Solar Boom in Japan, with Battery to Match
Apr22

Solar Boom in Japan, with Battery to Match

Japan has been making large strides in solar since the Fukushima disaster, and those efforts look set to accelerate, at least in the near term. The country, which is not blessed with a wealth of fossil fuel resources, had relied heavily on nuclear energy, but it is now spending big for solar installations as well as energy storage. Just in time for Earth Day, Bloomberg is reporting that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry...

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Electric-vehicle Batteries are Like Olives…
Dec19

Electric-vehicle Batteries are Like Olives…

Sometimes  while I’m reading a standard press release about something that I thought I understood kind of,  I come across a bit of a gap in my knowledge. This week, Nissan says it has opened its lithium ion battery manufacturing plant in Tennessee. The release states, “The first batteries produced at the plant have completed the required aging process and are now ready to receive their first charge.” Um… what...

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A123 Systems Files Chapter 11, Johnson Controls to Buy Assets
Oct16

A123 Systems Files Chapter 11, Johnson Controls to Buy Assets

It looks like it’s pretty much all over for A123 Systems. The advanced battery company announced today that it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to reorganize its debts. Johnson Controls, which also makes large-format lithium ion batteries for the auto industry, will purchase facilities and other assets for $125 million. A123 was earlier mulling an offer to sell itself to Chinese auto part maker Wanxiang Group. A123...

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A Bad Week for Electric Vehicles
Sep25

A Bad Week for Electric Vehicles

It’s not quite clear whether makers of all-electric passenger vehicles need upgraded batteries or upgraded customers. Maybe both. Improved technology might bring cheaper batteries with extended range and a longer useful lifespan. But firms like Nissan might also benefit from customers that don’t mind paying a lot and aren’t suffering from “range anxiety.” Certainly, it is easier for automakers to change...

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No IPO For Smith Electric Vehicles
Sep21

No IPO For Smith Electric Vehicles

As recently as yesterday, IPO-watchers were keeping an eye on Smith Electric Vehicles, which was expected to go public today. I recently wrote about the company’s plans. But last night the company pulled its SEC filing. “We received significant interest from potential investors, however, we were unable to complete a transaction at a valuation or size that would be in the best interests of our company and its existing...

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Smith Electric Vehicles Wants Investors, Cheaper Batteries
Sep07

Smith Electric Vehicles Wants Investors, Cheaper Batteries

There aren’t very many electric vehicle companies in the world. One of the few was founded way back in 1920. Which makes it older than most cleantech firms by at least eight decades. But like many hip, tech-driven, venture-backed start-ups, Smith Electric Vehicles is planning an IPO. Smith manufactures medium-duty delivery trucks – often called box trucks – used for delivering stuff. The trucks are much bigger than the kinds of...

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