials have developed a new method that utilises silicon for lithium-ion batteries. Its storage capacity is ten times higher than the graphite substrate which has been used up to now, and promises considerable improvements for users.
The new findings -- which came to light in the "NanoPoliBat" EU project -- have been recently submitted to the patent office by researchers together with their co-operation partner Varta Microbattery.
Modern electronic devices need more energy and even the automotive industry is hankering after increasingly powerful energy storage systems. The technological development of battery research has been inadequate for some time now. "A real revolution is needed for the development of the next generation. We need new storage materials for lithium-ion batteries," explains battery researcher Stefan Koller, who is familiar with the topic from his doctoral thesis. Together with colleagues from science and industry, he has managed to develop such a substrate material for electrochemical reactions at a low price.
Silicon gel on graphite
In the newly developed process, researchers utilise a silicon-containing gel and apply it to the graphite substrate material. "In this way the graphite works as a buffer, cushioning the big changes in volume of the silicon during the uptake and transfer of lithium ions," explains Koller.
Silicon has a lithium-ion storage capacity some ten times higher than the up-to-now commercially used graphite. The new material can thus store more than double the quantity of lithium ions without changes to the battery lifetime.
This method is far cheaper than the previous ones in which silicon is separated in the gas phase. The challenge lies in the poor storage density of materials in the counter electrode in the whole battery, something which we have been doing intensive research on," says Koller."

Friday, October 30, 2009

EVs mass market: Renault's electric stars - Auto Express tests Renault's revolutionary electric car line-up TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, ROC, FMC, WLC.v, CLQ.v,

"We believe that marketing budget for promotion of Nissan Leaf-Electric-Car will match in its ambition amount of money spent on development - 5.5 billion USD according to Bloomberg article below. The electric car is real. It's here - Stated at Wharton Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: 'Now Is the Time for the Electric Car'. We can expect now a serious push in the market place educating consumers on green mobility revolution and zero emission choice available on a mass market scale in the nearest future. This interest should translate in healthy investment flow into strategic commodities like Lithium and REE."
THE electric cars of tomorrow are here… and Auto Express has driven them! Following on from their debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, we’ve put Renault’s new zero-emission models through their paces.From the Twizy four-wheeled scooter to the Zoe electric supermini and the Fluence – a more conventional Megane-sized family saloon – there’s something for everyone, and although each car is a concept at the moment, they point the way to actual models that will appear in showrooms from 2011. Renault and Alliance partner Nissan have made a big commitment to electric transport, already investing 4bn euros in the project, and developing their own lithium-ion batteries. Each model will cost no more than the equivalent petrol car, and Renault/Nissan is working with the UK government to set up a charging infrastructure. Make no mistake, the electric dream will very soon become reality!

Lithium and REE: Nissan has spent more than 500 billion yen ($5.5 billion) developing electric cars TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, WLC.v, CLQ.v,,

We believe that marketing budget for promotion of Nissan Leaf-Electric-Car will match in its ambition amount of money spent on development - 5.5 billion USD according to Bloomberg article below. The electric car is real. It's here - Stated at Wharton Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: 'Now Is the Time for the Electric Car'. We can expect now a serious push in the market place educating consumers on green mobility revolution and zero emission choice available on a mass market scale in the nearest future. This interest should translate in healthy investment flow into strategic commodities like Lithium and REE.
"If we decided to drive electric cars and charge their Lithium battery with wind, solar and other green power generated energy - time is study Rare Earth Elements. Every time you click on your Blackberry, iPhone or use your PowerBook you are at the mercy of all these elements."

We encourage you to visit Nissan Leaf website and watch videos related to Zero Emission concept, cars, batteries and charging networks.

By Kae Inoue, Makiko Kitamura and Yuki Hagiwara
Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- After Nissan Motor Co. tackled technical restrictions on its first electric car involving range, battery life and temperature fluctuations, it still had to come up with a name. Choosing ‘Leaf’ wasn’t easy.
Before settling on names for new models the carmaker consults lawyers in as many as 200 countries or territories, including the Canary Islands, to make sure candidates aren’t trademarked or considered offensive in local languages.
“It was a minor miracle that the name was cleared,” said Kozue Nakayama, Nissan’s head of brand management. “We go through a vetting process to avoid words that have negative connotations or links to sex and violence.”
When carmakers come up with a possible hit name, they often trademark it regardless of whether an applicable model is in the works. Nissan has spent more than 500 billion yen ($5.5 billion) developing electric cars to compete with Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius and Honda Motor Co.’s Insight hybrids.
The Yokohama-based automaker also had to consider the more than 1,000 team members who have been involved in the project and wanted a say, according to Nakayama. At Nissan’s annual shareholders meeting in June, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn was pressed to explain why no name had been announced yet.
“When you name a child, isn’t it often the case that in addition to the parents, the grandparents also weigh in?” Ghosn said at the meeting, according to Nakayama. “Please understand that there are so many of us with strong feelings.”
“Leaf” was chosen since a plant, which converts carbon dioxide into oxygen during photosynthesis, is the “ultimate energy source” and is easily understood across cultures, Nakayama said.
Phaeton, Qashqai
Some names can have unintended connotations. When Volkswagen AG called its first luxury car bearing the company’s brand “Phaeton” after the son of Helios, the Greek sun god, analysts pointed out that in mythology, the boy was killed for driving his father’s chariot too close to the earth. The model subsequently failed to meet sales forecasts.
Nissan drew from its own “piggy bank” of names in rechristening its Qashqai sport-utility vehicle “Dualis” for the Japan market, when the model went on sale in May 2007, Nakayama said. Qashqai, which refers to a tribe of people in Iran, can be mistaken for the question “Is it cash?” in Japanese and is difficult to pronounce, she said.
Nissan shares rose 4.8 percent to close at 672 yen in Tokyo.
‘Naked,’ ‘Bongo Friendee’
When Honda renamed the Fit compact for markets outside Japan in 2002, it decided on “Jazz,” which was originally trademarked in 1986 for possible use for a 50cc motorcycle, according to the company.
“Japanese model names have often been amusing to non- Japanese,” said Ashvin Chotai, managing director of Intelligence Automotive Asia, citing names such as Daihatsu Motor Co.’s “Naked” minicar, Mazda Motor Corp.’s “Bongo Friendee” van and Isuzu Motors Ltd.’s “Big Horn” sport- utility vehicle.
Trademarks explain why many car names contain X’s, Z’s and acronyms, as most everyday words are already reserved, Nissan’s Nakayama said.
The Leaf is powered by lithium-ion batteries and has a range of 100 miles on a full charge. It will go on sale in Japan, Europe and the U.S. next year, according to Nissan. The carmaker expects at least 20,000 U.S. orders for the model by the time deliveries begin by the end of 2010.
Staking Its Future
“Nissan is staking its future on the Leaf, and its name must match up with consumers’ needs and their subconscious,” said Tatsuya Mizuno, director of Mizuno Credit Advisory in Tokyo.
In addition to Toyota and Honda’s hybrids, it will compete against General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt, which will debut by late 2010.
Stricter emissions regulations are spurring introductions of electric cars. Starting with 2012 models, California state law requires 3 percent of vehicles sold over a three-year period to be so-called “zero-emission vehicles.”
Sometimes, top executives get directly involved in the naming process. That was the case with Toyota’s new Lexus LFA, a $375,000 “supercar” unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show last week.
LFA stands for Lexus F-series Apex, with the F referring to the Fuji Speedway racetrack. That F was suggested by Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda, a racing fan, during his days as executive vice president, according to the company.
‘Good Omen’
Suzuki Motor Corp.’s Chairman Osamu Suzuki played a role in naming the WagonR, the company’s first wagon-style vehicle, which was first sold in 1993 and ranked as Japan’s best-selling car last year. “R” is pronounced “AH-ru” in Japanese, which sounds like the word for “we have.”
“Suzuki has sedans. We have sedans, but we now also have wagons, so I thought we could just call it WagonR,” Suzuki wrote in his 2009 autobiography.
Hamamatsu, Japan-based Suzuki now plans to enter the mid- size sedan market in the U.S. with its “Kizashi” model. The name means “good omen,” which the company hopes the new challenge will be for Suzuki, spokesman Takuma Mizuyoshi said.
“Names don’t make or break a car’s success,” analyst Mizuno said. “But they can certainly symbolize a company’s risk-taking attitude.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

TNR Gold/International Lithium Increase Property Fivefold Mavis Lake, Ontario-Rare Metals Pegmatite Project TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC,, WLC.v

Key point summary:1. Samples at Mavis & Forgan Lake have confirmed high grade Li2O and the presence of rare metals -- grab samples up to 3.14% Li2O.
2. Other Rare Metals (
Tantalum) over limit samples are pending
3. Phase 2 follow-up underway"

Our play on Next Big Thing: green mobility revolution with bull markets in strategic commodities Lithium, other rare metals and REE - is making further progress in building critical mass in its global portfolio of Lithium and REE properties.
Please do not confuse our research work here "How to build from zero to one billion" with investment advise, as usual.
TNR Gold has confirmed historical mineralisation on Mavis lake property among other properties in Ontario and now increases fivefold its land package in the area. Initial exploration model of Dr Frederick Breaks and Ike Osmani has found further confirmation on the ground with extension of known mineralized pegmatites into the newly acquired areas and warranted this aggressive acquisition with: "Expanded claims secure known mineralized pegmatite extensions and surrounding prospective area."
We made some research and found that Dr Frederick Breaks used Mavis property for his PhD thesis in 80s, more then twenty years ago. With this kind of persistence can we count on another discovery this time for International Lithium corp.?

"TNR Gold TNR.v attracted Dr Breaks a major expert figure in the REE market with few discoveries behind his belt, junior is apparently betting on Lithium story and moving fast putting properties and people able to develop them together. More on Dr Breaks discoveries: The Big Whopper, one of only four giant economic rare metal pegmatites worldwide, is set to become a producer of the highly valued lithium mineral petalite (LiAlSi4O10) used in glass, ceramics and the specialty glass-ceramics familiar as Corningware® and the new ceramic stovetops. The Pakeagama Lake pegmatite, located 160 km north of Red Lake, is one of the largest and most highly evolved rare-element-mineralized pegmatite systems in the Superior Province of Ontario, Canada. It is a LCT pegmatite enriched in Li, Cs, Rb, Ta, Sn etc."
TNR Gold seems to be well positioned in Ontario as a whole with Ike Osmani's years spend within Ontario Government Geological Survey.
"Ike Osmani, P.GeoPosition: TNR Gold Chief Geologist for South American Projects
International Lithium management
Mr. Osmani brings 26 years of Canadian and International mineral exploration experience in gold, uranium and base metals and has provided exploration consulting services for numerous resource companies. He has 17 years of experience with major and junior exploration/mining companies and as an independent Consultant and 9 years with Ontario Geological Survey (Government of Ontario)."
Company has updated its presentations on the home page, International Lithium Corp presentation now summaries impressive portfolio with more latest details from ongoing exploration.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 29, 2009) - TNR Gold Corp. ("TNR" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:TNR - News) and wholly-owned International Lithium Corp. ("ILC") are pleased to announce the expansion by staking of the Mavis Lake rare metals (Li-Ta) property located approximately 15 km northeast of the city of Dryden in northwestern Ontario.

- Mavis Lake property increased to 2,554 hectares from 512 hectares;
- 1.24 wt% Li2O over 5.3 metres in channel and 3.14 wt% Li2O in grab sample reported;
- Follow-up program recently completed with results pending; and
- Expanded claims secure known mineralized pegmatite extensions and surrounding prospective area.

President of TNR Gold, Gary Schellenberg states, "The high grade lithium values encountered and the observations reported from the project indicate a highly evolved pegmatite environment. Further exploration will focus on defining the extent and identifying the various mineralized zones within the Mavis Lake pegmatites."


The newly acquired claims, comprising 2,032 ha area (10 claims - 127 units), are contiguous from the eastern and northern boundaries of company's 100% owned existing (512 ha) Mavis Lake property. The total property area of 2,544 ha represents a fivefold increase in size from the Company's previous land position at Mavis Lake.
The acquisition of the new claims was prompted due to the high grade lithium mineralization encountered from the Company's recently conducted initial litho-geochemical sampling program on the property. The high-grade mineralization, including 1.24 wt% Li2O over 5.3 metres in channel samples and up to 3.14 wt% Li2O in grab samples, was obtained from Pegmatite Dike #18 located near the northeastern boundary of company's previously staked claims (TNR News Release - October 05, 2009).
The new claims are significant in that they secure the potential extensions of 9 known mineralized pegmatite dikes to the east and encompass a highly prospective area in which to discover additional mineralized pegmatite dikes.
TNR/ILC has now completed a more comprehensive second phase of mapping and litho-geochemical sampling program on the property and intends to release the results as they become available.
Ike Osmani, P.Geo, is the Company's qualified person on the project as required under NI 43-101 and has reviewed the technical information contained in this press release.


TNR is a diversified metals exploration company focused on exploring existing properties and identifying new prospective projects globally. TNR has a total portfolio of 33 properties, of which 16 will be included in the proposed spin-off of International Lithium Corp.
It is anticipated that TNR shareholders of record will receive up to one share and one full tradable warrant of International Lithium Corp. for every 4 shares of TNR held as of the yet determined record date. This will result in TNR shareholders owning shares in both TNR and International Lithium. For further details of the spin-off please refer to TNR's April 27, 2009 news release or visit International Lithium Corp.
The recent acquisition of lithium, rare metals and rare-earth elements projects in Argentina, Canada, USA and Ireland confirms the company's commitment to generating projects, diversifying its markets, and building shareholder value.
On behalf of the board,
Gary Schellenberg, President"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lithium and REE: Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: 'Now Is the Time for the Electric Car' TNR.v, CZX.v, RNO, NSANY, SQM, FMC, ROC, WLC.v, CLQ.v, RM.v,

Do not underestimate the power of technological structural shift multiplied by industrial scale.

The electric car is real. It's here. And before long -- when curbside charging stations become as ubiquitous as parking meters -- it won't seem all that complicated, either.
So says a man who has thrown his corporate reputation into the post-gasoline car: Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan. In a wide-ranging Wharton Leadership Lecture that touched on everything from managing a multicultural conglomerate to pushing for targeted government regulation, Ghosn was at his most optimistic when discussing a future where zero-emissions vehicles are embraced -- not out of altruism towards Mother Earth or hostility towards the oil-rich Middle East, but because they are good business.
"The electric car appeared at the beginning of the century, then disappeared, appeared in the 1950s, then disappeared, appeared in the 1970s, then disappeared," Ghosn said. "But a lot of things have changed.... We are putting our chips and we are putting our investment and we are putting our efforts behind this belief that now is the time."
Why now? Ghosn says one critical element was technological progress. "The battery of today is capable of doing things that the battery of 10 years ago was not capable of," he said. Where the task of supplying enough energy for a car's wildly varying power needs was once impractical, it's available today at reasonable prices.
The second element is the price of oil. Noting that the cost of a barrel is $68 in the middle of a recession, Ghosn asked his audience whether anyone thought the price would go down. No hands went up. With the U.S., China, Brazil, Indonesia, Eastern Europe and Western Europe all growing, "imagine what the price of oil [will be] if we don't change the consumption," he said.
Also affecting costs, he predicted, would be a third factor: Regulations. During his lecture, he asked for another show of hands from people who believed environmental restrictions would become less stringent. Again, no hands went up. "The car industry is 14% of CO2 emissions," he said. "In the eyes of the public, the car industry is responsible for 50%. We have no choice."
The coming boom in car ownership in emerging economies will likely increase this perception. Ghosn predicts a spike from 700 million cars today to some 1.5 billion globally: "If you're going to let developing countries have as many cars as they want -- and they're going to have as many cars as they want one way or another -- there is no absolutely alternative but to go for zero emissions. And the only zero-emissions vehicle available today is electric.... So we decided to go for it. We decided not to wait for the next battery and the next car in five years. We decided now is the time."
Plugging In
Ghosn went into significant detail in describing how his firm can make electric cars a practical reality -- and a consumer favorite. "Driving an electric car is pure pleasure," he said. "I'm sure when the car is on the market in the U.S. and people start to drive it, it will totally change the image of an electric car." Starting next year, Nissan and Renault plan to offer a wide range of such vehicles, not just a single marquee product marketed to show off a driver's green inclinations. "We want the car to be affordable, which means, if you want to buy an electric car, it has to cost the same" as regular cars.
The logistics, on the other hand, will require a certain degree of investment from individuals, businesses and perhaps governments. Ghosn said car buyers with garages at home should be able to upgrade their electric outlets to facilitate an electric car's plug for around $500. In big cities, he predicted, electric companies will pay about $1,000 for devices resembling parking meters that can be arrayed along curbs to charge the vehicles. He predicted that price would fall as companies began mass-ordering the devices, and said firms would quickly recoup their expenses as customers pay to charge their batteries.
Both of those options, though, require a car to be charged overnight, like a mobile phone, for a charge that gets a car fewer miles than a tank of gas. Drivers in a hurry will have to go to a quick-charge station, which can fill up 80% of a battery in 30 minutes. The equipment isn't cheap: A quick-charge device, Ghosn said, costs $30,000 -- an investment that might make sense once there is a critical mass of electric-car drivers already on the road, but something that could seem expensive for service station owners in a market where electric cars remain rare. He called for governments to step in and spur the market via regulation. One idea: Make quick-charge facilities mandatory for anyone operating a gas station starting in 2012.
Ghosn indicated that he foresees epic battles over his ideas, commensurate with the major economic interests at play. "It's not possible unless government supports you. It's not because the technology is more expensive. It's because you can't compete against 68 million cars being produced in the whole system.... That's why we need support from the government, in order to make the ramp-up from 500,000 to one million cars. And then the system works by itself. Governments are all lined up. They are all agreeing to say, 'Okay, I want an electric car in my country. I'm going to put in the incentives that are necessary. I'm going to put in the infrastructure that is necessary, because we need to get out of dependence on oil. We need to get out from CO2 and global warming. And we need to get out from the risk of oil going to $150 and $200 a barrel.'"
Comic Book Hero
Ghosn's career makes him the ideal person to translate once-fantastic ideas into practical nitty-gritty. Born in Brazil, he moved to his parents' native Lebanon at age six. Educated there and in France, he went to work for Michelin and became chief operating officer of its South American division at age 30. By 34, he was running the firm's North American operations, where he led a merger with Uniroyal. He moved to Renault in 1996 in time for the French automaker's takeover of Nissan. In 2001, he became the first non-Japanese to run the firm, which was deeply in debt and had lost nearly $6 million the previous year. In 2002, it turned a profit. Ghosn's turnaround skills made him a celebrity in Japan, where his story was featured in a comic book.
Ghosn said he never planned a career as a turnaround specialist. Rather, he said, he chose the transportation industry because "I liked cars, I liked products and I liked to work with people." Were he in a position to hire someone to fix a distressed firm, he would focus on three more specific qualities: Someone who had previous experience with tough business challenges, someone who was rigorously factual and willing to question assumptions by using data, and someone who could connect with other people to enlist their help with difficult parts of the recovery effort, such as layoffs.
Ghosn described his firm's multinational character as a plus: In addition to its well-known French and Japanese components, it also owns or partners with automakers in Korea, Romania and Russia. "We are a hybrid of different cultures -- one French, one Japanese, one Russian. Every company is autonomous, but we develop synergies together.... We are a unique combination of different cultures, and it works. It's complicated, it goes against all the advice, but it works." In 2008, the company had more than $100 billion in global revenues.
Ghosn, 55, says a diverse firm like Renault Nissan, with 300,000 employees around the world and head offices in Paris and Tokyo, is a fairly good reflection of a business world where management culture has become as diverse as labor and market locations. "Six or seven years ago, the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] countries were a new frontier," he said. "Now they are at the heart of the system.... 'Multicultural' used to be American leaders, Japanese leaders and West European leaders. Not anymore." The current downturn, which has seen China, India and Brazil remain comparatively resilient, will only serve to strengthen this trend.
Ghosn sees major new possibilities for those countries, and other emerging economies, in his industry. His advice to nations dreaming of an auto sector: "You have to bring something to the table." Japan, he noted, started by introducing cheap cars that were bedeviled by quality problems. Once the quality problems were fixed, Japanese firms ruled the market. Korean automakers followed the same model, occupying the low-cost niche Japan had vacated, and then moving up as quality soared. He sees Chinese firms following suit. India's auto industry, on the other hand, appears not to be copying the pattern, focusing instead on "frugal engineering -- a habit that's lost elsewhere" -- for cars like Tata's low-budget Nano. The vehicle might come to dominate parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, although Ghosn doubts it would clear Western safety hurdles.
The increasingly multinational nature of automakers and auto buyers stands in contrast to a strain of nationalist dialogue that has been especially prevalent as the U.S. ponders its reliance on gasoline.
In the case of the automobile industry's move away from oil, one factor that is frequently cited by American politicians is not high on Ghosn's list of motivations: national security. An audience member asked whether a transition to batteries would really help America's push for energy independence, since many battery ingredients come from China, a country that presents its own set of foreign-policy challenges for Washington. But Ghosn said the point wasn't to cut potentially competing governments out of the action: Instead, it was to liberate the market from the environmental risk and price uncertainty that are specific to oil.
In addition, he said, the oil and battery industries are both more diverse than the national security rhetoric would have people believe. Slash transportation's dependence on oil by 50% and there will still be a large market in heating, industrial products and countless other regions. And while the least expensive batteries and several key raw materials do come from China, the most sophisticated batteries are made in Japan and Korea.
The very unpredictability of his own path -- like the technological change his industry is now experiencing -- offers a fairly good lesson about managing a career, Ghosn said.
"A career, no matter what, you can't predict, you can't plan. You're going to be offered much more opportunity than you ever think could happen. The only thing to make sure of is that your mindset is open enough so that when the opportunity comes, even though it's completely bizarre or completely strange or in a place in the world that you never thought you would be, you're ready to take it," he said. "If somebody had told me six months ago that ... I would be sitting in [the Tokyo neighborhood of] Ginza managing one of the largest car manufacturers in Japan, I'd have said [he was] crazy. Not going to happen. If you don't maintain your open mindset, if you say, 'This is my plan and everything else is a distraction,' you're not going to go anywhere."

US Dollar collapse: Dead Government Walking by Eric Sprott TNR.v, RMK.v,,, SGC.v, BVG.v, CPG.v, EPZ.v, OK.v, ASM.v, HUI, XAU, GDX,

Dead Government Walking - by Eric Sprott.

First Gold and Majors, then Silver and Juniors.
Time is to pick up Juniors in Gold and Silver and Commodities.
Buy Gold!

Gold Juniors: Fortress Intercepts 100.8 Metres Grading 2.58 g/t Gold Including 41.0 m Grading 5.57 g/t Gold at the Tamara Prospect FST.v,, GDX

Lukas Lundin continues his quest for Gold in Far Eastern Russia with Kinross Gold and GazpromBank as his partners.

"Lukas Lundin and gold above 1000 USD/oz is a powerful combination even if it is in Russia. Kinross Gold is a partner with GazpromBank on Russian side, Kinross operates Kupol Gold mine in Russia, so they must know all the tricks to stay afloat there. Discount for juniors and Russia will be gone with fresh investors' rush for gold, deposit hopefully will stay and grow."

"VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 28, 2009) - Fortress Minerals Corp. ("Fortress") (TSX VENTURE:FST - News) is pleased to announce final results from the 2009 trenching program at the Svetloye Project, Russia. Trench PDTR-T7 from the Tamara prospect encountered 100.8 metres (from 39.2 to 140.0 metres) grading 2.58 grams per tonne (g/t) gold including 41.0 metres (from 58.0 to 99.0 metres) grading 5.57 g/t gold. All trench samples at the Svetloye project are channel samples collected by rock sawing a channel 5 centimetres in width continuously throughout the trench wall providing a consistent sample similar to a horizontal drill hole. Please see attached maps.
The 2009 Svetloye trenching program was designed to provide increased continuity of sample data for resource definition within ore zones previously defined (see Press Release dated April 23, 2009), and to provide guidance to the 2009 and 2010 drill programs at Svetloye. Trenching was completed at five of the target areas identified at the Svetloye Project with encouraging results. See the attached table for a complete list of the 2009 trench results.
The Svetloye Project consists of nine prospects that occur over a linear distance of eight kilometres. Prior to the 2009 drilling and trenching programs, the total inferred resources at Svetloye, including the Elena, Amy and Tamara prospects was estimated at 20.1 million tonnes grading 2.21 g/t gold containing 1.428 million ounces of gold (see Press Release dated April 23, 2009).
Gold is associated with extensive zones of vuggy silica, quartz-alunite and quartz-dickite-kaolinite alteration. This style of mineralization is common to Pierina, Veladero and other high sulphidation epithermal deposits. Fortress owns a 100% interest in the Svetloye Project.
The Company plans to mobilize fuel and equipment to Svetloye over the winter months for next year's program. In the meantime the Company will concentrate its exploration efforts on the Malmyzh copper-gold and Limonite copper-molybdenum properties. These properties, which are accessible by road from Khabarovsk, can be drilled during the winter months (see Press Release dated October 19, 2009).
James C. Ashleman, Chief Geologist, P. Geo., and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and verified the technical information contained in this news release. A rigorous quality control program has been instituted involving insertion of certified standards and duplicate sampling. Samples are crushed and split on site with final sample preparation at the Irgiredmet Laboratory of Irkutsk, Russia (accredited by the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Standardization and Metrology "Gosstandart" of Russia). Assaying by fire assay is performed by the Irgiredmet Laboratory.
To view the maps accompanying this press release please click on the following link:;_ylu=X3oDMTE2OWh2ZWsxBHBvcwMxBHNlYwNuZXdzQXJ0Qm9keQRzbGsDaHR0cG1lZGlhM21h/SIG=11ibsacmt/**http%3A//
Lukas H. Lundin, President and CEO"

Gold Juniors: 1.45 oz/ton gold over 20 feet - Roxmark reports expansion of high-grade gold zones at Hardrock Project RMK.v,,, GG, HUI,

"Apparently yesterday's halt of Roxmark Mines RMK.v was not because of a new very significant gold intersections by its J/V partner Premier Gold, but because of merger announced later between Roxmark Mines and Ontex Resources. One more of our Top Picks for this year is being bought. Consolidation in the former producing Canadian Gold district has begun."

Another impressive set of results from Premier Gold - operator of the J/V with Roxmark's share of 30%. After recent announcement about merger with Ontex results from Hardrock project will have to carry both companies - not a lot of value from Ontex side so far and its share price collapsed below 0.3CAD now. Management of Roxmark attempts to survive acquisition by Premier Gold, but now there is an opportunity to consolidate all former producing district with Roxmark's mill and Hardrock deposit shaping nicely in hopefully multi million OZ in the ground, Premier Gold is very aggressive and resource estimation promised by the end of the year. Below 0.2CAD this company will produce another entry point into this Gold Bull with recent pull back in gold.

TORONTO, Oct. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Roxmark Mines Limited (TSXV-RMK) today announced that ongoing drilling by Premier Gold Mines Limited (TSX -PG) as operator continues to delineate multiple high-grade gold zones at the Hardrock Project in Northwestern Ontario. Highlights from recent drilling include additional high-grade intersections in the High Grade North (HGN) Zone and the discovery of near-surface high-grade vein-style mineralization in the New North (NN) Zone:

in the HGN Zone continues to define high-grade vein-style mineralization with new intercepts of up to 49.81g/t Au across 6.0m. - Drilling at the NN Zone has intersected near-surface high-grade vein-style mineralization with intersections of up to 39.15 g/t Au across 3.6m in addition to further defining potentially open pit-style mineralization along strike from the EP Zone. - Expansion drilling at the South Porphyry (SP) Zone continues to define high-grade mineralization with intersections of up to 15.68g/t Au across 3.4m. Recent drilling has discovered high-grade gold mineralization (HGN Zone) in close proximity to existing mine workings below and north of the main EP Zone. Mineralization has been intersected over a plunge length of approximately 200 metres where it remains open up and down plunge. New intersections including 49.81g/t Au (1.45 oz/ton gold) across 6.0m (19.7 feet) in hole EP119 complement previously released intersections of 1,141.54 g/t Au (33.33 oz/ton) across 2.0m (6.6 feet) in hole EP105 within the HGN Zone, 8.84g/t Au (0.26 oz/ton) across 7.0m (23.0 feet) in hole EP105 within the NL Zone and 12.5g/t Au (0.36 oz/ton) across 6.7m (22.0 feet) in hole OR007 within the NL Zone. New drill results from the HGN Zone are contained in the following table.
Recent near-surface holes drilled in the NN Zone, located along strike from (and west of) from the EP Zone, suggest the potential for defining open-pit resources with intersections up to 6.42g/t Au (0.24 oz/ton) across 22.4m (73.5 feet). Follow-up drilling continues to define broad zones of near-surface mineralization in addition to a new high-grade vein zone that has returned 39.15g/t Au (1.14 oz/ton gold) across 3.6m (11.8 feet) in hole MM048. New drill results from the NN Zone are contained in the following table.

Lithium: French billionaire launches $1.5B EV battery play TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, WLC.v, CLQ.v, RM.v, LI.v, NSANY, RNO, TM, TTM, DAI, BMW, F,

One more step to the mass market for electric cars and Europe is charging ahead following China and Japan. Japanese companies are on the road searching for secured Lithium and REE supplies and China uses its low cost labour advantage again to make its stand in green economy. Strategic commodities will be in a high demand in coming electric race.
"When designer of Ferrari and Maserati makes an Electric Car it will be noticed, when they partner with french industrialist - it is a sign of time. France invests billions in electric car's infrastructure and makes it compulsory for all residential and commercial development. We have to update our Lithium Demand model again."
CleantechGroup French billionaire launches $1.5B EV battery play

Bollore Group opens lithium-metal-polymer battery factory near Montreal to supply electric vehicles made by Italy's Pininfarina and France's Gruau Group.
France's Bolloré Group (EPA:BOL) unveiled today its $120 million upgrade to a lithium-metal-polymer battery factory in Québec, Canada, that the company took over in 2007.

French billionaire and Bolloré Group CEO Vincent Bolloré told the Cleantech Group that the expansion is part of his company's $1.5 billion initiative to have two facilities with a total production capacity of 30,000 solid-state batteries per year to supply makers of electric vehicles with an alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

Bolloré said the overheating problems associated with lithium-ion batteries in laptops and mobile phones will prevent major automakers from using them to power vehicles (see ReVolt plans for zinc-air battery to trump Li-ion with $13M in funding).

"Lithium ion is very dangerous," he said. "The safety of the polymer lithium is so much better than lithium ion, the top producers will be obliged to go to polymer lithium."

Bolloré Group recently completed a facility in western France with current production capacity of 5,000 batteries. The company plans to spend about $100 million to add a second building to expand the capacity to 15,000 by 2011.

The newest facility in Boucherville, Québec, is expected to produce 5,000 batteries annually by the end of 2009. Bolloré Group plans to expand the capacity to 15,000 within 18 months.

Bolloré Group took ownership of the Québec facility when it acquired French-Canadian battery maker Avestor, which was the only company other than Bolloré Group to hold patents on lithium-metal-polymer batteries, the company says. Avestor went under in late 2006 (see Italian fashion, the military, sea snakes and failed cleantech startups).

Bolloré Group combined the expertise of the two companies, including its knowledge of extrusion and Avestor's work with iron phosphates to produce batteries with improved cyclability, Bolloré said.

Bolloré Group subsidiary BatScap developed the battery, which is made of four films: the anode is a metallic lithium film; the electrolyte is a polymer film with additives that allow lithium ions to cross; the cathode is a polymer film with insertion compounds that capture and discharge the lithium ions; and a metal film that collects the currents.

BatScap also developed supercapacitors to quickly absorb and deliver large amounts of electric power. A pack of supercapacitors combined with the lithium-metal-polymer battery can recover energy when a vehicle brakes and feed the energy back to the system (see Shares of Maxwell rise on Chinese ultracapacitor deals).

Bolloré Group already has two joint ventures to use the batteries and supercapacitors in vehicles expected to go to market in June 2010.

The company is working with Italy's Pininfarina to supply batteries for the compact La BlueCar, which is expected to go 250 kilometers (155 miles) on a full charge. Bolloré said a full charge will take about five hours when using 220-volt chargers in Europe and eights hours in North America using 120-volt chargers. The companies have taken orders for 6,5000 cars across the globe, including about 500 in North America.

Bolloré Group also plans to supply batteries to France's Gruau Group for a small electric bus capable of holding about 20 people. Bollore said he expects the JV to produce 100 a year, with each using three batteries and selling for about $150,000—a less-than 10 percent premium on traditional buses, Bolloré said.

"The price of the battery is important, but the price of the electric engine is quite low and you have no gearing," Bolloré said. "A normal engine is quite expensive, and gearing is quite expensive, so in the electric car will not be a luxury product. It will be for everybody."

Bolloré noted, however, that he thinks electric cars will make up 5 percent to 10 percent of the market because of the limitations caused by charge times. Although little infrastructure exists now, Bollore said he expects charging stations to be readily available in restaurants, gas stations, and workplaces.

"In the beginning of course, our first clients will be pioneers because they will have no infrastructure," he said. "But all the governments in developed and emerging countries are developing charge places. … The problem of infrastructure will be solved."

A number of companies are scoring government contracts to install charging stations for electric vehicles, including Coulomb Technologies in Germany and the Netherlands, and ECOtality in China and the U.S. (see Coulomb launches EV charging stations for Germany’s Bochum and ECOtality pulls $15M to build EV charging network in China).

Meanwhile, Better Place is deploying battery-swap stations for electric vehicles in Israel, Denmark and Japan (see Better Place’s battery-swap stations for Tokyo taxis get investor approval)."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lithium and REE: Green projects, electric cars and solar power on agenda for Obama and Biden TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, WLC.v, CLQ.v,, RES.v,


"Rare-Earth Elements along with Lithium and Rare Metals are in high demand as a result of the rapid advancement in technology, including green power generation, nanotechnologies, hybrid and electric cars. TNR is thriving to move into this new market of high value strategic commodities to help meet the needs of consumers resulting from unprecedented growth in high-tech industries."

Lita Epstein

Oct 27th 2009 at 10:15AM

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will focus Tuesday on green projects and the new jobs they will create as they visit a new solar energy center and a former GM plant that will be retooled to produce electric vehicles. They will also announce $3.4 billion in government grants to improve the efficiency of the nation's electrical transmission network. All three projects are examples of how the administration plans to create or save tens of thousands of jobs using money from the stimulus package. Obama starts his day at Florida Power and Light's Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Fla., one of three solar projects under way in Florida that will create 5,000 jobs. Obama pledged $467 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to expand and accelerate the development and use of solar energy. The Next Generation Solar Energy Center will generate enough power for 3,000 homes when completed. Obama will also highlight new technologies that will allow this solar energy to be transmitted to locations with higher demand.
While in Arcadia, Obama will announce $3.4 billion in government grants to develop and install "smart-grid" technology that will make the nation's electrical grid more reliable and efficient. The money for this project comes from the $787 billion economic stimulus legislation. Grants will range in size from $400,000 to $200 million including:

• $200 million for Constellation Energy Group's Baltimore Gas and Electric to provide new electric meters to 1.1 million households. The new meters will allow real-time monitoring of electricity use and help customers adjust their usage during peak times.

• $28.1 million to Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas and Electric to build a wireless system to link the utility's 1.4 million meters and monitor other equipment across the electrical grid.

In all, there will be 100 government grants in 49 states that will be matched by $4.7 billion in private investments. Vice President Biden will announce a multimillion-dollar deal to convert a closed GM plant in Wilmington, Del., into a factory for making electric vehicles. Fisker Automotive of Irvine, Calif., will invest $175 million to retool the plant and put many of Delaware's former GM and Chrysler workers back to work. The 60-year-old plant used to produce the Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT. It was closed in July and 1,100 people lost their jobs. About 700 workers at a Chrysler plant 15 miles away in Newark, Del., were laid off in December 2008 when that plant closed. Fisker will pay $18 million for the facility and equipment, and will get tax incentives from Delaware. The company will build an electric vehicle under the name "Project Nina" that is expected to sell for $39,900 after tax incentives. Fisker says it will create 2,000 jobs at the plant, which expected to be operational in 2011. Administration officials estimate that the deal will indirectly create another 3,000 jobs once the facility is fully operational, which is expected to be in 2014. Fisker got a $528 million loan from the Department of Energy when it started two years ago, and it plans to use some of those funds to retool the Delaware plant.

Lita Epstein has written more than 25 books, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Value Investing and The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Politics of Oil.

Lithium outlook bright with auto electrification TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, WLC.v, CLQ.v,, RES.v, QUC.v, LI.v, RM.v, F, NSANY, RNO, TTM, TM,

The story is getting out and major news makers put on the investment radar screens this new bull market along with Obama's recent announcements on clean energy initiatives.

"Now, when Bolivia has confirmed our reservations to count on it as a source of Lithium serured supply for our Green Mobility Revolution to happen, places like Argentina with its lithium brines are attracting more investors' interest. Barron's has recently covered the topic in its Hybrids Drive Lithium Miners."

"Lithium brines with economical grade can be produced directly from Salars without the need for costly and time consuming process of mine construction."

Reuters "Lithium outlook bright with auto electrification
Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:58am EDT

By Chris Kelly
WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Demand for lithium should ramp up over the next decade to produce the lithium-ion batteries needed to power the next generation of electric and electric hybrid vehicles.
"I think that the future of transportation and energy is in electrification and smart grids. For electrification to really take place, you need a number of drivers, and we are seeing these catalysts today in Beijing ... in Washington, in terms of energy independence and 'green' air quality requirements," said Jay Chmelauskas, president of Western Lithium Corp. (WLC.V)
"Will it happen? Yes it will, but where is that inflection point? I think it is in the next five to 10 years from what we see happening," he said during a panel discussion last week at the Managing Supply Chain Risks for Critical & Strategic Metals conference in Washington.
Light weight, energy efficiency and ability to quickly charge should drive demand from the auto industry for lithium-ion batteries past demand for batteries made from other metals such as lead, nickel and cobalt.
"We are recognizing that lithium is perhaps the Holy Grail of the electric vehicle and variations of the electric vehicle," said David L. Trueman, consulting geologist with Avalon Rare Metals Inc.
The United States produces just 3 percent of the global lithium supply, but with support from $2 billion in government stimulus, suppliers of the minor metal are betting on a future transportation sector that will run on electric battery technology.
Western Lithium's Chmelauskas said his company's Kings Valley, Nevada deposit could potentially be one of the world's largest strategic, scalable and reliable sources of high-quality lithium carbonate.
"Our vision here is to supply the North American market and to support all of the stimulus funding ... the billions of dollars that are going into the technology, and we believe that the future of lithium and ion batteries in electric cars will certainly bring a lot of opportunities," he said.
Bolivia owns about 50 percent of the world's lithium deposits at about 5.4 million tonnes.
As industrialized nations make strides in cutting dependence on fossil fuels and reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses, electrification of automobiles is an inevitable goal.
"In the very long run we have a goal of transportation and mobility all around the world. We are going to have a transportation sector that's electrified, regardless of the sources of electrification," said Yaron Vorona, executive director with the International Lithium Alliance
"It's only a matter of time before all cars are electrified. Lithium is the best electron transport for charging and recharging batteries out there to date.
"If the future is electric ... and it is, the future"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lithium-ion batteries: This technology will replace 148 billion barrels of oil TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, WLC.v, CLQ.v, RM.v,, QUC.v, RES.v

This bull market is at its very beginning, but Lithium already has became a strategic commodity of industry standard in energy storage for mobility applications. Electric cars are coming and charging infrastructure in Europe already is a part of government policies, it have to come to USA as well - otherwise Chinese will take this market as they did with REE. While MIT is still questioning viability and cost of batteries Chinese BYD has put thousand of engineers and claim now over 200 miles range for its electric cars.

Warren Buffett quintupled his money in a little over a year
Not many investors noticed in September 2008, when Warren Buffett took a 10% stake in Hong Kong-based battery maker BYD Co. Ltd. for $230 million.
They should be noticing now.
Shares in BYD, which also makes cell phones and automobiles, have quintupled in a little more than 12 months, meaning that Buffet’s investment is now worth more than $1.5 billion.
But Buffet’s interest in this little-known Chinese stock isn’t the main story here. In fact, the investing icon is simply focusing a bright spotlight on an industry that could serve as a major profit play for years to come.
The real story here is battery power, a technology market that’s heating up in a big way. Just the market for rechargeable batteries is expected to zoom from $36 billion in 2008 to $51 billion in 2013.
And yet the battery market gets less attention than solar or wind power, its higher-profile (but less-technologically developed) cousins.
Modern battery technology is the keystone of the global push to find an energy alternative for oil. In fact, a specific new category of rechargeable batteries is actually a “breakthrough” technology that has the potential to replace as much as 148 billion barrels of oil over the next 50 years, a potential savings of $10.4 trillion – even at current prices.
And oil prices will certainly blast well above the current $78.50 a barrel as supplies diminish.
What these numbers don’t tell you is that there’s a powerful catalyst at work, one that’s behind the big push to develop new, rechargeable battery technologies: the electric – or “hybrid” – car.
Billions bet on “third element” technology
While last year’s record oil price of $147 a barrel served as a wake-up call for the car-driving consumer, it was also the catalyst that shifted the plug-in-auto industry into high gear.
In response to the oil price surge in 2008, U.S. President Barack Obama promised to invest at least $150 billion on alternative energy during his term.
But a big chunk of his $787 billion stimulus bill will finance development of a new, rechargeable battery technology for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).
The technology in question: Lithium-ion.
Sometimes referred to as the “Third Element” – because of its No. 3 position on the Periodic Table of the Elements, lithium is believed to have been one of the few elements synthesized in the “Big Bang” that created the universe.
Now it’s a key ingredient of the new class of rechargeable batteries needed to jump-start the plug-in car market. The other ingredient is capital.
President Obama’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act allocates $2 billion for the development of battery systems, components and software for advanced lithium-ion batteries and for hybrid electric systems. Another $300 million will support an Alternative Fueled Vehicles Pilot Program.
While those allocations will nurture the continued development of lithium-ion technologies, another program is aimed at hybrid-vehicle buyers: Starting this year, buyers of commercial plug-in electric vehicles can receive a tax credit of up to $7,500.
And that was just a down payment: The $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program will make sure the industry itself continues to develop.
Automakers have latched onto lithium-ion battery technology as the road to the future. Right now, nearly every automaker on the planet is gearing up to flood the market with some form of electric-powered car:
Daimler AG plans to roll out a hybrid version of its S-Class sedan later this year. The entire Mercedes lineup eventually will be available as hybrids in the next five years.
Tesla Motors Inc., of San Carlos, Ca., has already delivered the Tesla Roadster, a stunning electric two-seater that sells for more than $100,000.
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. retooled a factory in Smyrna, Tenn. to produce a pure electric vehicle. Nissan expects to sell as many as 50,000 units of the hybrid Altima in its first year.
Ford Motor Co. is bringing out the pure electric Transit Connect commercial fleet van in 2010 and plans to invest $550 million to retool a Michigan truck plant to manufacture a pure electric Focus in 2011.
Chinese carmakers Hafei and Coda are planning to bring a mass-produced electric car to market in California in fall 2010.
And General Motors Corp. is counting heavily on new-technology lithium-ion batteries to power the Chevy Volt, its revolutionary and much-hyped PHEV, which is due to debut next year.
Global power (and profit) play
For further confirmation that the PHEVs are more than just a passing fad, look at the money being invested by governments across the globe.
Aabar Investments PJSC, an investment company wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi government, recently bought a 4% stake in Tesla Motors from Daimler. And Aabar Chairman Khadem Abdulla al Qubaisi says the fund is planning several more electric-vehicle ventures with Daimler.
“When we acquired our stake in Daimler in March, we identified a number of potential areas for co-operation between our two businesses. One of these was a desire to focus on the development of electric vehicles,” al Qubaisi said.
But here’s the real kicker: Aabar Investments is using Abu Dhabi oil revenue to finance its foray into these oil-supplanting battery technologies.
Worldwide demand for batteries of all types – both non-rechargeable (primary) and rechargeable (secondary) is projected to advance at roughly a 7% annual clip through 2010, reaching $73.6 billion, according to a study published by The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based market-research firm.
Not surprisingly, the “World Batteries” study predicts that China will post the largest gains, while sales increases are also expected to be strong in India, Indonesia, South Korea, Poland, South Africa, Brazil and Russia.
But it’s the China market that promises to put a real charge into the worldwide battery business.
On the home front, Beijing is pushing its assault on battery power through its “
20% by 2020” campaign, meaning that 20% of China’s power needs will be served by renewable-energy technologies.
From a global standpoint, China is using its big advantage in labor costs to establish a leadership position in the worldwide battery market, and already has more than 50 factories cranking out product.
It’s an aggressive plan, to be sure, but it’s also cohesive and complete. And Beijing has the cash to make it happen