Volkswagen shares soar again, up 93 percent

FRANKFURT, Germany

Shares of Volkswagen AG jumped an eye-popping 93 percent on Tuesday after a similar surge the day before. Speculation on the reason centered on hedge funds needing to unwind bad bets on the share’s direction.

The immediate rise in VW share value — at one point, its market capitalization made it more valuable than Exxon Corp. — prompted German regulators to declare they were looking into the reasons for the explosive growth.

The surge came amid reports that hedge funds had been forced to buy scarce shares at high prices after mistakenly betting the shares would fall.

But with Porsche now holding nearly 43 percent of the company, and options to reach 75 percent by next year, that left a shortage of shares. If investors had shorted the stock by selling borrowed shares, they would need to buy shares in order to complete the deal.

On Sunday, Porsche Automobile Holding SE, which owns the company that makes the 911, Cayenne and upcoming Panamera sedan, said it increased its stake in VW to nearly 43 percent plus options, with an eye toward 50 percent by the end of 2008.

That started pushing VW shares into the stratosphere. On Monday, they were up nearly 147 percent to close at 520 euros ($651.35) compared with Friday’s closing price of 210.85 euros ($264.41).

On Tuesday, Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen’s shares spiked as high as 1,005 euros ($1,256) in Frankfurt trading Tuesday, nearly doubling Monday’s close. At that level, Volkswagen was worth some 296 billion euros ($370.8 billion), greater than Exxon’s market cap of $343 billion.

They later settled back to close at 945 euros ($1,183.70) — a gain of 81.7 percent. Some 12.3 million shares traded hands Tuesday.

Read moreVolkswagen shares soar again, up 93 percent

Kerkorian Cuts Ford Stake, May Exit as $1 Billion Bet Collapses

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) — Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian may sell his Ford Motor Co. stake after the $1 billion holding lost two- thirds of its value and put his firm’s casino investments at risk.

Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. sold 7.3 million Ford shares yesterday for an average of $2.43 each and said it contacted an investment bank about unloading the rest. Tracinda’s remaining 133.5 million shares were valued at $311.1 million based on yesterday’s closing price.

Kerkorian, 91, acted five days after Ford’s collapsing stock price forced him to pledge another 50 million shares of his MGM Mirage casino company to support the $600 million credit line used to buy stock in the second-largest U.S. automaker. Tracinda paid as much as $8.50.

Read moreKerkorian Cuts Ford Stake, May Exit as $1 Billion Bet Collapses

GM Lacks Investors to Fund Deal With Chrysler

[general motors headquarters]
The General Motors Corporation world headquarters.

General Motors Corp.’s hopes of buying longtime rival Chrysler LLC are floundering because the auto maker remains unable to secure the financing necessary for the deal, say people familiar with the matter.

In recent days GM, its lenders, and Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital Management, have been trying to woo investors with a pitch about the transaction. That pitch touts a combined GM-Chrysler as delivering cost savings of up to $10 billion, an immediate boost in revenue and an increase in cash available to the merged firm. Outside money is needed to fund the cost-cutting — especially buyouts and severance packages for tens of thousands of hourly and salaried employees. Those cuts could total as much as 40,000 jobs if a deal comes together, said people briefed on the talks. And GM is already burning more than $1 billion in cash each month.

The United Auto Workers union has publicly questioned the deal but privately is studying its merits. GM is pitching the combination as a way to better ensure the continued funding of hundreds of thousands of UAW retiree pensions and health-care benefits. A new company would produce upward of $250 billion in annual revenue, while owning more than 30% of the U.S. market. It would also house an estimated $30 billion in cash, thus improving the company’s credit rating and lowering the risk that either GM or Chrysler would have to seek bankruptcy protection over the next 15 months.

But several of the potential lenders remain unconvinced. Credit markets remain extremely tight, and a number of lenders are fearful of the complexity and scale of combining two industrial giants amid an economic downturn. If investors continue to shun the deal, its proponents could take their case to the U.S. government, arguing that a merger is vital to the survival of the nation’s domestic auto industry. It is unclear at this point what role, if any, Washington might be willing to play. But GM, Cerberus and its banks aren’t ruling out selling a stake in the new company to the federal government.

Read moreGM Lacks Investors to Fund Deal With Chrysler

Germany’s Car Industry Crashes

For years, Germany Inc.’s best promotional vehicles have been the world-class luxury cars the country produces. Shiny Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars are like mobile billboards for excellence, from New York to Moscow, Buenos Aires to Shanghai.

But as the global financial crisis begins to take its toll on the real economy, Germany’s export machine has hit a wall. German exports fell 2.5% in August, the sharpest fall since 2003, as consumers and companies around the world cancel orders for everything from high-end industrial equipment to chemicals.

The car industry, still Germany’s biggest employer, is the worst hit. High gas prices in key markets such as the U.S. have slowed sales for months. Some consumers have been waiting for more fuel-efficient models, while many more are now delaying new purchases because of uncertainty over their jobs. Thanks to the credit crunch, even people who want to buy are finding finance has dried up.

All that spells trouble for the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, Ford Europe and General Motors’ Europe arm, Opel. Ferdinand Dudenhoffer, a respected industry analyst, predicts that the number of new German cars delivered to customers in 2008 will fall by at least 100,000 units to around 3.1 million, and will likely slip below three million next year. As a result, he says, German car companies will have to cut up to 20,000 jobs over the coming year.

Read moreGermany’s Car Industry Crashes

Japanese Invent Car That Runs On Water

Source: Nikkei Business Publications

Genepax Co Ltd explained the technologies used in its new fuel cell system “Water Energy System (WES),” which uses water as a fuel and does not emit CO2.

The system can generate power just by supplying water and air to the fuel and air electrodes, respectively, the company said at the press conference, which took place June 12, 2008, at the Osaka Assembly Hall.

The basic power generation mechanism of the new system is similar to that of a normal fuel cell, which uses hydrogen as a fuel. According to Genepax, the main feature of the new system is that it uses the company’s membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which contains a material capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction.

Though the company did not reveal the details, it “succeeded in adopting a well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA,” said Hirasawa Kiyoshi, the company’s president. This process is allegedly similar to the mechanism that produces hydrogen by a reaction of metal hydride and water. But compared with the existing method, the new process is expected to produce hydrogen from water for longer time, the company said.

With the new process, the cell needs only water and air, eliminating the need for a hydrogen reformer and high-pressure hydrogen tank. Moreover, the MEA requires no special catalysts, and the required amount of rare metals such as platinum is almost the same as that of existing systems, Genepax said.

Unlike the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), which uses methanol as a fuel, the new system does not emit CO2. In addition, it is expected to have a longer life because catalyst degradation (poisoning) caused by CO does not occur on the fuel electrode side. As it has only been slightly more than a year since the company completed the prototype, it plans to collect more data on the product life.

At the conference, Genepax unveiled a fuel cell stack with a rated output of 120W and a fuel cell system with a rated output of 300W. In the demonstration, the 120W fuel cell stack was first supplied with water by using a dry-cell battery operated pump. After power was generated, it was operated as a passive system with the pump turned off.

This time, the voltage of the fuel cell stack was 25-30V. Because the stack is composed of 40 cells connected in series, it is expected that the output per cell is 3W or higher, the voltage is about 0.5-0.7V, and the current is about 6-7A. The power density is likely to be not less than 30mW/cm2 because the reaction area of the cell is 10 x 10 cm.

Meanwhile, the 300W fuel cell system is an active system, which supplies water and air with a pump. In the demonstration, Genepax powered the TV and the lighting equipment with a lead-acid battery charged by using the system. In addition, the 300W system was mounted in the luggage room of a compact electric vehicle “Reva” manufactured by Takeoka Mini Car Products Co Ltd, and the vehicle was actually driven by the system.

Genepax initially planned to develop a 500W system, but failed to procure the materials for MEA in time and ended up in making a 300W system.

For the future, the company intends to provide 1kw-class generation systems for use in electric vehicles and houses. Instead of driving electric vehicles with this system alone, the company expects to use it as a generator to charge the secondary battery used in electric vehicles.

Although the production cost is currently about ¥2,000,000 (US$18,522), it can be reduced to ¥500,000 or lower if Genepax succeeds in mass production. The company believes that its fuel cell system can compete with residential solar cell systems if the cost can be reduced to this level.

More:

Reuters: Petrol Pricey? Japanese Invent Car That Runs On Water

Genepax (Japanese)

Genepax (English)

Source: BlackListedNews

Man Builds Electric Car for $4750, Costs $7 For Every 300 Miles

Also here the article (and the video) have been removed.

I have only found a bad but watchable replacement for the video.



YouTube

Source: NBC5

With gas pushing $4 per gallon, many people are looking for ways to save some green at the pump. One North Texas man found a way to help the environment and commute to work for just pennies a day.

David Murray may drive the quietest car in North Texas, powered only by a small electric motor, and not creating any emissions.

“The most common question I get is, ‘Is this an electric car?’ and then they’re like, “Is it a hybrid?’ Nope, it’s a real electric (car),” Murray said.

When his car is low on fuel, Murray simply plugs the power cord into the nearest outlet.

“Yeah, just plug it in here. Just a regular old extension cord,” Murray said.

The self-described computer geek from Kennedale bought the 1993 Eagle Talon from a junkyard for just $750.

“First thing I did when I got the car home was pull the engine out,” Murray said.

He then spent about $4,000 more to convert the gas-guzzler to run on electricity alone, doing all the work himself in his garage at home.

“I bought the electric motor and I was like well, I gotta figure out a way to couple it together with the original transmission,” he said.

The car can hit 55 mph, driving right past the high prices at gas stations.

“I hear people complain about them at work all the time. I just grin,” he said.

Murray spends just $7 per month on electricity to charge the batteries — enough to go about 300 miles.

“I don’t even look at the gas prices,” Murray said.

World’s First Air-Powered Car: Zero Emissions by Next Summer

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This six-seater tax, which should be available in India next year, is powered entirely by a tank filled with compressed air.

India’s largest automaker is set to start producing the world’s first commercial air-powered vehicle. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre for Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air, as opposed to the gas-and-oxygen explosions of internal-combustion models, to push its engine’s pistons. Some 6000 zero-emissions Air Cars are scheduled to hit Indian streets in August of 2008.

Barring any last-minute design changes on the way to production, the Air Car should be surprisingly practical. The $12,700 CityCAT, one of a handful of planned Air Car models, can hit 68 mph and has a range of 125 miles. It will take only a few minutes for the CityCAT to refuel at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units; MDI says it should cost around $2 to fill the car’s carbon-fiber tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. Drivers also will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car’s built-in compressor to refill the tanks in about 4 hours.

Of course, the Air Car will likely never hit American shores, especially considering its all-glue construction. But that doesn’t mean the major automakers can write it off as a bizarre Indian experiment – MDI has signed deals to bring its design to 12 more countries, including Germany, Israel and South Africa.

By Matt Sullivan
Published in the June 2007 issue.

Source: popularmechanics.com