This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
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

Autos Become the Center of Innovation

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For the first time in over a century, automobiles are the center of innovation.

Early in the 1900s we had the Stanley Steamer and even electric cars on the road. Scale and consolidation led to today's standards of enclosed cabs with gasoline-powered engines, controlled with a wheel and pedals, made by a handful of global giants.

It's all about to change.

There are three avenues of change -- how the car is powered, how the car is controlled and what the car is made of. Both big and small carmakers have to navigate through this changing world.

Power

The most obvious change will be how cars are powered. What used to be a choice between gasoline (which is like alcohol) and diesel (which is more like cooking oil) is rapidly being transformed by the rise of the electric car and the vibrant hybrid market.

We now have four choices for electric-powered cars. Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) refuses to die, writes Jalopnik.com. The GM (GM - Get Report) Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, according to Cleantechnica.com , have moved Toyota (TM - Get Report) to introduce a plug-in Prius. Privately held Fisker has sold 1,500 electrics, making total demand 31,400 for 2012, according to Bloomberg.

Electrics have short ranges, and are best for city driving. As distances grow, hybrids become the choice. Toyota alone will sell 1.2 million hybrids this year, writes Business Week leading to more American competition according to Forbes , even from Ford (F - Get Report). The U.S. hybrids are usually bigger, substituting size and comfort for absolute mileage savings.

American hybrids are country cars. Asian hybrids are city cars. We're moving to a market of town cars and country cars.

Control

California became the second state to legalize driverless cars last month, writes the BBC (Nevada was the first), with Gov. Jerry Brown signing the bill at Google's (GOOG) headquarters, next to a Toyota Prius retrofitted with the Google technology.

Computer-controlled cars combine radar, GPS, and video to create an interactive map of the car's surroundings that the computer then navigates through.

Retrofit is the key word here. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers objects to the bill, but that is tied to its being an after-market product. They don't want to take the insurance hit in case of accidents.
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

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
Stocks Under $10

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

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
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

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

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
F $15.02 0.00%
GM $33.23 0.00%
TM $132.45 0.00%
TSLA $266.40 1.70%
AAPL $125.56 0.83%

Markets

DOW 17,596.35 -350.33 -1.95%
S&P 500 2,057.64 -43.85 -2.09%
NASDAQ 4,958.4680 -122.0370 -2.40%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs