Battery Electric Vehicles vs. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

With each passing day, the threat of climate change becomes grimmer, lending even greater urgency to the need to embrace clean energy. Climate change is manifesting itself in several ways, such as rising temperatures and the growing intensity of storms.

The primary factor impacting climate change is emissions of greenhouse gases, the major share of which belongs to carbon dioxide and methane. Carbon dioxide is released with the burning of fossil fuels, such as crude oil, coal and natural gas, contributing to the greenhouse effect. Nevertheless, fossil fuels are the source of over 80 percent of  the global energy supply.

According to EPA, transportation and electricity, with a share of 28 percent each, are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. This is because fossil fuels are used both to power vehicles and to produce electricity. More than 90 percent of fuel used in transportation comes from gasoline and diesel, both of which are derivatives of crude oil.

As part of a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the auto industry has started transitioning to clean fuels. Battery-electric vehicles are undergoing rapid market adoption, and millions of dollars are being spent on deploying infrastructures for large-scale introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Both fuel cells and batteries generate electricity, but they operate quite differently. The chemical energy in a battery comes from substances within the battery itself. The life of a battery is limited, and batteries undergo degradation over time. Lithium-ion batteries have a rated lifetime in the range of 500 charge cycles to 1,500 charge cycles.

Fuel cells can operate indefinitely, but to produce electricity they need to be fed with hydrogen (from tanks) and oxygen (usually from air). Unlike batteries, the power levels and performance of fuel cells do not degrade over time.

As batteries approach their end of life, they need to be properly recycled. If not handled appropriately, lithium-ion batteries could release dangerous toxins. With fuel cells, the environmental costs for disposing off batteries are eliminated.

Compared to batteries, fuel cells offer greater range to vehicles, while being lighter and less voluminous. Unlike battery-electric vehicles whose range is essentially a function of battery size, fuel cell vehicles are ideal for medium-distance and long-distance travel.

The range of a fuel cell vehicle primarily depends on the fueling pressure. The higher the pressure, the more the range. At present, the pressures employed in fuel cell vehicles are 70 MPa (mainly for light-duty vehicles) and 35 MPa (mainly for heavy-duty vehicles). Japan is the first country to have discontinued 35 MPa fueling. All Japanese hydrogen stations currently support 70 MPa (and the majority also support 82 MPa).

For a fuel cell vehicle, the extra weight needed to increase the driving range is negligible. For a battery electric vehicle, on the other hand, the weight grows dramatically (because of heavier batteries) even with small increases in the driving range. The weight of battery-electric vehicles produces driving challenges relating to acceleration, braking and maneuverability. To cope with these issues, battery-electric vehicles need heavier brakes and larger traction motors.

Currently, battery electric vehicles have the momentum, with China emerging as the biggest market for these vehicles. At the same time, the build-out of hydrogen stations is gathering steam, and several regions of the world are being blanketed with hydrogen fueling infrastructures.

Virtually every major manufacturer is positioning itself to be a player in the burgeoning battery-electric vehicle market. In the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market, three major vendors – Toyota, Honda and Hyundai – have rolled out automobiles, and several other automakers are poised to make inroads in this space.

Both battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will continue to co-exist. At the same time, significant growth will occur in vehicles that are the hybrid of both battery and fuel cell technologies.

Blogger: Naqi Jaffery

© 2018 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

Photo by Kaique Rocha on

Is Apple’s Market Cap a Bubble?

Image result for apple product lineup 2015 Apple’s progression over the past decade has been truly impressive. The company has defied all odds and has relentlessly continued on its trajectory of staggering growth. The most highly-valued company since January 2012, Apple hit an unprecedented market capitalization of $775 billion on February 23, 2015. That day, Exxon Mobil’s valuation was $371 billion, making Apple more than double the size of the second largest publicly-traded company. As it gets ready this month to release its wearable device, Apple Watch, Cantor Fitzgerald is projecting that Apple’s valuation will hit $1 trillion.

During the quarter ending December 2014, Apple posted record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion and record quarterly net profit of $18 billion. Sales outside the U.S. accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue. These results were fueled by all-time record revenue from iPhone and Mac sales as well as record performance of the App Store. With 74.5 million units sold in the quarter, iPhone set a new record in terms of units sold. Apple had massive reserves of $178 billion.

Apple’s performance in the quarter ending December was a déjà vu of sorts, mirroring its performance in the last quarter of 2011 when the company had set an all-time quarterly record for the sale of its iPhone, iPad and Mac devices. This record, announced on January 24, 2012, pushed Apple’s stock price to $454.50, and gave Apple a market capitalization of $423 billion. By topping Exxon Mobil‘s $417 billion market cap, Apple became the most valued publicly-traded company. For its fiscal year 2011, Apple had cash and marketable securities worth $82 billion.

To retain its standing as the largest-ever company, Apple needs to address some serious issues which could pull its stock down. One of them is its pricey products. The Economist quotes a stockbroker as saying that the higher than average selling prices increasingly make Apple a niche player, somewhat like a luxury-goods firm.

In a blog on January 25, 2012, we questioned the sustainability of Apple’s business model. What we saw as a problem for Apple was the limited line-up of its products. For a company its size, we contended, Apple should have a much larger product portfolio addressing a wider range of market segments. A bigger portfolio, we reasoned, will allow Apple to diversify its risks, giving greater stability to its stock price.

Notwithstanding our ominous concern for Apple’s stock price, it continued its upswing and shot well above the $600 mark in less than three months.(On June 9, 2014, Apple’s stock was split 7 for 1 split, meaning that for each share of Apple pre-split, the shareholder owned 7 shares.)

It is true that Apple has been trying to expand its repertoire. Since 2013, it has been moving beyond just hardware into the realm of software and services. The Economist says that if Apple were simply a hardware-maker, there would be reason to worry. iPad sales have weakened and the iPhone still generates more than half of the firm’s revenues, and the magazine expresses concern over the fact that Apple is losing market share to rivals.

In a positive sign, however, Apple is trying to become more open to partners—a big change for the firm, as the Economist points out. “Apple’s future will be less about hardware and more about its ‘ecosystem’—a combination of software, services, data and a plethora of partners.” The Economist rightly contends that Apple’s opening-up may need to go further, to keep up with Google’s ecosystem.

A large part of Apple’s attraction has been the “coolness” of its products, distinguishing them from Google and Amazon offerings. Seeking Alpha refers to a survey of high school and college students about their views on tech products. Conducted by Chegg, Inc., the survey found that the coolness of products from Apple is fading and is being replaced by a “too-cool-for-school” judgment, causing the students to veer away from buying Apple devices.

Market Analyst™ believes that Apple needs to make a serious pivot before its luck starts to run out. In the past, the company has seen bumps in its growth but it has rebounded with renewed vigor. However, Apple has to be cognizant of historical trends in stock prices and how companies have risen and fallen. There are several examples of these companies but the biggest one is Apple’s own history when at one point after a meteoric rise it was struggling on the verge of bankruptcy.

In an article in Forbes magazine in March 2012, Eric Jackson made a stunning statement. No company this big, he declared, has ever had the opportunities and relatively low market share that Apple now has (emphasis added). The burning question is whether Apple will exploit the opportunities presented to it and solidify its position as the world’s largest company, or whether it will let these opportunities slip by.

While Apple deserves a lot of credit for its singular achievements, we stand by what we wrote in 2012. Apple’s business model is not sustainable over the long run. Is Apple’s market cap a bubble? Maybe not right now, but Apple needs to lift the blinders before it is too late.

In the ultimate analysis, stock trading is a game of meeting expectations. To Apple’s credit, it has so far met or exceeded expectations. In the quarter ending December, a major factor in exceeding expectations was a 70 percent increase in iPhone sales in China. Can Apple keep such a record quarter after quarter? While that is possible, it is obviously not a certainty. Due to its slim product line up, if Apple’s stock takes a tumble, recovery will not be a piece of cake.

Apple must go on a multi-billion dollar buying spree, not just acquiring companies that will complement its product line vertically but to expand horizontally into new markets. It biggest acquisition so far has been Beats Electronics, made in August 2014, for which it paid a not-so-hefty $3 billion. Apple needs to make even bigger acquisitions that can serve as a cushion if its traditional business suffers any setbacks.

With a huge reservoir of cash at its disposal, Apple has the potential to become truly big – a dominant player on the global scene. Unfortunately, Apple is not even trying.

Blogger: Naqi Jaffery

© 2015 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

California’s Swing towards Clean Technology

Not just organizations, but the average American now understands the importance of clean technology. A few years ago, clean technology constituted only a minor part of any pie chart on different forms of energy, but now it is quite prominent in investment-related statistical charts.

The 2014 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index shows the ranking of states and illustrates the extent to which they have embraced clean technology. Massachusetts has the top ranking in terms of venture capital dollars per capita invested in clean energy. However, in terms of the total investment, California is way ahead of the rest of the states.


Using Sun as Fuel

What we are seeing is a paradigm shift towards finding new ways to produce clean energy. WaterFX, for instance, is building sustainable solar desalination systems to remove salt and other minerals from saline water. This allows the provision of affordable sources of water.

Producing Fresh Water from Solar Energy

Farmers in California’s central Valley face water shortages every year, and their water needs have been met by the federal irrigation program, a network of reservoirs, rivers and canals that gets its water supply from Sierra mountains’ melted ice.

However, this shortage is now being addressed by large desalination plants that run on solar energy. These plants desalinate salty agricultural drainage water from irrigated crops and supply the farmers with clean water.


California Tops Clean Tech State Index

For the past five years, California has been on top in the Clean Tech State Index, and it referred to as the epicenter of clean technology market. San Francisco, the financial hub for California, has spearheaded the drive towards clean energy, and it was instrumental in giving California top rating in the index. Because of a startup-friendly business climate, a host of incubators have set up shop in the city which attracts the biggest percentage of the region’s venture capital.

Over the years, the State has seen heavy investments in the clean electricity sector. According to CleanTechnica , 12% of all electricity used in the sunny state in 2013 was produced by solar, wind and hydro plants.

One edge that California enjoys is that it has a green-minded population. Bay Area generally comes out on top when discussing clean technology. The people of the area are heavily vested in clean technology investments, production of clean energy, and carbon management. Moreover, the area is seeing a rapidly increasing number of electric/hybrid cars.

Blogger: Ayesha Zahid

© 2014 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

Charging Station – Fuel Station of the Future

The energy needs of the world continue to multiply, but are gradually replenishing our organic fuel reserves, such as oil and gas. The increased use of organic fuels has led to the emergence of serious environmental issues, making the need to use alternative sources of fuel imperative.

Along with higher usage of fuels such as gasoline for transportation, there has been a concomitant increase in prices. This has led to greater interest alternatives to such fuels; one such alternative being the electric mode of transportation.Electric vehicles or hybrids are transportation of the future. These vehicles run on electricity rather than by burning of organic fuels. What makes electricity particularly attractive is that it is generated through renewable sources of energy such as wind power and solar power.

Charging Station and Infrastructure

A charging station is like a common gas station, except that rather than gasoline it provides users with a charging point to charge their vehicles. A charging station is just like a gasoline pump, the only difference being that instead of gas,it provides electricity.

A charging infrastructure is an infrastructure that includes all elements related to Electric Vehicle charging. These elements include wind turbines and solar panels (input), power generation (process), and charging station (output). The infrastructure is laid out in such a way that enough energy is readily available for all the users.

The charging stations provide higher voltage than household power supply, enabling a faster charging process. Special parking lots are being built hat have special inductive mats, allowing wireless charging of vehicles. Moves are also afoot to provide roads with special lanes for charging vehicles without the need for them to stop.


Global Momentum

All around the globe, the necessity of having an alternative fuel source for transportation needs has been widely recognized. An agreement has been signed among a number of countries through International Energy Agency for deployment of suitable charging infrastructures. These countries include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The private sector is heavily investing in such projects that have become the trademark of development. As more and more models of plug-in vehicles are introduced, this business holds the prospect of becoming one of the most commercially viable in the not too distant a future.


Blogger: Taha Bin Mahmood

© 2014 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

Self-healing Lithium-Ion Battery – Creating Endless Possibilities for Manufacturers

The invention of the first self-healing battery electrode will lay the foundation for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.

A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery containing lithium-ions that move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharging and back when charging.  When the battery charges and discharges, silicon electrodes inflate and deflate, causing cracks which wear the battery down.

The self-healing lithium-ion battery has a stretchy polymer that coats the electrode, binds it together, and spontaneously heals the tiny cracks that develop during battery operation. The polymer was created in 2013 by a team from Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. It incorporates an elastic material that is electrically conductive due to carbon nano particles present in it.

By developing a self-healing battery, scientists have opened a whirlwind of new possibilities for electronics manufacturers, which in turn will help drive the sales of lithium-ion batteries.


Use of lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries have diverse applications spanning various industries such as the consumer electronics, industrial, and automotive.  In the last few years, there has been a phenomenal increase in the use of these batteries because of the proliferation of laptops, cell phones, smartphones, tablet PCs, and e-books.

Continuous use of devices using lithium-ion battery requires frequent recharging of the battery. This has led to increase in demand for durable and efficient rechargeable batteries. The development of self-repairing capability for lithium-ion batteries will prolong the battery life of these devices.

Improvements to lithium-ion batteries could extend the range of applications of these devices. The automotive industry is expected to benefit greatly from improved lithium-Ion battery performance as more and more electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are incorporating them.

Advantages of lithium-ion batteries

  • Variety of types available: Because each industry that uses lithium-ion batteries has different requirements, there are several types of lithium-ion cells and batteries.
  • Low maintenance: The lithium-ion batteries do not require any maintenance to retain their performance, and they keep their charge for a longer time as compared to other rechargeable batteries.
  • No requirement for priming: Some rechargeable cells need to be primed when they receive their first charge, but there is no such requirement for lithium-ion cells and batteries.
  • Self-discharge: Lithium-ion batteries’ rate of self- discharge is lower than that of other kinds of batteries. 
  • High energy density: Lithium-ion batteries and cells have a high energy density which makes them suitable for electronic equipment, electric vehicles, and power tools.

Disadvantages of lithium-ion batteries

  • Cost: Lithium-ion batteries are expensive which limits their use in mass-produced consumer items.
  • Ageing: Lithium-ion batteries suffer from ageing. Not only is the aging process time dependent, but it is also dependent upon the number of charge/discharge cycles that the battery has undergone.
  • Transportation: Certain restrictions can be placed on the transportation of lithium-ion batteries, especially by air. Although the batteries taken in aircraft carry-on luggage are unlikely to be affected, care should be taken not to carry more lithium-ion batteries than are needed. Batteries carried separately must be protected against short-circuit by protective covers.
  • Protection required:   Lithium-ion cells and batteries are not as robust as some other rechargeable technologies. For example, they require protection from being overcharged and from being discharged too much. In addition, they need to have the electric current maintained within safe limits. Accordingly, lithium-ion batteries require protection circuitry incorporated to ensure they are kept within their safe operating limits.

Blogger: Unum Shafiq

© 2014 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

Smartphones – Transforming the Retail Experience

Smartphones – Transforming the Retail Experience

Every organization selling consumer goods and services needs to evaluate the total retail experience and how it is impacted by new technologies. Retail experience is essentially the experience customers have when they visit a retail store.  Retailers need to understand why customers visit specific stores, to what extent is their decision affected by factors such as store location and the products and brands being sold.

Retailers need to skillfully raise awareness of their brand. They need to focus on visual merchandising which entails developing floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximize sales.

Shifts in consumer behavior

Never before have there been such dramatic shifts in consumer shopping behavior, preferences, and expectations as at the present time. It is imperative for retailers and consumer-goods companies to optimize their channels part of a single, integrated strategy to drive compelling customer experiences while controlling and minimizing costs. Realizing this requires strategic investments across multiple areas of the business, and it requires IT solutions that are agile, dynamic, and integrated.

As the landscape of consumer technology is shifting rapidly, businesses must ask critical questions on how to connect directly with the digital consumer to offer tailored, relevant and engaging experiences that help drive conversion.

Smartphones – the new retail experience

Smartphones are taking over the retail experience, allowing customers to buy goods and services in stores. In addition, cellular technology allows customers to compare products by simply scanning a bar code with their devices.

Apple is leading the way in the utilization of smartphones and tablets to drive the retail experience. At all of Apple’s 412 stores located in 14 countries, customers can make payments through their iPhones and iPads using the company’s Easy Pay app.

Another technology that allows consumers to make purchases on the fly or receive background information on products and services is Quick Response (QR) codes. These are now being placed on retail packages, kiosks, billboards, at bus stops, train stations and many other locations.

AT&T is also getting in on the act. The telecommunications giant’s vision to is to see consumers reduce the items that they typically carry with them from three – wallet, keys and smart phones – to one – just a smartphone. AT&T is eliminating sales counters and cash registers from its 2,300 U.S. stores. It already has replaced its traditional registers with tablets and smartphones at its location on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile with plans to do the same at several additional locations in 2014.

How in-store shoppers use their smartphones

According to a research by Google’s Shopper Marketing Council, 84% of smartphone users use their smartphones while shopping in stores. This research also revealed that shoppers who use smartphone more, shop more. The in-store shoppers primarily use smartphones for:

  • Finding out store opening and closing hours
  • Finding locations of other stores
  • Finding promotions and offers
  • Price comparison
  • Product reviews

Implications for businesses

Shoppers not only use smartphones for buying high-end appliances or electronics but this behavior can be seen in every industry including apparels, household items, personal care, and pet care. For businesses, this change in consumer behavior not only affects their marketing strategy but influences the entire business. It changes the way products are stocked in a store as well as the way employees are trained.

The biggest implications of smartphone use in-stores include:

  • Mobile marketing is not an option anymore, it’s imperative

Smartphones and other mobile devices are one of the biggest influencing factors in purchasing decisions of retail customers’ today. Mobile marketing offers huge opportunities for marketers to directly connect with customers who are looking for their products.

  • Smartphones can be used to guide customers to the store

  1. Businesses should have websites that support mobile transactions.
  2. Businesses should enable the location of stores via Google Maps.
  • Smartphones can be used to keep customers in retail stores

Every business should own a digital shelf to make it easier for customers to find product details, pricing and promotions. Also, the location of the stores, time of the day and devices used in stores, allow businesses and marketers to reach customers with relevant marketing messages.

By understanding and embracing this new retail consumer behavior, brands can find new opportunities to connect with their existing and potential customers.

 Blogger: Unum Shafiq

© 2014 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

Big Data and Marketing: A Convergent Partnership

Big Data has the potential to transform marketing – but the trick is to channel it in a way that brings results

 The term “Big Data” not only represents the data itself but embodies accumulating and analyzing massive amounts of data for judicious decision making. According to the report, Global Big Data Market, Big Data will grow at a CAGR of over 55 percent by the year 2015. The use of Big Data is particularly crucial to the marketing of a business or a brand. In fact, Big Data is transforming the marketing industry.

The collecting and storing of Big Data is not enough to impact the marketing industry. What is more important is to use Big Data for results that are most relevant to the business and its marketing strategy. The challenges associated with successfully exploiting Big Data can be particularly overwhelming for marketing. This is primarily because most analytic systems are not lined up with the marketing data, processes and decisions of an organization.


Three biggest challenges to the use of big date in marketing are embedded in the following questions?

Which analytical tools to use?

With the growth in volume of Big Data, the time available for marketers for decision making and implementing them is decreasing. With the help of analytical tools, marketers can aggregate and analyze data. Well-planned analytical processes and people with the talent and skills are needed to leverage the technologies essential to carry out effective Big Data analytics initiatives.

What data to collect?

The key to Big Data is exploiting the number of data points so that deep conclusions can be drawn. Data points are like dots on a map that can be connected to draw conclusions about the meaning of different activities. The activities being measured can be, for example, searching, sharing, clicking, liking or commenting on certain online content.

A great example of this is Google collecting data from searches to predict flu outbreaks even before they occur. In this case, Google is connecting keywords like flu symptoms which are used in the searches with a geographic location based on the IP addresses of the people searching.

How to make the data meaningful?

Companies are now using Big Data to classify their most valuable customers. How? Big Data differs from narrow applications that look at just one source of data, yielding trivial answers. Big Data examines a broad range of sources that include structured information such as purchase histories, customer relationship management (CRM) data and intelligence from industry partners, as well as unstructured information such as social media. In the case of airlines, the partners could include credit card companies, hotels, and other travel industry sources.


Big Data does not necessarily lead a business towards success just on the basis of marketing. However, insights stemming from Big Data can bring customer engagement and marketing effectiveness to another level. In fact, integrating Big Data into marketing can have a substantial impact in the following key areas:

  • Customer engagement: Big Data can deliver insights into not just who the customers are, but where they are, what they want, how they want to be contacted and when.
  • Customer retention and loyalty: Big Data can help discover what influences customer loyalty and what keeps customers coming back again and again.
  • Marketing performance: Big Data can help determine the optimal marketing spend across multiple channels, as well as help continuously optimize marketing programs through testing, measurement and analysis.
  • Analysis for future predictions: Big Data tools allow in-depth analysis of historical data in order to make predictions about the future.

Netflix is one example of a company that uses Big Data analysis to predict future patterns. Currently, Netflix uses Big Data to improve quality and stability for video streams as well as to evaluate customer preferences by recommending shows or movies they might like to see. Those efforts have been of vital importance to the company, which is now the worldwide leader in Internet television, offering over one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month to over 37 million members in 40 countries.

Big Data can be the difference maker between a successful marketing campaign and one that goes virtually unnoticed.  The trick is to know how to use the data that your company collects and to channel it in a way that brings results.

Blogger: Unum Shafiq

© 2013 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

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