Metallica’s European Tour Showcases Renewable-Energy Big Rigs—And Their Limits - Kanebridge News
Share Button

Metallica’s European Tour Showcases Renewable-Energy Big Rigs—And Their Limits

The heavy-metal band is using natural gas and vegetable oil to power its 7,200-mile journey, but filling trucks up on sustainable fuels still has a long way to go

By PAUL BERGER
Fri, May 24, 2024 9:36amGrey Clock 3 min

Metallica, the band that blazed a trail for thrash metal with rugged guitar riffs and relentless drumbeats, is trying to do something similar for trucks powered by sustainable fuels.

The group, a rock music mainstay since their 1986 hit album “Master of Puppets,” is looking to burnish its bona fides on social issues by using rigs powered by fuels including biomethane and vegetable oil on its European tour this summer.

Working with European truck maker Iveco, the authors of songs including “Battery” and “Fuel” (sample lyric: “Fuel is pumping engines / Burning hard, loose and clean / And I burn, churning my direction / Quench my thirst with gasoline.”) aim to show that sustainable transportation in heavy-duty trucking is possible on European highways dotted with alternative-fuelling stations.

But the trucks’ limitations and the workarounds the band’s logistics providers are undertaking on the meticulously-planned 7,200-mile journey winding through the continent from Sweden to Spain also illustrate how far trucking is from using cleaner fuels in regular operations.

“You have limited options because of the lack of the infrastructure,” said Natasha Highcroft, a director of Suffolk, U.K.-based Transam Trucking, which provides logistics for Metallica and other bands. “We use alternative fuels as and when we can, as much as possible, but until the infrastructure is there it’s very difficult.”

The trucks run on natural gas, vegetable oil, electricity and hydrogen fuel cells, and will be hauling giant video screens, lighting and instruments across nine countries.

The workhorses of Metallica’s tour will be 10 heavy-duty trucks powered by renewable natural gas—such as methane from landfills—and four heavy-duty trucks running on biodiesel or hydrogenated vegetable oil. The trucks, dramatically decked out in Metallica’s fierce logo, can travel about 1,000 miles between refuelling.

Both fuels provide a significant reduction in emissions compared with regular diesel, although emissions experts say they aren’t nearly as clean as battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

The tour was due to kick off this week in Munich, Germany, and over the next two months will cover the continent from Italy and Spain in southern Europe to Denmark and Norway. The longest journey between shows, from Warsaw to Madrid, covers almost 1,800 miles.

Iveco, which is providing the eco-friendly trucks for Metallica’s tour, makes both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell big-rig engines, the types that governments in Europe and the U.S. are trying to press on truckers as soon as possible. But because of the lack of charging and fuelling stations on the long legs between gigs, the battery-electric and hydrogen trucks will be mostly for promotional use at concerts, said Gerrit Marx , chief executive of the Italian truck maker.

Marx said Iveco wants to highlight that renewable natural gas and hydrogenated vegetable oil are “more available and ready” than batteries and hydrogen while also being “way better than fossil diesel.”

Europe has hundreds of liquefied natural gas and hydrogenated vegetable oil, or HVO, refuelling stations. A representative for British energy major Shell , which is working with Iveco on the tour, said Metallica’s low-carbon journey wouldn’t have been possible even a couple of years ago.

Shell says its customers can access HVO in five European countries and renewable natural gas in Germany and in the Netherlands. That means that when low-carbon options aren’t available, the Iveco trucks will be fuelled with regular LNG and the HVO trucks will be fuelled with regular diesel.

A Shell representative said the Metallica tour will buy carbon credits to offset “unavoidable emissions“ generated by the low-emission trucks.

U.S. companies are also using renewable natural gas and biodiesel to reduce carbon emissions. But trucking specialists say the fuels aren’t available in sufficient quantities to power the world’s fleets, which is why regulators are pushing battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Trucking executives say the costs of operating those technologies are double or triple those of diesel and that they aren’t workable in a highly-competitive, low-margin industry like trucking.

Lars Stenqvist , chief technology officer at truck maker Volvo Group , said it is important that high-profile performers like Metallica amplify the capabilities of sustainable fuels.

Truckers will only adopt the technology when customers demand it, he said, so “This is music to my ears.”



MOST POPULAR

What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.

Alexandre de Betak and his wife are focusing on their most personal project yet.

Related Stories
Money
To Find Winning Stocks, Investors Often Focus on the Laggards. They Shouldn’t.
By KEN SHREVE 12/06/2024
Money
Louis Vuitton Unveils Its Most Extravagant High-Jewellery Collection Ahead of Olympics
By LAURIE KAHLE 09/06/2024
Money
Sylvester Stallone Sells His Knockout Watch Collection, Including the Most Valuable Modern Timepiece Sold in Sotheby’s History
By ERIC GROSSMAN 08/06/2024

These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .