Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Ford warns electric cars may be only for the rich" (AONE; TSLA)

A123 is looking for a mass market for their batteries and Tesla can't sell enough of the $109K roadster model to get profitable.
From the Telegraph:
Ford's chief financial officer has warned predictions of a surge in electric car sales are "very ambitious", as next generation vehicles dominate the Geneva Motor Show.

Lewis Booth, a Briton, raised concerns about their viability without state subsidies. Most leading car makers have unveiled new electric or hybrid models in Geneva, while BMW and Peugeot have confirmed a €100m (£85m) joint venture to develop electric technologies.
However, Mr Booth said: "Electric vehicles at the moment are still very expensive and have limitations. There is a question mark about how long governments can subsidise vehicles when they are under so much pressure from other funding issues.
"Some of the sales projections... for electric vehicles are very ambitious because I am not sure how customers are going to be able to afford to pay.
"Our philosophy is that we have a suite of technologies, from continuing to improve conventional vehicles, right through to plug-ins, hybrids and electric vehicles. The customer is going to decide and we want to satisfy all customers, not just rich customers."
Philippe Varin, chief executive of Peugeot, warned Europe is in danger of being left behind by Asia and America if it does not improve investment in infrastructure for low-carbon vehicles. "We have to standardise infrastructure. We are late compared to Asia," he said....MORE
And from TheStreet:

Green Energy Stocks: Electric Cars Stall
In 2010, negative news flow had the upper hand on positive news flow for the lithium ion battery makers, even if the Chevy Volt's media ride kept electric cars in the headlines. 

If turning the corner is to be the 2011 story for lithium ion battery stocks, though, the sector stalled this week on a couple of negative items, and trading remains volatile for stocks in the space. 

Consumer Reports released its 2011 car buying issue this week and among the big headlines in the annual ranking was the decision to not recommend General Motors'(GM_) Chevy Volt. In fact, Consumer Reports advised car buyers looking at an electric car alternative to buy the $23,000 Toyota Prius over the $40,000 Volt.  

We would have really liked to have loved it," David Champion, director of Consumer Reports auto test center told Reuters this week, adding, "It was fun to drive and the ride quality was pretty good. But when you look at the finances, for us it doesn't make any sense." 

If the Consumer Reports raining on GM's electric car parade was the macro downer for the electric car market, on Tuesday, A123 Systems(AONE_), the GE-backed U.S. lithium ion battery maker, provided an equivalent micro downer, reporting a quarterly earnings loss greater than the loss expected by the Street....MORE