Chuck, the idea that there will be (is already) a shakeout in a new technology business is normal. Every business segment goes through this. Sometimes it is bigger companies getting into a space by buying early movers in that space. Sometimes, like the battery case, it is a capacity problem. Too much capacity is developed early (investors are notorious for piling on) and cannot sustain itself. Companies with deeper pockets step in and when the market does take off, they are well placed to capitalize. The photovoltaic industry is another that is similar to the battery industry. In both cases, oversupply was encouraged by government intervention and industry hype. There is a place for each of these technologies, they just haven't found it yet.
You are correct and well said. The only solutn fr this kind is need rock sold support by Government until the industry stabilizes. Plug-IN EV Chevy Volt is the future. There is a lot of room to develop still better car which can be mass affordable. Governament should support Chevy Volt type cars more rather than supporting novelty cars
Of course a lot will depend on what happens to the price of electricity. Currently, it keeps going up with the excuse being that people are being more energy efficient (and the electric company telling you how to do so when they raise your rates, because you are). If plug-ins start taking off, will that drive the price down (as one might expect) or will that just be another reason to increase the rates.
Ener1 declared bankruptcy after getting a $115M Gov't grant, they've since been bought for $80M by a Russian friend of the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The government sunk $125M into A123, which was supposed to be matched by private investment, In October, A123's battery plants were being bought by Johnson Controls and they expected to continue operating them. In December, Wanxiang, outbid Johnson Controls to purchase the company and they've said the plants will stay open.
Dow Kokam, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, is laying off 25% of its Midland workforce, an unspecified number (>0) at its Lee Summit, MO workforce, and Dow Chemical is writing down the value of its investment. Dow received a large tax-payer funded infusion for these plants.
LG Chem makes batteries for the Chevy Volt (also in Michigan) and that plant also received Federal funding but is running at a a small fraction of capacity with many workers on rolling layoffs.
Its a tough world for battery makers, The government made massive investments, but after the plants were built, they are unsustainable. There are not enough people willing to essentially pre-pay for most of their fuel by paying out a huge premium upfront to save day-to-day operating costs.
The title says it all. It's like saying that the tomato market hinges on people eating them or the glass business depends on people using more windows (not the computer kind) or the rain coat business hinges on it raining. Are we getting dumber and dumber or is it just me getting old?
I think we are getting dumber and dumber. We had a nice snow over the Christmas holidays in the Ohio valley, and I heard reports on the radio that the hospitals were reporting a higher incidence of sledding accidents since the snowfall. Go figure!
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