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Tuesday Ticker: September 22, 2020

Toronto, Ontario – PPG secures government funding for lithium-ion battery research, a GM electric truck partner sees some scandal and Boyd Group Services announces its third-quarter cash dividend in this week’s Tuesday Ticker.

Securing sustainability

PPG has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to pursue research in the use of two versatile, high-output processes in the production of lithium-ion battery electrodes.

The goal of the PPG project, titled High Energy and High Power NMP Free Designer Electrodes with Ultra-Thick Architectures Process by Multilayer Slot-Die Coating and Electrophoretic Deposition, is to achieve step-change improvements in production efficiency of lithium-ion batteries used in automotive and commercial vehicle applications.

Multilayer slot die coating and electrophoretic deposition (EPD) are highly scalable methods for applying uniform films on a variety of substrates, says PPG. The coatings giant was the first to commercialize cathodic EPD, an industry standard for protecting vehicle panels and components from corrosion.

The three-year, US$2.2 million project is one of 13 selected through a DOE initiative focused on addressing engineering challenges for advanced battery materials and devices.

The project is being funded through a 50-50 cost share between PPG and the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Department’s funding is part of the department’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge to create and sustain global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports.

“This funding recognizes PPG’s contributions to innovative battery manufacturing processes and our potential to commercialize disruptive technologies that can help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles,” said Peter Votruba-Drzal, PPG director, global research and product development, automotive, industrial, and mobility.

‘Ocean of lies’

Just weeks after launching a partnership to build electric pickups with General Motors, Nikola Corp. chairman and CEO Trevor Milton has landed in some hot water.

Early Monday morning, Nikola announced Milton would be stepping down from his roles as executive chairman and a member of its board. The resignation came 10 days after short-selling firm Hindenburg Research accused the company of making “an ocean of lies.”

On Sept. 10, a report titled “Nikola: How to Parlay an Ocean of Lies into a Partnership with the Largest OEM in America,” delved into details of Milton’s alleged deception. The firm claims Milton fabricated “dozens of false statements” and “inked partnerships with some of the top auto companies in the world, all desperate to catch up to Tesla and harness the EV wave.”

Hindenburg Research claims that Milton fabricated lies about Nikola’s harnessing of solar-powered energy, the company’s so-called state-of-the-art battery technology, that Nikola buys or licenses key components from third parties while claiming all its components are made in-house, along with countless other deceptions.

“We have never seen this level of deception at a public company, especially of this size,” wrote Hindenburg Research in its report.

Nikola’s stock plunged 30 percent in premarket trading Monday, though it recovered some of the losses after the opening bell.

The electric truck maker said the board accepted Milton’s resignation, adding that Stephen Girsky, former vice chairman of General Motors and a member of Nikola’s board, has been appointed chairman of the board, effective immediately.

“Nikola is truly in my blood and always will be, and the focus should be on the Company and its world-changing mission, not me,” Milton said in a statement. “So, I made the difficult decision to approach the Board and volunteer to step aside as Executive Chairman. Founding Nikola and growing it into a company that will change transportation for the better and help protect our world’s climate has been an incredible honor.”

Click here to read Hindenburg’s full report.

Third-quarter cash out

Boyd Group Services has declared a cash dividend for the third quarter of 2020 of $0.138 per common share.

The dividend will be payable on Oct. 28, 2020 to common shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 30, 2020. Shareholders who are non-residents of Canada will be subject to withholding taxes.

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