Monday, January 24, 2022

EVs risky to tow. Mistakes expensive

Unfortunate and very costly damage to a Ford Mustang Mach-E battery from a tow truck was recently reported on the

While it's just an example case, it's worth noting so that we all can avoid similar problems. Electric cars are still new and relatively rare, which means that there are plenty of inexperienced technicians.

In this story, a Mach-E driver on the route from Canada to Florida was forced to stop the car due to a "Pull over Safely" error message and lack of power. Through Ford Road Side Assistance, a tow truck was dispatched to take the car to the nearest Ford dealer.

Unfortunately - according to the info - improper service resulted in damage to the battery pack - specifically, the battery rail. There could also be other issues, as the owner wrote: "Seems the batteries are leaking," which suggests a damaged cooling system. The forum post does not explain what caused the original "Pull over Safely" error message.

According to the owner, the car was hooked up wrongly. See some additional images here. The result is a $28,000 bill that no one wants to take responsibility for:

"On the recommendation of Ford Customer Care, they arranged to have the car transported down to a dealership in Florida. The tow company hooked into the battery rail and damaged the batteries. $28,000 repair bill."

The manual points out how to tow the car and how to lift the car up. There are special areas strengthened specifically for the purpose.

In the case of lifting the car up, if the lift isn't positioned correctly, it could come into contact with the battery guardrail, and then the battery might be damaged.

It's actually similar to most conventional cars, although, in the case of EVs, the battery pack is the single most expensive part, which means that it's important to double-check whether technicians know what they are doing.


Energy crisis bursts green shares bubble

The energy crisis has burst a multibillion-pound bubble in green stocks as gas prices surge and the world confronts the true cost of net zero.

Shares in renewable energy companies have tumbled to their lowest level in 16 months, almost completely unwinding gains made during a stampede into companies aiding the shift away from fossil fuels.

It comes as new figures revealed that private equity snapped up oil and gas firms worth almost £12bn last year, a huge increase from £232m in 2020 as the sector ploughs investment into renewable energy.

A basket of global clean energy shares, which includes renewable giants Iberdrola, Vestas and Orsted, has tumbled 45pc since the record peak a year ago, wiping tens of billions of pounds off their “excessive” value.

Rising material costs, frothy valuations and escalating interest rates have dampened investor enthusiasm after a flood of money into the sector.

Surging gas prices are also thought to have raised concerns, because they highlight the challenge of ditching fossil fuels.

Stewart Cook, co-head of European markets at Berenberg, said: “Clean energy stocks were caught up in the record moves higher in non-profitable, almost concept-like themes such as ESG and electric vehicles. These moves and valuations were exaggerated by huge inflows to investors and liquidity chasing these relatively small, embryonic sectors.”

Renewable stocks have fallen by a fifth since the start of December after being hit by a wider shift by investors out of pandemic winners, particularly in tech, into more traditional sectors as interest rates rise.

Solar shares have slipped 45pc from their record peak, while wind firms have dropped by a quarter.

Mr Cook said there were some “excessive valuations and asset price moves” on wider markets that have “burst”. However, he added that many clean energy stocks still “have great fundamental reasons to own for the long-term”.

Analysts have warned that a rush into environmental, social and governance-friendly assets risks creating ethical stocks bubbles.

Buyout firms are cashing in on the gas price crisis by swooping in as listed companies flee the oil and gas sector in fear of climate campaigners.

Private equity firms spent £11.9bn on European oil and gas businesses in 2021, compared to just £232m in 2020, according to global law firm Mayer Brown. Deals involving UK firms were worth £2.4bn.


World second largest wind turbine maker Siemens Energy declared “uninvestible” by analysts

Siemens Energy AG fell the most in six months in Frankfurt after slashing its outlook due to mounting losses at its wind-turbine business, which warned that the soaring cost of raw materials would squeeze margins in 2022.

The German engineering firm said its revenue could slip by as much as 2% this financial year after previously seeing at worst a 1% drop. It also trimmed its operating profit margin forecast to a range of 2% to 4%, from 3% to 5% previously.

The downgrade comes after its Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy subsidiary reported a loss of 309 million euros ($350 million) for the first quarter of its 2022 fiscal year and warned that inflation will continue to weigh on margins.

Siemens Energy declined as much as 10% in Frankfurt, while Siemens Gamesa plunged as much as 16% in Madrid, its steepest intraday decline since July. Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S, one of Siemns Gamesa’s main rivals, slumped as much as 7.8% in Copenhagen.

Turbine makers are grappling with rising commodity costs and pandemic-related disruptions to supply chains. Surging prices for energy, steel and copper have squeezed profits for Siemens Gamesa and its rivals. That’s leading to difficult conversations with customers, who may not be able to cope with higher costs.

“We are increasing prices. The whole industry is increasing prices,” Siemens Gamesa Chief Executive Officer Andreas Nauen said during a call with analysts on Friday. “That brings business cases for customers to the limit or over the cliff.”

Project Delays

The renewable-energy firm also said it’s facing difficulties scaling up one of its new turbine models, known as the 5.X platform. Volatile markets have impacted investment decisions by some of its customers, resulting in project delays.

The issues at Madrid-based Siemens Gamesa already weighed on Siemens Energy’s results last year, frustrating the German firm’s management and fueling speculation the parent might try to buy out other investors to seize full operational control of the struggling unit.

“It would be nice to believe this is the ‘final’ writedown,” Berstein analysts led by Nicholas Green said in a note late Thursday. “Siemens Energy is trapped in a narrative it cannot control, and this makes it uninvestible.”


Solar panels prices skyrocket 50-60%

Solar panel prices are up 50-60% year on year as power shortages and now Omicron disrupt Chinese production

Chinese supply chains have been hit with a one-two punch: the country’s power consumption limits combined with lockdown measures against the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The Biden administration is now reportedly monitoring the situation in mainland China to see whether the government’s lockdown measures under the “dynamic zero infections” strategy will hurt the country’s industrial outputs – and pose a risk to the United States’ own supply chains.

However, diversifying supply chains in many sectors is easier said than done. That’s especially the case with solar panels, of which China currently supplies more than 80% of the photovoltaic modules to the world.

Even as most countries are trying to accelerate their plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, many of their solar developers have slowed down their own projects after solar panel prices increased by 50-60% from a year ago. The best they can hope for is that the problem will prove short-lived, with improvement showing as early as April or May.




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