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Oakridge Global Energy Solutions, Inc. (OGES) Geared-Up to Do What Some Experts Say Tesla Should Be Doing Instead Of Focusing On Luxury EVs

A report out last month from 30-year plus veteran energy, telecom, security and advanced computer tech analysis/forecasting firm, Winter Green Research, indicates that the solid-state thin film battery market is set to grow 44 percent from last year’s $9 million market by 2021, when it will hit $1.3 billion. Key applications in emergent technologies, as well as continuously evolving areas such as power bridging, permanent power and wireless sensor networks, are among the chief growth drivers cited by the report. Also noted was the fact that vendors recently trounced Q1 performance handily, with two-fold revenue growth and a trebling of unit output. The uninterruptable, standalone efficacy of these millimeters-thick, high energy density battery systems has really caught on across all target markets, and the industry has matured to a point where the focus has shifted from growth to manufacturing efficiencies and profit margins.

This is where a lithium-ion battery developer, manufacturer and marketer like Oakridge Global Energy Solutions can really shine, expanding into a complementary product space which reinforces the company’s already strong footing. Solid-state thin film is an attractive addition to the company’s lineup as OGES continues working towards its goal of building a truly industrial scale lithium-ion systems platform, one which spans both core technologies and form factors. Oakridge Global Energy Solutions already has an impressive lineup being churned out, covering such markets as NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle) and golf carts, stationary and grid storage applications, consumer and military ROVs (remotely operated vehicle), and the starter motor battery market.

Solid-State Thin Film Battery Market Has Ripened

According to OGES the solid-state thin film battery market is now finally ripe for some serious momentum, with a vast array of technologically sophisticated products coming into existence, or ready to come into existence commercially with the assistance of these wafer-thin powerhouses, some of which can last for years without the need for recharging. Steady power to a given device from a flexible form factor allows for incorporation into wearables like smart clothing and the creation of a range of products featuring smart surfaces or embedded sensors, even ones you might not consider right away, such as automotive tires. The military market is quite interesting here as well, with the emergence of smart combat gear and wearables for the battlespace, as well as smart furniture on infantry armaments becoming easier and easier to implement.

At any rate, after the much ballyhooed expansion of Oakridge’s impressive new 68,718 square foot facility in Central Florida, personally attended by Governor Rick Scott, news out of OGES is that the company will likely already be out of pre-production prototyping early next year on is solid-state thin film model. The company wants to be making and shipping these high-tech American made beauties from another brand new facility sometime starting in late 2016. Executive Chairman and CEO of OGES, Steve Barber, said the company would harness all of its in-house expertise, as well as the local bounty of talent contained in Florida’s neighboring Space Coast region, in order to get a separate facility tooled with the requisite capabilities needed to manufacture these “game-changing” new batteries. This market is ripe for the picking too, with only a handful of companies such as STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) (OTC: STMEF) really at the forefront of the space. Products such as STM’s 220 µm EnFilm™, a rechargeable, solid-state unit with a fast constant-voltage recharge, as well as a 10-year (4000 cycle) lifespan, really shows what is possible in this market through creative engineering.

Oakridge Already Is Where Experts Say Tesla Should Be Focused

A recent article in The Washington Post on Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) argued that Tesla would be better off as a battery arms dealer in a world rapidly migrating towards electric vehicles and touted the explosion of the Chinese low-speed electric vehicle (LSEV) market over the last several years. Tesla sales are still dwarfed by traditional auto manufacturers, with the top slot still in the EV market currently still held by the Nissan (OTC: NSANY) Leaf at 12 percent market share. Nearly ten times the number of highly versatile low-speed electric cars were sold in China during 2013 than Tesla sold that year worldwide, with the epicenter of activity being Shandong Province, which has around 100 million people, packed into bustling cities like Linyi (population over 10 million). The low price point of LSEVs, which are effectively more powerful versions of golf carts, could help the vehicle class develop into a substantial market in the U.S. as well, especially in higher population density cities such as Los Angeles.

Tesla is coming at the EV market from the luxury auto end of things and trying to work high margin items to get its footing, but this has been a difficult and harrowing endeavor to say the least. The easy street some would argue, is servicing burgeoning demand for batteries to power all these electric vehicles. This is a big opportunity for a domestic manufacturer like OGES, which already has the appropriate tack worked out and is primed for growth with cutting-edge products like those from its Pro Series of maintenance-free rechargeable 40 Ah, 60 Ah, 100 Ah, and 160 Ah batteries, which have been designed specifically for the golf cart/NEV market. Equipped with a smart charging system that allows the user to retain their existing charger, Pro Series lithium-ion batteries are good for over 2,000 cycles, can go up to 60 miles on a single charge, work with any golf cart, and have a software UI driven by an Android app.

Harvard Business Review made the case quite succinctly in its May 2015 issue, arguing that Tesla is not as disruptive as one might think, because the company’s entire business model focuses on starting at the high end of the EV market, with $100,000 plus luxury vehicles. Tesla is aiming to have a $35,000 vehicle out sometime in 2017 aimed squarely at the mass consumer market, but the big automakers could shift to electric more quickly than Tesla can ramp up vehicle production capacity. OGES can step in here and be one of a handful of companies filling the gap, providing the kinds of diverse battery solutions needed at all levels of the EV space.

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