By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 0 Comments
A business recap of energy drinks, electric cars, and Mexican labour
Energy drinks have courted controversy with a business model many see as based on pumping teenagers full of caffeine. But investors have largely tuned out those complaints. Monster Beverage Corp. has been the greatest beneficiary of the stock market’s love for energy drinks. Company shares more than doubled last year, topping $78 in June, as its oversized cans and provocative slogan—“unleash the beast”—made it the largest U.S. energy drink producer by volume.
That was until last week, when its shares plunged nearly 30 per cent on news the Food and Drug Administration is investigating reports five people have died since 2009 after consuming Monster drinks. The FDA said it has not yet linked Monster to any of the deaths, but the bad publicity sparked whispers that Coca-Cola is backing away from plans to buy the company. The stock market, it seems, is finally coming down off its buzz around energy drinks.
Bright Idea: Lube, oil and software fix
Last week, General Motors Co. announced a software update for its Chevrolet Volt, contacting about 4,000 owners of the plug-in hybrid over a glitch that could cause the electric motor to suddenly shut down, even while the car was moving. They were asked to bring their vehicles to a dealer for a fix, but in the future, more software updates might happen automatically and over the air—just like an iPhone. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM - 0 Comments
New rules say that cars must improve fuel efficiency, but will consumers buy them?
Expect to see a lot more electric and hybrid cars on the road in the coming years. Washington recently announced new rules that cars must have almost double the current fuel economy standard of 29 miles per gallon by 2025. Ottawa quickly said it will follow suit with common standards. (The Canadian equivalent would mean moving from 6.6 to 4.4 litres per 100 km). What’s good for the environment, however, is creating something of a dilemma for automakers. They need to continue making big investments in green technology to meet the new requirements, but as yet haven’t found much of a market for green cars. Consumers remain fiercely loyal to the old-fashioned internal combustion engine. In Canada, just 0.03 per cent are buying electric cars. General Motors expects to sell 2,500 plug-in hybrid Chevy Volts in August—its highest monthly rate since the model was introduced in 2010. With sales falling short of projections, GM is shutting down production for four weeks. Sales of Nissan’s electric Leaf, meanwhile, are down 26 per cent from last year. Carmakers will continue making electrics and hybrids—last month Ford said it is hiring dozens more engineers for that purpose—but for now, it won’t do much for the bottom line.
By Josh Dehaas - Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The AirPod car is cheaper than any subcompact and it gets better mileage than the Volt or Prius
It may not have the sleek style of the Chevrolet Volt or the provenance of the Toyota Prius, but the new AirPod may have them both beat on enviro cred and price. The bug-like little three-seater, made by the Swiss company Catecar, runs on nothing but thin air. (Thin air that has been highly compressed by an electric motor, to be exact.) The car can go 200 km on a four-hour charge from a 240-volt outlet. The Volt, by comparison, only goes 64 km on a similar charge. Then it must also burn gas. Compared to mass-market hybrids and electrics, the AirPod is also astonishingly cheap. At $9,500, it will cost less than any Canadian subcompact on the market and is a fraction of the Volt’s $41,000 price tag.
The AirPod is the culmination of more than a decade of engineering and testing, but European regulators have only recently given it a green light for safety and roadworthiness. Catecar says the first 150 AirPods will roll off a Swiss assembly line in March, and a new plant will be able to produce 700 per month by 2012.