July 11th, 2022 | 15:35 CEST
BYD, First Hydrogen, Amazon - Electric vehicles on the brink of extinction?
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"[...] We can convert buses and trucks to be completely climate neutral. In doing so, we take a modular and incremental approach. That means we can work with all current vehicle types and respond to new technology and innovation [...]" Dirk Graszt, CEO, Clean Logistics SE
BYD - Tesla overtaken
Changan Automobile is not yet a real competitor for BYD, even though a hybrid and an electric version of the SL03 model are to be launched on the market in addition to the hydrogen drive. For the first time, BYD was able to break Tesla's market leadership. The Chinese sold 641,350 electric vehicles in the first half of the year, while Tesla's e-car sales were just 564,743. According to Tesla, this is due to disrupted supply chains and accompanying production stoppages. However, Tesla boss Elon Musk also admitted that he expects strong competition from the Far East.
Just how strong BYD has become was demonstrated a month ago when the head of research at BYD revealed in an interview that the Group would also supply Tesla with its blade batteries in the future. In addition to the battery and car market, BYD is also a producer in the semiconductor sector. BYD Semiconductor is supposed to be listed on the stock exchange, but the IPO had to be postponed several times. In May, the Securities and Exchange Commission stepped in and demanded more information. In July, the Company said it was in dialogue with regulators.
An IPO would bring fresh capital into the Chinese company's coffers. In the meantime, the Group has built up a technical lead over the competition. Ferdinand Dudenhöfer said, "BYD has at least a 3 to 5-year lead in battery technology over BMW and Mercedes, for example, with Mercedes more like 5 years behind in my estimation." The stock is buoyed by the ongoing good news and is trading at EUR 40.60. As a result, the share has more than doubled since mid-March. In the field of electromobility, the Group is playing in the premier league and will not be displaced by hydrogen any time soon.
First Hydrogen - Application for funding submitted
First Hydrogen has focused on hydrogen propulsion from the beginning. The Company's goal is to produce zero-emission light-duty vehicles. It has Ballard as a technology partner, whose hydrogen fleet has traveled more than 50 million km. AVL Powertrain is on board as a design partner. The range of the vans is expected to be over 500 km. Test drives have been underway since June, and road approval is expected to be achieved by September, allowing the van to be demonstrated to potential customers. To further cover the value chain, the Company is developing a hydrogen refueling system with the German FEV and plans to enter green hydrogen production.
In addition to producing the first vans using a best-of approach, the Company also plans to develop customized vehicles in the future. It is fitting that the Company was able to poach Manuel Tolosa from BMW at the end of June. There he was the manager of fuel cell systems. He will become head of the powertrain technology department. In early July, the Company applied for funding from the UK government's Net Zero Hydrogen Fund program for two green hydrogen production projects. The application was accompanied by letters of support from the Thames Estuary Growth Board and INOVYN, a subsidiary of hydrogen producer INEOS.
The projects are located in the Thames Estuary and Carrington area and are each expected to have an initial capacity of 40 megawatts. If the Company receives grants, design work can begin, and the chances of further funding programs increase. The share came under pressure with the last private placement but was able to form a double bottom at around CAD 2.00 and climbed from there back up to CAD 2.41. As a result, it is currently possible to get in at a lower price than the investors in the private placement, who paid CAD 2.70. If the Company receives positive feedback on its funding application, the share should be able to rise further.
Amazon - Environmental protection is on the agenda
Amazon is a customer of Plug Power and operates fuel cell-powered hub vehicles in some logistics centers. In this way, the Company wants to improve its CO2 balance in the long term. The main advantage is the short refueling time of around three minutes. Electric-powered alternatives cannot compete with this. Deliveries are made with vans, which are still mostly powered by combustion engines. By 2030, the Group wants to operate 100,000 electric delivery vehicles. 10 years later, it wants to have achieved climate neutrality.
The Company has also been testing hydrogen-powered trucks since 2021. So it could well be that both hydrogen and electric vehicles will be used. The main factor here is the area of use, which will be decided on a case-by-case basis. But the e-commerce giant is also trying to become greener in other ways. In Germany, it is doing away with plastic bubble cushions wherever possible and using paper envelopes for shipping. The aim is to save more than one million tons of packaging material per year.
The Company recently announced that it had joined the US-based delivery service Grubhub. US customers who are Amazon Prime customers can try Grubhub's service for free for one year. One should keep a close eye on this. In Germany, Amazon has failed with its Prime Now delivery service. The share was unable to get a boost from the stock split on June 6, and the share was still at around USD 125. Currently, one share certificate costs USD 115.54. Many industry experts fear that the fear of recession and increased inflation could dampen the buying mood.
Even if the first automaker is mass-producing cars powered by hydrogen, electric drive is far from history. It instead looks as if both systems have their reason for existence. BYD is currently number one in the electric vehicle market. First Hydrogen has recognized the problems of the electric solution in the transportation sector and is offering a hydrogen-powered van as a solution. Once road approval is granted, the stock should jump. Amazon has not yet made a final commitment to a technology. While hydrogen is already in use in logistics centers, the electric drive is ahead in delivery vans. The decision has been postponed.
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