The hot battery maker has a balance sheet problem -- lots of inventory of expensive EV batteries. It looks like the adoption curve for electric vehicles is flatter than anyone thought.
Battery maker A123 was supposed to rev up the electric vehicle revolution. When the company went public in September 2009, Wall Street loved it. But recently, A123 (AONE) has had a hard time pleasing the Street, missing earnings estimates even though it's producing a good product on schedule. Why?
Basically, A123 was ready for customers that couldn't ramp up production of electric cars when they predicted. This meant that A123 couldn't sell the number of batteries they'd hoped in the time frame that they expected to sell them.
"They need to wait for the customers to have their factories up and running before they're ready to sell batteries to customers," says Ben Schuman, a senior research analyst for Pacific Crest Securities who specializes in energy management technologies. More
Better Place is working with GE to finance purchases of batteries for its switching stations and electric car system. But since most EVs come with the batteries built in, the financing won't be a panacea for the pricey new cars.
The electric vehicle industry's major hurdle these days is the exact same piece of hardware that's supposed to power it. Batteries for electric cars can cost up to $10,000 a piece. MOREShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Nov 9, 2010 12:45 PM ET
Big carmakers say they're developing driverless cars, but only the search engine company has taken to California's highways with one. If driverless cars can pick up people at their home or office, the need to buy one at all may soon be gone.
By Doron Levin, contributor
Google's (GOOG) dramatic experiments on California roads with driverless-vehicle technology, publicized with mild fanfare within the past week, could legitimize a once far-fetched concept for MOREOct 12, 2010 12:38 PM ET
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