PbC Battery Maker Axion Power Reports Meaningful ProgressNovember 14, 2012 by Jeff Shepard
Axion Power International, Inc. reported that for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 revenue was $6.7 million with a net loss of $6.4 million or $0.06 loss per share, compared to revenue for the nine months of 2011 of $5.2 million with a net loss of $5.7 million or $0.07 loss per share. For the third quarter ended September 30, 2012 revenue was $2.2 million with a net loss of $2.1 million or $0.02 loss per share, versus revenue for the third quarter of the previous year of $2.1 million with a loss of $2.0 million or $0.02 loss per share. Revenue for all periods was largely attributable to the sale of specialty lead-acid batteries to a major lead-acid battery company that sells the batteries under its own brand.
Chairman & CEO Thomas Granville commented, "One of the major developments of the third quarter was the strategic partnership we announced with Rosewater Energy Group, which has joined with us in designing and marketing PbC-based energy storage and power conditioning systems, primarily for high-end residential applications. Compared to the ongoing work we are doing with transportation companies such as Norfolk Southern and a variety of automotive manufacturers, the Residential Energy Storage Hub systems are on a much faster track to market. In-house, we manufactured a demonstration system for the CEDIA Expo in September. We are on track for completion of all testing to applicable UL 1741 standards in early December and are looking to ship the first home system during the current quarter ending December 31, 2012.
"PbC based batteries and systems are being primarily marketed to two types of customers: transportation and those that require on- and off-grid power storage systems," Granville said. "We continue to work with BMW and other automobile and truck companies based in the US, Europe and Asia, with the goal of implementing PbC-based start-stop systems in production models of passenger automobiles. Separately, we are in various stages of work and discussions, that vary from early to very advanced, with a number of small and large -- start up to prominent well established -- heavy 'work horse' truck OEMS here in the US.
"The objective is to outfit 18-wheelers with battery-powered Axion systems that will boost uphill performance as well as increase miles per gallon. This application is in addition to our truck OEM initiative designed to satisfy 'anti-idling' legislation with the use of our PbC battery. We feel that the unique properties of our PbC battery (high charge acceptance, fast recharge rate, long cycle life and string equalization) will allow the OEM'S segregated battery system to function more efficiently when the truck is at rest but still needs to run its ancillary load (e.g. heater, radio, electronics, air conditioning, etc.) without idling the engine and creating emissions. The first of the 'boost performance' trucks is scheduled to be on the road, and hauling freight, in November and we anticipate being able to announce that event, and the name of the customer, in the very near future.
"We are making meaningful progress toward marketing Axion Cube systems, of various sizes, to commercial users in North America and on offshore island Republics. In some cases our products will be used to decrease dependence on fossil fuels by accepting, regulating and storing power from renewables such as wind and solar. Our PowerCube™ systems can also provide power quality and can store power for backup purposes, as is the case with the Residential Energy Storage Hub. And finally, our PowerCube can assist utilities and grid managers with their efforts in load leveling and frequency regulation. In the case of utilities, the major demonstration system is the Axion PowerCube that was integrated 12 months ago into the huge PJM system here at our manufacturing plant in New Castle. We believe that the announcement of the first confirmed projects, for these various Axion Cube applications, will be made over the next several months. The market is sizable from both a geographic and a financial perspective."
At September 30, 2012 Axion Power had $4.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to $2.0 million at December 31, 2011. Total current assets at September 30, 2012 were $8.0 million, versus total current liabilities of $1.2 million, with no significant debt. In keeping with the road map established in early 2012, the Company will need to source additional capital -- for both working and operational requirements -- during 2013 in order to continue to develop the PbC products that customers are buying, and that potential customers are testing. Capital will also be required to transition manufacturing of complex power-storage systems to a major US contract manufacturer. That manufacturer will be fully capable of ramping up Cube and Hub manufacturing to meet future demand, take full advantage of economies of scale and further align with the company's long-term strategy.
Granville continued, "2012 has been a challenging time for lithium-ion battery manufacturers such as Ener1, A123, Valence Technologies and International Battery, all of which were initially very dependent on a single developing market. We believe that our work with a variety of different types of users gives us a potentially broader, and more solid, base. The undeniable cost-efficiency of PbC batteries compared to lithium-ion batteries is becoming better understood by potential end users, many of whom had formerly assumed that lithium-ion would be the adopted battery of choice, in spite of its very high cost and its significant safety problems.
"Axion is not chasing the pure-electric vehicle market. We are not creating hybrid drive trains for cars or trucks. But we are designing practical, affordable battery systems for real-world uses such as the start-stop systems that every automobile manufacturer in the world is trying to perfect. Axion products do not require special alterations in the national or international power infrastructure. Just the opposite, our transportation systems, including the over the road locomotives, are all capable of charging themselves while in use by taking advantage of regenerative braking. Simply put, our technology is not constrained by dependence on others, for example - needing to wait for someone to build charging stations."
Granville concluded, "And our Hubs and Cubes work with real-world solar and wind, while at the same time they offer the option of accepting grid power, or accepting emergency power from diesel generators. Recent weather events in the northeast have made it obvious to many that such power storage systems address a very real, and growing, need."