Even though demand for hybrid vehicles is expected to grow like mushrooms after a summer rain in the coming years, there's a big problem looming, says John Peterson, a writer for investment site Seeking Alpha. Peterson has crunched some numbers and done some reading and discovered that the ingredients for a potential hybrid production slowdown are coming together. Those ingredients include: lack of advanced battery production capacity, increasing demand but no increase in supply of some rare earth metals needed to make NiMH batteries, and a slight undercounting of hybrid vehicle demand. In short, not everyone who wants a hybrid will be able to get one, and this could benefit, get this, lead acid battery makers.
With massive amounts of li-ion packs still far away, Peterson, who discloses that he's invested in lead-acid battery makers, concludes that, "the bulk of the unit growth in the HEV markets will go to lead-acid battery manufacturers who will not need to make larger numbers of batteries, but will need to make higher quality batteries that are better suited to the performance requirements of micro hybrids." This "should lead to rapid and sustained revenue growth for all lead-acid battery producers," he writes. Once these higher-quality advanced lead acid batteries exist, it'll be a no-brainer for the conservative automakers to opt for the known over the unknown. For the long-term, other chemistries will certainly win out, but for the next few years, don't count out the old standbys.