Auto executives are traveling to a remote Austrian town where three brothers are designing electric cars they say can go faster and further than anything made by Tesla Motors Inc.
Kreisel Electric GmbH says it’s fielding 20 inquiries a day from automotive icons including BMW AG, Mclaren Automotive Ltd. and Volkswagen AG. They’re asking the Kreisel brothers for help negotiating a U-turn away from fossil fuels to join the electric-vehicle revolution.
“The whole industry is searching, and we actually have the solution,” Markus Kreisel, 37, the middle sibling in charge of sales, said in an interview. “Companies come out and offer us projects. We have no real competitors in terms of the way we do business.”
Working out of a three-door garage, the Kreisel brothers — Johann, Markus and Philipp — are making battery packs and drivetrains for a new generation of plug-in cars, boats and airplanes. Pitching themselves as “E-Mobility Maniacs” at trade shows, they’ve convinced established car companies visit them in Freistadt, 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of Vienna, to test drive their creations.
Two years into their venture, Kreisel’s order book is filling up. It’s broken ground on Austria’s first lithium-ion-battery assembly plant, and their workforce is expected to double to 70 employees by the time production starts in the second quarter of next year.
The early success of Kreisel Electric is a sign of how entrepreneurs and smaller companies are starting to disrupt the business model followed by the big names in the century-old automotive industry, said Colin McKerracher, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“Electric drive trains are simpler and have lower barriers to entry,” McKerracher said. “That is disruptive and will create a lot of new opportunities and alternative business models in the auto industry.”
Kreisel’s strategy is threefold. It makes battery packs and electric drive trains for orders as big as 10,000 vehicles. It designs lithium-battery production lines for original-equipment manufacturers. And it creates prototypes for top-tier carmakers.
“We already have two contracts with two companies, one of which is bigger than Tesla and will actually build 100,000 cars over the next two years,” said Markus Kreisel, who declined to be more specific.
Kreisel Electric burst onto the Austrian and German automobile scene with a reworked Porsche Panamera that outperformed Tesla’s flagship Model S on some measures. The Austrian company says its patented laser-welding and thermal-cooling techniques give them an edge over Tesla because the method preserves the full power of the lithium-ion cells.
The Kreisel garage is located a stone’s throw from a medieval-village moat and near the back end of an alleyway guarded by diesel pumps. A half-dozen of the brothers’ creations were parked outside during a visit in August. Included were a Volkswagen Caddy said to go 350 kilometers without needing a charge and the staff favorite, a Skoda Yeti, that can make it to Munich in one shot, 300 kilometers away.
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“We don’t have the same rules as the big OEMs, so we can do in four months what it takes them two years to do,” Kreisel said.
Kreisel announced its first order last month to deliver as many as 2,000 electric powertrains and battery packs to VDL Groep in the Netherlands for Mercedes Sprinter minibuses.
“We have chosen Kreisel because they have developed a very nice battery with some patented characteristics better than Tesla,” Erik Henneken, business manager at VDL, wrote in a reply to questions. “Kreisel is dynamic startup yet very professional in what they do. They grow rapidly but remain in control.”
Time & Money
Closely-held Kreisel Electric has kept a grip on the business by eschewing bank debt and venture capital. Instead, it taps low-interest state loans earmarked for startups. Markus Kreisel said he knows Austrian Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner “very well.”
“We have all the financing we need,” Kreisel said. “We can build our factory off cash flow. What we need is time.”
Their 6,300 square-meter (68,000 square-foot) battery factory will open with initial capacity of 800 megawatt-hours a year, which can be doubled within three months. Kreisel expects to sell 50 million cells or more next year. That’s based on on the size of their lithium-ion configurations and may mean about 6,000 battery packs, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
As orders grow, Kreisel anticipates a steep drop in battery prices, from about $140 a kilowatt hour now to less than $100 a kilowatt-hour.
“The sales price today for large volumes over 100,000 cars would already be under $100,” said Kreisel, who buys cells from vendors including Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. “Unfortunately, nobody’s making 100,000 cars today.”
Kreisel doesn’t see the 100,000-car threshold reached until 2019, by which time Tesla will have ramped-up production and German automakers will have entered the fray of the electric-automobile revolution.
“We will sell a lot of electric motors in the next year,” Kreisel said. “We have some really big companies that are going to produce in high volume.”
Elon Musk Promises to Reward Best Carbon Technology $100 Million
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla Inc. has announced that he will donate $100 million in reward for the best carbon capture technology.
The richest man in the world disclosed this in a tweet on Thursday.
“Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” Musk tweeted. “Details next week.”
Elon R Musk gained +$375 million in the last 24 hours to take his total gain in net worth this year to $32 billion and $202 billion total net worth.
Musk, who worth just about $27 billion in January 2020, has risen through the rank to top the world’s richest billionaire index.
The $100 million would be Musk’s largest known donation to date and represents around 0.05 percent of his net worth.
In 2012, Musk signed “The Giving Pledge” to join the list of billionaires that promise to donate half of their fortune to charity in their lifetime or in their wills.
Musk worth just $2 billion when he signed the pledge.
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.
Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.
The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.
The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.
Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.
In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.
Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.
The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.
Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.
The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.
The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.
On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.
Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020
While the pandemic has devastated countless businesses, it has provided a major boon for eCommerce platform Shopify.
Shopify’s stock rallied by 169.9% in 2020 compared to the industry’s 26.6% growth. As of mid-December 2020, according to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish site Sijoitusrahastot, it had a 90 RS rating, which means that it had outperformed 90% of stocks during the year.
Based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its Q4 earnings per share (EPS) are set to jump by 188.37% to $1.24 while its sales will grow by 78% to $899.2 million. For the full year 2020, analysts project a massive 1,137% jump for the Shopify EPS.
Shopify Merchants Sell Over $5.1 Billion on Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Since Shopify went public in 2015, its stock has risen over 40-fold to more than $1,200 at the end of December 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, it skyrocketed by over 1,400%.
The eCommerce platform’s earnings for Q1 to Q3 2020 grew at an average of 552%. That was well above the 101% three-year average. In Q3 2020, its revenue nearly doubled from $390.6 million to $767.4 million.
Earnings in Q3 2020 rose from a net loss of 29 cents to $1.13 per share. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) soared by 109% reaching $30.9 billion, compared to 46% in Q1 2020 and 119% in Q2 2020. For the first nine months of 2020, there was a revenue increase of 82%.
For the first time, Shopify’s GMV surpassed that of eBay in Q2 2020, doing it again in Q3 2020. It claims to have a 6% share of the US market, higher than eBay’s but lower than Amazon’s 37%.
During the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, merchants on the Shopify platform sold goods worth $5.1 billion. Compared to 2019, this marked a 76% uptick and set a new record. Comparatively, independent businesses on Amazon sold goods worth $4.8 billion. The number of buyers on Shopify increased by 50% year-over-year (YoY) to 44 million during that weekend.
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