Transportation

Why EV’s Aren’t Winning The Race From Hybrids Yet…

25 Apr 2017   Electric Cars

The Ford Fusion Hybrid knocked the Prius out of the top spot for the first time in U.S. sales during January and March. That’s reflected more market competition and an overall hybrid sales decline in the U.S. since gasoline prices took a dive in 2014 and stayed down. Compared to that pivotal year, U.S. hybrid sales were down from 43,790 in March 2014 (right before the oil price drop) to 32,012 units sold in March 2017. Sales for the Prius liftback, which had been the flagship green car in the U.S. and globally for the past decade, dropped about 50 percent during that period. Pressure has been on Toyota and other automakers – especially Japanese rival Honda – to join the electric vehicle race. Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai had been leaning toward hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over EVs as an alternative technology. But growing sales of EVs in China […]

Will Autonomous Cars Transform The Energy Industry?

20 Apr 2017   Transportation

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) concluded that by 2030 a quarter of all miles driven in the U.S. will most likely be in autonomous vehicles. BCG’s core message that the automotive industry “is on the brink of a major transformation” and that “for millions of Americans … the next vehicle they purchase may be the last car they ever own” did not surprise us. When back in 2015 we began researching current developments in the automobile industry in order to assess how these could eventually impact the transportation industry’s crude oil demand, it quickly became clear to us that the future of driving is autonomous. As we documented in “The Second Automotive Revolution: Implications for the Oil Industry”, self-driving cars will simply offer a better value proposition than the conventional car. Most people see the act of driving as a necessary waste of time and […]

China’s Electric Vehicle Market Is Unbeatable

14 Apr 2017   China, Electric Cars

Ford Motor Co. just announced an ambitious electrification strategy for China. The global Mondeo sedan will see the Mondeo Energy plug-in hybrid launched there early next year, followed by an all-electric small SUV a few years later that will go about 280 miles on one charge. The Detroit automaker sees 70 percent of all Ford nameplates coming with an electrified option to China by 2025; that will include all of its products manufactured jointly through Ford’s state-mandated joint venture partner, Changan Ford JV. Ford will be adding manufacturing facilities to meet the targets. Ford is taking a more tepid approach to the U.S. market with a small number of electric models for sale. Ford CEO Mark Fields has also asked President Donald Trump to take a more conservative approach to federal fuel economy and emissions guidelines than enacted by the Obama administration shortly before leaving office. Tesla reported making […]

Global Shipping Fleet Braces for Chaos of $60 Billion Fuel Shock

Little more than 2 1/2 years from now, the global fleet of merchant ships will have to reduce drastically how much sulfur their engines belch into the atmosphere. While that will do good things — like diminishing the threat of acid rain and helping asthma sufferers — there’s a $60 billion sting in the tail. That’s how much more seaborne vessels may be forced to spend each year on higher-quality fuel to comply with new emission rules that start in 2020, consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. estimates. For an industry that hauls everything from oil to steel to coal, higher operating costs will compound the financial strain on cash-strapped ship owners, whose vessels earn an average of 70 percent less than they did just before the 2008-09 recession. The consequences may reach beyond the 90,000-ship merchant fleet, which handles about 90 percent of global trade. Possible confusion over which carriers […]

Tesla overtakes Ford as investors bet on electric dream

4 Apr 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla, the upstart electric carmaker, surpassed US motor pioneer Ford in market value on Monday, as investors look to a future beyond the internal combustion engine. Shares of Tesla, founded in 2003, rose 7.3 per cent to a market capitalisation of $48.7bn, gliding past the 100-year old Ford, whose shares fell 1.7 per cent after disappointing March sales results to a market value of $45.3bn. While it is symbolic for a Silicon Valley start-up to surpass the valuation of a company that helped make motor cars ubiquitous in early 20th century America, car market analysts point out that Tesla achieved the feat based on global deliveries of only 76,000 cars last year — compared with Ford’s global sales in 2016 of 6.6m. “The stock market has always treated Ford like an industrial stock while Tesla has been considered a tech stock,” says Michelle Krebs of Autotrader.com. “Let’s remember — Ford earns money — lots of it. Tesla does not. The real test for Tesla comes when it launches the Model 3, the high-volume, mainstream-priced electric vehicle that is supposed to help the company achieve profitability.” While Tesla’s stock market value surpassed Ford’s for the first time, the electric carmaker had already surpassed its rival in terms of ithe broader measure of enterprise value. Based on enterprise value — a more complete measure of companies’ respective values, since it takes account of their net debt or net cash positions — Tesla is worth just under $60bn, while Ford is worth $39.1bn.

Tesla Global Vehicle Sales Rose 69% in First Quarter to 25,000

3 Apr 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla Inc. on Sunday said its global sales rose 69% in the first quarter, its best quarter of sales yet, putting the auto maker on a path to meet its goal of 50,000 deliveries in the first half of the year. The Silicon Valley electric-car maker said it delivered roughly 25,000 vehicles—about 13,450 Model S sedans and about 11,550 Model X sport-utility vehicles—in the quarter, compared with a total of 14,820 a year earlier. …

Is Gasoline Demand On The Rise?

A common refrain one hears these days from market bulls and reads in long-term analyses is that by 2020, the current glut in supply and decline in prices will be reversed: that the current drought in exploration and capital investment in new production will send available supply plummeting, with a complimentary spike in prices. This was the prediction of a recent IEA report , which guessed that oil prices would reach $70 by 2020. Whether this reversal in the market occurs or not will depend in large part on global demand. In the United States, around 40 percent of crude is refined into motor fuel and gasoline, to feed the American people’s favorite gas-guzzlers. Crude prices picked up this week, rising above $50 thanks to signs that U.S. demand for refined products is strengthening. Higher-than-expected inventory drops, together with outages in Libya, pushed the oil price up. But can […]

Out of road: driverless vehicles and the end of the trucker

30 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

Ramona Saucedo has been on the road for nearly two months, and she’s ready to get back home. Standing in front of a dusty white truck in the parking lot of a Flying J truck stop, she fingers her iPhone as she waits for a call from her business partner, who is checking on her progress. If she stays on schedule, driving 10 or 11 hours a day, she’ll be back home in Tucson next week. “I miss cooking my own meals, believe it or not,” she says with a chuckle.  At 52, Saucedo has been driving long-haul for nearly a decade, and has the heavy-set build that comes from long hours on the road. It’s a job that runs in the family: her father, brother and son were all truck drivers, and Saucedo says she started driving mainly for the pay. At her old job as an office worker she could barely make ends meet, and had to scrape and scrounge if one of her two children needed a little cash. Now, she drives thousands of miles a week and travels all over the country, sleeping each night inside the truck. Money is no longer a problem.  At the truck stop, Saucedo is surrounded by hundreds of drivers who have made similar trade-offs. The United States has more than three million truck drivers, many of whom drive long-haul, or “over the road” as it’s known in the business. As one of the highest paying jobs available that does not require a college degree, trucking can be an economic lifeline. But its future is increasingly uncertain.

EEStor Announces High Voltage High Permittivity Dielectric, Completed Million Cycle Testing and Initial Energy Density Results

28 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

Breakthrough results on CMBT permittivity at voltage Key energy density results achieved with 100 watt-hour/liter near-term target Independent verification of 1 Million cycle test results EEStor Corporation announced today that it has completed independent third party testing of its Composite Modified Barium Titanate (“CMBT”) dielectric materials at high voltage and has set preliminary energy density targets based on these results. In addition, the Company has successfully completed its one million cycle testing, the results of which are detailed below. Ian Clifford, Founder and CEO of the Company commented: “The heart of EEStor’s technology is its patented CMBT dielectric. Independent test reports released today from MRA and Intertek show the unique performance of our dielectric at high voltages and high temperatures. These results indicate the achievement of an energy density milestone that legitimizes our […]

How Tesla Just Tripled Its Earnings In China

21 Mar 2017   China, Electric Cars

Earlier this month, Tesla Inc reported that its revenues in China topped $1 billion in 2016, more than triple the revenues it generated there in 2015. The Chinese market was only second to the U.S. in terms of revenue generation for Tesla last year. The electric carmaker is not breaking down revenues by items, and has not offered any explanation for the triple revenues in China. The revenue jump could have been the result of China’s license plate-issuing policies in major cities that fast track EV license plates issuing as the country grapples with perpetual pollution and traffic jams. Tesla’s Chinese revenues last year were $1.065 billion, compared to $318.5 million in 2015, and $477 million in 2014, the EV carmaker’s regulatory filing from March 1 shows. According to Reuters Breakingviews ’ Robyn Mak, one of the key contributors to Tesla’s soaring Chinese revenues is the local green-car, or […]

Trump reopens review of US fuel efficiency standards

Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered the reopening of a review of future fuel economy and emissions standards for US cars, in a move that could slow down development of electric vehicles and new efficiency technologies. Regulations confirming standards for vehicle emissions in 2022-25, which were hurried through in the final fortnight of Barack Obama’s administration, will instead be reviewed next year. The Obama administration estimated that the rules would cost car manufacturers in the US $33bn. The new administration’s move, which had been sought by the large car manufacturers, coincided with a visit by the president to Michigan to meet industry executives and workers. Addressing autoworkers bussed to a disused factory outside Detroit which the President said had been used during the second world war to build B-24 bombers, Mr Trump promised to “make Detroit the car capital of the world again” adding: “we are going to restore the originally scheduled midterm review and ensure that any regulations we have protect your jobs.” Jessica Caldwell, analyst at Edmunds, said the emissions targets had forced manufacturers to shift research and development budgets from the trucks and SUVs consumers most wanted towards electric vehicles and hybrids, whose sales are shrinking. “Trump is likely scoring points with the auto executives by promising to rethink these regulations, but he’s making it clear he expects the automakers to return the favor by ramping up investments here in the US,” she said.

EPA re-opens Mid-Term Evaluation Process for light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards 2022-2025

Administrator Scott Pruitt and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that EPA intends to reconsider its final determination issued on 12 January 2017 which recommended no change to the greenhouse gas standards for light duty vehicles for model years 2022- 2025. ( Earlier post .) EPA will reconsider that determination in coordination with NHTSA as part of a renewed Mid-Term Evaluation process. This process was established as a part of the 2012 final greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2017-2025, requiring EPA to determine no later than 1 April 2018 whether the greenhouse gas standards for model years 2022-2025 established are appropriate. In coordination with EPA, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is evaluating its fuel economy standards for that period. In accord with this schedule, […]

Self-driving car numbers double on California roads

10 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

The number of autonomous vehicles on California’s roads has more than doubled as carmakers and big tech companies race against secretive start-ups to test their self-driving cars. Two new permits granted for autonomous testing on Wednesday by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has taken the total number of companies licensed to drive their prototype vehicles in Silicon Valley’s home state to 27 — more than twice as many as a year ago and up from just seven in early 2015, according to the state’s automotive regulator. The latest entrants to the increasingly crowded market are Uber, whose testing vehicles were forced off the roads in San Francisco in December after it initially refused to apply for the DMV’s approval, and PlusAI, a 15-person start-up based in California and Beijing whose existence has until now been little known beyond a select group of automotive executives and tech investors. Earlier this month Renovo Motors, a Silicon Valley start-up developing “automated mobility on demand”, and Navya, the French creator of an autonomous electric shuttle, were both added to the DMV’s approved list. The group looks set to increase further still as companies from all over the world flock to Silicon Valley to develop their technology and tap its sought-after talent pool. Didi, the Chinese ride-hailing service, opened a new R&D centre in Mountain View on Wednesday to work on intelligent driving, cyber security and artificial intelligence.

Norwegian transport sector tapped for fast-charging EV stations

A German utility company said it was launching a collaborative effort to develop ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles across Norway. German company E.ON said it was working through partnership with Denmark based e-mobility service provider CLEVER to develop networks for electric vehicles on main European motorways. The partnership said it was now teaming up with the Norwegian and Danish retail gas station chain YX Energi to build dozens of charging stations across Norway. “This network will also connect Norway with the rest of Scandinavia and Europe,” the German company explained in a statement . “The ultra-fast chargers will be installed from 2018 to 2020.” Norway leads Europe with deployment of electric vehicles, with about 100,000 on the road already. In terms […]

Electric cars: China’s battle for the battery market

The headquarters of CATL, China’s fastest growing battery maker, lie on the edge of the city of Ningde, a stone’s throw from ponds where farmers raise carp and a street of cheap noodle restaurants and vehicle repair shops frequented by migrant workers. Inside the vast factory, battery parts move silently on automated conveyor belts. Signs on the walls encourage workers not to waste materials or time, or indulge in “unnecessary bending” for their own safety. The plant looks like lots of others dotted across the country. But with a valuation of $11.5bn, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd, to give it its full name, is anything but mundane. It is set to become China’s Panasonic — a national champion — and a key part of Beijing’s ambitious plan to remake the global battery market and exploit rising demand for electric cars. “We want to become a leading enterprise, like the front carriage of a train, driving an entire supply chain,” says Neill Yang, CATL’s marketing director. His office overlooks cranes and cement mixers, which are building a dormitory and offices to house 20,000 workers.

The EV Myth – Electric Car Threat To Oil Is Wildly Overstated

3 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

At the outset of the 2014 oil collapse, slacking oil demand growth was often cited as a major contributor to the sharp decline in oil prices. In September 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated “The recent slowdown in demand growth is nothing short of remarkable”. The IEA doubled down and expanded on its weak demand thesis in its Medium-Term Oil Outlook report issued in February 2015: The global economy, reshaped by the information technology revolution, has generally become less fuel intensive. Concerns over climate change are recasting energy policies. And the globalisation of the natural gas market, coupled with steep reductions in the cost and availability of renewable energy, are causing oil to face a level of inter-fuel competition that would have seemed unfathomable a few years ago …. the recent price decline is expected to have only a marginal impact on global demand growth for the remainder […]

Battery Pioneer Debuts New Fast-Charging Battery

2 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

The co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging and longer-lasting rechargeable batteries. John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, believes the development of a low-cost all-solid-state battery that is non-combustible with a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge could be used for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage. “Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted,” Goodenough said in a statement. “We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries.” The new batteries have at least three times as much energy density as the lithium-ion batteries currently being used. A battery cell’s energy density gives an electric vehicle its driving range, […]

Goodenough and UT team report new strategy for all-solid-state Na or Li battery suitable for EVs; plating cathodes

2 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

A team of engineers led by John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed a new strategy for a safe, low-cost, all-solid-state rechargeable sodium or lithium battery cell that has the required energy density and cycle life for a battery that powers an all-electric road vehicle. An open-access paper on the work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science . The cells use a solid glass electrolyte having a Li + or Na + conductivity >10 -2 S cm -1 at 25 ˚C with a motional enthalpy ≈ 0.06 eV, which promises to offer acceptable operation at lower temperatures. Using the new glass, the cathode consists of plating the anode alkali-metal (e.g., (lithium, sodium or potassium) on a copper–carbon cathode current collector at a voltage of more than 3.0 V. […]

Driving Hyundai’s electrified Ioniq line-up; cost-effective efficiency and dynamics

22 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

The Ioniq Hybrid offers up to the highest fuel economy in the US (up to 58 mpg / 4.05 l/100 km) for a non-plug-in vehicle and the Ioniq Electric is the industry’s most efficient EV (136 mpge / 25 kWh/100 miles). In addition to efficiency and value, a key design goal for the Hyundai team was driveability: specifically, a fun-to-drive, “segment-appropriate” driving experience. During the media launch last week in Santa Barbara, California, Hyundai provided production versions of the hybrid and battery-electric vehicle, and a pre-production version of the plug-in hybrid. Based on relatively short drives in all three variants, we conclude that Hyundai nailed its goals. In […]

Royal Dutch Shell places bet on hydrogen cars going mainstream

22 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

With the constant din of traffic noise from London’s M25 orbital motorway and the smell of diesel wafting in the air, Cobham service station in Surrey does not feel like a frontier in the clean energy revolution. Yet, it is here that Britain will get its first public filling station for hydrogen-powered cars on Wednesday as part of a bet by Royal Dutch Shell on a technology vying with battery-powered electric vehicles to replace fossil fuels in road transportation. Shell is already part of a public-private consortium planning 400 hydrogen filling stations across Germany by 2023, together with partners including its French rival Total. The Cobham facility marks the start of a wider effort to support growth of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in north-west Europe. “We see more carmakers putting focus on hydrogen and the first vehicles are beginning to arrive in key markets, particularly Japan, Germany and California,” says Matthew Tipper, head of new fuels at Shell. “That gives us confidence to begin building out infrastructure.” Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have so far struggled to gain momentum in the race with battery-powered cars to become the dominant challenger to the internal combustion engine. The faltering progress was epitomised by Toyota’s recall last week of its entire global fleet of 2,800 Mirai hydrogen vehicles to fix a software glitch.

Is Big Oil Underestimating Autonomous Vehicles?

20 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

Companies like Tesla, Uber and Google have sparked a lot of interest in the roll out of autonomous vehicles (AVs), or driverless cars, and while it is still early days, the transition to AVs could have enormous implications for the oil industry. There is a great deal of logic in AVs. For instance, an estimated 4 percent of total household vehicles are in use at any one time. AVs promise to make the transportation system much more efficient by allowing for the shared use of vehicles. Instead of every single person needing their own car, which they use only a fraction of their day, a single AV could service multiple households. Or, more specifically, a pool of AVs could provide enough transit service for a much larger number of people. This will cut down on fuel consumption, traffic, air pollution, and potentially provide an economic jolt from the savings. […]

Exclusive: GM plans to build, test thousands of self-driving Bolts in 2018

18 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

General Motors Co plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in test fleets in partnership with ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc, beginning in 2018, two sources familiar with the automaker’s plans said this week. It is expected to be the largest such test of fully autonomous vehicles by any major automaker before 2020, when several companies have said they plan to begin building and deploying such vehicles in higher volumes. Alphabet Inc’s Waymo subsidiary, in comparison, is currently testing about 60 self-driving prototypes in four states. Most of the specially equipped versions of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle will be used by San Francisco-based Lyft, which will test them in its […]

Electric Car Sales Undaunted By Low Gasoline Prices

16 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

While oil and gasoline prices have traditionally determined the fate of electrified vehicle sales, plug-in vehicles are seeing other forces shaping global markets. When oil prices plunged in 2014, hybrid vehicles took a hit along with their residual values in several global markets. Plug-in electrified vehicles – battery electric and plug-in hybrid – saw similar trends emerging at first. However, PEVs have seen unit sales rise significantly in the U.S., Europe, and China during the past two years – as gasoline prices have stayed down. It appears that other market dynamics are influencing PEV sales now more than oil and fuel pump prices. Government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has projected 800,000 “ new energy vehicles ” (PEVs) will be sold this year in China – a 58 percent increase over 2016. Last year, there were about 507,000 new energy vehicles sold, growing by more than 50 percent […]

Electric car boom spurs investor scramble for cobalt

15 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

Investors are buying up physical cobalt anticipating that shortages of the metal, a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electrical cars, will spur prices to their highest levels since the 2008 financial crisis. Prices for cobalt metal have climbed nearly 50 percent since September to five-year peaks around $19 a lb as stricter emissions controls boost demand for electric vehicles, especially in China, struggling with ruinous pollution levels in some cities. (For a graphic on how Lithium-ion battery works click tmsnrt.rs/2kOUBNQ ) Consultants CRU Group say electric car and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales could hit 4.4 million in 2021 and more than six million by 2025, from 1.1 million last year. By 2020, 75 percent of lithium-ion […]

Volkswagen Forms U.S. Unit for Zero-Emission Vehicles

8 Feb 2017   Electric Cars, USA

Volkswagen AG launched a U.S. subsidiary Tuesday designed to oversee $2 billion in investments to promote zero-emission vehicles such as electric cars, a commitment the German auto giant made in the wake of cheating on U.S. emissions tests for several years. Dubbed Electrify America LLC, the organization is an attempt to show a renewed commitment to clean vehicles by pouring money into electric-vehicle charging stations in the U.S….

Cheaper renewables to halt coal and oil demand growth from 2020: research

The falling cost of electric vehicle and solar technology will halt demand growth for oil and coal from 2020, according to research published on Thursday, posing a threat to fossil fuel companies unprepared for the transition. The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative analyzed cost forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, government policies and the impact on road transport and power markets, which account for half of global fossil fuel consumption. “Fossil fuels may lose 10 percent of market share to PV and EVs within a single decade. This may not sound much but it can be the beginning of the end once demand starts to decline,” Carbon Tracker said in a statement. A 10 percent […]

Electric Cars – An Existential Threat For Oil?

7 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

Nobody would have predicted ten years ago, back when everyone was talking about Who Killed the Electric Car, that oil would someday have to fear the future of General Motor’s EV1. Practically none of the 1,117 units were still in commission in 2006 when the movie first aired, but today there’s a whole new fleet. In fact, oil majors are worried that electric powered cars could soon replace traditional combustion engines. Electric cars are becoming more numerous every day. This past October, EVs represented over 5 percent of energy consumption in the transportation sector. A recent study shows that EV prices are declining faster than anticipated and that oil demand could peak by 2020. This would be brought on by EVs reaching price parity with ICEs. Carbon Tracker and the Imperial College of London were quoted saying “This growth trajectory sees EVs displace approximately two million barrels of oil […]

Volvo receives order for 8 all-electric buses in UK; OppCharge opportunity charging

Volvo Buses has received an order for eight electric buses, the Volvo 7900 electric, from Transdev Blazefield, the owner of the Harrogate Bus Company in the UK. Operations start in 2018 in Harrogate, 90 km northeast of Manchester. When the vehicles enter service in 2018, the project will be the first of its kind in the UK introducing full electric vehicles using opportunity charging via the common interface OppCharge, whereby the charging stations can also be used by electrified buses from other vehicle manufacturers. OppCharge is now starting to be used as a common interface in more than 12 countries. ( Earlier post .) Opportunity charging takes place via an overhead mast, which connects to the bus […]

Why The Electric Car Boom Could Cause Another Oil Price Crash

3 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

A 2014-style oil price meltdown could occur again. Only this time, instead of a sudden surge of supply, the culprit will be the fast adoption of electric vehicles, which will cut into oil demand enough to cause prices to fall. That prediction comes from Carbon Tracker , a think tank that has repeatedly warned about the prospect of fossil fuel “stranded assets,” due to the rise of clean energy and increasingly restrictive climate policy. In its latest report, Carbon Tracker envisions a scenario in which 2 million barrels per day of oil demand are erased by 2025 because of the penetration of EVs in the transportation sector. Reducing global oil demand by 2 mb/d may not seem like much, but it is equivalent to the supply overhang that triggered the 2014 oil price meltdown. It does not take a massive discrepancy between supply and demand to crash prices. The […]

Electric Cars Could Cause Big Oil This Much Damage

2 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

The growth of battery-powered cars could be as disruptive to the oil market as the OPEC market-share war that triggered the price crash of 2014, potentially wiping hundreds of billions of dollars off the value from fossil fuel producers in the next decade. About 2 million barrels a day of oil demand could be displaced by electric vehicles by 2025, equivalent in size to the oversupply that triggered the biggest oil industry downturn in a generation over the past three years, according to research from Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a think tank, published Thursday. A similar 10 percent loss of market share caused the collapse of the U.S. coal mining industry and wiped more than a 100 billion euros ($108 billion) off the value of European utilities from 2008 to 2013, the report said. Major oil companies are waking up to the potential disruption plug-in […]

China, Europe drive shift to electric cars as U.S. lags

16 Jan 2017   Electric Cars

Electric cars will pick up critical momentum in 2017, many in the auto industry believe – just not in North America. Tighter emissions rules in China and Europe leave global carmakers and some consumers with little choice but to embrace plug-in vehicles, fuelling an investment surge, said industry executives gathered in Detroit this past week for the city’s annual auto show. “Car electrification is an irreversible trend,” said Jacques Aschenbroich, chief executive of auto supplier Valeo ( VLOF.PA ), which has expanded sales by 50 percent in five years with a focus on electric, hybrid, connected and self-driving cars. In Europe, green cars benefit increasingly from subsidies, tax breaks and other perks, while combustion engines face mounting penalties including driving and parking restrictions. China, struggling […]

Lithium Prices Set To Jump As Tesla Doubles Global Battery Production

9 Jan 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla fired up the gigafactory in the first week of 2017, which could mark a turning point for the energy storage industry. The gigafactory in Nevada will begin mass production of lithium-ion batteries for the use in both Tesla’s Model 3 electric vehicle as well as its energy storage systems. Tesla, and its partner in the gigafactory, Panasonic, plan on hiring 4,000 people to work at the factory in 2017. By 2018, Tesla predicts that it will be churning out 35 gigawatts of lithium-ion batteries per ear, equivalent to what the rest of the world produces combined. In other words, this single factory will lead to a doubling of global battery production capacity next year. Up until now, battery production has been dominated by companies outside the United States. An estimated 88 percent of battery production in 2015 was located in China, South Korea and Japan, dominated by companies […]

Electric Cars: Still Unpopular with Buyers and Unprofitable for Sellers

29 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

Tesla, which sells only electric vehicles, has posted a net loss of $550 million so… The car of the future will be electric, connected and, eventually, self-driving. But where does that leave the car industry of the future? In a series of articles this month, Heard on the Street takes a look at how investors should approach the biggest technological disruption the car industry has faced in decades. A new generation of long-range, affordably priced electric cars is about to hit the market, showing that auto makers can produce alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles. What auto makers haven’t shown is that they can actually sell these vehicles and earn real profits. That will be the test in 2017 for General Motors , which has begun selling its all-electric Bolt, and Tesla Motors , which says it will begin building its Model 3 later in the year. Both will be priced […]

Could Santa’s Sleigh Go Electric?

26 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

Indeed, it’s time to give Santa’s reindeer a break, so this year, rumor has it, they’re just along for the ride as Santa goes electric, pleasing both the animal welfare watchdogs and environmentalists who would be keen to see this go down with a minimal carbon footprint. And what better year than 2016, when electric vehicle poster boy Elon Musk, of Tesla Motors Inc., is being wooed by President-elect Donald Trump. It would seem almost inevitable that Santa would go electric, now that electric vehicles are preparing to enter the mainstream in a very big way. But every major transition like this comes along with its challenges, so this is what is in store for Santa as he purportedly prepares for his first magical magic-less around-the-world sleigh ride, powered by lithium-ion batteries. The Charging Challenge Santa will still need to bring his reindeer along for back-up—so we’ll call this […]

Silicon Valley Dominating Self-Driving Tech? Motor City Says Not So Fast

23 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

FOR decades, automakers have been able to count on a fundamental fact of American life: You pretty much need a car to get around. But lately, novel technologies, including ride-hailing services like Uber and advances in self-driving cars, are creating new alternatives for commuting, shuttling children and going to the store — particularly in urban settings. There are also demographic and economic trends in play. Many younger Americans do not consider owning a car a goal or necessity — or a necessary expense. So carmakers are looking ahead to a day when the automobile plays a smaller role, or even no role at all, in many people’s daily routines. “The historical model is you buy a car and it’s in your garage most of the time,” said Glen DeVos, vice president for engineering and services at Delphi Automotive , a big developer and supplier of automobile technology. “It’s the […]

Oil Consumption Is Immune To A Transport Transformation

23 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

96 percent of new vehicle sales in 2016 featured combustion engines The implementation of electric vehicles and ride-sharing may have long-term effects on oil demand, but the speed at which changes to the vehicle fleet takes place are likely to ensure that it happens at a slow pace, according to a report by IHS Markit. While IHS and many other prevailing long-term global energy forecasts expect oil demand to continue to grow over the next two decades, the potential for disruptive changes to transportation—a sector that accounted for half of the 96 MMBOPD of oil consumed globally in 2016—have added a level of uncertainty, according to IHS Canadian Oil Sands Dialogue report. Transportation sector changes: peak oil demand, or just a beginning? The report says that the potential proliferation of increasingly stringent vehicle ownership and use policies, changes in consumer behavior, new technologies and the pace of economic growth, […]

The Highly Charged Way to Play Electric Cars

21 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

The financial spotlight is on the auto companies that will produce electric cars, especially on… The next automotive revolution will be electric, or so they say. The financial spotlight is on the car companies that will produce them, and especially on pioneer Tesla Motors , but are investors getting things wrong? Isn’t there equal or perhaps far greater value in enabling electric vehicles? Today internal combustion or diesel engines still power almost everything that moves on the road. Making that possible are 150,000 gas stations in the U.S. alone that dispensed more than $300 billion of motor fuels last year. The nation’s largest oil company, Exxon Mobil —just one of many and a midget in global terms—is worth seven times as much as its biggest car company, General Motors . By contrast, even with its vehicles comprising well under half of 1% of light vehicle sales this year, Tesla […]

Electric vehicle market footprint growing

10 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

 Europe and China are expected to dominate the consumer electric vehicle market as the footprint grows into double-digit percent, a market report finds. “Significant advances in battery technology, financial support from governments, regulations and values of millennials will be key factors leading to increases in electric vehicle adoption,” Jim Burkhard, a energy research for IHS Markit, said in an emailed statement. IHS finds that, with the right policies in place, electric vehicles could account for at least 15 percent of total new vehicle sales by 2040. The report finds the current market share is about 1 percent, but up more than 1000 percent in terms of sales in the six years ending this year. New Zealand was among the most recent movers on the incentive front, forming a special counsel tasked with accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles on the road this summer The […]

Electric Trucking Charges Up

9 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

A Nikola One Truck is shown. Heavy-duty electric trucks remain a rare sight on highways,… Officials in Colorado are planning a public-road test of battery-charging technology capable of powering electric trucks while they drive. In the pilot project, believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S., vehicles equipped with “receiving coils” will draw power from another coil buried in the road. The Colorado Transportation Department and infrastructure developer Aecom Inc. are scouting potential sites, including busy roads near Denver International Airport, with a goal of launching in 2018. Heavy-duty electric trucks remain a rare sight on highways, in part because they need to make frequent stops to recharge and must carry heavy, expensive batteries. The pilot’s developers say their goal is to extend the distances electric trucks can drive and reduce the bulkiness of in-vehicle batteries. “It’s one of those, ‘if you build it, they will […]

New crosslinked gel electrolytes could create high energy density supercapacitors rivaling batteries

8 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

Researchers from Augmented Optics Ltd. and the University of Surrey, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, have developed new, crosslinked gel-matrix polymer electrolytes exhibiting measured capacitance values more than 100 times those of conventional electrolytes. The new gel electrolytes are compatible with all normal production electrodes. Augmented Optics, which has formed a subsidiary, SuperCapacitor Materials, to commercialize the materials, believes that the combination of existing electrodes and the new electrolytes have the potential to create supercapacitors that have energy storage capacities which can approach or exceed existing battery systems. Supercapacitors feature long cycle life and high power density; they can perform thousands of high power charge/discharge cycles without loosing energy storage capacity. However, compared to batteries, they are hampered by low energy density, limiting the amount they can store. In a paper earlier this year published in the RSC Journal of Materials Chemistry A , researchers at Seoul […]

Oil firms and carmakers diverge in costly debate

7 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

Many carmakers are predicting a significant shift to electric vehicles in the next decade. Advances in battery technology and the growth of autonomous driving and ride sharing – suited to electric vehicles – will power this expansion, they reason. But some oil executives take a different view, predicting electricity will play only a bit part in transport out to 2040 at least. If they are on the wrong side of the argument, it could come at a cost to an industry where new projects often cost billions of dollars to build and need decades of at least moderate crude prices to pay off. Over half of all crude oil pumped is used for transport. An overly pessimistic outlook for electric cars may lead oil companies to adopt an overly optimistic outlook […]

WiTricity announces Tunable Matching Network technology; optimization of power transfer between ground and vehicle

6 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

Wireless power transfer company WiTricity announced Tunable Matching Network (TMN) technology, which allows the wireless charging system automatically to optimize energy transfer between the ground and vehicle in a wide range of real-world operating conditions including parking misalignment, differing vehicle ground clearance and varying battery voltage conditions. This flexibility enables wirelessly charged vehicles to interoperate more easily with standards-based charging sources made by different automakers, Tier 1 suppliers and infrastructure suppliers. WiTricity’s TMN technology is delivered as a compact electronics module embodying proprietary hardware and software algorithms, to be incorporated into both the wireless charging source on the ground and the wireless power capture device on the vehicle. The WiTricity TMN technology was recently tested by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), with funding from the US Department of Energy, to support validation of the SAE Technical Information Report (TIR) J2954. SAE TIR J2954 is a guideline for the wireless charging […]

Electric Cars Could Take an OPEC-Sized Bite From Oil Demand

5 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

A boom in electric vehicles made by the likes of Tesla Motors Inc. could erode as much as 10 percent of global gasoline demand by 2035, according to the oil industry consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. While battery-powered cars and trucks today represent less than 1 percent of total vehicle sales, they are expected to take off after 2025 as governments move to tackle pollution and costs fall, the Houston-based analyst said. By 2035 so-called EVs may remove 1 million to 2 million barrels a day of oil demand from the market — in the range of the production cut OPEC and its allies agreed this week in order to end a three-year crude surplus. “Anything that reduces the demand for transportation has an impact on the oil market,” Alan Gelder, vice president of refining, chemicals and oils markets at Wood Mackenzie, said in an interview in London. “The question […]

Electric Cars Could Take an OPEC-Sized Bite From Oil Demand

3 Dec 2016   Electric Cars

A boom in electric vehicles made by the likes of Tesla Motors Inc. could erode as much as 10 percent of global gasoline demand by 2035, according to the oil industry consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. While battery-powered cars and trucks today represent less than 1 percent of total vehicle sales, they are expected to take off after 2025 as governments move to tackle pollution and costs fall, the Houston-based analyst said. By 2035 so-called EVs may remove 1 million to 2 million barrels a day of oil demand from the market — in the range of the production cut OPEC and its allies agreed this week in order to end a three-year crude surplus. “Anything that reduces the demand for transportation has an impact on the oil market,” Alan Gelder, vice president of refining, chemicals and oils markets at Wood Mackenzie, said in an interview in London. “The question […]

London transport operator Go-Ahead adds two Irizar electric i2e buses to fleet after successful operating results

Based on the success of two Irizar 100% i2e electric buses that have been operating in London since June 2015, London’s largest transport operator, Go-Ahead, is incorporating the buses into its fleet and has signed an agreement with Irizar that includes service and maintenance. For over a year, these two buses have been operating on the busy routes 507, connecting Waterloo Station with Victoria Station, and 521, which connect Waterloo Station with London Bridge Station. The operating data has successfully fulfilled the objectives requested. With this change, both buses will begin to operate for longer periods on the 108 route which runs from Stratford International Station to Lewisham Station with different operating conditions. In addition, Irizar will offer comprehensive maintenance of the buses. The first of these two units was delivered to TFL (Transport for London) as part of the “Clean Bus Summit” which took place on 29 June […]

Some Volkswagen strategists see battery-electric, diesel cost lines crossing by 2023-2025

23 Nov 2016   Electric Cars

The increasing stringency of global emissions standards, both current and projected, is driving up the cost for internal combustion engines to meet those standards, although numerous technology pathways exist. ( Earlier post .) In a conversation with Green Car Congress at AutoMobility LA last week, Dr. Matthias Erb, Executive Vice President of the NA Engineering and Planning Center, Volkswagen Group of America, said that, as a result of those pressures, some strategists in the Volkswagen Group project that the cost lines between battery-electric vehicles and diesel will cross within the coming decade. What we see in terms of emissions standards is that they are getting tougher and tougher, and it is getting more and more expensive to meet those standards. As a result, we see a cost line crossing between battery-electric vehicles […]

DOE awards $1.1M to Penn State project to develop protective, self-healing layers for Li metal anodes

23 Nov 2016   Electric Cars

The US Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office has awarded Donghai Wang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, a $1.1-million grant to develop a new lithium-ion conductor for the protection of lithium metal used in next-generation battery technologies for electric vehicles. ( Earlier post .) With the new funding, Wang, who leads the Energy Nanostructure Laboratory at Penn State, and his team will use very thin layers of nanostructured hybrid (organic-inorganic—i.e., organo-Li x S y and organo-Li x P y S z ) materials to suppress the formation of dendrites on lithium metal anodes. The overall goal is to develop protective, self-healing layers for Li-metal anodes that will allow high cycling efficiency (> 99.7%) and dendrite-free cycling. One challenge for batteries with lithium anodes—including energy-dense, next-generation batteries […]

Tesla Shock Means Global Gasoline Demand Has All But Peaked

IEA forecast has ‘major implications’ for refining industry Oil watchdog sees gasoline demand falling from now until 2040 After fueling the 20th century automobile culture that reshaped cities and defined modern life, gasoline has had its day. The International Energy Agency forecasts that global gasoline consumption has all but peaked as more efficient cars and the advent of electric vehicles from new players such as Tesla Motors Inc. halt demand growth in the next 25 years. That shift will have profound consequences for the oil-refining industry because gasoline accounts for one in four barrels consumed worldwide. “Electric cars are happening,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in an interview in London, adding that their number will rise from little more than 1 million last year to more than 150 million by 2040. The cresting of gasoline demand shows how rapidly the oil landscape is changing, casting a shadow over […]

Electric drive spooks Japan car executives

22 Nov 2016   Electric Cars, Japan

Toyota and Mazda — the two Japanese automotive groups most sceptical about electric vehicle technology — have finally revealed plans to mass-produce battery-powered cars. They are late to a game that most of the world’s carmakers — including Volkswagen, Daimler, General Motors and Jaguar Land Rover are already playing, as they confront the rise of US electric vehicle start-up Tesla.  But, even as many see a golden age of electric vehicles just around the next corner, it is hard to ignore a sense of unease privately expressed by some Japanese car executives as the industry makes a unified drive towards electrification.  In announcing their intentions, both Toyota and Mazda stressed that they had no choice but to prepare an electric vehicle offering to meet stringent regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in both China and the US. Their decisions were passive, rather than a proactive move to capture the electric vehicle market. Neither indicated they had made any major breakthroughs in battery technology — nor did they express confidence in making money from electric vehicles.

Electric Cars Provide Little Threat To Oil Demand

21 Nov 2016   Electric Cars

Electric Car Chevy is about to release its all-electric Bolt. Tesla will soon put its Model 3 on sale. More than a dozen additional EV models will be launched in the next few years. Battery costs are falling fast, making EVs close to becoming cost-competitive with the internal combustion engine. Yet, oil demand will continue to rise, at least for another 25 years. That conclusion comes from the International Energy Agency, which does not see oil demand reaching a peak until at least 2040. In its recently released World Energy Outlook, the IEA projects only tepid growth for EVs, with the EV stock rising from 1.3 million in 2015 to a cumulative total of 150 million by 2040. That would only displace a meager 1.3 million barrels of oil per day (mb/d), which to be sure, would have some price impact, but it would not represent any sort of […]