A commercial partnership between Daimler AG and BYD Company Limited expects to unveil a future electric vehicle concept during an autoshow in Beijing next April.
By Dave Brown – Exclusive to Lithium Investing News
A commercial partnership between Daimler AG (OTC PINK:DDAIF) and BYD Company Limited expects to unveil a future electric vehicle concept during the 12th Auto China in Beijing next April. The fully electric vehicle’s initial prototype is currently in progress with the target objective scheduled to be launched in 2013 and the prototype expected to be running by springtime 2012. The joint venture optimizes BYD’s expertise in lithium battery technology with Daimler’s electric vehicle architecture and safety.
With China forecast as a potential leading market for electric vehicles in the Asia Pacific region within the next 4 years, manufacturing of the compact to mid-size electric vehicles is expected to begin in Shenzhen. Production of the vehicles will be closely monitored by Daimler’s quality control team to generally comply with other passenger car production system standards.
Volkswagen potential in China
Volkswagen AG (OTC PINK:VLKAY) has also released plans to manufacture electric vehicles in China within two years. Lithium investors will note that in the past, Volkswagen has previously collaborated in joint venture lithium battery technology developments with BYD, Sanyo and Toshiba. According to an interview with Bloomberg, Karl-Thomas Neumann, Chief Executive Officer for Volkswagen Group China, said the company may look for partners and is expecting to build two electric models. The ambitious German based manufacturer is endeavoring to surpass General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) and Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) as the global leader in automobile manufacturing within seven years. Volkswagen will spend $19 billion over the next four years in order to expand its brand presence in China, as part of a marketing objective to gain traction in emerging countries.
Daimler electric vehicle fleet of shared rental units
On Friday, Daimler launched North America’s first exclusive electric car sharing program in San Diego, California. The program allows members to rent lithium battery powered electric vehicles for short periods of time. Daimler expects to increase the number of vehicles in the all-electric Smart Fortwo Electric fleet over the coming months.
United States challenged to increase funding for energy storage research
A three year research project, at the Harvard Kennedy School has recommended that the United States government increase its annual investment in energy research 92 percent from totals in 2009. This includes about $10 billion annually for several technology areas including vehicles and utility-scale energy storage. Of note for lithium investors is a presentation from Laura Diaz Anadon Director of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, indicating that the largest percentage increases in appropriation are recommended for solar photovoltaic, storage and vehicles. The average recommended marginal increases for allocation ranged from 186 percent for solar photovoltaic to 963 percent for large utility scale storage.
Top lithium brine producer reports higher revenues
SQM (NYSE:SQM) reported a revenue increase of 15.6 percent for its lithium and derivatives segment on a year to date basis, reaching $132.2 million compared with the $114.3 million from last year. Lithium revenue increased over the last three months 24.5 percent compared with last year to total $45.8 million. The company stated, “we believe the lithium market is positioned to grow in the short and long term resulting from the development of new technologies, as well as strong growth of industrial applications. [Lithium] Market prices remained stable during the third quarter; however, volumes increased significantly for SQM, reaching totals of approximately 25 percent greater than those reached during the third quarter of 2010. SQM remains optimistic about the lithium market.”
Securities Disclosure: I, Dave Brown, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.