Cobasys CEO Defends His Battery Company
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Yet, an Ovonics 10Q document from May 2008 said that members of Cobasys have not approved a 2008 business plan and budget, and questioned if Cobasys should continue as a going concern if it cannot be sold.
We’re still here and we’re still being funded.
Do you have a 2008 budget?
What are the key things that keep you up at night, and that you think the company needs to work on?
Let me answer your question this way. Do you know of anyone else, excluding Toyota and [its battery supplier] PEVE (Panasonic EV Energy Co.), that’s put thousands of [hybrid] cars on the road this year?
Besides Honda and Ford. Well, you guys are the only domestic producers right now.
That’s why it’s such a loaded issue. I think people are rooting for you, and for battery production in the United States, all the way up to the presidential candidates expressing desire to fund hybrid batteries more vigorously. That’s why there’s so much disappointment. GM’s hybrid program has been anemic. They’ve put so much publicity into it, while compared to the competition, there are barely any vehicles on the road. GM said the big hang-up is battery production, and you guys are the name of the game right now in the US. The public is frustrated that more hybrids aren’t coming to the road.
I can only build so many. I’m limited by how much we can grow in capacity. It takes a lot of time and money to ramp up. We’ve put many thousands of vehicles on the road this year.
What are the biggest obstacles to ramping up production?
The equipment required in the factory is special purpose-built equipment. We had to invent it, design it, and create it. We can’t order our equipment out of a Sears catalog. I have to build it, debug it, and that just takes time. On some equipment, there’s lead-time of two to three years. Being first isn’t easy.