Enova Finds Its Groove
By Bill Moore
My guess is it was Secretary Abraham's "Freedom Car" announcement [news keyword:Freedom] in Detroit last week that propelled little Enova System's stock price up 50% since last week from 15 cents a share to 23 cents at close on Friday*. Of course, other fuel cell-related stocks also enjoyed a brief spike upward.
The US Secretary of Energy formally announced, with GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler senior executives present, the official committment of the US government to the commercialization of fuel cell technology and the development of a hydrogen infrastructure. The Secretary told a gathering of the press that the government would no longer fund the Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle begun in 1993 by the Clinton Administration, but would instead shift its funding and research focus to fuel cell technology, in a similar partnership with private business.
The PNGV program saw the development of prototype hybrid-electric sedans that c80 mpgget 80mpg, but to date has produced no US-made HEVs. Toyota is selling three such models and Honda soon will add its second hybrid-drive car, the Civic.
Enova Systems has been developing, slowly, but steadily, a key role for itself in the development of electric drives and control technology that applies to both battery, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, ranging from the Santa Fe SUV featured in this video, to transit buses. Their clients include Ford Motor Company and Hyundai Motors of South Korea.
Carl Perry is a former executive vice president for Canadair Aerospace and prior to that, Hughes Helicopter, now part of Boeing. He became the company president in 1997 and has overseen the turnaround of the once-trouble firm, then known as US ElectriCar.
Prior to joining Enova, Abas Goodarzi was co-founder of Systronix, a firm acquired by Enova in 1997. There he developed the Panther electric drive system, Prior to Systronics he was Senior Scientist and Technology Director for the GM Impact EV power electronics system.
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One additional observation worth noting. During my off-camera discussions with Carl, I asked him about his meeting with President Bush late last year.
He told me that when the President asked him about Enova's technology, Perry handed him a power electronics controller for an electric drive system and explained that it is a lot like an airplane autopilot, but for electric drive systems.He said the President held the small box in his hand and said he understood.
Bush also added -- rather significantly now, it seems -- that what he wanted to know from Perry and the other alternative energy and transportation executives at the exhibition was just how "real" all this technology was.
The events of last week would seem to indicate he and his administration now believe it is very real.
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