This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The New Thing in Green Tech: Micro-Hybrid Batteries

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The world's biggest car companies and battery makers will gather for the 13th European Lead Battery Conference next month. The focus at the Paris event will be micro-hybrid vehicles with stop-start idle elimination, a sensible and cheap fuel-efficiency technology that will be used in 35 million cars a year by 2015. While I've agreed to give a keynote presentation to the ELBC's opening session, I expect to learn more than I teach and look forward to sharing new developments with readers.

Micro hybrids are not a subsidized technology for eco-elites who eagerly embrace "somewhere over the rainbow" payback periods. They're hard-working fuel-efficiency systems for the rest of us -- normal people who grapple with monthly budgets and expect reasonable returns from their investments in fuel efficiency. The primary market driver will be stringent new emissions-control and fuel-economy regulations in Europe, North America and Asia. When you get down to brass tacks, consumers won't have a choice because stop-start will be installed as standard equipment, just like seat belts, disk brakes, pollution-control systems and airbags.

For investors, micro hybrids are an automotive mega-trend that will generate several billion dollars a year in incremental revenue for a handful of companies that control technology. Since most investors have never even heard of micro hybrids, the stock prices of those companies don't reflect the rapidly changing market fundamentals.

Micro hybrids are the most sensible fuel-efficiency technology imaginable. They turn off the engine when a car comes to a stop and automatically restart it when the driver takes his foot off the brake. Simple "light micro hybrid" systems add $300 to the cost of a new car and save about $80 a year on gasoline. Sophisticated "heavy micro hybrid" systems can add up to $1,000 to the cost of a new car and save up to $250 a year on gas.

The choke point for all micro-hybrid systems is the battery.

The battery challenges of micro hybrids are easy to understand. Starting an engine 15 times during a typical daily commute uses about eight times more energy than a single engine start. It's not a one-for-one increase because restarting a warm engine is easier than starting a cold one, but the increased starter demands are massive. An even bigger problem is powering the accessories during engine-off intervals, a task that can demand up to 10 times more energy than the starter. When you work through all the calculations, a micro hybrid demands 90 to 100 times more work from its battery than a car without stop-start.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,960.57 -123.23 -0.72%
S&P 500 1,978.34 -9.64 -0.48%
NASDAQ 4,449.5640 -22.5440 -0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs