Looking at key ultracapacitor markets, wind turbine deployments in China and elsewhere continue to be well below levels seen in previous years, so wind-related ultracapacitor sales were lower than a year ago. However, our sales in the hybrid bus drive systems in China continue to be steady, and contributions from a stop-start idle elimination system for autos in Europe and various backup power applications enabled us to sustain our year over year growth.
Looking ahead, an increase in recent order activity and intelligence from various sources in China, including forecasts from several of our customers, indicate that wind farm installations, both on and off shore, can be expected to move toward a more normal level over the next few quarters.
The current lull was predicted last year by the consulting firm that we engaged last year to assess business conditions and the direction of government policy in China, particularly as they related to the wind and the bus markets. China’s new five-year plan includes targets for increasing wind farm installations to help to satisfy the country’s ever-growing appetite for electrical energy and Chinese wind turbine OEMs are now marketing their systems globally, so we’ve got good reason to anticipate an upturn.
Energy storage systems for recuperative breaking and torque assist in fuel efficient, low emission hybrid electric transit buses for China continued to be the single largest ultracapacitor sales driver in Q1.Last fall we announced a new supply agreement with Yutong, China’s largest bus producer, and we continue to supply ultracapacitor products to several other bus OEMs and hybrid drive system integrators. There are more than 5,000 hybrid buses powered by Maxwell ultracapacitors in daily service around the world, and their performance continues to validate the performance, quality, and the value proposition of our products. According to our consultants, all of the 25 Chinese cities that are eligible for government subsidies for purchases of hybrid and electric transit vehicles are running behind their new energy vehicle deployment schedules. So bus OEMs and drive system integrators continue to gear up to deliver more hybrid vehicles. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com