The best investment you can make in the hybrid future is to buy a hybrid vehicle. Some savvy investors are taking it a step further, looking at companies which will:
- Help the U.S. make an essential transition toward greater energy independence
- Serve the hybrid car market, which has doubled every year since the introduction of hybrids in 2000
The obvious play is Toyota and the other hybrid-producing car companies. Beyond that, there are a number of suppliers and innovative technology companies that may be exactly in the right place at the right time to benefit from the growth in hybrids.
We will keep a running list of the companies that may be worth considering as a "hybrid investment." It will always be a partial list. (Let us know if we missed a new red-hot company.) Of course, you shouldn’t rely on a website about hybrid cars to serve as your financial advisor. We have not studied past performance. Do your own homework and invest wisely.
Azure Dynamics Corporation is a leader in the development and production of hybrid electric and electric commercial and military vehicles and systems. The group estimates it has over 25 million miles of vehicle experience. Azure Dynamics is currently working internationally with various partners and customers including Purolator Courier Ltd., Canada Post, US Department of Defense, United States Postal Service, SEV Group Limited, Leyland Product Development and London Taxis International. Azure Dynamics Corporation is a public company trading on the TSX (AZD) in Canada and on AIM (ADC) in the UK.
Matsushita (NYSE: MC)
Sanyo (NASDAQ: SANYY)
The Motley Fool thinks the best way to “play the hybrid revolution” is to invest in hybrid battery suppliers. Sanyo supplies batteries to both Ford and Honda. Matsushita—the company behind the Panasonic brand—provides batteries to Toyota. The production of hybrid car batteries is a small part of the business for these large corporations.
Electro Energy Inc
Electro Energy focuses on battery technologies, such as its "Bipolar Nickel Metal Hydride," a patented flat wafer cell design developed over the past 12 years. Wafer cells are stacked one on top of another to create multi-cell batteries with the required energy capacity and voltage for a given application. EEI is targeting the automotive industry, where battery technology is needed to support the rapidly growing hybrid market and manufacturers upgrading to more powerful 42-volt starting batteries from the 12-volt systems used today.
Energy Conversion Devices (Ovonics)
Ovonic Battery Company, Inc., ECD’s subsidiary, developed the proprietary materials and technology for nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Ovonic NiMH batteries store approximately twice as much energy as standard nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) or lead-acid batteries of equivalent weight and size. Ovonic Battery has recently expanded the scope of its licenses granted to Cobasys LLC, which provides commercial NiMH battery systems for the hybrid electric vehicle, electric vehicle, and 42-volt transportation markets.
Enova Systems is a supplier of efficient, environmentally friendly digital power components and systems products, in conjunction with the associated engineering services. The company’s core competencies are focused on the development and commercialization of power management and conversion systems for mobile and stationary applications. Enova’s hybrid drive systems have significant savings in fuel economy to end users, and dramatically reduce pollution to the air from greenhouse gases and noise. The 120-kW hybrid drive is designed for light trucks, delivery vans, and mid-sized buses using electric and series hybrid-electric propulsion.
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd.
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. They are working to bring into production the only North American fully vertically integrated source of Rare Earth Elements which are vital to hybrid and
hydrogen fuel cell technology. The Toyota Prius, for example, contains over 50 lbs. of rare earths in the nickel metal hydride battery pack and permanent magnet motor. China currently exports 90 percent of world rare earth demand. North American sources for Rare Earth Elements are needed.
Green Star Products (formerly BAT International, Inc.)
Green Star Products, Inc. is a holding company with various equity positions in energy and transportation technology companies. The Company provides research and development, financial, advertising, engineering, and marketing programs for its subsidiaries. Dolphin ACI, a partially owned subsidiary of Green Star Products, has been involved in the development of fuel economy, power improvement and emission reduction technologies for internal combustion engines and hybrid electric drive systems since 1994.
NASD OTCBB: HYBT
Hybrid Technologies, Inc., was incorporated in Nevada in 2000 and is a development stage technology company focusing on the development and marketing of electric powered vehicles, products, commercial and residential properties. Global Hybrid Corporation, a subsidiary of Hybrid Technologies, Inc., is an emerging leader in the development and marketing of electric two- and three-wheeled vehicles, lawn and garden equipment and lithium-powered products worldwide.
Inco Limited is one of the world’s premier mining and metals companies and the world’s second largest producer of nickel. Their mineral reserve and resource base is among the best in the global nickel industry. They are also an important producer of copper, cobalt and precious and platinum-group metals and a major producer of specialty nickel-based products. Inco Limited is a Canadian-based global company with operations and an extensive marketing network in over 40 countries.
RailPower Technologies Corp.
Railpower Technologies Corp. and its wholly owned US subsidiary, RailPower Hybrid Technologies Corp., develop, construct, and market specialized energy technology systems for transportation and power generation. When compared to conventional yard locomotives, their technologies reduce operating costs and harmful emissions. Headquartered in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, RailPower has its principal engineering management facility in Erie, Pennsylvania.
SatCon Technology Corporation
SatCon Technology Corporation is a developer and manufacturer of power electronics and control systems for alternative energy, high-reliability industrial automation applications and military systems. The company currently provides traction motors, controllers, and converters as well as design services, and system integration capability for the hybrid electric vehicle market. The company’s products are based on SatCon’s technical component capabilities and their systems integration experience in the hybrid and electric vehicle automotive market over the past 15 years. SatCon provided systems in such projects as the Patriot Race car, the Chrysler EPIC Minivan, and the G.M./Opel Fuel Cell Car.
Forbes Magazine recently endorsed the idea of investing in the component companies that supply semiconductor components needed to produce hybrid cars. "Even when we get to only 5% or 10% of vehicles as hybrids—a niche for the auto industry—it’s still a huge deal for the power semiconductor business," said Stephen Ahrens, Fairchild Semiconductor’s director of discrete automotive-power products. Stockrhythms.com lists seven reasons why that might not be a good idea, and suggests an investment in a semiconductor fund instead.
With more than 25 years of experience, UQM Technologies develops and manufactures high performance, power dense and energy efficient electric motors, generators and power electronic controllers. A major emphasis of the company is developing electric power systems for battery electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, 42-volt under-the-hood power accessories and other vehicle auxiliaries, and distributed power generation.
Valence Technology developed and markets Saphion® technology, the industry’s first commercially available, safe, large-format lithium ion rechargeable battery technology. Valence holds an extensive, worldwide portfolio of issued and pending patents. Their lithium ion battery will be used in the EnergyCS plug-in hybrid planned for release early next year. The company has facilities in Austin, Texas, Henderson, Nevada, and Suzhou and Shanghai, China.
While not literally in the hybrid car business, ZAP is a pioneer in the growing niche for alternative transportation. In 1995, ZAP was one of the first companies in the world to market electric transportation on the Internet via its website zapworld.com. ZAP continued to add to its product line; in 1999, ZAP added electric motorbikes; in 2001, it added electric dive scooters; in 2003, ZAP announced its first electric automobiles, including the first-ever production electric automobile imported from its manufacturing partner in China; in 2004, ZAP introduced electric ATVs and the fuel-efficient Smart Car.