Since the beginning of the year, the fuel cell stocks covered in this issue had seen a fast uptrend, which ended with the spread of Covid-19 around the world. Fears over the impact of the disease on the global economy meant some gains were quickly lost. Still, in light of increased news coverage, multiple project announcements and the growing popularity of green hydrogen, it has become clear that hydrogen and fuel cells are entering the mainstream and their breakthrough into the market is approaching rapidly.
In the previous H2-international issue, I wrote that the price rally from USD 250 to more than USD 430 already represented a short squeeze. However, I was quickly disabused of that notion when I saw Tesla’s stock hitting an intraday high of USD 1,000 before pulling back in recent weeks.
Tesla’s share price rose sharply from US$ 230 to over US$ 360 during the reporting period, after the third quarter did not close with a loss (consensus was a loss of US$ 1.31 per share), but on the contrary with a profit of US$ 143 million (US$ 0.78 per share GAAP). Cash holdings were also maintained at US$ 5.3 billion.
The momentum for the fuel cell is constantly improving with increasing dynamics. Recent co-operations such as those between Bosch and PowerCell, but also positive statements on fuel cells from automobile manufacturers such as Audi are attracting attention. Will China be the driver again, as it was when the batteries were introduced and before that in the field of renewable energies? There, new funding guidelines are about to be introduced, which are intended to favour and strongly promote the fuel cell and the hydrogen infrastructure, while the subsidies for purely battery-operated vehicles will, depending on the radius, be abolished in full or to a large extent.
Firstly, all Tesla shops should be closed, because it would be easier to sell the vehicles via the Internet, then some showrooms should remain, because firstly, Tesla would like to continue to be present in important locations (big cities) and secondly, Tesla would not be able to get out of long-term rental agreements without paying a penalty.
In early July, the first Model 3 cars finally left Tesla’s factory, an occasion that resulted in great enthusiasm among analysts and shareholders alike. Initial production was limited to 30 units – 20 for employees and 10 for test drives. Custom-made versions, maybe? It doesn’t look like actual series production, but the event was an effective PR tool to launch the new mass-produced electric vehicle.
On Dec. 1, 2016, Nikola Motor Company presented its first hydrogen truck. Founder and CEO Trevor Milton unveiled the Nikola One in front of 600 invited guests at the company’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. The truck is a concept study of an electric semi equipped with a large lithium-ion battery pack and a fuel cell.
The persuasiveness of Tesla head Elon Musk resulted in more than 90 percent of Tesla and SolarCity shareholders following his recommendation and approving the takeover of the latter. Now, Tesla will expand its electric car portfolio by offering solar roofs. The impact of the merger on Tesla’s financials will show as early as the fourth quarter of 2016, when SolarCity’s results are added to the corporation’s balance sheet. The most important factor is the around USD 3 billion in debt.
Was that the signal so many had waited for? On Nov. 29, 2016, BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen announced the establishment of a joint venture in the electric transportation sector. They explained in a memorandum of understanding that they would join forces and equally share responsibilities for advocating the deployment of a “high-powered DC charging network for battery-electric vehicles covering long-distance travel routes in Europe.”
With great fanfare, Tesla head Elon Musk announced what he had devised as a second masterplan. The corporation is not only to produce batteries for its Powerpack and Powerwall, but should also supply the added solar modules (takeover of sister company SolarCity is in progress). The new plan additionally includes aims to design several other electric cars – from trucks and smaller transport vehicles to buses.