It's been quiet for months in the advanced battery world. A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE), Ener1 (Nasdaq: HEV), and Valence Technology (Nasdaq: VLNC) have been quietly, maybe too quietly, moving toward what should be an inflection point in the industry as manufacturers start to launch vehicles.

A123 Systems in particular pointed to the second quarter as the point when the company would begin seeing demand pick up. We'll find out in early August whether that happened, but two competitors did give some positive news this week.

Peeking into the future
Valence Technology gave us a little peek into what the second quarter looked like by releasing preliminary results yesterday. Revenue is expected to be $13.5 million to $14.0 million, well above guidance given in May.

After it was announced in May that A123 Systems would be a second supply source for Smith Electric, Valence's biggest customer, questions about Valence arose. A123 is a big player in the battery market, and stealing one of the few customers currently in production would be big news. But Smith came through with more orders than even Valence expected, so it looks for now like dual sourcing won't leave Valence out in the cold.

Moving to China
Ener1 received word yesterday that the Chinese government approved its joint venture with Wanxiang Electric Vehicle Co. Investors will take anything positive from Ener1 after the stock has fallen 71% year to date. The company's very existence has come into question since Th!nk Global filed for bankruptcy, and it needs demand to pick up soon.

The venture will supply mainly Chinese customers and is expected to continue work on grid energy storage and bus electrification in China for now. When full capacity is reached in 2014, the plant expects to have capacity for about 40,000 electric vehicle battery packs.

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