Will the new Chevy Volt add energy into an electric investment portfolio?
Probably not… because small is beautiful.
In this era of rapid change a company’s value is its idea… less its size and experience. A monster organization like GM… even trimmed down comes from the muscle car experience. Changing course from the “Giddiyap 409” attitude to “Go Green” requires enormous effort.
Yet who will come out ahead?
Chinese? South Koreans…. even Japanese? Europeans?
The Japanese and Europeans have the benefit with their small, crowded nations, narrow and winding roads. They have always had to think smaller than in the US, where soft big and fast were the norm.
Japan’s gas prices are almost double those in the US and Europe’s are sometimes triple…. so when America’s cars were getting bigger… Europe’s and Japan’s were shrinking.
The Chinese and South Koreans are relatively new to the game so their mindset may not be as formed.
Americans did not learn much from the 1980s oil crisis. Americans made pretty crappy, small cars at that time… the Dodge Reliant… yuck! No wonder Chrysler went broke.
The Ford Mustang had fallen from its great beginning to a miserable low and the Chevy Malibu wasn’t any better. We should not be surprised that the Japanese grabbed so much market share.
GM rebounded with the Suburban. Ford watched F150 pickup sales soar. Chrysler made the minivan an every day affair and American drivers moved from gas guzzling muscle cars to gas guzzling SUVS and trucks.
Here are reader comments from our last message about green investing.
Greetings Gary, Thank you for printing the electric engineer’s letter. He is a smart guy, and used good illustrations. In his passion for reminding us that a battery is like a bucket [of course he is right] he managed to throw out the benefits of the battery out the window. I hope he doesn’t impede you from reporting on new tech you hear about in the future. We all knew what you intended. The real point is reducing our grid use [via wind solar, whatever] and being able to store it economically. If this battery works it is the breakthrough you reported. Please don’t lose your passion, tell us as many of the details of the vision you see, please. Happy Trails, and keep up the good work.
No chance I’ll lose my passion! I have grand kids and my children are really passionate about this so they push me right along. From the investing point of view, I know that big problems create big opportunity and there are few bigger problems than environmental pollution.
Here is another reader: In response to the solar battery section of this post, it may interest you to access National Geographic’s August’s “Picture of the Month”. Scout around the site until you find the series of photos from their recent article on the current state of solar power technology.
You may know that the WSJ recently had an article about a meeting Correa had with a Russian delegation to discuss Russian help building a nuclear energy plant in Ecuador. The WSJ (which hates Correa) was on red alert. But the general feeling in other media is that the Russians are meddling in “our” backyard in response to us meddling in “their” former sphere of influence, particularly those missiles in Eastern Europe. I continue to be puzzled why no one in Ecuador, or interested in Ecuador, is looking at developing a solar power industry. Apart from the obvious abundance of stable and intense year-round solar radiation, a distribution system along the north/south axis of the Andes would avoid all the problems of moving oil and gas through mountains and volcanoes from the eastern Amazon basin west to the Pacific ports for trans-shipment.
The lack of solar would seem a puzzle until one thinks it through. Solar power is still costly and poor nations tend to go with the least expensive choice. Plus who would help? Solar could make Ecuador independent and no one seems to have that on their agenda.
Mankind must become greener. This is a huge problem and because problems create opportunity, demand for electric cars that help the environment may continue to grow.
When looking at investment ideas in electric cars think small… the winners are not likely go come from America’s… big (mostly busted) three.
See Jyske Bank’s Financial Friday including an interview about electric investing in cars.
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