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Recharge Wrap-up: Ridesharing jeopardizes taxi medallion values

Formula E's School Series, Rotterdam's BYD e6 EVs

Financial analysts have warned investors to avoid stocks aligned heavily with taxi medallions. With car-hire startups like Uber and Lyft circumventing the taxi permit process, the value of the medallions are falling drastically. A new report from HVM Capital says, "Medallion markets are absorbing the sudden incursion of unconstrained vehicle-for-hire capacity that is lower-priced, higher-quality and offers better customer service." Taxi medallion values have fallen between 20 to 40 percent in the past year and, as local governments continue to allow companies like Uber to operate, the trend is expected to continue. Read more in the press release below.

Rotterdam Taxi Company (RTC) will add 22 BYD e6 electric taxis to its fleet in Rotterdam, Holland. RTC began using BYD's electric taxis in 2013, and was the first in Europe to do so. According to RTC CEO Sjaak de Winter, "The experience with our first three BYD e6 taxis has been very positive" for passengers and drivers. "We look forward to expanding our fleet of these environmentally friendly and cost effective vehicles." Barcelona and Brussels also use the BYD e6 EV taxis, and London is expected to increase its fleet from 32 to 200 BYD taxis in the coming months. Read more in the press release below or at Hybrid Cars.

A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists has found that the "wells-to-wheels" emissions per mile of electric cars has improved over the last year. Several factors are behind EVs getting cleaner in such a short time. For one, some cars have gotten more efficient, like the Nissan Leaf with its improved range. There are more options now, too, with cars like the BMW i3 making their way to market. Newer data also takes into account the fact that the use of coal in electricity generation has decreased relative to other sources of power, with more states having cleaner grids. Read more at Green Car Reports.

CODA Energy has launched the Los Angeles Basin's largest behind-the-meter energy storage system. The 1,054-kWh / 510-kW system is comprised of lithium-ion EV batteries. The system is meant to demonstrate the scalable, modular nature of CODA's energy storage systems, which help customers reduce reliance on the grid during peak usage. It also shows the potential for a second life for EV batteries. CODA is also using the system to power EV charging stations. CODA has two more networked energy storage systems ready to be interconnected, and a third expected to be ready soon. Read more in the press release below.

Formula E will begin its School Series support race at the Buenos Aires ePrix on January 10. The FE School Series features students aged 11 to 16 from local schools building and racing their own electric cars on the same circuit used for the ePrix. School Series races are also scheduled for the events in Miami, Long Beach, Berlin and London. "The initiative aims to inspire young people to embrace sustainable mobility and engineering, in addition to being a once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag. "Like with Formula E, the races will focus on energy efficiency, as well as speed." Read more at the Formula E website.

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Ride Sharing to Seriously Impact Taxi Medallion Lenders, New Investment Report Concludes

Value of government-controlled taxi permits will continue to plummet

BOSTON, Dec. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new analysis by HVM Capital concludes that the disruption in the taxicab business caused by upstart car-for-hire firms such as Uber and Lyft is only beginning, and warns investors to be wary of stocks in corporations financially exposed to taxicab medallion prices.

Most vulnerable, the report says, are companies such as Medallion Financial Corp., Signature Bank, and multiple credit unions and other specialty lenders that lend money for purchases and, in the case of some, ownership of taxi medallions – the government-controlled taxi permits. The values of taxi medallions throughout the country have plummeted between 20 and 40 percent over the last year, a trend HVM says will continue.

"Medallion markets are absorbing the sudden incursion of unconstrained vehicle-for-hire capacity that is lower-priced, higher-quality and offers better customer service," the report says. "Cities and states across the US have overwhelmingly opted for acceptance and regulation rather than elimination, and courts have rejected invocation of takings or eminent domain arguments for medallion owner compensation after medallion values collapsed."

Medallion Financial, for example, has $689 million of managed loans collateralized by taxicab medallions (53 percent of total managed loans), and owns 150 medallions in Chicago, the market most vulnerable to near-term collapse, valued at $49 million but worth $33 million at current medallion prices.

"We believe once it is clear to market participants that supply constraints have been permanently eliminated and exclusive access once conferred by medallions is gone, taxicab medallions will eventually be worthless," said the report's author James F. Hickman, of HVM Capital. "Any company with heavy concentration in this area, such as Medallion Financial, is looking at a severe financial reckoning."

The complete 23-page report is available for download at:

Rotterdam plans to add 22 more BYD pure electric taxis

Rotterdam Taxi Company (RTC), which in 2013 became the first operator in Europe to put into service BYD's advanced pure electric taxi, the BYD e6, has this week indicated it is planning to add a further 22 taxis to its fleet.

CEO Sjaak de Winter signed a Memorandum of Understanding to acquire the new fleet with BYD's Chairman Wang Chuanfu at a ceremony at BYD Europe's HQ, which is located in Rotterdam.

Mr. De Winter said: "The experience with our first three BYD e6 taxis has been very positive – they are liked by our passengers and drivers and they have proved very economical to operate. We look forward to expanding our fleet of these environmentally friendly and cost effective vehicles".

Mr. Wang Chuanfu said: "We are delighted that major European cities such as Rotterdam are recognizing the role that BYD's battery technology can play in improving air quality in urban environments. Our e6 taxis – and our ebus range of pure electric city buses – rely on a proven and reliable battery technology, which delivers excellent range and real operating cost advantages to the operators. It's great to be able to co-operate further with our friends at RTC".

Fleets of BYD e6 taxis are in daily passenger carrying services in cities such as London (where a fleet of 32 e6s is expected to increase to 200 in the early months of next year), Brussels and Barcelona and further fleet sales are expected soon.

Work is now proceeding between BYD and RTC experts to conclude finance and leasing arrangements with a view to allowing the new fleet to be carrying passengers in Rotterdam during 2015.

CODA Energy begins operation of the largest behind-the-meter energy storage system in the Los Angeles basin

Project showcases energy storage leader's capabilities in demand management and peak shaving

MONROVIA, Calif., Dec. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today CODA Energy announced the full interconnection and operation of the largest behind the meter lithium-ion energy storage system in the Los Angeles basin. The 1,054kWh / 510kW system was developed under a contract with South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and co-funded through California's Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). The project demonstrates the scalability of CODA Energy's peak shaving product architecture by managing demand charges for its facility headquarters.

In a year when the energy storage market has been poised for explosive growth – one that can be compared to the booming solar PV market 5 years ago – CODA Energy has decisively moved to a leadership role in California's behind-the-meter market. CODA began installations at the beginning of the year and already has nearly 3MWh of energy storage installations with manufacturing, retail, and public sector customers. With manufacturing based in Monrovia, California, CODA Energy designs and builds scalable commercial and industrial energy storage solutions that support a smarter, cleaner, and more resilient grid.

"CODA Energy set high goals for this year. We now have proven solutions that cover the full spectrum of our commercial and industrial customers' needs for peak power and energy. Our behind-the-meter active and interconnected storage systems range from a 40kWh UL listed energy storage appliance to this 1,054 kWh scaled and tailored aggregation solution," said Peter Nortman, COO and CTO at CODA Energy. "We provide the most innovative, reliable, and technologically advanced storage systems currently available. This system is actually comprised of two (2) networked and aggregated multi-tower systems that can operate in concert or deliver independent, specialized services. CODA's scalable hardware and proprietary networking software give us high flexibility in system configuration, and the ability to expand in a cohesive and modular way within a site, across multiple sites, or regionally. We have achieved our 2014 goal of putting a solid, working foundation in place that we can scale from," added Nortman.

CODA Energy Demonstrates Scalability
CODA Energy's commitment to its customers' needs and leading growth in the energy storage industry is fundamental to the scalability of its business. The company's technology is also highly adaptable, as evidenced by projects ranging from small commercial applications to large scale installations. In addition to the 1,054kWh project, CODA has installed two more multi-tower networked systems totaling another 1MW that are ready to interconnect, and a third 120kW networked, multi-tower array that is currently undergoing validation and slated for customer delivery in early 2015.

The 1,054kWh / 510kW energy storage system is comprised of new lithium-iron phosphate electric vehicle (EV) battery cell packs and demonstrates the possibility of second life electric vehicle (EV) battery applications. The project provides large-scale peak shaving for the CODA Energy manufacturing facility in support of the company's existing and growing energy needs, alleviating CODA's usage of the local grid. As part of the company's building load management, the system is used to power EV charging stations for CODA Energy's electric vehicle fleet and local visitors to Monrovia's nearby downtown businesses.

About CODA Energy
Headquartered in Monrovia, CA, CODA Energy designs and builds scalable, UL listed commercial and industrial energy storage solutions to support a smarter, cleaner, and more reliable grid. The presently available CODA Core™ product combines advanced lithium-ion cells with proven battery and temperature management systems and an integrated operating system designed to meet growing energy needs – peak shaving, EV charging, renewable energy integration, islanding, frequency trading. CODA Energy's products reduce electricity costs, control energy consumption and manage energy risk, optimizing commercial and industrial energy operations for scalability, extensibility, safety, reliability and security; ultimately contributing to a more economically and energy resilient world.

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