Entries by Neal Dikeman

MIT Mistakes and How Much an Uber Driver Actually Makes

MIT recently posted a sensationalist research article where the authors claim 74% of Uber and Lyft drivers earn less than the local minimum wage. Which begs the question, if the authors are right, why in the hell would hundreds of thousands of people do that? Are they all too stupid to do math, have no other options […]

Exxon and Shell will Never Again Match Their Oil Market Share in Renewables

According to Bloomberg, cleantech global capital spending was $333 Billion last year, 40% of that in China.  That’s 3.5x bigger than the COMBINED capex total for Shell, Exxon, BP, Chevron, and Total. Put another way, that’s enough capital to outspend 7 Shell’s and 7 Exxon’s. These are staggering numbers. Bloomberg reports cleantech venture capital was […]

It is a Long Lane that Never Turns – Agtech Angel Investing 100 Years Ago

100 years ago my great grandparents were also angel investors – in Infrastructure, Media and Bee tech They invested in media, ag / cleantech, and infrastructure.  Lest you think angel investing is new or VCs are smart – it really hasn’t changed much in a century. In the 1920s my great grandparents were active angel investors […]

Is Tesla Really the EV King?

by Neal Dikeman, chief blogger, Cleantech Blog Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been the electric vehicle darling since almost the day it launched.  I’d argue there are some really neat aspects to its product and strategy, but it is far from a resounding market leader in EVs. The Range and Battery Scale Advantage There are a couple of […]

My LED Saga

For my birthday, I told my wife I want LED light bulbs.  I know, right?  You’re thinking how cool is that!  If you’re thinking anything else, just keep it to yourself. A bit of history.  I like light.  I hate waiting for CFLs to warm up.  We need floodlight style for recessed lighting, and A […]

Electric Vehicles Are Outpacing Historical Hybrid Car Growth 3 to 1

For a project we are working on, we have been analyzing EV and HEV historical sales performance.  The numbers are striking. In the US Hybrids took until their 6th year to achieve 100,000+/year in unit sales and 1% in market share of new vehicles sold. Electrics and Plugins are currently on pace to do that […]

Kior, Solar, and Storage

Kior, one of the farthest along cellulosic biofuels producers shipped its first drop in cellulosic biofuels from its pilot plant, but was way below its prior production targets.  And Biofuels Digest reports it is now considering a smaller scale expansion of its pilot before launching its long announced commercial plant in Natchez.  This sounds like […]

Listening to Bill Ford on Technology

Bill Ford is talking about innovation today at the Ford Trends conference. He started with two quotes that struck me: Henry Ford – “If I’d asked my customers originally what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse. ” Bill Ford – “The car industry back then was the ultimate disruptive industry.” Ford says […]

Ford CEO Admits the C-Max Underperforms EPA Standards in Real World Test

Last night I was at a dinner with Ford CEO Alan Mulally at the Ford Trends conference in Detroit.  After taking a couple of questions on electric cars, emissions, and mileage standards, Mulally touted the C-max platform with the words:  “I want to tell you a funny story”. The punch line of which is as […]

Tesla, First Solar, Better Place and Comments on a Weird Quarter in Cleantech

Wow.  This has been a really interesting few months in cleantech. First Solar announced a $0.99 cent/Wp target within 4 years for installed with trackers utility scale in its investor deck.  That equates to around $4-5 henry hub gas price in a new combined cycle gas plant. The scary thing is that best utility scale […]

Speed in the Oil Patch – Automation at the Wellhead looks like Cleantech

I had a chance to wander around the Offshore Technology Conference this week and chat about some of the technologies on display. OTC is still heavily a mechanical engineer’s conference.  Despite the high tech nature of the industry, in large part vendors are not yet leading customers, and steel still rules the day in technology. […]

Simple Thoughts on Aggie Muster

Simple Thoughts on Aggie Muster Written on Muster’s Eve April 20th 2013 the year of the birth of my daughter Softly call the Muster, gently call the Roll. Another year is passing, time will take her toll. My family is remembered, as I’ll be remembered too. Remember me my brethren; I am remembering you. Softly […]

Why is it So Hard to Make Money in New Battery Technology?

Energy storage is still the rage in cleantech.  But after the collapse of A123 and Beacon, and the spectacular failure on the Fisker Karma in its Consumer Reports tests, fire  in Hawaii with Xtreme Power’s lead acid grid storage system and with NGK’s sodium sulphur system, and now battery problems grounding the Boeing Dreamliners, investors […]

Cap and Trade for Traffic

Great article today on a study suggesting that traffic congestion is created by the marginal driver, and more interesting, from the marginal driver from specific and predictable locations.  Maybe 1% of commuters leaving from specific neighborhoods have a big increase on traffic congestion and commute time for everyone. The link to the study is here. We dealt […]

The Economics of Cleantech Investing

I drafted this memo in early 2003 for a venture capitalist friend of mine, well before the bubble in cleantech.  In light of the back and forth on the recent Solar City IPO, I thought it was worth revisiting.  Some of the points were pretty prescient, calling out many of the challenges cleantech investors and […]