Thursday, September 3, 2020

Electric cars : Solid-state lithium battery maker QuantumScape

Solid-state lithium battery maker QuantumScape is becoming a publicly traded entity through a merger with special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, Kensington Capital Acquisition (NYSE:KCAC). QuantumScape wants to disrupt the automotive industry—and the EV space—by offering a better mousetrap.

Including $200 million from the Kensington’s trust fund and a $500 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE, the transaction will provide about $700 million in proceeds to QuantumScape. The deal values the company at about $3.3 billion.


None of the current shareholders are using the transaction as a chance to cash out—a good sign for any SPAC transaction. After the deal closes, QuantumScape will have north of $1 billion of cash on its balance sheet.

For QuantumScape, the “SPAC deal represented was a much faster and more streamlined way to become public compared with the traditional IPO process,” explains founder and CEO Jagdeep Singh. “Combined with the value that partnering with Kensington in particular brings—they’re a bunch of auto guys—it just made the most sense to take this route.”

Kensington Capital, the SPAC sponsor, is an automotive industry focused investment bank based outside of New York City. Justin Mirro, the SPAC’s chairman and CEO, began his career at General Motors (GM) before moving to investment banking focused on the automotive sector.
EVs appear to be taking over the car business—as the epic rise in Tesla (TSLA) stock portends. Telsa is now the world’s most valuable car company by a wide margin.

That makes EV batteries very important to the auto industry and to investors. Solid-state batteries promise lower cost and higher power density than existing battery technology. That’s a panacea for EV makers—a battery that is relatively cheap and light weight, making the upfront costs of EVs comparable to gasoline-powered cars. Solid state batteries charge faster too.

It’s taken a while to get solid state right. QuantumScape believes it is there, pointing out that Volkswagen (VOW.Germany) has tested and validated Quantum’s solid-state batteries and plans to commercialize them by 2025. That might feel like a long way off, but “the automotive cycle is long,” explains Singh. “People have recognized solid state potential for decades.”

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Electric cars: Xpeng Motors

Xpeng Motors (NYSE:XPEV)  began trading on the NYSE on Wed 26 Aug 20
  • Xpeng is the third Chinese electric vehicle startup to go public in New York after Nio's (NIO) $1 billion IPO two years ago and Li Auto's (LI) recent $1.1 billion IPO.
  • Electric car stocks have benefited both from Tesla's surge this year and as governments and automakers promote emissionless technology.
  • Major investors: Alibaba Group (BABA), Coatue, and Qatar Investment Authority.


G3 SUV

P7 sedan


The P7 sedan will compete against Tesla Model 3 in China by offering a longer range and lower price.  It went on sale in China at the end of June. Base Price: $33,391

An IPO filing describes the company as producing two premium electric vehicles, the G3 SUV and the four-door P7 sports sedan. P7, which launched at the end of June, is a rival to the Tesla Model 3 in China. A third model is expected in 2021.

Xpeng also offers an optional autonomous driving system. It targets the mid- to high-end China electric car market, as do Chinese rivals Li Auto and Nio.

Founded in 2015, Xpeng is unprofitable and revenue dived 19% in the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit sales.

He Xiaopeng, the 42-year-old founder of Xpeng Motors.
Previously, he developed the Chinese web browser UC Browser and sold it to Alibaba in 2014.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Electric cars: Lucid Motors

Another luxury electric vehicle is coming to market with hopes of dethroning Tesla.  It is the Lucid Air and it is slated to be revealed on Sept. 9, 2020.
  • Founded: 2007
  • Owner: Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (67%)
  • Headquarters: Newark, California
  • Founders: Sheaupyng Lin, Bernard Tse, Sam Weng
  • https://lucidmotors.com

Origins: Founded as Atieva in 2007 by Bernard Tse, a former Tesla director, Sam Weng and Sheaupyng Lin. The company initially focused on battery packs for vehicles in China but pivoted in 2014 to building its own car.

Market: Initially aimed at the U.S. with some exports to Europe. Lucid sees a huge market in China but will likely need a plant there to make the vehicles cost-effective.


Lucid recently made headlines with a claimed driving range of 517 miles for its upcoming Air model. That’s currently more than any other mass-produced EV on the market by a long shot. It achieved this with a 113-kilowatt-hour battery.
That is much better than Tesla’s longest-range Model S—which in June was the first EV to earn a 400-mile plus rating from the Environmental Protection Agency.



Charging time for the Air hasn’t been released, but we expect it to charge faster than any current mass-produced EV, thanks to its 900-volt electrical architecture. That’s more than the Porsche Taycan’s 800-volt system and more than double that of Tesla’s 400 volts. When Lucid unveiled the Air in 2016, it said it would have 1,000 horsepower with its dual-motor setup. That hasn’t changed, and it’s possible the number could increase a little when the production version debuts. That’s a lot of power, more than most supercars. And there’s more: A tri-motor model with a mind-numbing 1,800 hp is in the works. Lucid says the upcoming Air can hit 60mph in 2.5 seconds.


We expect the Air to come with a long list of driver-assist tech, thanks to its semi-autonomous system called Lucid Dream Drive. Unlike the Model S, the Air will have a driver monitoring system and lidar sensor (short for Light Detection and Ranging). In addition to the lidar sensor, the Air will also come equipped with 32 sensors. These consist of camera, radar, and ultrasonic sensors. Driver-assist features include a surround-view camera, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic protection, traffic sign recognition, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centering, headlight assist, traffic drive-off alert, and a self-parking system. At its debut, we should learn if these sensors and features will be standard or optional.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Blink Charging (NASDAQ:BLNK)

Blink Charging is an owner, operator, and provider of electric vehicle charging services. The company offers both residential and commercial EV charging equipment, enabling EV drivers to easily recharge at various location types.

Its principal line of products and services are Blink EV charging network (the Blink Network) and EV charging equipment (also known as electric vehicle supply equipment) and EV related services

The company was formerly known as Car Charging Group, Inc. and changed its name to Blink Charging Co. in August 2017.


The company announced it will collaborate with EnerSys to develop "high power inductive/wireless and enhanced DC fast charging systems with energy storage options for the automotive market."

Approximate Number of Sites:1,680

Coverage: Blink chargers are located in approximately 25 states, with the largest concentration in California, Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Access: Start by registering a credit card with a Blink account. There are no required annual or monthly membership fees, or minimum credit card balance. Members who register will receive an “InCard” and can initiate a charge using the card. Guests can initiate a charge with Blink’s mobile application.

Cost Per Charge: In the states that permit kilowatt-hour pricing, fees for Level 2 EV charging stations owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network range from $0.39 to $0.79 per kWh, depending on the state and individual’s membership status. Blink is a proponent of kWh pricing because it is usage-based and EV drivers pay fees based on the actual amount of power consumed during the charging session rather than the amount of time that the car is plugged into the station. Fees for DCFC chargers owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network in kWh eligible state range from $0.49 to $0.69 per kWh, depending on the state and individual’s membership status.

These states currently permit fees by the kilowatt-hour: California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Massachusetts, as well as the District of Columbia.

In states where pricing by kWh is not permitted, time-based charging fees for Level 2 charging stations owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network range from $0.04 to $0.06 per minute, depending on membership status. Time-based charging fees are rounded up to the nearest 30-second interval. Fees for DCFC chargers owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network in non-kWh eligible states will range from $6.99 - $9.99 per session, depending on membership status.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

EVs in the S&P 500

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) could get the call at anytime from S&P for its inclusion in the S&P 500 Index. While that development may already be baked into Tesla's share price, the S&P inclusion could throw a spotlight back on the sizzling EV sector. 

Those companies looking to make a splash in EVs include:
  • Nikola Motors (NASDAQ:NKLA), 
  • Nio (NYSE:NIO), 
  • Fisker (NYSE:SPAQ), 
  • Rivian [private], 
  • Kandi Technology (NASDAQ:KNDI), 
  • Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS), 
  • Argo AI (backed by Ford (F)), 
  • Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) and 
  • Alibaba (NYSE:BABA)-backed Xpeng Motors (NYSE:XPEV). 
Of course, major automakers like BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY), Ford (F) and Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) are also investing heavily in EVs, while General Motors (NYSE:GM) plans for an all-electric portfolio that will include a Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Hummer, Chevrolet battery-electric pickup and two new Buicks SUVs.

A catch-all investment that also includes AV/EV tech providers like Nvidia (NVDA), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Qualcomm (QCOM) is the Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF (NASDAQ:DRIV), which is up 7.76% YTD.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Electric cars : News

  • August 2020: The Lucid Air is slated to be revealed on Sept. 9, 2020. Lucid expects to achieve a driving range of about 500 miles per charge.
  • August 2020: The Nikkei Asian Review reported that Panasonic (6752.Japan) will invest another $100 million in its joint-venture Tesla (TSLA) Gigafactory in Nevada. The report says plant capacity will rise about 10%, to 39 gigawatt-hours year.  A 39 gigawatt-hour a year plant can make 39,000,000 kilowatt-hours of batteries, or enough to power 400,000 to 500,000 EVs.
  • August 2020: Nikola (NKLA) is designing a pickup truck called Badger to get 600 miles of range through a combination of a battery pack and a hydrogen fuel cell to power its electric motors. It’s a little like having a portable generator on board.
  • When trying to compare the efficiency of battery power versus gasoline engines, the discussion around miles per gallon gets a little strange. The EPA is the entity converting values for U.S. drivers, and the agency decided that about 34 kilowatt-hours of energy is the same as a gallon of gas. So an EV that goes 100 miles using 34 kWh gets about 100 miles per gallon.
  • June 2020: Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) is scheduled to start taking binding orders for its "first edition" ID.3 electric car at a list price of €40K ($45.5K). The German automaker expects to start making some European deliveries in September and sending out full-featured ID.3s by the end of the year as the company's broad goal to be a mass EV producer accelerates. EV buzz is picking up in general after Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) crossed the $1,000 per share threshold and Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) soared in its public debut. Investors also have been putting a charge into EV-related stocks like Electrameccanica Vehicles (NASDAQ:SOLO), Arcimoto (NASDAQ:FUV), Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS), Kandi Technologies (NASDAQ:KNDI) and Nio (NYSE:NIO), Aptiv (NYSE:APTV), Delphi Technologies (NYSE:DLPH) and to name a few. Of course, chipmakers like Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), Maxim Integrated Products (NASDAQ:MXIM), NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) and TE Connectivity (NYSE:TEL) also benefit from the increased focus on EVs.
  • September 2019: Michigan-based Rivian Automotive landed an order from Amazon to purchase as many as 100,000 electric delivery vans over the next decade, with the first ones showing up on the road in 2021.
  • Jan 7, 2019 Shanghai:  Tesla (TSLA) broke ground on its Chinese Gigafactory where it plans to mass-produce Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles. "We think with the resources here we can build the Shanghai Gigafactory in record time and we’re looking forward to hopefully having some initial production of the Model 3 towards the end of this year and achieving volume production next year," Elon Musk stated at the event. The local Gigafactory is the first wholly-owned car plant in China operated by a foreign company. 
  • Jan 2018: Tesla (TSLA) has started to roll out its all-electric Model 3 vehicles, while Volvo last year announced plans to phase out gas-only cars and launch new electric and hybrid vehicles in 2019.
  • Dec 2017:  Panasonic is considering jointly developing batteries for electric vehicles with Toyota (NYSE:TM), a move that would cement its position as the world's leading producer of automotive batteries. Panasonic (OTCPK:PCRFF) already supplies lithium-ion assemblies for Toyota's hybrid vehicles, but has also carved out a name for itself as the major battery supplier to Tesla (TSLA).
  • July 2017:  Toyota (NYSE:TM) is working on an electric car with improved driving range and a fast-charging battery. The Japanese automaker is expected to build the new EV on a new platform and use solid-state batteries that can be recharged in minutes. The new model could arrive as early as 2022.  Other automakers such as BMW are also working on developing all-solid-state batteries, eyeing mass production in the next 10 years.
  • March 2015:  Mercedes is launching its first plug-in hybrid-electric midsize sedan, the C350e, in U.S. dealerships in September 2015, according to reports. Chatter on the street suggests that the German auto-making powerhouse plans to deeply undercut Tesla stickers, with a price around $42,000 before $5,250 worth of federal and state incentives. The 85 kWh Tesla starts at twice that level. And the brash young automaker will not have a competitive product until at least 2017. Mercedes can undercut the pricing because it has a lot more experience at mass production and sourcing; will make the car in low-cost Alabama instead of high-cost California; and it can subsidize the vehicle with its other vehicles, just to gain market share. The market for electrics is growing dramatically; this is just the start.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Island Reversal

An Island Reversal features a grouping of days separated on either side by gaps in the price action. This price pattern suggests that prices may reverse whatever trend they are currently exhibiting, whether from upward to downward or from downward to upward.
  • This price pattern occurs when two different gaps isolate a cluster of trading days.
  • An island reversal changing from upward trending prices (bullish) to downward trending prices (bearish) is much more frequent than the opposite.
  • Short-term exhaustion;  overbought / oversold conditions. (Also see: outside day)

An island reversal on June 11, 2020:


3 months later: the market did move higher, but 


the breadth was poor (small number of stocks participated):