The world is on the cusp of a brilliant new age of innovative human transportation – cars, trucks, trains and planes.

January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (where CDs, DVDs and 3D printers were first launched) might just be the touch-paper that ignites the electric vehicle (EV) firework.

Las Vegas is the venue for Herbert Diess, CEO of VW Passenger Cars revealing VW’s next all-electric concept vehicle. VW has been a bit sniffy about EVs in the past, but it needs to regain its car-manufacturing mojo and do something about its reputation after the recent emissions scandal.

VW has always been known for innovative technology, precision engineering, quality and an enviable global sales and distribution network. And with cash reserves of $32 billion its pockets are deep (even allowing for the €6.5 billion it has set aside to clear up the emissions mess). The emissions scandal should prove to be yesterday’s fish-n-chip paper as I think a lot of car manufacturers were cheating. Yes – even a few in the USA probably bent the rules a tad.

So I predict a big noise from VW in the EV market.  And I also offer VW some advice – now is the time to get serious with a technical collaborator, a Google, Apple, or Tesla.

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Today is a big anniversary for Cuba.  One year ago to this day, Presidents Obama and Raúl Castro announced to the world that their countries would try to kiss and make up.

After the immediate euphoria it dawned on people that the world wasn’t going to change overnight.  After all, the US embargo is enshrined in law so it’s going to take Congress to do something about it.  And it takes two to tango.  The Cuban government will also determine the pace at which US relations ‘normalise’. And Congress is Republican controlled with a large, deeply entrenched anti-Cuba lobby.

On the US front there has been some progress including, in the words of the US Embassy, “the direct transportation of mail, the environment, regulatory changes and counternarcotics efforts.”  So far so good..

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In my experience, there are three types of people in business. Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those that wonder what the $*&@ just happened.

The last bunch don’t hang around for long. I’m in the first lot.

But anyone who tells you business is easy is either lying or trying to pick your pocket. Or both. Believe me, it’s damn hard. Spotting opportunities, working the margins.

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My friends at Goldman Sachs have just issued an investor note: Lithium is the New Gasoline.’

Goldman are saying that the unique properties of lithium and its use in portable energy storage (batteries) position lithium to “be a key enabler of the electric car revolution and replace gasoline as the primary source of transportation fuel.”

It makes interesting reading, and I summarise the main points for you here.

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So what to make of the Cuban economy?

Back in the 50’s Cuba was a major trader with the world – exporting molasses, cane sugar, tobacco and coffee.  $2.2Bn to the USA alone, at today’s prices.

But the 55-year US embargo have taken its toll.

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