China to Ban Gasoline Powered Passenger Cars. "Say Goodbye to Gasoline"… in Fantasy Land.

Guest post by David Middleton

The purveyors of greenschist (a geologically inspired euphemism for green sh!t) seem to have an obsession with a phrase that they clearly do not comprehend: Tipping point.

Electric Cars Reach a Tipping Point

David Fickling

Sep 10, 2017

Say goodbye to gasoline. The world’s slow drift toward electric cars is about to enter full flood.

China, one-third of the world’s car market, is working on a timetable to end sales of fossil-fuel-based vehicles, the country’s vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, told an industry forum in Tianjin on Saturday. That would probably see the country join Norway, France and the U.K. in switching to a wholly electric fleet within the lifetime of most current drivers.

[…]

Bloomberg Gadfly

Tipping Point…

i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means

https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/8_words_that_may_not_mean_what_you_think_they_mean_11715.aspx

Electric Cars Reach a Tipping Point?  Only in Fantasy Land

Electric cars have not reached “a tipping point.”  Even using Bloomberg New Energy Finance Fantasy’s insanely optimistic forecast, the imaginary “tipping point” is still a decade away.

The announcement by a Chinese bureaucrat that their government will at some point in the future establish some sort of timetable for phasing out the sale of ICE (internal combustion engine) passenger cars can hardly be described as a “turning point.”

China Fossil Fuel Deadline Shifts Focus to Electric Car Race

Bloomberg News

September 10, 2017

[…]

Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales. The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday.

The world’s second-biggest economy, which has vowed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and curb worsening air pollution, is the latest to join countries such as the U.K. and France seeking to phase out vehicles using gasoline and diesel. The looming ban on combustion-engine automobiles will goad both local and global automakers to focus on introducing more zero-emission electric cars to help clean up smog-choked major cities.

“The implementation of the ban for such a big market like China can be later than 2040,” said Liu Zhijia, an assistant general manager at Chery Automobile Co., the country’s biggest passenger car exporter that unveiled a new line for upscale battery-powered and plug-in hybrid models at the Frankfurt motor show last week. “That will leave plenty of time for everyone to prepare.”

[…]

Bloomberg

Deadline: “a date or time before which something must be done.”  The timetable, if it ever materializes, may or may not contain a deadline.  China’s fossil fuel deadline resides alongside the PEV (plug-in electric vehicle) tipping point in fantasy land.

What can explain this “irrational exuberance” for electric vehicles?

Charging Forward

Figure 2.  It appears that the “drop dramatically” bit has already occurred and that the prices of lithium-ion batteries are set to slowly decline over the next 13 years.

BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance Fantasy) sees li-ion batteries declining to $73/kWh by 2030.  I guess that’s good.  How many kWh does a PEV need to have in order to have a useful range?  The average PEV consumes 30 kWh per 100 miles.  So, a 60 kWh battery should be good for at least 200 miles.  At $73/kWh, a 60 kWh battery should sell for $4,368.  A brand new crated Chevrolet 350/290 Deluxe V-8 Engine has an MSRP of $3,448.  By 2030, a 60 kWh battery will only cost 27% more than an 350 cubic inch V-8 internal combustion engine… if BNEF is right.

Tipping Point_02

Figure 3.  Wake me up when EV batteries get cheaper than V-8 engines.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch… Or a Moore’s Law for PEV’s or any other greenschist

There seems to be a fantasy land assumption that PEV’s and other greenschist will follow the same sort of growth trajectory as integrated circuitry.

AUG 21, 2017

Electric Vehicle Prospects: Bad Analogies Are Worse Than No Analogies

I analyze petroleum economics and energy policy

[…]

Any number of pundits from Al Gore on down have compared adoption of electric vehicles to the history of the cell phone, which, some note, was not predicted by McKinsey in 1980.  Others point to the rapidity with which the Model T gained favor with consumers.

But this is not necessarily more valid than using the laserdisc as an analogy for pessimism or the repeated previous failures of the electric vehicle to become a mass market item:  why is always the pertinent issue.  And this is something that so many pundits do not consider.  In the Financial Times, John Dizard makes the poignant point:  “Batteries, though, are not atomic bombs, integrated circuits, or penicillin. With a great deal of effort on the part of engineers, you get progress, not breakthroughs.”

Because electronics are not a good analogy for batteries.  Batteries are chemistry, and, as Dr. Fred Schlachter, a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, stated it quite clearly. “There is no Moore’s Law for batteries.”

[…]

Disagree?  In 1981, you could buy 5 and ½ inch floppy disks that held 128k of memory, a box of 12 was about 20 dollars.  Now, a 4 Gb memory stick is not only smaller but costs about $6.  For the same amount of money, you get roughly 100 billion times more memory in a smaller package.  A 12 volt, lead-acid battery for your car costs roughly the same today as it did in 1981 with slightly improved performance.

Indeed, the most optimistic projections for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles has improved in price by only about 15-20% per year, compared to the 100% per year for memory.  And even that appears exaggerated by comparing the costs for batteries when production numbers were small.  Most forecasts are for continuing, but relatively slow, declines in cost.

[…]

Forbes

As Mr. Lynch points out, there’s…

No Moore’s Law for batteries

The public has become accustomed to rapid progress in mobile phone technology, computers, and access to information; tablet computers, smart phones, and other powerful new devices are familiar to most people on the planet.

These developments are due in part to the ongoing exponential increase in computer processing power, doubling approximately every 2 years for the past several decades. This pattern is usually called Moore’s Law and is named for Gordon Moore, a cofounder of Intel. The law is not a law like that for gravity; it is an empirical observation, which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unfortunately, much of the public has come to expect that all technology does, will, or should follow such a law, which is not consistent with our everyday observations: For example, the maximum speed of cars, planes, or ships does not increase exponentially; maximum speed barely increases at all.

Cars require a portable fuel, preferably one that is widely available, low in cost, and with a high energy density. Gasoline is nature’s ideal fuel. A full tank of gasoline contains as much energy as 1,000 sticks of dynamite. However, cost, national security, global climate change, and pollution lead to a national need to wean ourselves from powering cars with gasoline. There are not many alternate candidates. Natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and hydrogen can presently be produced only at a high energy cost and has low energy density. And then there is electricity. We power our mobile phones and our laptops with lithium-ion batteries—why not power our cars this way? We already have an infrastructure for generating and distributing electricity. If only we had batteries that could store enough energy to power a car several hundred kilometers and that were not too heavy and would not cost a fortune.

Sadly, such batteries do not exist. There is no Moore’s Law for batteries. The reason there is a Moore’s Law for computer processors is that electrons are small and they do not take up space on a chip. Chip performance is limited by the lithography technology used to fabricate the chips; as lithography improves ever smaller features can be made on processors. Batteries are not like this. Ions, which transfer charge in batteries, are large, and they take up space, as do anodes, cathodes, and electrolytes. A D-cell battery stores more energy than an AA-cell. Potentials in a battery are dictated by the relevant chemical reactions, thus limiting eventual battery performance. Significant improvement in battery capacity can only be made by changing to a different chemistry.

[…]

In addition to increased performance and lower cost, batteries need to be safe. Of course gasoline is not safe, there are hundreds of thousands of car fires every year in the United States. Nonetheless, the public is more wary of electricity than of gasoline, and the recent safety issues of lithium-ion batteries on Boeing 787 aircraft have done little to reassure the public about the safety of such batteries. Consumers are questioning the practice of putting into cars batteries that can burst into flames.

[…]

Improving the energy efficiency of cars is not a long-term solution to the problems related to combustion of fossil fuels, as cars will still be powered by gasoline. However, improved energy efficiency can happen and is happening. A good example of improved energy efficiency is hybrid cars, which can be considerably more energy efficient than traditional cars. We must take this pragmatic direction while awaiting that terrific breakthrough in battery technology we all so desire.

PNAS

Moore’s Law started out with the observation that the number of transistors per square inch of integrated circuitry was doubling every year.  That pace has slowed to roughly one doubling per 18 months.  This “empirical observation” enabled the explosive growth of computing and communication technology over the past 40-50 years.  We may not have Warp Drive, Phasors or Transporter Beams… But we do have far superior information technology today than could have even been imagined by Gene Roddenberry.

The energy density growth rate for batteries over the past 60 years has been about 3% per year (Zu & Li, 2011)… a doubling period of about 24 years.   The inapplicability of Moore’s Law pretty-well covers the full gamut of greenschist tech.

So, neither the decline in battery prices nor the energy density of batteries can genuinely accelerate.   That said, batteries will slowly become less expensive and the energy density of batteries will slowly increase.  This will certainly lead to continued slow growth in PEV sales.  This coupled with improvements in fuel efficiency could eventually lead to a peak in oil demand.  Peak oil demand will probably happen long-before we actually reach Hubbert’s Peak Oil (unless we already reached it).  However, neither Peak Demand, nor Peak Oil, constitutes “goodbye to gasoline” or supports the idiotic notion that “oil’s future is grim.

Why Fantasy Land turning points aren’t going to put a dent in petroleum consumption

Why The Oil Industry Shouldn’t Fear Peak Demand

By Peter Tertzakian – Dec 01, 2016

[…]

The notion behind peak demand theory is fairly simple: some time over the next five-to-25 years many of us will hang up the gas pump nozzle for the last time. When that happens, the world’s insatiable consumption of more and more oil, growing year over year, soon to exceed an energy-obese 100 million barrels a day, will plateau and then start trending down.

Every pundit has an opinion about when peak demand will happen. Articles, podcasts and snappy videos mostly debate in what year our 150-year addiction to the product will begin to wane. Some think it’s as early as 2020; the authoritative International Energy Agency conjectures 2040. So there is a wide range of views.

Anybody with a spreadsheet can juggle cells and posit when the last growth barrel is likely to occur, but the real question is, “So what then?”

What does a peaking of oil market growth mean to producers? To investors?

[…]

In any maturing business environment, flat-to-declining markets make the battle for consumers’ business hyper competitive. In response, producing companies get rid of their unproductive assets (baggage) and shift their sole focus away from price. The emphasis moves lower down the income statement, toward how to cut costs, be more efficient in production and how to be profitable at lower prices. Conveyor belts become more efficient and the manufacturing emphasis shifts to just-in-time delivery and not being burdened with too much inventory. Leading companies place additional emphasis on how to improve their product offerings too – improving proverbial, “bells and whistles.”

Inefficient laggards who don’t adapt to the new competitive realities don’t survive the Darwinian cut.

Am I missing something? This sounds a lot like the oil business today.

[…]

Producers in the U.S. and Canada are already leading the way. So when peak demand sets in, today’s progressive light, tight oil producers in North America will already be positioned as “lean manufacturers” that are able to respond to price signals much faster.

There will benefits to the era of peak oil demand even though there is no sign that it’s happening yet. When it happens, the industry’s emphasis will be on profitability and a leaner carbon product, not so much on growth at all costs. Ironically, the industry is already adapting to the inevitability of peak demand, whenever that may be.

Oil Price dot Com

PEV’s may one day actually have a measurable impact on crude oil consumption; however the International Energy Agency doesn’t see that happening any time in the near future because growth in demand for petrochemicals, aviation, freight and maritime use will dwarf any savings in passenger cars, buildings and power generation.

170327oildemandbysector

Figure 4. Growth in oil demand for petrochemicals, aviation, freight and maritime use will dwarf any savings in passenger cars, buildings and power generation. (Source IEA)

Freight, as in big trucks carrying heavy loads over long distances, is not amenable to PEV conversion, despite Telsa’s latest Ponzi scheme…

Tesla is revealing a semitrailer this month that it won’t deliver for years — here’s why

Matthew DeBord

Sep. 6, 2017

Tesla is expected to reveal a design for a semitrailer this month. CEO Elon Musk has been heralding this move into the freight business since last year, when he rolled out his “Master Plan, Part Deux.”

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker, the vehicle will be what’s known as a Class 8 truck — a great big old over-the-road semi designed to haul large amounts of stuff. Despite that, Shanker doesn’t think the Tesla semi will have a long-range battery delivering 600 or more miles of range; something like 300 miles is more realistic, because of battery costs, and Tesla will deal with the range issue by swapping batteries or enhancing its charging capabilities.

In a note published Wednesday, Shanker suggested that Tesla wouldn’t start selling the semi until 2020, but that won’t prevent the company from lining up customers.

“We expect Tesla to start taking orders for the truck from the day of the event (we estimate a refundable $5,000 deposit),” he wrote. “We believe this could set off competition for intelligent trucks in the industry.”

Shanker calculates that the truck business could add up to almost $12 billion in business by 2028.

This all sounds pretty good, but remember that Tesla has taken something on the order of 500,000 deposits for its Model 3 sedan, at $1,000 a pop. As of August, just more than 100 vehicles had been delivered as Tesla ramped up production. But even with an aggressive ramp, it will take Tesla years to fulfill those preorders.

Shanker expects Tesla semi deposits to be refundable, and by now everyone knows that putting down some money to get a place in line to buy a Tesla can mean a bit of a wait. But in the short term, if Tesla debuts the semi alongside some industry partnerships and can encourage a healthy pace of preorders, it will have another funding stream at a time when its cash needs are rapidly intensifying.

[…]

Business Insider

What size battery could propel a semi 300 miles?  Cummins has already unveiled a concept vehicle with a 100-mile range.

Cummins Aeon concept beats Tesla to the all-electric semi punch

AUTOMOTIVE

Scott Collie August 31st, 2017

While the world waits for a Tesla long-haul truck, Cummins has swooped in with the Class 7 Urban Hauler EV concept demonstrator. The all-electric Urban Hauler, which also paves the way for range-extender hybrid long-haul vehicles, hints at a cleaner, greener future for heavy haulers.

The new Class 7 Urban Hauler EV, also known as the Aeos, eschews the usual diesel engine for a 140-kWh battery pack and electric motors. That means peak range is about 100 mi (160 km) and gross vehicle weight (GVW) is capped around 75,000 lb (34,020 kg). Extra battery packs could extend that to around 300 mi (483 km).

According to Cummins, the base battery and electric motors weigh about the same as the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor. The company hasn’t said how much the battery packs weigh individually, but logic would suggest adding extra cells to boost the range will also add some serious weight.

[…]

NewAtlas

A 140 kWh battery pack, which weighs as much “as the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor,” yields a 100-mile range… presumably hauling a 75,000 lb load.  At $200/kWh, that works out to $28,000 worth of battery.  Triple that price tag and weight for a 300-mile range ($28,000), sextuple it for a 600-mile range and you get a semi with a $168,000 worth of batteries that can’t haul much more than its own battery packs… Brilliant!  A new diesel tractor trailer runs “anywhere from $110,000 to $125,000 for a new tractor and $30,000 to $50,000 for a new trailer.”  A tractor trailer averages around 6 mpg and has a total fuel tank capacity generally between 100 and 300 gallons.  This yields an unrefueled range of 600 to 1,800 miles.

If we use an average fuel capacity or 240 gallons (2 x 120-gallon tanks), a typical tractor trailer can haul a heavy load 1,440 miles.  If a 140 kWh battery yields 100 miles of range, it would take 14.4 140 kWh battery packs to yield a 1,440-mile range.  Even if the cost of batteries falls to $73/kWh and the energy efficiency doubles by 2030, the 1,440-mile battery pack would cost $146,765 (2,016 kWh @ $73/kWh) and it would weigh 7.2 times as much as “the engine, gearbox, emissions treatment system and fuel tank in a conventional tractor.”

So… Neither Red China’s nebulous deadline, nor Tesla’s latest Ponzi scheme is not going to put a dent in petroleum demand anywhere outside of fantasy land.

Here is a land of imagination, hopes and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young and the young at heart, to those who believe that when you wish upon a star your dreams do come true.

— Walter E. Disney, July 17, 1955

About the author

In the interest of full disclosure: I have been employed in the U.S. oil industry as a geophysicist/geologist since 1981, with a six-year exile into management (2007-2013).  I have always worked for “little oil” (as opposed to BIG OIL).  I am a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) and Houston Geological Society (HGS). Despite my penchant for ridiculing greenschist, green is actually my favorite color… Oil is colored green on maps and well logs and I am a life-long New York Jets fan (argh).  

I like oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power and I even kind of like wind power… 

Peak Oil is real but not really very relevant, abiotic oil is possible (despite a total lack of evidence for it) and is also irrelevant. Neither the reality of Peak Oil nor the lack of evidence of abiotic oil are part of a conspiracy to keep oil prices high.  If it was, it would be a pretty p!$$ poor conspiracy  because oil prices have been low for most of my career.  And, no, ExxonMobil is not hiding the secret formula for turning (fill in the blank) into oil… But they  did know all about Gorebal Warming waaay before Al Gore invented it… They knew it was wrong.  When it comes to Gorebal Warming, I am a “luke warmer”… Gorebal Warming is just as irrelevant as Peak Oil, Abiotic Oil  and Peak Demand.  

As usual any and all sarcasm was purely intentional… except where it wasn’t.

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Stonyground

With regard to charging times, I timed how long it took me to re fuel my old diesel car after driving just over four hundred miles since the last refill. I set my watch while sitting in the driving seat, got out, inserted my plastic and PIN number, filled up, got back in the car and checked the elapsed time. Two and a half minutes. The only way that an electric car could come close to matching that is by having a system involving the swapping of flat batteries for pre charged ones. This car also has a range of about six hundred miles.

ReallySkeptical

Well, many families have 2 cars, only one is necessary to occasionally drive across the country.

stephenpace

Here is a video of a Tesla Model S driving through a flooded tunnel in Kazakhstan:

Deeper than a Jeep Rubicon could do anyway. Tesla vehicles are water resistant but not water proof. Because the battery is designed to be swapable, it can’t take sitting in the water for a long time, though. EVs could easily be designed to be much more resilient to water than gasoline cars. Elon Musk is even planning to make the Lotus from James Bond a real sub.

ReallySkeptical

Well, make sure you check to make sure you don’t buy a used car from Houston in the next few years.

MarkW

That’s true, you need the second car to tow the electric car every time it runs out of juice.

Who are you to comment on what other people need? The words ‘Necessary’ or ‘not necessary’ should be a judgement made for your family only.

stephenpace

@David Middleton The Kazakhstan car didn’t need a new battery afterwards. Not sure why the one in Naples did unless his seals had an issue. That said, I’m not saying the deep water use case is common, but in theory you could make EVs much more resistant to water since they don’t need to breathe.

stephenpace

That said, I’m not saying the deep water use case is common, but in theory you could make EVs much more resistant to water since they don’t need to breathe.

Nonsense! The batteries AND invertors/chargers/controllers ABSOLUTELY “need to breathe”! Forced air cooling is ESSENTIAL in removing the chemical reactions’ for charging AND discharging AND the lost resistive (motor/converters/controller) waste heat that results in the motive power you are using, and the regenerative power you recover from every braking evolution. Some 23% of the electric energy “input” from the grid-to-battery-to-motor-to-wheels is lost in waste heat. And ALL of that waste heat is pushed away from the car battery by forced-open-air-access to the battery and motors and brakes!

Ursus Augustus

I have a diesel station wagon with a 60 litre tank that gives me 1000 km range ( about 600 miles also) . I use the low flow bowser and I reckon it takes me 5 minutes to fill from turning into the station, filling, paying, sitting in the driver’s seat and taking the first lick of the icecream I sometimes buy. That fuel weighs less than 50 kg at full and average of say 25 kg ( about 55 lbs) until I refuel aqain. It saves me having to drag around about a tonne of batteries, i.e. the weight of another car. If I want to tow around another tonne then I have the option of towing something useful. Towing Elon Musk’s ego around is not very useful to me.

stephenpace

Or you can just charge while you sleep. I leave my garage every day full. If you never drive long distances, the EV driver probably spends less time filling up than you do. Charge time is a red herring for a 5% use case. If charge time is all you have, EVs win given the Tesla SuperCharge network and the coming VW network.

STEPHENPACE

Or you can just charge while you sleep. I leave my garage every day full. If you never drive long distances, the EV driver probably spends less time filling up than you do. Charge time is a red herring for a 5% use case.

That conclusion is ONLY valid for government-type bureaucrat-type (typically government) workers living a strictly routine day every day to the same place from the same place over limited routes for short distances for their entire productive lives. The real world, outside of those typical standardized bureaucrat-type workers commuting religiously to their downtown parking garages are actually only a small market. It is however an easily stereotyped market, a easily solved solution – given enough money to the “green energy central planners who come FROM that market FOR the green energy central planners who RUN such government central planners! – and thus can be easily visualized to those who want to think there is a simple solution.

PiperPaul

That conclusion is ONLY valid for government-type bureaucrat-type (typically government) workers living a strictly routine day every day to the same place from the same place over limited routes for short distances for their entire productive lives.
Error encountered – cannot proceed – shutting down.

Andrew Cooke

You have got to be kidding me. I drive 25 miles one way on HILLY streets to work. I usually run an errand on the way home and then on some days drive 30 miles one way to church. I also drive over a 100 miles one way every other Saturday on hilly roads. I have been known to put over 200 miles on my car in one day, and that is living here in the Midwest in a medium sized city.
I can only imagine what it would be like if I was a sales man who had to drive to multiple locations in a day, or if I was a delivery driver.
Yeah, an electric vehicle would be SO useful for me. NOT!!

stephenpace

@David Middleton Everyone can cite extremely use cases. Most white collar jobs have a fixed commute with the average reported commute coming in at less than 40 miles per day. When I worked for Shell I drove to Westhollow and back. Sometimes I’d drive downtown or to a refinery. But at no time for work did suddenly I need to drive 265 miles and I’d say that case is EXTREMELY rare for anyone. I believe the annual average car is driven like 12k per year. That means a car with a 200 mile range meets the needs of most people. I’ll give you the extreme use cases, but I’ll take the 95% that aren’t.

Paul Blase

I can afford 1 (one) car. 90% of the time, I drive to and from work the other 10%, however, I drive on vacation or to visit relatives or to off-site work locations. Waiting more that 5 minutes to refuel is not an option.

erastvandoren

For the price difference between ICE and EV I can buy gas for my BMW 30 years long. Why would I choose EV?

benofhouston

Stephen, you don’t design for the 90% case, or the 99%. You design for the 1%. That one unusual scenario. This is extremely basic engineering.
Many wealthy people have multiple cars. However, most middle class do not. Their car they drive to work is the same car they drive on vacation or to the next town over.
A car that can’t me non-stop to Dallas or San Antonio in sub-optimal driving conditions is not a car that I will buy, ever. A car that cannot get me to Florida or DC in a 24 hour period due to multiple long term stops is not a car that I will chose to buy in most situations. I will certainly not pay a premium for such limited capabilities.

Supercapacitor buses charges to 100% in just 80 seconds.
https://www.supercaptech.com/the-supercapacitor-electric-bus-is-adopted-in-china
/Jan

“Several Chinese companies have produced supercap-powered buses. Because supercapacitors charge and discharge rapidly, the buses can be replenished at every bus stop. The quick charge allows the bus to go for a few miles—enough to get to the next stop, where it sips more power.”
In other words, the bus runs for half a mile before it needs a quick zap of power. Capacitors are even worse at storing energy than batteries, but recharge quickly.
How does a supercapacitor help the car driver who has to travel 50 miles?

LOL. Between stations is the capacity? You’ve got the joke, right?

Graphene-based ultra capacitors do indeed look like a practical option. However a petrol tank contains only one part of the fuel. Oxygen in the air is the other part. Put all of that energy together in one device and when something goes wrong? Boom!

Paul Blase

In addition to having a lower energy density than batteries, Supercapacitors also leak like sieves (electrically speaking). Their self-discharge rates make them useless for long-term energy storage. The best use for them is as a buffer between a regenerative braking system and a battery.

Bill McCarter

I was in the room next to the transmitter when a 2 Farad supercap blew, Thought it was a magnum rifle shot, 375 H&H. Blew a hole in the circuit board.
Not in my car thank You.

I have coined the idea of “miles per hour” of refueling which I use in common parlance. In your case:
400 miles / ( 2.5 min ÷ 60 min/hr ) = 9,600 miles per hour of refueling.
On the other hand, we know that it takes less than ⅕ to over ⅓ of a kilowatt-hour to go a mile, depending on how heavy and aerodynamic (and high pressure the tires) a car is. It is very fair to say ¼ as a calculation median. Therefore, depending on charging station rate:
5 kW ÷ ¼ = 20 mph (this is a small 240 volt in-garage home charger)
8 kW ÷ ¼ = 32 mph (large charger, “vampire tapped” to one’s electric dryer)
24 kW ÷ ¼ = 96 mph (rather good, but not awesome commercial drive-up charger)
70 kW ÷ ¼ = 280 mph (outstanding SuperCharge station)
And none of those values (20, 32, 96, 280 mph) are even remotely close to your 9,600 mph of diesel refill rate. It becomes patently obvious what the bottleneck (bad pun) is, doesn’t it? RATE of energy flow. Measured in the kind of units that gets and keeps your attention focussed on “apples-to-apples” comparison.
GoatGuy

Paul Blase

Good analysis.

Chris

No, it’s not patently obvious. For homeowners who can charge overnight or at work, it’s irrelevant. That’s 10s of millions of people. For those that are traveling away from home overnight frequently, or who live in apartments where charging is not an option, this is not the car for them. So what?

Tsk Tsk

Chris, I generally buy devices to enable me to live the life I want and not devices which dictate how to live according to their needs. Perhaps there are tens of millions of drones who agree with you, but I’m willing to bet the majority agree with me.

Chris

Tsk tsk, nice strawman. As I noted, for most folks the range is more than adequate. And when it is not, you can charge in 30 min – during a meal or a coffee. People stop during trips, you act as if this is some massive inconvenience, while completely ignoring the benefits. So 48 weeks out the year, you never need to go to a gas station (and your per mile rate is far less), and for 4 weeks a year during holidays you MAY need to stop. Seems like a reasonable tradeoff to me, but then I am logical, clearly you are not.

Matthew Benefiel

Chris, there are still challenges to overcome for the EV market. Vehicles like the Volt make sense for commuter cars, that is a given and the cost of a Volt isn’t insane, but it still has to overcome some mental hurdles for people, some still being cost. Once you get into family vehicles I’m out. I have four kids, we could all fit uncomfortably (mainly in the way back) into a Tesla Model X (they are nice, I’ve sat in one), but at $80K starting cost there is no way I’d even consider it. I paid $16K for my minivan, which is an engineering marvel. I’d consider a hybrid minivan once the cost comes down and a used one is feasible, but never a full electric for now. Too many hurdles. Talked to a guy who tests batteries the other day and he had a friend who’s Tesla reached his maximum number of turbo charges (20 min to 80%). He can no longer turbo charge. Not a problem for a commuter, but for someone with four kids, even a 20 minute rest stop is too long. Also kinda sucks for a car that costs so much. I foresee hybrids making a bigger mark in the future, but full EV will take a while to overcome some of the hurdles, even if it only amounts to 1% of it’s use. Heck I built my computer for gaming for the 1% it gets used for that. A car is a bigger investment, I like to know mine can fit a good number of needs. At the end of the day the cost savings isn’t significant enough for many people to switch to an EV. That is reality, no need to get upset about it.

ralfellis

Nice concept.
But I would make it ‘miles per minute’ – to differentiate from speed, and to have more meaning for the faster diesel recharge rate.
R

Jonathan G

Mr stevenpace, thanks to the “Tax Day” flood, the “Memorial Day” flood, Hurricane Harvey, and other lesser events, I’ve gotten pretty good at estimating the depth of water based upon how far up it comes up the curbs on the roads or the tires of other vehicles. From the shot at the beginning, where you can clearly see how far up the water comes on the tires of the SUV immediately ahead, the water looks to be around 10 cm deep. I’ve driven my Corolla through water deeper than that, and would have no hesitation driving any Jeep through it. In fact, there is no reason why any of the other vehicles would have been stopped by that amount of water, so I conclude that the water had in fact receded from being much deeper.

Germinio

Stonyground:
Swappable batteries make more sense than any alternative. And it would help solve the issue with backup capacity. Each filling station would have a large bank of batteries that would be charged using renewable energy and then would have the capability to put energy back into the grid when demand was high. This however would require car manufacturers and battery makers to agree on a standardised design – which is unlikely but possible given the example of BBQs and gas bottles for example.

MarkW

Swapable can never work for two reasons.
Mechanically it is impossible to swap batteries in any reasonable period of time and the equipment to do so is way more expensive than a dozen gas pumps.
Secondly how do you deal with the problem of a person swapping out a nearly new battery pack for one that is 5 years old?

marque2

Or using high capacity capacitors. But I doubt that can be accomplished either.

Mark from the Midwest

The big problem in making inroads into long-haul freight is that the lifespan of many of the tractors currently on the road is about 24-28 years, so they’re not going anywhere soon. Having an overlapping fleet of vehicles based on different technologies is a major headache in terms of maintenance. The big advantage of most trucks, right now, is they have one of about 6 diesel engines, easily swapped out after 300-500K miles, and the truck is back on the road in about 72 hours. Tesla won’t be able to deal with those issues, Cummins, CAT or Detroit Diesel might make some inroads, but I’d bet more on a hybrid technology, a lot of energy is dissipated when you stop 30 tons from moving.

ReallySkeptical

Electric motors would outlast the rig.
“a lot of energy is dissipated when you stop 30 tons from moving”
So, that could recharge a battery, right?

Mark from the Midwest

read the post or don’t comment, don’t just guess at what you want to believe is there…

MarkW

You have to swap out batteries a lot more frequently, and at much greater cost.

erastvandoren

Regenerative braking is used in ICE too. Surprise, to charge the battery. Not sure about other producers, but all new BMWs have the feature.

LdB

It’s pretty standard in most high end cars with traction control to make sure the car doesn’t lose traction.

ReallySkeptical

So you’re saying that batteries will be 1/3 the price in 12 years? I would say that’s impressive.
Thinking, once EVs have a 300 mile range and not too costly, game over for ICs.

RockribbedTrumpkin

So we run cars on brand new coal fired plants. YAY for us

ReallySkeptical

Or off your roof panels.

Another Doug

Roof panels won’t even power my house. They’re supposed to power my truck, too?

stephenpace

@RockribbedTrumpkin Coal is less than a third of the grid in the US and dropping all the time due to natural gas essentially being both free and less polluting. Meanwhile, gasoline cars tend to get worse over time which is why we have to maintain an annual inspection process for them. Plus we have options to generate power ourselves. If you generate more kWh than you drive, you are literally driving on sunlight.
Even on the worse grid, though, EVs still come out on top. It is much easier to control and scrub emissions at one location (plant) than 100k individual locations (autos):
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions#.V4-0jPmANBc

Andrew Cooke

Oh man, people frighten me. StephenPace, here is a question.
When do solar panels deliver energy?
Now, that you have mentally answered that, when would your normal person, who works during the day, plug in their EV to recharge?
Unless you have a large battery pack at your house for storage, I can assure you that your solar panel on your house will NOT charge your car!!! You will charge your car at NIGHT!!
Now, let us do a thought challenge. If your average city has 50% saturation of the vehicle market in EV, when do you think there will be a significant increase in energy draw, in effect creating a second busy period other than the usual one between 2pm and 5pm.
More than likely overnight. When solar does not generate electricity and wind generates much less. Where do you think that energy will come from?

MarkW

Once I read your claim that natural gas is essentially free, I knew that you had nothing intelligent to say.

Andrew Cooke

Now that we have done that thought challenge StephenPace, what do you think will happen when there is a large energy draw overnight?
That’s right, it will create a new peak period. Now what happens to energy rates during a peak period? They are higher because of the law of supply and demand.

MarkW

How do your roof panels charge overnight?

Old England

Problems, as I see it, with EVs are :
A. Making batteries , with 50% renewable energy used for this a Tesla releases the same amount of CO2 as around 8 years driving a normal car ……
B. Generating sufficient energy without CO2 emissions to power multi-millions of vehicles
C. Upgrading electric grids and every household supply and domestic electric installations to handle the vast new demand for electricity
D. Providing Public recharging facilities for households without parking next to their home – in the UK that means 43% of households!
E. Increasing the range of electric vehicles without falling foul of the law of diminishing returns – bigger batteries use more power to lug their extra weight around.
Calculations based on the announced UK policy of only allowing electric vehicles to be sold from 2040 show that if 50 – 70% of the energy used in battery manufacture is renewable then UK CO2 emissions will increase by 18% – 35% over 2015 levels by 2048.
To provide 100% of the electricity to run these vehicles from wind turbines, with battery back up for low wind or no wind periods, would require around 22% of the UK landmass by 2048!
These EV policy announcements are wishful thinking with little or no thought as to whether or not they will ever be achievable.

stephenpace

@MarkW @Andrew Cooke I like that you guys think you’ve thought about things harder than the people actually making this equipment. First, I’ve got no problem saying this is a journey. But if I can generate 85 kWh per week with solar panels and send it to the grid while I’m at work and use 85 kWh driving for that same week, then I’ve generated enough power to cover my driving. It makes no difference if I’m pulling that power back from the grid at night, especially since demand at night is lower than the day. Power is 100% fungible. I’ll say it another way. The City of Austin owns their electrical generation unlike us here in Houston with CenterPoint. They were faced with increased demand which was going to require them to build another power plant for a significantly amount of money. Instead, they offered incentives for people to install solar panels. This addressed the demand issue and allowed them to put off a major capital expense. Win-win.
Second, Tesla makes a PowerWall to store your own electricity if you prefer not to send it back to the grid or for backup if the grid goes away. They are chainable, and if you wanted to, you could easily power your home with enough of them. IKEA and Mercedes also make solar batteries, so Tesla isn’t the only one getting into this game. Are they expensive? Sure, but people are doing it now. PowerWalls can smooth power usage for nightime charging, but we are so far from having an issue with that. In Houston AC is one of the biggest electricity users. At night, you don’t need as much AC, so there is easily enough surplus demand to meet the needs of charging cars.
Regarding natural gas prices, given the availability of gas from fracking, prices are low, especially compared to history:
https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n3045tx3m.htm
Anyone considering building a new power plant is building natural gas plants and signing long term supply contracts, not coal. With low natural gas prices, coal isn’t going to rebound anytime soon.
Last, perfect is the enemy of good. Tesla is trying to move us to sustainable transportation. We can wait until oil runs out and there is a crisis and try to come up with a solution then, or we can try for something now and lead the world in new transportation. Tesla is trying something now mixing solar generation with solar storage with a car you can power from your own panels. Is it 100% yet? Not for everyone, but I know people with 40 panels and a south facing roof that are generating 100% of the power they need for their house and driving. It is possible today. As prices continue to fall, it will be possible for more people. In Hawaii they generate so much solar power than at times they have an excess of power they need to address. That ‘problem’ is going to spread and we’ll need to come up with creative solution like pumping water up hill and using a dam to generate power again when needed.
Alternative is do nothing which many of these commentors appear to think is the way to go. Not me.

Greg in Houston

Enjoyed your article, David… very thorough. I have many geophysicist friends from my college years at the Colorado School of Mines – I even have friends who are geologists! (Although they are engineers, too.) Hope you’ll keep writing.

John Bell

I have some very liberal friends, they tend to be very idealistic, so much so that it clouds their vision of reality.

stephenpace

@John Bell I know a lot of conservatives that own Tesla vehicles. They own them not for their green characteristics but their performance. Just amazingly fun vehicles to drive plus I can haul a 65″ TV in box from Best Buy.

stephenpace

@David Middleton I’m not sure why you call it a ‘toy’. The Model S (even the base models) can crush almost any car on the road from the traffic light, has more storage (I’ve hauled a 65″ TV in box home from Best Buy), and costs less to operate than a comparable Audi A7 or BMW 7. Even the base $35k Model 3 with the bigger battery pack is going to feel zippy and will be able to crush most cars on the road for quickness. Best car I’ve every owned and it is my only vehicle. I’m 5 years in and plan to keep it for at least another 5.

KT66

“They own them (Teslas) not for their green characteristics but their performance. Just amazingly fun vehicles to drive plus I can haul a 65″ TV in box from Best Buy.”
But can it pull a horse trailer loaded with 9 horses and 1/4 ton of supplies up and down mountain passes at 80 mph all day long and into the night?

Chris

So David Middleton calls it a toy because it is fast. Bizarre logic. A BMW 750 costs between 85K and 150K – does that make it a toy?
As to his comparison between his Jeep and a Tesla in 2′ of water – so what? I can say the same about a Camry or Malibu.Horses for courses. Lower slung passenger cars are not going to have the same water resistance as an off road vehicle.

@Chris – yes, a BMW 750 is a toy for the majority of owners. I except high executives, business and government, who “must” have one, or its equivalent, for social status signaling.
A Tesla Model S P100D is a toy also, again for the majority. I except high executives, Hollywood actors, and politicians, who “must” have one, or its equivalent, for virtue status signaling.
Meh. So long as they pay 100% of the cost, I have no problem with any of them – grown-up children or status signalers.
(And, Dave, you do have to admit that some Jeep CK owners also have them as their toys. If I had one, not being a person that needs one, I would be one of those. But I would be willing to bet that I would have more “fun per dollar invested” than Chris… Also, unless every EV owner here in Tucson – which is probably a very small number, true – is a truly horrible driver, the “zip” is purely imaginary. I beat them out of the light every time I happen to pull up next to them. I drive a 2002 Ford Windstar minivan…)

Chris

David calls luxury cars toys and calls me out when I challenge him on it. It’s a pity it flew right over your head – I can’;t really dumb it down any more. Can someone get from A-B cheaper than in a 750? Yes, of course, they can buy a Camry or any other sedan. By your bizarre logic, an iPhone is a toy (others are cheaper!), as is Steinway piano (others are cheaper!) etc.

RockribbedTrumpkin

Works fine in a totalitarian dictatorship. The masses don’t have the right to travel unless we say so

vukcevic

If I was the Chinese leader, I wouldn’t start from here (yes, yes I know). Two decades ago hardly anyone had a car, they all rode bikes, electric assisted bicycles would be an advancement.
On your bike comrade.

Goldrider

That’s why they’re pushing “driverless” so hard; a product 99% of the pubic doesn’t want and won’t buy.

Russ R.

On target, as usual David. One of the problems for high performance battery production is the fact that there are two lines in a supply/demand curve. And the market price is where they intersect. If you artificially increase the demand for a product, you artificially increase the price for it as well. That does not help to make the product more available. To avoid this little inconvenience the government will subsidies supply. But that introduces distortions in the market, and leads to price increases without corresponding increases in tangible benefits to the end customer.
Most of the inefficiencies in our current US economy have started out this way, and metastasized to the point where they can’t be brought back into line without significant pain, or continued wasteful spending. I am not optimistic at all that China will find success in this en devour. History tells us they are taking a trip down a rabbit hole, that is difficult to exit from.

DaveS

In the early days of road transport there was a three-way technology battle – IC, steam and electric. IC won the day without government interference (yes, there really was small government once). If electric cars are so wonderful now, then let market forces decide once again without any subsidies (currently several thousand quid here in the UK). Quite why taxpayers should be expected to subsidise the better-off to buy a new electric car is a mystery.

stephenpace

@DaveS That would be all well and good except for gas cars aren’t paying their fair share of the damage they are causing. We have a tragedy of the commons scenario going on. The government is trying to counteract that with credits but probably should do something more direct to penalize gasoline cars similar to what Norway does. Then you can take all incentives away from EVs and let the consumer decide.

Russ R.

@stephenpace

“gas cars aren’t paying their fair share of the damage they are causing. We have a tragedy of the commons scenario going on.”

Quantify for us how much “fair share” gas cars should pay for the damage they are causing, and the benefit the commons will receive when that “fair share” is paid? And how would this money be spent to “fairly offset” the damage to the commons?
And how will this help the low skilled, but motivated workers, that are trying to afford any reasonable transportation?

MarkW

What is this mythical damage of which you prat?
BTW, I love the way you go on and on about not paying for the damage you do, while you drive on roads paid for with gasoline taxes.
Hypocrite much?

SMC

@stephenpace
“…a tragedy of the commons …”
Thank you for clearly stating your political and economic positions. You might find a more conducive audience with those of a socialist/marxist bent.

Stevan Reddish

stephenpace September 12, 2017 at 9:13 am
…”gas cars aren’t paying their fair share of the damage they are causing. ”
I’m not sure what damage caused by cars you mean.
If you mean smog, car owners do pay for catalytic converters, etc. which have taken care of that damage.
If you mean damage to the environment done by oil drilling and gasoline refining necessary to supply fuel for gas cars, please explain how supplying EVs with their fuel (electricity) would be less damaging.
If you mean CO2 emission, you have 2 things to explain:
1. How a nation driving EVs would emit less CO2?
2. How CO2 is actually damaging anything?
SR

DonM

“Tragedy of the Commons” … Mr Pace please read it again with a completely open mind and realize that the tragedy is that a perfectly good resource abused by those without direction connection, responsibility, cost as associated with use, or moral evaluation.
The Commons is trashed because people with the above described characteristics abdicate to the commons managers (govt) their moral responsibility … kinda like knowing that the individual tax credit for solar panels or EVs are essentially theft from the commons, and take the credits anyway because the commons managers (govt) said it was OK in that instance.
Mr. Pace, you are the type of person that trashes the commons. You are the reason, in the end, that the socialist/communist ideals that you embrace will always fail, and eventually any commons you have access to will also be trashed..

Chris

MarkW said: “What is this mythical damage of which you prat?”
Laziness is quite prevalent these days – it took me all of 30 seconds to find this paper.
“Motor vehicles emit particulate matter < 2.5 microm in diameter (PM(2.5)), and as a result, PM(2.5) concentrations tend to be elevated near busy streets….We developed a refined exposure model and implemented it using a geographic information system to estimate the average daily census enumeration area (EA) exposure to PM(2.5)…Exposure to PM(2.5) has a significant effect on admission rates for a subset of respiratory diagnoses (asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, upper respiratory tract infection), with a relative risk of 1.24 (95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.45) for a log(10) increase in exposure."
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240770/

Chris

David Middleton said: “The particulate matter pollution problem is not in the United States…”
Gee, why did you use satellite maps instead of on the ground measurements? For the data you posted: “they employed a method of combining total-column aerosol measurements obtained from the above-mentioned NASA satellites along with information regarding the vertical distribution of aerosols from a computer model.”
So I guess climate scientists models are rubbish unless they support your position, is that it?
On the ground data is more accurate. NASA created this satellite version because on the ground data is not available in many countries, especially third world. Here is a summary of data for California, showing a map of areas which did not meet the national standard. The entire LA basin and much of central California did not meet the target – referred to as non attainment on the maps. https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/apr/reports/pm25-monitoring-2015.pdf

MarkW

Chris, as always, you substitute pathetic propaganda for data.
1) PM2.5 has never been demonstrated to be a problem.
2) They aren’t produced by gasoline cars in the first place.

There are some pretty silly mistakes here. Battery prices paid by the automakers these days are NOT $200 per kWhr.They are at or less than $150 per kWhr. Whether gasoline has more energy per gram than a battery is totally irrelevant – besides, an engine cannot extract even remotely close to 100% of gasoline’s energy as motivational energy – a very large percentage of that energy is thermal energy, which an engine has to expend energy to eject from the vehicle via a water pump,
fan, radiator, etc. Also expended is light energy, useless for moving a car forward.
The real issue of interest is how far can an electric travel, how often does it need to travel that far or further, how long does it take to recharge the battery to the extent required, what does it cost to charge the battery, what is the mileage of the EV. Right now we have the first of the lower priced EVs, costing around $35K, excluding tax credits (usually $7400 Feds, and sometimes additional state subsidies – for battery chargers, etc.) These vehicles (Tesla Model 3 , Chevy Bolt, upcoming BMW Series 3) all get 230 to 250 miles of driving range, from a 60kWhr battery. Add $2300 for an additional 15kWhrs and the range jumps to 290-310 miles (except Tesla, which charges $9,000 for an additional $3700 worth of batteries) Tesla has 150KW chargers and CCS charging protocol (most cars use this DC fast charge protocol) is about to introduce 350KW chargers. Charging to 80% is typical, since it takes as long to charge from 0% to 80% as it does to charge from 80% to 100%. Right now Tesla is quickest – 80% charge in around 30 minutes for their 80kWhr vehicles – 240 miles. When cars appear (shortly) that can accept 350KW charging, that time would drop to 15 minutes or less. The new electric Porsche claims it can charge enough for 60 miles in 5 minutes. At 4 miles per kWhr (typical for a Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, etc) and the national average of 12s cent per kWhr (at home) you’re looking at 4 cents per mile.
Of course, cars that are travelling or cars that cannot be recharged at home, will pay higher rates
at charging stations. Prices when there is full competition will not be radically different than residential prices. It is conceivable they could be less, since commercial power rates are always lower.
Two dollar gasoline and 25MPG yields 8 cents per mile for a gas powered vehicle of like size and weight. Gas powered cars also require oil changes, coolant changes, tune ups, air filters, oil filters, exhaust systems, gas tanks and a fuel delivery system, a cooling system.
Electric cars are intrinsically more reliable and cheaper to maintain and fuel than gas powered vehicles. However, no one is going to throw away a $35,000 gas powered car just to save a few bucks on fuel by spending another $35,000 for an electric.
BUT, even if all of the automakers today stopped producing gas powered cars, there are 260 million of them just in this country alone. And the typical turnover rate is something on the order of 13 to 17 milion per year. It will take several decades to change the fleet over to largely electrics.

stephenpace

“It will take several decades to change the fleet over to largely electrics.” I don’t disagree with that; however, it could happen faster if gas prices go up or have some more gas shortages like what happened with Harvey and damages to pipelines and/or refining capacity. During Harvey I would have had no issues driving back and forth to Dallas or Austin, but saw many panicked people who couldn’t return because they couldn’t find gas. Similar things happened in SuperStorm Sandy–gas stations ran out, and power came back before tankers could resupply gas stations and power returned to them to pump the gas.

I Came I Saw I Left

It doesn’t matter if gas prices go up. The hassle factor of EVs makes the current technology not worth it to the vast majority of people, who are willing to pay for convenience. And most people would not be able to even charge their EVs at home without incurring liability and theft risks (extension cords) and ignoring EV manufacturers’ warnings to not use extension cords. The latter has serious liability issues.

Ben W.

Yup. . .
Everybody knows that electricity never, ever goes out during a hurricane. . . .

Goldrider

The image of EV’s is they’re a gimmick for gadget geeks. And this is in the most progressive county on the East Coast. Most people simply have no interest. They want something familiar and repairable anywhere with no associated hassles, restrictions, delayed costs or learning curve.

Stevan Reddish

“and power came back before tankers could resupply gas stations and power returned to them to pump the gas.”
Power came back…before power returned?
SR

Chris

Goldrider said: “The image of EV’s is they’re a gimmick for gadget geeks.”
Yeah, and that was exactly what was said about personal computers when they first came out.

Chris

I came I saw I left said: “It doesn’t matter if gas prices go up. The hassle factor of EVs makes the current technology not worth it to the vast majority of people, who are willing to pay for convenience. And most people would not be able to even charge their EVs at home without incurring liability and theft risks (extension cords) and ignoring EV manufacturers’ warnings to not use extension cords. The latter has serious liability issues.”
What hassle factor? 63% of occupied residences have a garage or carport.
https://energy.gov/eere/vehicles/fact-958-january-2-2017-sixty-three-percent-all-housing-units-have-garage-or-carport

Catcracking

Stephen…
The main reason the gas stations could not pump gas in NJ is that the electricity was out and the pumps ran on electricity. NJ now requires that filling stations now have a requirement for backup generators. Even though I do not live close to the coast, we have a lot of trees which fell bringing down power lines and in my case it took 1.5 weeks to restore power at my house . Most gas stations had restored power sooner since they were on major highways. No power to charge an electric vehicle for 1.5 weeks is not satisfactory.
There was plenty of gas after a few days were I live.

Chris

David Middleton said: :” Did you not read or just experience an epuc failure of comprehension regarding the Moore’s Law bit?”
I’m well aware of Moore’s Law, being an electrical engineer and having designed electronics. But it’s 100% irrelevant to the point I made, so why did you bring it up? Someone stated that electric cars were just for geeks, I said the same thing was said about PCs. While Moore’s Law made PCs cheaper, it was not the primary reason that PCs became widely used. PCs cost $5K in the early 80s and still cost $5K in the mid to late 80s when sales exploded. It was the availability of applications like WordPerfect and Lotus 123, which made them useful to common folks. With electric cars the barriers are even less, it is fully functional and useful today to the average person. Yes, geeks may want to play around with various tools relating to their car, but it’s fully functional out of the box.

stephenpace

@Stevan Reddish “Power came back…before power returned?” What I meant was, power comes back for some areas but not others. In Harvey I went to my mother’s home because she had power and I could charge there. Or at the Tesla SuperCharger on the northside. But my area didn’t have power and gas stations near my home didn’t have gas and didn’t have power to pump it even if they did. After Sandy, NJ required gas stations to have power backups to run the pumps, but as far as I’m aware, few other states have passed similar laws. Certainly not Texas where I live. In short, what I was trying to say is it is much easier to bring back just power for EVs than bringing back both power AND logistically supplying gas everywhere, especially in a large storm where electrical substations are underwater (mine is out for months and I’m running on a temporary one on a flatbed truck that took a week to rig up to the transmission line), pipelines and/or refineries are damaged, and roads have to be not flooded and cleared for tankers along with power for the stations.

Alan Robertson

arthur4563
September 12, 2017 at 8:37 am
There are some pretty silly mistakes here. Battery prices paid by the automakers these days are NOT $200 per kWhr.They are at or less than $150 per kWhr.
——————————
Yes, I agree, some silly mistakes.
Let me ask you: which component of a vehicle can be purchased by a consumer for the same price paid by the manufacturer?
No need to go further…

nc

Winter, think winter. Most of north America has a rude winter. Mileage, what mileage. Also I store extra gas at home for emergency and in winter I sometimes have extra gas stored in the vehicle.
Very cheap to have that extra energy on hand.

Urederra

The article is about China, not about north America.

MarkW

Northern China has very rude winters as well.

Russ R.

Lower costs to the manufacturer are only a selling point when they end up as lower costs to the buyer. The manufacturer must take bulk shipments, install them, incur liability for the performance of the batteries, and tie up capital until the car is sold and the warranty on it expires. They will lose money if they don’t charge a significant markup on the price they paid.
Currently electric vehicle owners are getting subsidized through the purchase of the vehicle and the upgrades necessary to charge the vehicle. When taxpayers refuse to continue to pay for their neighbors transportation, these costs will fall on the vehicles themselves. Many people do not live in homes that have garages, or any convenient way to charge a vehicle overnight. Many grid systems do not have the capacity to charge even a small portion of the current vehicle fleet with the electricity required to fast charge millions of cars, that can’t be charged overnight at home.
And finally most of us live where heat in the winter and AC in the summer is a requirement for a vehicle we spend multiple hours a week riding in. Your range numbers take a large hit, when stuck in gridlock in a snow storm, or heat wave. It will not take many stranded cars, creating worse gridlock, to create a negative image of cars that require taxpayer subsidies for people with above average incomes.

Paul Blase

“Many grid systems do not have the capacity to charge even a small portion of the current vehicle fleet ”
Possibly the most important point neglected by the EV advocates. If we converted the national fleet to electric we’d have to double our generating and transmission capacities.

nc

Arthur here is your silly mistake, winter, think winter. Most of north America has a rude winter, a good part of the world for that matter. Driving range for evs in winter, what range.
Come winter I easily store gas for my vehicles and emergency generator I can easily carry extra gas in my vehicle when required.

Trevor Jones

Electric cars are nice to drive but range is a serious problem. The real problem though is not the battery technology but the electrical distribution infrastructure. For a 300 mile range you need about 90 kwh; if we accept it will take overnight charging at home then the power supply infrastructure to every house will need to be upgraded to cope with the demand; a massive cost. But not everyone has off street parking (about 40% in the UK) so all these people will want to take their car to a local charging point which will be required to deliver 90 kwh in say 10 minutes placing an enormous load, probably in the early evening, on the Grid. The UK government has its target of 2040 for then end of ICE cars but has no plan to upgrade the infrastructure or to build more power plants!

stephenpace

@Trevor Jones Last time I was in London I saw charge points on the street using power already there going to street lamps. As long as owners can use street marking explicitly EVs using 30 or 40 amp charging at night, then the grid doesn’t need any changes. Beyond that, Tesla is also working on 72kW city SuperChargers.
https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/11/16287606/tesla-city-supercharger-stations-charging

Nigel S

You can power a lot of street lights with 10kW (each charging point!). I’m pretty confident the street lighting power supply wouldn’t come close.

stephenpace

@Nigel S Any yet I see them on the street in London even now. Lets say it another way. I assume the UK grid supports everyone in the UK being able to turn their stove on at the same time at dinner, right? Then why wouldn’t it support the equivalent of a stove running at night for that same household in either their home or some random location where they park? 30 or 40 amps (e.g. a typical stove plug) is all you need to fully charge an EV overnight.

Nigel S

Yes but those charging points, very few to suit the very few EVs, are not run off the street lighting circuit. Most homes in towns in UK are heated with natural gas and many use it to cook too.
Plenty of information out there such as this for instance.
https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/britain-faces-huge-costs-to-avoid-power-shortages-with-electric-car-plan/

MarkW

stephen, what’s the power rating for those charging stations.
Just declaring that there is such a station is not very informative.

I Came I Saw I Left

Can you imagine the fun city hooligans will have roaming around at night unplugging EVs?

tom s

Hopefully you don’t have an emergency where you need to get somewhere in the middle of the night.

Why this hostility to electric vehicles?
China takes bold action to electrify their transportation. I have some experience in traveling there and I have only seen electric trains and I would estimate that more than 90% of all scooters and motorcycles are electric.
The lack of noise and exhaust from the two-wheelers is definitely a good thing.
/Jan

stephenpace

@Jan Kjetil Andersen: Exactly, I find most opposition pretty irrational and it often evaporates when you talk to someone personally (which is why I like the National Drive Electric Week meetings like what we’ll have next Saturday at IKEA here in Houston). What China is doing is similar to what Tesla is doing. They are creating a vision and people are running hard to realize that vision. Tesla may have missed some deadlines along the way, but they have created an exciting vision and made some exciting cars that are bring over converts from BMW, Audi, Mercedes and others. That has primed the pump for Model 3 (the base $35k vehicle) and generated 450k+ reservations for a car that few have driven or even seen in person. When THOSE cars start showing up in mass, the last of the bogus arguments go away.

Sheri

Tesla makes cars, but no profits. I guess it’s a good thing to compare to communist China.

Nigel S

When will China be converting their tanks to EVs?

Sheri

Any “hostility” on my part is to being told what I should do to prove I care about the planet or to prove I’m PC or whatever. I have the same reaction to someone telling me I have to drive a Smart Car, a motorscooter, take a train or anything else. People drive what works for them. If a Smart Car works, fine (and you can wedge it in the garage sideways and have lots of storage space left—saw someone do that once). If you need an F350, fine. If you WANT an F350, fine. What bothers me is the “we are better” attitude people show with some modes of transportation.

Andrew Cooke

Why hostility to electric vehicles?
Let me count the reasons.
1. There is no infrastructure for them. Nor any viable plan for it. When discussing infrastructure with EV proponents, the reply is usually some variation of, “What infrastructure? We don’t need no infrastructure”!! I don’t want to have to worry about my charge. What if it is a hot day? Or there is a traffic jam? What if there is a problem. With an IC vehicle there is a gas station on every corner – you know, an established infrastructure.
2. No long distance trips. I realize that with totalitarian regimes this is a feature, not a bug. However, here in America, we like to actually go places beyond our local town. In a car. Imagine that. Oh, and we cannot have long distance trips because of….no infrastructure.
3. Increase electric rates. Draw more power off the grid, the more rates cost for everyone. Its called the law of supply and demand. It is real. I know progressive in particular do not comprehend it, but their lack of comprehension does not cause the law to actually not exist.
4. This reason is childish, but frankly I detest progressives. Anything they worship religiously, such as EV’s, is something that I am against. On general principle. It is probably one of my few illogical traits but everyone has one or two, so there you go.

I would not call the last reason either childish, or illogical. It is eminently mature and rational to have high suspicion of any Socialist scheme – whether they are of the International or National variety. Besides being highly destructive to an economy, they invariably incur a rather large death toll whenever they are executed.

Reg Nelson

Motorcycles are banned in China’s larger (Tier 1) cities. The reason this was done is because China felt this projected a lower class — Third World image, something they do not want to show to the outside world. When the ban went into effect, electric bikes rushed in and filled the void. And now China is cracking down on them as well.
So the shift from motorcycles had nothing to do with going green. In fact IC motorcycles are still widely used in rural parts of China.
Here’s a video that discusses this subject:

Paul Blase

It’s not “hostility”, it’s engineering criticism by those who know how such things work. EV advocates tend to be similar to AGW promoters in that neither like to look at contradictory evidence.
As any engineer can tell you, when you try to introduce an entire new paradigm to a market, you need to study all aspects of it, including secondary and tertiary effects. In the case of EV’s this includes crash safety, the material supply chain (e.g. for lithium), end-of-life disposal, and – most especially in this case – the costs associated with recharging and its required infrastructure.
Very few EV advocates seem to understand either the power requirements associated with an EV or of the limitations of the current electrical supply and transmission system. If you want to shift to an entirely electric passenger fleet – not including freight vehicles – you would have to double the supply and transmission system. “Free” chargers on lampposts are fine so long as there are only a few electric vehicles, but are hardly realistic once the numbers start climbing.

curly

Where does all the air pollution in Chinese cities come from?
Is it the coal-fired power plants to produce electricity for the electric scooters?

MarkW

Mostly it’s coal fired cooking stoves.

MarkW

When your purchase of an “electric” vehicle doesn’t involve 10’s of thousands of other people’s dollars, why are you surprised that those who are involuntarily buying your car for you, get hostile?

NorwegianSceptic

I have a bit of hostility towards the government giving my tax money to subsidize rich peoples (often extra) cars. Du kan jo nevne det for Rasmus Hansson hvis du møter ham, han har vel mye fritid i tiden fremover….

Thank you for the answer in norwegian (ja, jeg skal nevne det hvis jeg møter ham).
🙂
Even if I do not agree with you, I can understand your reason for being hostile. You have a rational reason, like “do not waste my taxpayer money on something I don’t think make any sense”.
But I can sense a hostility that goes beyond the rational reasons. None of our taxpayer money will be used because of what China decides.
People seems to hate electric vehicles because their political opponents like electric vehicles and that is rather silly. I think electric vehicles have a great future and that they will outnumber the combustion engines in the not so distant future. I will not miss the urban engine noise and exhaust.
Jan

Andy pattullo

There is no doubt that electric vehicles will see substantial technical advances over time and become a larger part of the market. It is also likely that as urbanization and density increase, a greater poproportion of citizens will choose not to own and maintain a personal vehicle which may be a good thing for health a s a walking/transit/cycling lifestyle is associated with greater fitness and longevity, though I for one believe that should remain a choice, not a government forced compulsion.
All of that aside, taking the Chinese announcement seriously is the height of gullibility. There are Neither democratic voters nor foreign nations that have any ability to compel the Chinese government to follow through on any commitment, even if it had much more specific goals with a timetable than the very vague announcement mentioned. The Chinese government likely sees little to no cost in making such an announcement, but very likely considerable benefit. While China is making all the right noises about turning it’s back on fossil fuels, it has been on a world wide shopping spree to lock in access to those very same resources in massive quantities. It can only help their aims to create a mirage of stranded assets that may then sell at bargain basement prices.

Rhee

@Andy you’re spot on with trusting eager pronouncements from Chinese government, particularly in light of their laughable voluntary contributions to the “Paris Accord” wherein they simply reiterated already known projections that their economy would reach an energy plateau somewhere around 2030-35 so they promoted that as their voluntary contribution, and pledged to consider reducing pollution and CO2 starting around 2030-35. By stating they are studying when to set a timeline for halting the sale of ICE vehicles, they have said absolutely nothing that they aren’t doing already, and nothing every other developed nation is doing. David Middleton is quite correct to portray this as FANTASY LAND.

Nigel S

Electric trucks and vans probably do make sense for short haul work. Milk floats used to deliver milk quietly early in the morning but most door step deliveries have stopped in UK. Harrods had some nice ones.
https://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?image=10221432

There’s a really big problem that is seemingly missed in this story about decreasing Lithium based battery costs.
There’s only so much Lithium available to mine out of the Earth. Once Lithium becomes scarce, battery costs will rise… dramatically… not fall. Based on known reserves and expected demand, the 100% depletion time line is about 2 decades.

stephenpace

Lithium is a very common element. We probably have more in Wyoming than we’ll need for the near term:
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/New-Wyoming-Lithium-Deposit-could-Meet-all-U.S.-Demand.html
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/availability_of_lithium
If we ever run short, we can even investigate pulling Lithium out of the sea:
http://insideevs.com/tesla-chief-technology-officer-jb-straubel-discusses-model-3/
Last point is while there is only about 63 kg of lithium in a 70 kWh Tesla Model S battery pack, unlike gasoline burned in a vehicle, the Lithium is not consumed. At the end of the pack life in 20 years or so, we can just extract the Lithium in the recycling process and reuse it (assuming Lithium batteries are still used in 20 years). Humans are very ingenious–if we ran out of Lithium (which we won’t) or it became too expensive, we’d make batteries out of something else.

The price needs to be higher for extraction of most available resources. So, as the easy Lithium runs out, the expensive Lithium will begin to be extracted at the much higher price point.
Lithium batteries are going to have a period of cost reduction followed by a steep increase in a decade or two when the world’s easy to get reserves run low.
http://fortune.com/2015/04/26/lithium-mining/
Quote from above:
According to Anderson, Western Lithium, like many new lithium operations, simply aren’t working with the right raw materials. Though lithium isn’t rare in the environment, the cost of extraction varies greatly with its concentration and form. With existing technology and present prices, truly profitable lithium comes only from the evaporation of highly concentrated brine.
****
So, like oil, the price of Lithium will vary… rise and fall dramatically… when easy or difficult sources are the primary. Battery prices are not going to follow that simplistic curve of lower cost over time.

Brian McCain

For Class 8 trucks, don’t forget the heating and cooling required for the sleeper. The engine is normally run while they park to maintain comfort inside the cab. The company I was working back in the late 90’s was working on a system to run off a separate battery but not sure how far they got with it. And don’t forget to add in all the amenities for the driver like mini-fridge, microwave and TV that they use on the required rest stops. In Class 8 trucks, no issue because it’s part of the supply from the engine. But now you have to build it into your battery storage. Class 7 trucks don’t include sleepers so I think you are more like 4-6 times the battery to get to 300 miles.

Tom Halla

Batteries are still the problem. Li ion has a nasty tendency to catch fire, and cannot be safely recharged rapidly routinely. Most other chemistries for batteries have the same sort of problems, so changing heavy trucks (let alone aircraft or ships) to battery electric is rather unlikely.

stephenpace

@Tom Halla I could say the same thing about gasoline. In 2015 there were 174,000 gasoline car fires resulting in 445 deaths and 1,550 injuries at a cost of $1.2B USD:
http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics/vehicle-fires/highway-vehicle-fires
Gas cars burn every day to the point they barely make the news anymore. I’ll take my battery powered car over 30 gallons of gasoline in a wreck any day. Engine heat plus gas = fire.
http://jalopnik.com/5617108/first-american-ferrari-458-italia-burns-to-the-ground
http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/new-2015-gmc-yukon-catches-fire-during-test-drive-191522831.html
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/20/porsche-911-gt3/5637521/

Sheri

Gasoline cars ignite in a wreck. Electric cars ignite sitting in parking lots. Maybe the unpredictability is the problem.

Stephen – There were 174,000 car fires in 2015. Only 2% of those involved fuel tanks or fuel lines.
From http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/property-type-and-vehicles/vehicles
“Only 2% of automobile fires began in fuel tanks or fuel lines”
“Mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in roughly two-thirds of the automobile fires.”

Zack aa

Dear Jan Andersen
It’s a choice between:
2017 Nissan Sentra
Curb Weight 2941lbs.
Msrp $US 20,000
Range 488 miles
Refuel time 10min
20 year lifespan one engine
2017 Nissan Leaf EV
Curb Weight 3323
Msrp $US 31,000
Range **107 miles when new ~ 65 miles @ 50,000
Refuel time 8 hours @ 240v 12A where available
20 years lifespan three or four battery packs @$5000?
The same inherent physics of greater mass, short battery lifespan, limited fuel storage and speed of refueling are the same as they were in 2011 with the first Leafs sold.
EV’s are 50% more expensive, inherently inefficient based on mass alone, far from low maintenance they require regular replacement of rare earth materials that are mined in horrendous labor and environmental conditions in Africa or China.
Though here in the US brilliant traffic engineers with moral intentions do allow EV’s with one passenger to drive in lanes dedicated to carpools. Go figure.

Zack aa

Forgot the depreciation
2011 Nisan Sentra
72,000 miles
Current KBB resale $4176
2011 Nissan Leaf
72,000 miles
Current KBB resale $2545

Range **107 miles when new ~ 65 miles @ 50,000

That is not my experience
After 74 000 km I see no battery degradation at all.
I get a pretty good measurement from my daily commute which is 29 km each way. From day one I have used approximately 20% of the battery one way, no changes after 3 years / 74 000 km.
/Jan

stephenpace

@Zack aa If we are going to pretend that people make car decisions based on efficiency, we’d all be driving 7 year old used white 4 cylinder Toyota Camrys. But somehow Porsche and BMW stay in business. Let’s try your scenario again but with a Tesla Model S vs. a comparably priced Maserati or BMW. The batteries last 20 years, so three or four battery packs is bogus. Range is irrelevant since few drive more than 265 miles a day. SuperCharger lets you do long drives when you need to slower but for $0 cost which is decent tradeoff for most given people need to stop along the way to eat. Day to day, the EV will take less time to fill than a gas car because you fill while you sleep. Most Tesla owners have a NEMA 14-50 in their garage to charge at 30 miles per hour so power isn’t an issue given people don’t run their stove when they sleep which is a 240V plug too.
Given the sales of Model S vs Maserati, Aston Marton, BMW 7 and Audi A7/S7, I’d say the public has decided which is best there. Now let’s take Model 3 for base $35k and put it up against a BMW 3 and Audi A4. I submit to you the same story is going to play out there. Tesla will have no problem selling as many Model 3 as they want nicely optioned to $45k or so. Leaf and Bolt can fight over the bottom of the market. Meanwhile, the traditional OEMs are going to get squeezed while they proclaim (like Volvo) they are moving towards electrification at some nebulous future date.

Russ R.

So it really is just a policy to transfer wealth from the working poor to wealthy. Another win-win for the social justice crowd.

Russ R.

Most of us have owned Li Ion batteries in the past. If my current one lasts 4 years of daily use, it will be the longest lasting of the 10 or so that I have owned. The average is closer to 3 years, before it is better to replace than deal with the lack of usability. What makes you think the average for a very intense charging and discharging daily cycle will last 20 years on average? There is always hope, but sometimes hope can cross the line into delusion.

Nodak

My iPhone 4s made it 5 years on one battery, but I manage my cell phone batteries like a desert caravan manages water.

stephenpace

@Russ R.Technology improves. The reason your laptop battery fails in 3 years is the worst state for Li Ion batteries is being full and being hot. Add to that your laptop battery is air cooled. By contrast, Tesla cells are liquid cooled and don’t ever get to 100% unless you range charge. That is why Tesla can offer 8 year unlimited mile warranties on the packs and not worry about it. Plug In America is running a battery survey and at current rates, the Tesla cells should last 20 years or more. Even in 20 years, they should still work, they will have less range. That range might still be more than the average person needs in a day, but if it isn’t, the pack can be replaced (cheaply in 20 years, no doubt) and the existing pack can be recycled.

John Smith

You live in Dreamland. In the US, BMW alone sold 7 times as many cars in June as Tesla. And that’s on Tesla’s home turf.

Zack aa

Jan you’re apt to run out of warranty on that one of a kind never degrading magic battery. Recall there was a common love hate fear amongst low mileage Leafers, desperate for that 4th bar to disappear and trigger a free replacement before their 5yr warranty anniversary.
Stephen Pace, Wow. Leaf and Volt aren’t bottom market. They are $10,000 dollars more, 50% more than bottom market. Those who can’t afford luxury really really really can’t afford the luxury of the virtuous electric dream car. Or the extra sales tax or the extra $1500 to build a dual voltage high amp “gas” station in their garage. Living in Katy Perry’s bubble, bubble? Look around, 10 yr. old white 4 cyl camrys ARE everywhere. It’s what the maid drives to cover the 90 mile round trip every day to where folks live who need clean toilets.
The point here is about battery capacity, longevity, freight truck efficiency and ROI. Not how much Chaz tips the valet (who drives a 2003 Civic) as he drops off The JAGggghh….
Leaf 24kwh capacity 107* miles. $31000
Tesla S 65 kWh capacity 206* miles $65000?
Tesla 85kwh capacity 265* miles. $90,000?
BMW M5 500 lbs. lighter with a full tank of gas and limitless range.
Why is that 2011 Leaf actuarially under water? The Sentra isn’t. Leaf’s resale value (30+ thousand down to two thousand in 6 years, why is that?) is less than the cost of it’s next $5,000 battery pack. Why are people too stupid to divine the awesome value therein? Notice anything about the charge capacity to range curve? How about the $ invested to range curve or the all that extra weight you drag around whether you commute 30 or 100 miles curve? Inefficiency piled upon inefficiency.
I love choice. I love innovation. The S is an amazing achievement of style and function. It’s a blast to drive. However as you mentioned, it’s a lifestyle choice it’s not really about transportation. “You had me at torque”. And when Porsche delivers a hyper powered Panamera, the future Tesla 2% buyers will have ever more choices to consider. Such as, why spend $25,000 just for an extra 60 miles when I could have this instead? But you digress.
Non electrics shed weight to achieve miles-driven-efficiencies and meet CAFE standards for emissions. Electrics have that completely upside down. Far from saving the planet. Electric cars get away with adding weight to increase utility and saleability while using the same fossil fuel that powers the Camry. Yet somehow comes out smelling green. They get ridiculous tax advantages on account of the nonsense of “CO2 is a poison” yet they generate just as much, clog up the commuter lanes and slow down the maids and valets.
F350 dually drivers clearly need better lifestyle marketeers.
*at 55mph. Can’t get that range at 75mph.

Bob boder

All i have to say HA! I hope they pass the law, let them toast their economy for a change, but you know they used to have this already, they were called electric bikes and they were everywhere in China 20 years ago.

Elston Solberg

And the electricity comes from??
Oh Yah . . . . Dirty coal powered plants!
Dumb and Dumber . . .
Thank Goodness Trump said no to Paris/Copenhagen/Kyoto/et al (and I’m not American)

And the electricity comes from??
Oh Yah . . . . Dirty coal powered plants!

Coal powered plants are only dirty when they power electric vehicles right?

Griff

Well by 2025 UK won’t have any coal plants.
and we hardly use the remaining ones during the summer

stephenpace

@Elston Solberg WA state has 0% coal on their grid. Nationally coal is also less than a third. Cheap natural gas is killing coal dead:
https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
I should mention that Texas leads the nation in wind-powered generation capacity with more than 18,500 megawatts; in 2014 and 2015, Texas wind turbines produced more electricity than the state’s two nuclear plants. Still small overall, but growing.

ltregulate

I don’t have not problem with any technology, let the market decide, as long as tax payer dollars aren’t used to fund development and we are “forced” by the government to choose something. Electricity prices have skyrocketed in California ever since providers were mandated to purchase a certain allotment of so-called green energy.

markl

My issue with EVs is they are being forced on us to support an ideology based on dodgy science with limited to no infrastructure planning. I repeat myself….. another shoot – ready – aim from the enviro-mentalists. For use limited to urban environments that can provide overnight parking spot charging ports at people’s homes EVs are superior in every way to ICE cars. I believe the EV push is to cram people together forcing them to use mass transportation. It’s one of the tenets of Agenda 21. An unintended (or not) consequence is it will guarantee a very visible elite class.

Griff

Well British Telecom just announced its switching its fleet of 30,000 vehicles to EVs and hybrids…
not the only company switching its fleet. The total cost of overnership is lower fro a commercial company’s fleet…
charging points are going in for electric London Taxis
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/26/electric-black-cabs-transport-for-london-tfl-charging-stations
Then there are the electric buses (many of those in the US too)
In short, this isn’t just about private cars… and it is gaining some sort of momentum

Nigel S

Don’t forget the milk floats Griff, I miss them and the blue tits stealing the cream.

Griff

We still have a milk float delivering… but I haven’t seen a blue tit peck a milk bottle in years… I do miss that!

Paul Blase

How many of those vehicles have to go more than 200km per day?
EV’s actually make sense for urban commercial fleets where the vehicles travel short distances per day, spend a lot of time sitting still, either idling in traffic or at a customer site, and can spend all night charging at a high-powered corporate charging center.
They make very little sense for long-distance private travel or long-haul commercial traffic. You could run a city bus as an EV, not a Greyhound or semi.

MarkW

It’s easy to get cost of ownership down, when someone else is paying most of your bills.

Bitter&twisted

Griff when I was a lad in the 1960s, milk was delivered by electric trucks called “milk floats”
Electric vehicles had a limited range and use then and still do.
And will continue to do so.

Griff

My milk still is!

MrPete

So, enter a bit of practical reality, and future potentials (from a EE…)
1) Charging infrastructure. Last I checked, typical US neighborhood transformers can handle a total of 2 superchargers. Someone needs to pay the cost of grid upgrades.
2) More significant. A couple of years ago I calculated the answer to a simple question: ignoring battery technology, how much power is required to “fill” an eCar in a way similar to existing gasoline technology? I can gas up my car in five minutes and get another 400-500 miles.
Answer: several megawatts. I.e. the amount of power in high power overhead distribution lines… and nobody can be anywhere near that much power.
Implication: eventually we will HAVE to switch from on-the-fly charging to swapping in pre-charged battery packs. That’s a major infrastructure shift.
When you see that kind of change in the works, then it will be time to start paying attention. Until then, eCars will only be for local transportation other than exotics / wealthy few.

I Came I Saw I Left

Battery swap will never work apart from a battery leasing arrangement where an EV owner doesn’t own the battery but leases battery service. Because no one in their right mind is going to swap their expensive brand new discharged battery for a fully charged used one that is worth significantly less in value..

Joey

Does anybody really believe a word that comes out of China? Guess they are saying goodbye to gasoline powered cars and replacing them with coal powered cars.

John W. Garrett

One of the things I have noticed about the Klimate Krazies is that there a near-universal inability to perform basic mathematical operations ( i.e., addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
They are, by and large, completely innumerate.
I don’t know if that is explanatory of the disproportionately large number of poets, English majors, art history majors and “artistes” present in the greenschist or not. It is a hypothesis.

I believe nothing out of China. They say anything they think the world wants to hear, because we have no way of monitoring what they will actually do. Stop even quoting what they say – it is a joke.

Bruce Cobb

“We power our mobile phones and our laptops with lithium-ion batteries—why not power our cars this way?”
Can’t argue with that logic. Also, propeller hats are powered by wind, so why not helicopters?

stephenpace

@Bruce Cobb Original question is correct. EVs work today, and though slightly more expensive than equivalent gasoline cars, pricing is coming down. 40 solar panels on a south facing roof can power your entire house and generate excess power for driving. Excess power generated can also be stored in batteries. Why can’t we power our cars that way? You can, and some are already doing it today.

stephenpace

40 solar panels on a south facing roof can power your entire house and generate excess power for driving. Excess power generated can also be stored in batteries.

Show me “that math” for 30 degree north in the high, clear, dry Mojave desert air. (1% of the country.)
Then for the hazy 32 degree southeast 1/4 of the country.
Then for Ohio plains.
Then for the NY upstate country.
For get the 30% of the population that lives in stacked apartments and cities who need cars as well in the real world outside of Manhattan, central Chicago, central Boston, and north Alexandria (Washington DC). “They” don’t matter in your utopia, do they?

MarkW

That depends entirely on where you live.
The further north you go, the more panels you will need more.
If you don’t have sun for 100% of the day, you will need more.
If you get dust on them, you will need more.
After the first year, you will need more.
And if you don’t have a south facing roof, well you’re scr#ewed from the get go.

Resourceguy

Does this mean China will no longer claim the entire South China Sea as its territory in order to exploit oil and gas? And will it give back it militarized man-made island to the rising seas meme of CAGW?

Guillermo

Perhaps I’m naïve, but where are the EVs getting their power from? Surely, or quite likely, off in the distance there is a power plant churning through coal, oil, nat gas… Hard to see how this eliminates the fossil fuel economy. Of course there may be significant efficiency gains in an EV relative to ICE, but still…

Griff

https://www.expressandstar.com/news/motors/2017/08/18/greener-electricity-generation-makes-evs-cleaner-than-ever/
“Electricity used to charge electric vehicles (EVs) is now cleaner than ever before, a study has revealed.
The Electric Insights report, which was produced by Imperial College London researchers and Drax Power, found that electricity generation between April and June this year contained 199g of CO2 per kilowatt hour – 10 per cent less than last year’s minimum set.
This decarbonisation of electricity generation in the UK means that EVs are now cleaner than ever, as the energy used to charge them is increasingly coming from greener sources.”

Andrew Hamilton

Due to the topography of the land my house sits on, I do not have the luxury of parking my car immediately adjacent to my house and can see no future point when I will be able to plug my car in and charge it up. It’s worth noting that many people live in high rise buildings or in terraced houses where there are similar difficulties.
On average, 9 times per year, I make a 600 mile round trip that I complete in one day. I leave at 07:30 and return at 23:00. I cannot see a short to medium term time when that will be possible with a battery powered car.
At present, I often see difficulties with finding parking spaces. If we ever do get to the point where there are charging points at every parking space, some of these charging stations will breakdown and await maintenance. It is inevitable that some unfortunates will not be able to find a charging point.
There are so many problems with this technology that I do not see it being a realistic option until we reach science fiction levels of development. Sadly, due to the green enthusiasts and their desire to wipe out much of our existing ways of life, I don’t think we’re going to reach our full potential for development.
We must use our currently popular resources to get us to the next stage of development.

Paul Blase

And EV advocates like to point to “free” charging stations, on lampposts and such. “Free” so long as only one or two cars per day charge there! We’ll see what happens when the number starts rising.

MarkW

Free ain’t free.
As always, they are being subsidized by those who can’t afford to buy such toys.

Andrew
I like the idea of electric cars but with an excellent local bus service around here it would be an expensive luxury as a second car.
To be successful it needs to make the leap from second car to reliable family first car.
As well as the charging problems you mention, that means the vehicle being able to go x miles up hill and down dale, loaded with a family of four, luggage, with the heater, windscreen wipers, radio and lights on.
At the moment in those circumstances x is likely to be much less than 200 miles, and then you need to add in ‘y’ which is the time needed to recharge. Which probably means an expensive overnight stay ‘z’ somewhere with a recharging point, or to restrict yourself to less than 200 miles.
In which case it becomes an expensive second car with limited uses….
tonyb

MarkW

City dwellers, the people most touted as being able to benefit from electric cars, are also the people least likely to have a place to charge those electric cars.

Griff
MarkW

Yet another subsidy for wealthy people paid for by working people.

Rhoda R

Sounds more like a Chinese PR exercise than any real goal.

dan no longer in CA

I have a nice, comfortable car that my wife usually uses to commute, my daily commuter car that rarely goes over 100 miles per day, and a play car. I could see replacing my commuter car with an electric, except for one fatal flaw. They cost ~$15k more than a comparable gas car (Bolt vs Sonic). Not gonna happen.

Even the BBC report on this pointed out that China would have to drastically increase its coal fired power stations in order to provide the energy needed for the vehicles. Good news for Aussie coal exports?
In other news, Lithium mining starts in Cornwall England with new £1 million mine being opened with private investor and UK Govt support
tonyb

Of course China wants to convert to electric cars. They’re producing lots of cheap electricity from coal imported from N Korea. Although, now that coal imports from N Korea are part of the latest sanctions, will they change their minds? Probably not since they’re getting even more cheap coal from Australia, which by its ironic deference to pseudo green is phasing out coal for producing electricity.

KT66

Bingo. It makes sense for China to convert coal into electrons to power urban autos instead of using ICE powered cars in heavily polluted urban centers. China is also a country where everybody is equal but some are more equal than others, and only those elites more equal make up most of the driving public.
Doesn’t mean it makes sense anywhere else though. Tipping points? Ha!

Griff

those coal imports are down to temporary conditions. Chinese coal use has peaked.

MarkW

China is building 600 new coal plants in the next 10 years.

Griff,
Not likely. They’re continuing to build coal plants and buying record amounts of coal from Australia. Anything the Chinese say about ‘climate change’ is purely for propaganda purposes to fool people like you who think CO2 is a driver of the climate. Keep in mind that if the world followed the Paris accords, the biggest beneficiary relative to global competitiveness would be China. If you can’t see why China would give lip service to this issue while otherwise ignoring it internally, your global warming goggles are even more foggier than usual.

stephenpace

@David Middleton Clearly this is an issue you have a lot of passion around. Since you are in Houston, I invite you to the Lightning on Wheels Electric Vehicle Panel on Thursday evening to share your wisdom:
Sept 14th, 2017 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Rice University BioScience Research Collaborative
6500 Main St, Houston, Texas 77030
https://www.facebook.com/events/112633849410757/
If you can’t make that you are welcome to stop by the National Drive Electric Week event at IKEA on Saturday:
Day: September 16, 2017
Time: 9:30 am until 12:30 pm
Location: IKEA Houston TX store at I-10 and Antoine Dr.
7810 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024
https://driveelectricweek.org/event.php?eventid=904
We’ll have one of almost every current electric vehicle there plus some conversions.

nn

Electric vehicles have a value in high-density population centers, where limited utility and scope assure a design that is fit to purpose. So, this returns us to the question of environmental impact, including source, storage, and reclamation. The problem with grey technologies stems from political and scientific myths spread by industry, investors, lobbyists (e.g. environmentalists), and other stakeholders, which force an artificial perspective of their nature in isolation (e.g. laboratory a la CO2 re-radiative effective a.k.a. “greenhouse” effect) and in the wild.

Don K

I think you folks are missing the key word — HYBRID. That’s an ICE, a battery, and (an) electric motor(s). Toyota has sold a lot of Priusen (what’s the plural of Prius?) in North America. They warm up in cold weather without draining the battery. They get very good mileage in town and reasonable mileage on the highway. Their owners mostly don’t seem to hate them. Probably not what you want to tow a boat trailer, but apparently a more or less acceptable vehicle for lots of folks.
Last time I visited NYC, most of the taxis were hybrids.
The other key word is CHINA. Huge population (4x US). Large area (about the same size as the US or Canada Crowded cities. Rapidly growing GDP — lots of folks want cars. Notorious air pollution problems. Petroleum and natural gas reserves not known, but possibly not all that large. Seems not unreasonable to encourage the use of vehicles that use fuel sparingly when they use it and can operate as EVs for short trips using electricity generated hundreds of Km away. It’s probably easier to move electrons to town than to move tailpipe emissions out of town.
Lots of green schemes seem nutty to me. This one however looks like it might be rational.

MarkW

The pollution problem in China isn’t coming from cars.

Don K

“The pollution problem in China isn’t coming from cars.”
Treble the number of vehicles on the road and move the coal plants away from the big cities, and it will be.

Griff
MarkW

Don, no it won’t. Cars produce very, very little pollution.
Even in Los Angeles, most of the pollution is not coming from cars.

Rob

The taxes that would have to be pilled onto these electric vehicles to replace what comes from fossil fuels will put these electric vehicles out of reach for the majority. As it is now, they run up and down the road for nothing. That can’t last.

Steve Zell

Policy-makers or wannabe policy-makers pushing electric cars are overlooking the obvious–where does the electricity come from to recharge the batteries? Most likely from a power plant which is burning natural gas or coal, which account for about 70% of the electric power generated in the United States. This means that using electric vehicles instead of gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles does not reduce emissions of CO2 or any “real” pollutants (such as carbon monoxide, or sulfur or nitrous oxides), but merely shifts the emission points from millions of cars on the road to a few hundred centralized electric generation plants.
A typical gasoline engine is about 35% efficient, meaning that about 35% of the energy obtained by burning gasoline is converted to the work required to move the car against friction, including air resistance. A typical natural-gas fired power plant is about 40% efficient, and an electric motor is about 80% efficient, meaning that about 32% of the energy from the natural gas would be converted to the work done by an electric car, not counting energy losses over high-tension transmission lines.
A gallon of gasoline has a heat of combustion of about 125 megajoules, or about 35 kWh. If 35% of this energy is converted to useful work, a gallon of gasoline provides about 12.2 kWh of work to a car. If an electric car motor is 80% efficient, about 15.3 kWh of electric power is needed to recharge the batteries with energy equivalent to one gallon of gasoline. At an assumed 10 cents per kWh, it would cost $1.53 of electric power to obtain the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, which currently sells for about $2.50.
The owner of an electric car might save the equivalent of $1.00 per gallon, or about 3 to 5 cents per mile driven in fuel costs (depending on the miles per gallon of the gasoline-powered car), compared to a gasoline-powered car. So, if the electric car is driven 100,000 miles, the owner saves about $3,000 to $5,000 in fuel costs, which is probably much less than the extra cost of buying an electric car over a gasoline-powered car, and then there is the inconvenience of the short range and long recharging times of the electric car.
This calculation may shift if electric vehicles become more common, since this would increase the demand for electric power (and the coal and natural gas required to produce it) and decrease the demand for petroleum, meaning that gasoline would become cheaper and electric power would become more expensive. This would tend to shift the demand toward gasoline-powered cars, and away from electric vehicles.

stephenpace

@Steve Zell Actually, gasoline engines are typically less efficient than 35%. Try 20%. (Though diesel engines are higher–potentially 40%.) Toyota has one they claim is 38% but it is only 1.3L so probably isn’t in any US cars yet:
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1091436_toyota-gasoline-engine-achieves-thermal-efficiency-of-38-percent
All this said, if you do a complete well to wheel analysis, EVs always come out on top. That makes sense, too, given we need to account for pumping oil from deep underground, shipping it across vast oceans, refining it, pipelining it to market, reblending for local requirements, and trucking it to your corner gas station where you promptly waste 80% of it and it is gone forever. By contrast, EVs use domestic power sources, get cleaner as the grid gets cleaner (which it is since coal is being killed by cheap natural gas), plus you have options to generate your own power via solar. These guys have done the comparison, feel free to point out where their math is wrong if you disagree:
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions#.V4-0jPmANBc

Tsk Tsk

Well for one it’s from the Union of Concerned “Scientists” who have issues with contaminating their precious bodily fluids with GMOs. For another they make some pretty convenient comparisons (84mi range EV to a midsize gas-powered car). And finally, I’ll go with a real paper published in PNAS:

Our approach combines spatially, temporally, and chemically detailed life cycle emission inventories; comprehensive, fine-scale state-of-the-science chemical transport modeling; and exposure, concentration–response, and economic health impact modeling for ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). We find that powering vehicles with corn ethanol or with coal-based or “grid average” electricity increases monetized environmental health impacts by 80% or more relative to using conventional gasoline.

Harry

“In 1981, you could buy 5 and ½ inch floppy disks that held 128k of memory, a box of 12 was about 20 dollars. Now, a 4 Gb memory stick is not only smaller but costs about $6. For the same amount of money, you get roughly 100 billion times more memory in a smaller package.”
Those Forbes guys sure are good at that arithmetic thing.
4,000,000,000 / 128,000 = 31250.
Multiplying by 20/6 (to buy $20 of memory sticks) only gets you to ~100k.
So just a mere 1 million times short of the “100 billion” they claimed.

erastvandoren

You are also off. 12 x 128k for $20 = 76,8k for $1; 4,194,304k for $6 = 699,051k for $1. It’s only 9,102 times.

Tom O

I can foresee the day that there are only electric cars. Of course, there won’t be many human beings around to drive them and no real places to go, but I can see a day when only electric cars would be needed. It is likely, of course, that they will not work, because there probably won’t be electricity that day, either, but they will make nice places to shelter from a storm.

Jamie

I can’t imagine why anyone would shell out a deposit to tesla….the balance sheet looks more like a company in bankruptcy. In the meantime Elon will be take his sizable cut and make the company go bellyup

dan no longer in CA

$1000 refundable loan to Tesla makes sense if you factor in the federal $7500 subsidy that will run out in another year. If you’re early enough on the waiting list, you buy the car, take the subsidy, and sell it for $5000 less than MSRP. You make money and get to drive the car for 6 months in the meantime. Tesla has always sold for MSRP and there are fans that think this is a good thing compared to haggling with a dealership to get a price well under MSRP. .

stephenpace

@Jamie: I’ve been hearing the same “Tesla will go bankrupt” for 10 years. People said the same thing about Amazon when they were losing money. Both invested to get to scale because they knew they had a limited window. It is a vision and trust in that vision. Sure, it’s scary, but look how many people said it was impossible. Elon has succeeded in two very difficult businesses, rockets and cars. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Resourceguy

Is this before or after the Great Chinese Financial Crisis?

If the Chinese Government decides something the people will obey.

JohninRedding

They had better get their electrical system in place with enough capacity to handle all the demand when everyone plugs in every night to charge. The question becomes: what is worse/better coal generated CO2 or combustion engine CO2? Pick your poison.

The better choice by far is coal plants. Going to ultra-supercritical boilers at 600 C reduces CO2 emissions about 35%. The stacks can have scrubbers for SO2. From a scale standpoint, cleaning up coal is enormously more efficient.

The battery turning point each year is a decade away. China perhaps for urban areas wants to get control of suffocating smog that makes city life miserable. However, no batter car works in mountains or hilly terrain for very long. The mileage is for dead flat ground.

richard verney

This is the worrying point. Presently the use of an EV is being heavily subsidised since EVs are not paying the equivalent of fuel duty which makes them appear cheap to run. But this certainly will not last.
How will the government deal with the loss of tax revenue taken from fuel? In Europe about 65% of the pump price is tax. According to Wikipedia, for the UK

From 23 March 2011 the UK duty rate for the road fuels unleaded petrol, diesel, biodiesel and bioethanol is GB£0.5795 per litre (£2.63 per imperial gallon or £2.19 per U.S. gallon).[14]
Value Added Tax at 20% is also charged on the price of the fuel and on the duty.
An additional vehicle excise duty, depending on a vehicle’s theoretical CO2 production per kilometre, which is applied regardless of the amount of fuel actually consumed, is also levied. (my emphasis)

Will the government put tax on electricity, or will it impose a very hefty licence fee on EVs. If electricity will be taxed then that would be very concerning especially for the poorer sections of society who might not even own a car.

richard verney

Until such time as an EV costs approximately the same as its IC equivalent (say within $1,500 to $2,000 of the like for like model), I cannot see who would wish to waste money buying an EV.
Further, I envisage that EVs have considerably lower 2nd hand value. That is a problem not simply because depreciation is always the biggest overhead for the car buyer, if the car has a low 2nd hand value it becomes difficult to obtain finance secured on the vehicle, or leasing deals etc.
I bought a couple of 2nd hand cars nigh on 35 years ago that I still own. They are no longer used for daily transport, but I have driven approximately 600,000 miles in them and spent no more than about $250 on the engine of each. I have rehoned the block replaced piston rings and shells, reseated the valves, changed timing chains a few times, but that is all. Obviously, I have changed service parts (oil filters, air filters, exhausts, brake pads), but apart from that very little mechanical work has been needed.
In the UK you can buy a reasonable 2nd hand car for about £2,500 to £5,000 and expect to get 10 years of use out of it with little expense.
Who is going to be interested in buying a 3 to 5 year old EV, when it is likely that a new battery pack is going to be required in the immediate future? Especially when you can buy a 2nd hand IC car for less than the cost of the replacement battery pack!

You gotta pity the poor environmentalists. They just keep dreaming of a battery world where the battery works reliably and with high sustained output. Many have been dreaming this for 150 years. They keep dreaming. Environmentalism goals cannot advance without battery advances, which are not happening. It is the pretense the brick wall that does not exist. In fact, I don’t even think the earth has enough lead reserves to mine to convert China to electric cars. Certainly not enough rare earths.

dan no longer in CA

Tesla cars use 3-phase induction motors without rare earth permanent magnets. Some other manufacturers do use PM motors. That battle has yet to be won in the marketplace, and availability of rare earth elements (mostly Neodymium) may be a key factor.

stephenpace

@Donald Kasper Actually, batteries have been improving 5-8% steadily since smartphones took off. Tesla actually doesn’t need batteries to get any better to put out a base $35k that will easily compete with a BMW 3 series. And there are no rare earth metals in a Tesla unless you count the Neodymium in the premium speaker package. Try again.

Griff

Well, consider all the components you need to maintain in a gasoline engine/car…
for a fleet owner, the total cost of ownership on EVs is likely to be lower…
http://www.fleeteurope.com/en/features/ev-and-traditional-car-reach-tco-parity-2018

MarkW

Only if you pretend that your batteries are going to last forever.

michael hart

Seems to me that taking deposits for the next next Tesla-mobile is a pretty good banking business. I bet there are a few vaporware producers who wish they could do it as well as Tesla does.

stephenpace

@michael hart I ordered a Tesla Model S “vaporware” car and provided one of those free interest loans to Tesla. I also bought the stock at $26.55. What did I get out of that? I had to wait two years, but I received a Motor Trend Car of the Year and was able to sell some stock and get a free car. Was it a risk, sure, but what investing isn’t? I could pull out the same Inigo Montoya quote David used for you. What product has Tesla made or promised to make “vaporware”? Some said Model S would never ship. Then they said Model X would never ship. And now even Model 3–but few believe that now. Model 3 is not only shipping, it is a game changer for ICE and they will sell every one they can make.

stephenpace

@David Middleton: Falling short? They’ve just configured the line and starting to make cars at a very low volume which increases every week. Wait until the ramp progresses. These types of numbers are why the shorters keep losing money because they read the headline and don’t know the next level behind that. They are then surprised when the ramp happens and the cars start roaring into town. The only disappointment is 450k people wanting their car today and some having to wait two years for it. But I’m on a Model 3 site and enjoy seeing the photos coming out every day of new owners. I’ve personally been to the factor and seen the new line. Much more automated than the old lines.

stephenpace

@David Middleton The shorts got hung up on this for Model S. The week my Model S was made in Sept 2012, Tesla was making 50 cars per week. They ended 2012 with 2,650. The next year they made 22,477. In 2016 they made 76,230. If the ramp happens sooner, they’ll make a lot more cars for the year. If it happens later, they’ll make a lot less. Doesn’t make a bit of difference because they have the money in the bank to complete the ramp and it will happen regardless. Suppliers believe it too, unlike in Model S time when Tesla said “okay, we need the stuff now” and the suppliers panicked because Tesla exceeded the IHS projections by a TON (e.g. no one believed they would sell as many as they did). Fast forward to today, Tesla has sold 230,632 cars as of the end of Q2 2017. Still small by most OEM standards, but the numbers are about to grow a lot bigger with Model 3 about to take off. For every cancelled reservation, Tesla is replacing it with 2.