Saudi Aramco CEO: “it will be decades before” EV’s “shoulder a significant percentage of the energy mix.”

And why it won’t matter when they do…

Guest mockery by David Middleton

CEO of world’s largest oil company says it will be ‘decades’ before electric cars become real threat

  • It will be decades before electric vehicles make up a significant percentage of the global car fleet, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said.
  • Electric cars accounted for about 0.2 percent of all the light-duty vehicles on the road in 2016.
  • Crude oil demand will remain robust in the shipping, aviation and petrochemicals business even as electric cars erode demand, Nasser said.

CEO of world's biggest oil firm is not too worried about electric cars

CEO of world’s biggest oil firm is not too worried about electric cars

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser, who runs the world’s largest oil company, is taking the rise of electric vehicles in stride.

Growing adoption of electric vehicles stands to put a big dent in oil demand in the coming years. Barclays recently forecast that cleaner-burning cars could wipe out crude consumption nearly equal to annual output from Iran, OPEC’s third-biggest oil producer, by 2025.

But while electric vehicle manufacturers are making “good progress,” battery and hybrid cars still account for just a fraction of the overall market, Nasser told CNBC in an exclusive interview. They won’t account for a significant part of the global fleet for years to come, he said.

“Electric vehicles will continue to grow. They will take good market share, but it will be decades before they shoulder a significant percentage of the energy mix.”
–Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco CEO

The number of electric vehicles grew to just more than 2 million in 2016, up nearly 60 percent from the previous year, according to the International Energy Agency. They now make up about 0.2 percent of all cars on the road — a “very small percentage,” in Nasser’s view.

Nasser also points out that hybrid-electric vehicles with gas engines make up a big chunk of the total. There were about 805,000 plug-in hybrid electric cars in the world in 2016, according to IEA. That’s 40 percent of all electric vehicles.

By 2030, IEA projects the electric fleet could grow to 160 million, he noted. By that time, there will be 2 billion vehicles overall, Nasser estimates.



60% growth 2015-2016 –> 0.2% “of all cars on the road.”

160,000,000 / 2,000,000,000 = 8.0% “of all cars on the road.”


Will that save us from Gorebal Warming?  Apparently not…

The Number of Electric Cars on the World’s Roads Doubled Last Year

To 2 million.

By Reuters

June 7, 2017

The number of electric vehicles on roads worldwide rose to a record high of 2 million last year, but has a long way to go to reach levels needed to help limit an increase in global temperatures, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.

In 2015, the number of electric cars, including battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric passenger light-duty vehicles, was 1 million, the IEA said in a report.

Even though that doubled last year, the global electric car stock is only 0.2% of the total number of passenger light-duty vehicles in circulation.

“They have a long way to go before reaching numbers capable of making a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” the IEA said.

“In order to limit temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040,” it added.



  • EV = Electric Vehicles
  • PEV = Plugin Electric Vehicles
  • HEV = Hybid Electric Vehicles
  • ICE = Internal Combustion Engine

Will 600 million EV’s save us from Gorebal Warming?  Not if the total number of vehicles continues to grow at the current rate.  By 2040, there will be 2.7 billion vehicles.  If 600 million of them will be EV’s, the better part of 2.1 billion will be ICE (1.1 billion more than the current climate-killing total…


“But… but… the world gubmint will save us from Gorebal Warming by banning ICE-powered vehicles!  France, the UK, China, Volvo and the Peoples Republic of California have already banned them!”

Sorry, my well-intentioned green friend, but “that dog don’t hunt”…

Why Petrol Powered Cars Aren’t Going Anywhere

By Peter Tertzakian – Oct 19, 2017

Internal combustion engines keep accumulating at a rate of tens of millions per year. When is the earliest date that we could expect to see “peak piston”?

Your intuition may be taxed when I say this, but more electric vehicle sales does not quickly equate to declining piston-fired cars on the world’s roadways.

Banning All Engines

In my last column, I pitched an aggressive de-carbonization scenario for transportation—a simultaneous, global ban on the sale of all new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2040. In other words, I imagined that every country in the world, from Brazil, to Nigeria, to Russia, to China, rapidly accelerates their electric vehicle (EV) sales starting in the early 2020s. And within 25 years each and every country would commit to stop selling spark plug machines.

Even under such heavy-handed government restriction, the global fleet of purely petroleum-powered cars wouldn’t start to decline until 2030 at the earliest. By 2050, it’s quite likely that there would still be the same number of ICE vehicles on the road as today.


In mature economies like the U.S., the scrappage rate was just over 4.0 percent of the fleet, but it’s been declining over time (see Figure 1). Today, it’s half of what it was in the 1970s and falling. Globally, the trend line is the same, but the rate is lower, at 3.0 percent. Car-owners in less wealthy countries can’t afford to swap their cars out, so they tend to keep their wheels for longer.

Yes, EVs are coming in, but new ICE cars are still accumulating by tens of millions per year, and are being driven for longer.


Even under an aggressive EV adoption scenario, our second figure shows that peak piston isn’t likely to occur before 2030. That’s because of the residual sales momentum and retention of petroleum power vehicles. By 2050, 60 percent of the global fleet of personal vehicles could be composed of EVs, but the number of ICE vehicles remaining on the roads would not likely to be much less than today.

Oil Price Dot Com


Figure 1 from “Why Petrol Powered Cars Aren’t Going Anywhere”


Figure 2 from “Why Petrol Powered Cars Aren’t Going Anywhere”

But… but… but… Tony Stark Elon Musk will save us from Hydra Gorebal Warming by building 500,000 Iron Legionnaires Tesla Model 3 vehicles per year!!!  He promised us!!!

Sorry, my Tesla cultist green friend, but there’s a cobalt cliff waiting for the Tesla Model 3… assuming Tesla can ever figure out how to weld steel. (How did he ever make that Iron Man suit, if he can’t weld steel?)…

The Cobalt Cliff Will Cap Tesla’s Model 3 Production Capacity At 250,000 Units Per Year

Oct.23.17 | About: Tesla Motors (TSLA)

John Petersen

Long-term horizon, nano-cap, micro-cap, alternative energy


  • From a geopolitical perspective, there are two classes of cobalt supplies; metal refined in China that’s unavailable to non-Chinese customers and metal refined outside China that’s available to anyone.
  • From an economic perspective, there are two classes of cobalt users – industrial users that represent half of global demand and battery manufacturers that scarf the leftovers.
  • From a battery manufacturing perspective, there are two end-use segments – high-value consumer products and low-value transportation and stationary storage products.
  • When one separates cobalt refined in China from cobalt refined elsewhere and further separates non-Chinese cobalt based on end use, it becomes clear there’s almost no cobalt for non-Chinese automakers.
  • Tesla has no cobalt supply chain of its own and Panasonic’s supply chain can’t support the production of more than 250,000 Model 3s per year.


Tesla (TSLA) has a problem that may be a company killer. Elon Musk has promised stakeholders a Model 3 run rate of 500,000 cars per year by the end of 2018, but Panasonic’s (OTCPK:PCRFF) cathode powder supply chain can’t support more than half of that volume. More importantly, expansion of Panasonic’s supply chain would be a Herculean task because its cathode powder supplier, Sumitomo Metal Mining (OTCPK:SMMYY), already is using 100% of its cobalt production to satisfy Panasonic’s cathode powder requirements.

While I would consider a sustained run rate of 250,000 Model 3s per year a major accomplishment, I don’t think a market that expects multiples of that production volume next year would share my admiration. Some of my readers will delight in observing that Tesla has a long history of ambitious promises backed by small and late deliveries, but that kind of criticism mutes the ugly reality that a 250,000 car per year run rate on the Model 3 won’t be enough to stem the tide of red ink or put Tesla in a position to service its debts.

We all know what happens when companies are chronically incapable of making a buck without the kind financial gimmickry that pervades Tesla’s financial reporting.


Seeking Alpha

As usual, any and all sarcasm was purely intentional.

Addendum: “How commodity demand would change in a 100% EV World


The Impact Of EVs On Commodities In One Chart (



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Bob boder


Spot on as usual.

Since there is no C in AGW there is no driving need for EVs, but if for some reason they become more practical and affordable than gas powered vehicles the world as it always does will find a way to make the transition quicker than anyone could predict, but of course who cares one way or the other if that’s the case.

dan no longer in CA

That Impact On Commodities chart doesn’t say whether induction motors or permanent magnet motors are assumed (Likely in the rare earths bar). There’s a big difference in Neodymium consumption. I believe Tesla has been using induction motors and the others use PM.

I agree with Bob Boder!

You done yourself proud David!

“Guest mockery by David Middleton”

Love it!

kokoda - AZEK (Deck Boards) doesn't stand behind its product

How about a change from Gorebal Warming, to GoreBull Warming.


And the energy to charge all those batteries would be coming from where?

Curious George

Trebla, you should think out of the box. Ideally, we should develop a self-charging electric car. Damn the law of conservation of energy. Damn the physics. Mathematics has been already shown to be inherently racist. Be assured that university professors in equity departments are already busy working on the problem.


And how many hundreds of thousands of wind turbines will it take to supply that power?

It would be an insincere act to drive an EV without having the power for that EV supplied by wind or solar.

I do not think people realize how many turbines would clutter the landscape just providing the necessary power for these added EV’s.

I also wonder if anyone has ever considered the effects of taking that much energy out of the wind and the negative effects it would have on our environment. Wind has an important role in how our world works.


Lots of wind turbines and solar panels if you believe Griff, E-cats if you believe Rossi and they are running about the same odds with the bookies.

“Open Up Your Heart (and Let the Sunshine In)” Song Lyrics …
Aquarius (Let the Sunshine in) – YouTube

Now, ain’t that energizin’ enough?

SMS – “Wind has an important role in how our world works.“. An idle thought: the global warming from an El Nino is started by weakened trade winds. If we put up too many wind turbines then we might reduce wind speeds which would lead to global warming – permanent warming, not temporary like an El Nino.


Mike & SMS,

How ’bout:

The (wind) energy removed from the system will “stagnate” the system and it will heat up (temporarily).

The correction, back to the equilibrium state, would then be greater and there would be more/greater force hurricanes.


Robert in Busan

The answer my friend is blowin in the wind, the answer is blowin in the wind. 😉 (sarc)


I am planting “current bushes” in my backyard as a hedge.

Think of diesel-electric loco’s . The power will come from fuels cells, or lpg, petrol or diesel engines.


Close, but I believe the correct reflection of the propaganda involved here is Goebbels Warming.

Green Sand

Not just material supply chain!

17 Oct, 2017 11:36am

New Tesla Model 3: production problems mount with welding issue rumours

“The California-based EV manufacturer produced just 260 Model 3’s since July, missing Elon Musk’s target of 1600

Tesla has fallen behind on its delivery target of 1600 all-new Model 3’s according to its delivery and production figures for the Q3 2017 period.

Only 260 examples of the mid-size entry level Tesla Model 3 have been built in the third quarter of 2017. Of the 260 built, 220 have been delivered to customers since the new EV went on sale in July……..”


If Mazda has perfected the Compression Ignition gasoline engine as they claim they have, the electric car is doomed.


Compression ignition? as in the diesel cycle? I think somebody has beaten them to it.

Roger Knights

Here’s a link to my long comment / quote / links on Mazda’s innovative engine:


Compression ignition is not a cure all, or necessarily helpful. Diesels improve fuel economy at the expense of producing soot and NOx compounds. Compression assisted engines, like the SkyAtiv designs also produce more real pollutants also. Both have to meet the same emissions levels and require multiple post combustion pollution controls, filters, catalytic converters, etc. Direct injection engines all produce more soot because the fuel has less time to mix with the air and droplets can decompose under high temperature/pressure directly into solid carbon and hydrogen. Spark ignition loses efficiency from lower combustion pressures. Too high a compression will cause knocking and make the engine much less efficient and even destroy it.

Mazda’s current generation of direct injection SkyAtiv engines already produce over 40mpg(2.5gal/100mile) in some of their compact cars.. 20-30% more efficiency either means ~50 mpg or ~1.9gal/100 miles. Hybrid vehicles can recover energy from regenerative braking, load balancing on hills to maintain fuel economy, and other tactics. t

Mazda’s proposed motors are a significant improvement, but still use spark plugs when necessary. Even so saving half a gallon/100 miles is probably worth it.

Overall, including hybrid vehicles, the fuel to road efficiency is getting pretty close to neutral between fossil fuels and electricity. Taking into account the efficiencies in electric vehicles- 40-60% loss at the power plant, 10-15% in the grid, 10-15% in the vehicle, and 5-10% in charging at least for automobiles it looks like the overall differences are getting close to zero between modern engines, hybrids, and electric. For my money hybrid seems to be the way to go for any vehicle. A modern locomotive is a hybrid- diesel electric. Add in a tender full of batteries and it would be even more efficient.

Brian McCain


You reversed your equation and added a zero to the number of EV’s. Should be 2,000,000/160,000,000=1.25% not 8%

Brian McCain

Sorry, it’s too early. Didn’t see it was numbers for 2030. Mods–>you can delete my previous post.


Decreasing the number of ice trucks will also increase the traffic via rail. It will be further decades before RR are electrified. It will also be further decades before the electrical power for RRs is supplied by Renewables, and the costs of electrifying RRs will be staggering. Prices of goods will also be staggering.

old engineer


You quite wrong on everything you wrote. Try google if you don’t know your subject. For my own studies, I know that railroads are 4 to 5 times as fuel efficient as trucks per ton mile of cargo carried. So, the price of goods would actually go down if more goods were hauled by rail. A quick look at the wikipedia article on railway electrification shows that electrification is increasing, and of 2012, electrified tracks account for nearly one third of total tracks globally.

I used to have this argument with a famous railway engineer. I answered his claim of superior efficiency by pointing out that railways the world over need hefty subsidies to be economic. It has to do with the need for additional secondary transport (to and from freight depots to the supplier/customer), track utilisation rates (capital utilisation) and track maintenance. Also, a unit of rolling stock is almost the same cost as a far more versatile truck.
Now if you had argued for coastal and international shipping I would agree with you, but they achieve their remarkable efficiency and low unit transport cost by burning cheap bunker fuel and by being big. And we don’t have to maintain the oceans.

I have a gas/electric hybrid. For the majority of my driving, short trips under 20 miles I run on electricity, which is actually addictive given the vehicle characteristics.
I love not buying gas! Given in the past a very large amount of my traveling was on motorcycles my lifetime gas usage is pretty low compared to most.
But, I’ll never forget 1973, sitting in line (actually not sitting, pushing) with a 69 494ci Camaro, which got about 6mpg with heavy tailwind.
When the mideast burns I’ll laugh, of course it wasn’t all their fault. But I’ll still laugh, back to the 7th century you SOBs.

Walt D.

Tesla’s in Puerto Rico are now running on diesel – the power grid is down, and the only electricity available is from diesel backup generators.
The whole idea of an electric vehicle being “zero emission” is an illusion.


From EIA:
– Petroleum products fuel transportation, electricity generation, and industry in Puerto Rico, supplying three-fourths of the energy consumed in the commonwealth.
– In 2016, 47% of Puerto Rico’s electricity came from petroleum, 34% from natural gas, 17% from coal, and 2% from renewable energy.
– Two wind farms supplied nearly half of Puerto Rico’s renewable generation in 2016; one of them, the 95-megawatt Santa Isabel facility, is the largest wind farm in the Caribbean.
– As of June 2017, Puerto Rico had 127 megawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating capacity and 88 megawatts of distributed (customer-sited, small-scale) capacity. In the first six months of 2017, more renewable electricity came from solar energy than any other source.
-Electricity fuel surcharges have decreased with world crude oil prices, but, in mid-2017, Puerto Rico’s retail consumers still paid more for their power than consumers in any state except Hawaii.
Last Updated: September 21, 2017

So 2% of PR’s grid electricity comes from renewables. Those Teslas will still be running on F for a long time.


From EIA:

– Petroleum products fuel transportation, electricity generation, and industry in Puerto Rico, supplying three-fourths of the energy consumed in the commonwealth.
In 2016, 47% of Puerto Rico’s electricity came from petroleum, 34% from natural gas, 17% from coal, and 2% from renewable energy.
– Two wind farms supplied nearly half of Puerto Rico’s renewable generation in 2016; one of them, the 95-megawatt Santa Isabel facility, is the largest wind farm in the Caribbean.
– As of June 2017, Puerto Rico had 127 megawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating capacity and 88 megawatts of distributed (customer-sited, small-scale) capacity. In the first six months of 2017, more renewable electricity came from solar energy than any other source.

So 2% of PRs grid power is from renewable wind and solar PV. Those Tesla’s EVs there will be running on FF for the foreseeable future.

Steve Fraser

Santa Isabel is offline until the grid comes back up.


I hate to be a pest but:

the 95-megawatt Santa Isabel facility, is the largest wind farm in the Caribbean.
As of June 2017, Puerto Rico had 127 megawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic

Any word on what the installed capacity is now, after the hurricanes went through?

“Santa Isabel facility, is the largest wind farm in the Caribbean.”
Is it still ? I’ve seen pix of the hurricane damage that looked like it would require rather massive repair time and cost .


Gasoline was getting expensive. I was seriously thinking about an electric project pickup truck. link Then I found out about fracking.

The choice to buy an electric car or a hybrid is mostly economic. To get the size and performance of a Prius, I can buy a conventional car at half the price.

On the other hand … if you have a city driven vehicle that is on the road for 12 hours a day, hybrids actually make sense. link

Penetration of electric vehicles into the market is all about economics. Until batteries get a lot better and cheaper, or unless gas gets a lot more expensive, EVs and hybrids won’t be practical except in specific cases.

John Smith

“unless gas gets a lot more expensive”

And that’s where taxes come in…

Clyde Spencer

Until? How about “unless?”

Retired Kit P

Hybrids only make sense if you drive aggressively.

Back when drove to work I could never get around school buses or Fedex trucks. I just was not willing to put the metal to the peddle to get to the next stoplight 5 seconds before the school bus.

Rob M

Quote:Terzakian “Yes, EVs are coming in, but new ICE cars are still accumulating by tens of millions per year, and are being driven for longer.”
Neatly sums-up conclusions I had a little while ago as I observed the many tidy looking ten-plus-year-old cars
in daily use on the roads I frequent.

Clyde Spencer

Cuba is a good example of how cars can be kept running for a long time. I bought a brand-new 1970 4WD IH Scout for my thesis field work. I kept it running reliably until I sold it a couple of years ago, with about a half-million miles on it (And, the original limited-slip differential never being touched; the original engine block had been re-built twice, the last time shortly before selling it.). I only, reluctantly, sold it to someone who wanted to restore it, because of the salt damage from the roads out here in Ohio. Had I stayed in California, I would probably still be driving it.

Retired Kit P

Our 1974 IH Travel All was the best tow vehicle and family car I have ever owned. Too bad the body rusted out.

This was before they put the sport into utility vehicle.

Clyde Spencer

Kit P,
I taught at Foothill College (Los Altos Hills, CA) in the 1970s. Our fieldtrip vehicle was an IH TravelAll. It rode a little rough from the stiff springs, but was a very durable vehicle, like the Scout. From my experience, I’m not convinced that new cars are better or necessarily being driven longer.


Does the count of EV’s include hybrids?


If the ICE were to be banned, the scrappage rate of the current fleet would drop dramatically as people who prefer usable cars would do whatever it takes to keep their current cars on the road.
Just look at how many 1950’s era cars are still on the road in Cuba.

Paul Penrose

Very good point!

Nigel S

Indeed, plenty of work for the likes of these guys (making Triumph Stags better than new, which is just as well since they were terrible when new!)

I had a friend wth a triumph stag. It was brilliant and only Broke down once a month. Assuming it was only driven once a month of course.

It came to a sticky end when it was run into by ….A Stag!

I seem to remember there were many crossed lines with his insurance company when he tried to claim



I thought that the whole idea behind having a British automobile was so that you’d have a hobby as a mechanic.

Tom Halla

My sister had an MG. You probably get the crack that Lucas invented darkness:-)

Nigel S

In case you’ve mislaid your Lucas smoke.

Paul Penrose

I have a friend who has an MG. He calls Lucas the Prince of Darkness.

And here in Mexico…pre 2000 cars prevail…

Tom O

Recognize that a government ignorant enough to ban the production of ICEs is also ignorant enough to ban the production of what they run on. It just takes a little more re-education and applying “second hand smoke” to exhaust fumes. People MAY hang onto their gas driven car, but without gas, well, it does make an interesting lawn ornament.


Full EVs aren’t even needed. Even a Suburban at highway speeds only needs <40hp. So for a Suburban you could put in a 40hp ICE, pair it with a relatively small battery, and then work off of electric motors for the wheels. Mazda is approaching this with a rotary powered ICE due to it's size, and will be using HCCI. Basically you can have an air cooled 300cc engine to run a midsize sedan that will have an apparent 150hp or more. If you want electric charging – great. We'll put in a 50 mile battery that will cover almost all drivers' daily commute, while eliminating range anxiety. This is probably going to deliver a car that is only minimally more expensive than today's ICE cars (battery is small, and offset by the smaller engine and removed cooling system), deliver better driving experience (high torque at low rpm) and potentially deliver 60+ mpg.
Rotaries aren't as resilient? Well, if you're only using them half the time and at half the stress (since they will always be operating at near optimal conditions) then you only need 1/4 the resiliency in order to deliver the same calendar life.
Saudi Arabia can then go drown in their oil.


It’s called the Chevy Volt. A marketplace loser. Too expensive. Chevrolet is NOT seen as fashionable bling for the wel-off wanting to show their neighbors they have money to throwaway on a novelty.

Roger Knights

I read that recently the subsidy for the Bolt was increased by $5000, leading to a jump in sales.

H Davis

“Full EVs aren’t even needed. Even a Suburban at highway speeds only needs <40hp."

Until you get to a hill.

Retired Kit P

Or tow something.


Or have to pass something.


If electric cars are going to save us from the impending CAGW catastrophe, maybe Trump should nationalize TESLA (without shareholders’ compensation). That way the people concerned about the climate, the Mann, Gore and Di Caprio types can work in the factory for free, to save the environment, for our children.

We can send some cameras to film their virtually signalling aura.

That is what Ecojesus would do.

Mary Brown

The Dept of Redundancy Department has awarded the Seal of Approval Stamp Award to the phrase

“CAGW Catastrophe”

The Reverend Badger (Ordained religious minister).

There are many different kinds of CAGW catastrophe. We have CAGW hurricanes, CAGW flooding, CAGW sea level rise and CAGW drought to name just 4.

Paul Penrose

That PEV adoption rate is not possible. It would require a massive build out of electric power production and distribution that is not possible in today’s regulatory environment.

Let’s not forget improvements on the petrol engine like the Mazda Spark-injection reported to be 30% more efficient than diesel and perhaps the best solution Hydrogen, either as a fuel cell or direct as basically all the infrastructure is in place.

I Came I Saw I Left

Hybrids really shouldn’t be considered EVs. They are ICE vehicles with electric assist/optimization. IMO calling them EVs skews the real picture.

John F. Hultquist

If wood chips are green (UK) and hydro is not renewable (the USA, or at least some States), then what one calls a Hybrid auto can be whatever one wants to call it. This same sort of “word use issue” appears in every post when “Normal” is used with temperature. Folks simply define a bunch of letters and use the combination.
Skepticism is good.

The Reverend Badger

I have a triple hybrid drive car which is also carbon negative. It actually emits less carbon than you put in it, it sequesters it on the inside of the combustion chamber. You can remove it periodically by a process of de-coking and put it in a little jar to show others how green you have been. Hence carbon NEGATIVE, less out than put in.


I Came I Saw I Left on October 26, 2017 at 7:05 am
Hybrids really shouldn’t be considered EVs. They are ICE vehicles with electric assist/optimization. IMO calling them EVs skews the real picture.

But they identify as EVs!


Trans EVs?


I prefer Trans Ams.


Based on increased global demand and a tremendous drop in CAPEX in the oil and gas industries over the past years, we are heading headlong into a petroleum shortage. Global storage levels have been dropping over the past months and sometime in the next six months will be in the areas where gas/diesel/Jet-A/B prices will start to move up (maybe fairly quickly).

I don’t think most areas will see shortages, but fuel price increases will make hybrids certainly more an option economically. Prices of the hybrids will also firm up, so sometime soon would be the time to buy one if you are on the fence.

The good news for consumers is technology has increased the amount of oil recovered from a well by a large number and wells can be drilled in much less time than before. So if we get $75 oil, it will take less time for the drillers to up production than in the past. Will be interesting times over the next couple of years.

I Came I Saw I Left

I think hybrids only make sense economically when someone drives far in excess of the average, due to more upfront cost and quicker depreciation because of the battery. I recently considered a hybrid because the sales guy told me that the battery had a lifetime warranty. So I redid the math at $5/gal, and concluded that it really wasn’t cost effective compared to a car that costs nearly half as much, yet gets 40 mpg as opposed to a hybrid’s 50-55 mpg. And then after some quick research realized that the salesman had lied to me (of course) because the lifetime warranty only pertained to battery failures, not battery lifetime, as he told me.


In the face of a huge surplus, production drops. And from that we can conclude that we are on the verge of running out.
Sheesh, some people will latch onto anything to support their beliefs.


Let the EV experiment continue in California. Lets see how much this silly dream really costs and what the secondary effects are by putting those who want it to succeed, at any cost, in control of the changeover. Maybe after a few years of serious negative growth Jerry Brown will finally be viewed for the nutter he really is. Big city Californians need a wake up call. Let this be their wake up call.


You can’t wake up the brain dead, forget cali – they are terminal!

Mazda has it right and will make millions but focusing on what we can do, which is to make petrol more efficient.

Electric cars will be nothing more than a virtue purchase until Mr. Fusion* comes along. Then we can go full electric.

*Back to the Future


What will become of all the product that currently becomes gasoline? It has been written and may be pure bs that gasoline was once burned off as waste at the refinery.

John Smith

Ah, but wait until governments start offering incentives to scrap your petrol car and buy an EV. This will happen in the most bonkers countries – EU, UK, maybe the US or at least parts of the US (California).


Cash for Crankers??????

John Smith

If governments really want to kill the ICE they easily can, through a mix of taxes and incentives that need not cost the taxpayer anything:
1) Higher gas taxes (already happening in some countries)
2) Higher annual vehicle registration taxes for ICE vehicles (already happening in some countries)
3) Tax incentives to scrap your ICE vehicle
4) Tax incentives to buy an EV (already happening in some countries)

I Came I Saw I Left

“through a mix of taxes and incentives that need not cost the taxpayer anything”

then lists 4 things that taxpayers pay for.

Mary Brown

That’s why Pocahontas left him. Too many taxes.

John Smith

“then lists 4 things that taxpayers pay for.”

Net zero, my friend. Taxes raised on ICE cars fund incentives on EVs. No overall tax increase.


John Smith taxing one group of people in order to subsidize a different group of people is not net zero.
It’s income redistribution.


“1) Higher gas taxes (already happening in some countries)”

Some idiots in the Trump administration are trying to float the idea of an increase in gasoline taxes “for infrastructure”.

If Trump is concerned about the poor and middle class, as he says he is, then he should kill any thought of raising gasoline taxes, as these taxes hurt the poorest people in our society the most. If you want to add to the suffering of poor people, raise the amount of money they have to pay to fill up their automobile.

If you want to fix the infrastructure, institute a millionaires tax, or use some of the five TRILLION that will be repartriated back to the U.S. if a ten percent tax rate for this money passes Congress. Ten percent of five TRILLION is a lot of money.

Leave the poor people alone. Get your infrastructure money elsewhere.


If they want to fix the infrastructure, first thing they need to do is stop diverting most of the money raised from the gas tax towards things that have nothing to do with roads.

Electric cars need to make the transition from a useful second car , if you have the money and journey characteristics required, to a genuine first car.

By that I mean it will have to regularly travel several hundred miles with four adults, luggage, up and down steep hills, with lights, heating, windscreen wipers and radio on.

To achieve that there will need to be a very substantial improvement in battery technology and charging facilities on journey and at home. Many people will not physically be able to park an ev in their driveway in order to charge it.

I suspect that hybrids will be an interim technology, regularly getting 60 or 70 mpg and being able to offer electric running in the polluted urban environment.

Whether by that time electric cars will then become the de facto choice, or whether technology will have leapfrogged them, I don’t know,



It’s only marginally useful as a second car now. Becoming a useful second car would require significant improvements.

PS, having one car for commuting and a second car for everything else is an expense many families can’t afford.

Will Handler

I really do not like the hate for Elon on this website. I actually respect the guy. His company try and do new things. Sure electric cars need to improve to be really viable, but there is nothing wrong with the idea at all, and it will improve air quality in our cities, a real environmental benefit. bring on the electric car I say! There is a difference between pointing out flaws in science,and criticizing a business trying to make money selling something people want to buy.

I Came I Saw I Left

You respect a guy who promises things, then when he doesn’t deliver refuses to give refunds? For example, not delivering on the promised full auto driving option that buyers prepaid for (cost $8000).

Tom Halla

The issue is that Tesla is something of a virtue signalling subsidy mining operation, rather than actually producing practical transportation. So mocking Elon Musk and his overselling of his product is appropriate.

Paul Penrose

Actually, I believe that Tesla is a company expressly formed to create transportation technology ultimately intended to be used on Mars (where ICE vehicles won’t work). As such, Tesla is not so concerned with making a profit. As far as the subsidy farming goes – nobody turns down free money if they can get it legally.

Mary Brown

“Tesla is something of a virtue signalling subsidy mining operation”

That is brilliant and hilarious


Musk doesn’t just take free money, he lobbies extensively for it.
He is no innocent bystander.


Elon Musk is the face of Crony Capitalism. There is no escaping the fact his Tesla business model depends entirely on the government picking winners and losers in the marketplace with political gifts in the form of tax credits and subsidies.

J Mac

Crony Socialism…. picks winners and losers in the market place.

Mark T

There is no such thing as crony capitalism. The proper term is fascism.

Mark from the Midwest

Nothing wrong with ideas, but all he’s doing is working the subsidy trough. Look at what’s happening with Solar City, as we speak, hundreds of “firings” for cause, but apparently there are no documented performance reviews to back it up. Tesla can’t produce and deliver cars for which they have taken millions in deposits. And why does anyone bail on a graduate program after 2 days, but still leave “Stanford” on his list of educational accomplishments?

dan no longer in CA

Mark from the Midwest:
“Tesla can’t produce and deliver cars for which they have taken millions in deposits.”

$1000 per deposit times over 300,000 deposits is $300 million of interest-free contributions. Nice loan.


It’s also an unsecured loan. If Musk declares bankruptcy, all those who gave those deposits go to the back of the line when it comes time for disbursements.

Clyde Spencer

Can you point to any of the facts presented as being wrong? If not, then you are really complaining that you don’t like reality.

michael hart

Will Handler, regarding Elon Musk’s car operations, I asked myself several questions:

Does Tesla have a new, or even improved, technology for battery storage of electrical power?
-No, not that I have seen reported.

Does Tesla have a new, or even improved, way to manufacture cars generally?
-No, not that I have seen reported.

Does Tesla use large amounts of public subsidies to sustain a company [Tesla] that has no technical or organisational advantage over the world’s large-volume car manufacturers?
-Yes, as far as I can see.

IMO, Musk brings nothing to the table except for a large amount of skilfull marketing. Of course, a skullfull of marketing is always needed, even for the best genuine inventions. But Musk’s company appears to have invented essentially nothing of lasting value to humans, while simultaneously bilking the system for wadges of cash too large to fit into MC Hammer’s strides.

Retired Kit P

Sc@ming people is not new. EVs are new. There is no environmental benefit. The air quality in cities has already been improved.

Will Handler

The Tesla company has successfully designed, prototyped and built cars that it actually sells, you see them on the street. That is work, it involves new engineering, often using pre-existing engineering and is not something to be so sneered at, it is a hard thing to do. Only the future will show how successful Tesla is, but it is clear that vehicles using energy stored in other ways than chemical are going to be a thing. As regards virtue signalling, I would rather cycle behind a Tesla. Sure he plays the subsidy angle, every new business does. I work with a medical startup that gets lots of govt subsidy, does not mean that they are bad for doing so, the work we are doing will improve peoples lives. Nothing you guys say convinces me your antielon position is justified. You hold him as a straw man to critisize innovation and the desire for new.

Clyde Spencer

“… designed, prototyped and built …” I’m sure that Wozniak can’t relate to that!

Mark T

None of which would have been possible without the theft of taxpayers’ hard earned money to fund it. Musk is a leech.

michael hart

Will Handler, I think that’s great that you work with a medical startup.
I also have a PhD thesis for a new way to make drugs to potentially treat Multiple Sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. Almost everything worked, except the bit about getting funding to allow my supervisor to continue his research.

Perhaps if less was spent on Musk and global-warmers, who invent nothing, then maybe my supervisor might have got funded, and thus tenure. Who knows? But I was trying to do something new, too, and maybe people like Musk were just the better marketers, prepared to tell bigger lies to get to where they wanted to go.

When all is said and done, Tesla still has nothing that other car-manufacturers don’t. In due course, despite your love, Tesla shares will still end up in the toilet. They will be shut down or swallowed by a large car maker. All that will be left is the debts and broken promises based on Elon Musk’s marketing.


The only reason why Tesla is selling cars is because the federal and state governments subsidize the purchase price.

The Reverend Badger

We only hate him now because of FakeX.

John Hardy

Will: “I really do not like the hate for Elon on this website”. I agree. No one is perfect (I’m sure Elon isn’t) but he grew a car company to the size of the majors for the first time in a century, and figured out a way to re-use the first stage of launch vehicles, thus revolutionising satellite launch costs and upsetting a cosy market sewn up by a tiny handful of players.

Folk belittle the cost of his cars. Read his strategy (inherited from the Tesla founders and blogged by Tesla): start at the top end of the market and work down.

The two key factors in EV adoption will be fast charging and supply of cells. He figured out both and built a supercharger network and a huge cell factory, several years before the majors even realised they had a problem.

He nearly lost his entire personal fortune on these two companies

Whether or not he is a nice guy, he is committed and a genius


His super chargers destroy batteries.


So you respect somebody who only makes money because the government takes money from people who have no desire for his product and gives it to him.
Interesting morality you got there.

Bruce Cobb

I had a crystal ball once, but it broke, so now the future looks fuzzy. I’m still waiting on my flying car we were promised decades ago, a la the Jetsons. But I live in hope.

Mary Brown

I expected to have a flying car by now but never thought my 20-20 vision would be restored by surgery. Funny how the future works out so different than imagined. If only climate modelers knew this.


A friend of mine works at a company I can’t name. He recently obtained a photo of the super-secret Tesla 3.1, designed to bridge the gap from the 3 to the 4 and solve the current materials and production problems. The photo is here:

Bruce Cobb

Looks good! No welding problems with plastic too. Win-win.


Not only that, they’ve eliminated battery replacement. The benefits go on and on.

Steve Fraser

It looks green, but the power supply produces high – CO2 concentrated exhaust, and toxic biowaste. /s


“In order to limit temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040,” it added.

Quantitative statements made with such certainty this one are ridiculous. But the ignorant public are likely to believe it since they’ve been taught in school that mankind can control the climate with CO2.


Especially since the electricity for those electric cars will more than likely be coming from coal fired power plants.

A friend recently presented the following:


An issue that everyone forgets is lack of infrastructure. Our residential electrical grid system is not designed to handle electric cars. Currently you can only have 3 cars in every block on slow charge. Where I live there are quite a few Tesla’s. People buy Tesla’s not to save or being green, but for the incredible acceleration. A $180,000 Tesla will out accelerate the fastest gas powered super car that cost $400,000 to $1 million. There several lawsuits going on in Mount Royal where the neighbours are suing the car owners for causing brownouts. One lady lives in an apartment block, and was told not to plug in her car because it was causing serious electrical issues. So she is suing the condo association to restore access and they are counter suing her for damages.

An engineering study done by CERA indicates it will 2048 before residential areas can have electric cars on the same density as gas powered cars, and it will cost between 200 and 400 billion dollars. BASICALLY IT MEANS RIPPING UP THE STREETS AND REWIRING THE ENTIRE SYSTEM.

Mark from the Midwest

The notion of Tesla acceleration is partly urban myth, as it is with a Fisker. The “insane” mode in the Model S will get you to 60 in about 3.2 seconds, but drains the battery pretty quickly. There are some software bypasses that will get you to 60 in under 3 seconds, but then you can walk home when the battery is totally drained.

There’s a guy about 10 miles from me with a Fisker, who thought he was cool when he punched it from a stop sign, He pulled away pretty quickly up to about 50 mph, then I blew his doors off to 90 mph with my 2.65L Cosworth Turbo Baja, which also does much better on the beach, off-road, and in the winter.

Clyde Spencer

The neighborhood I live in is about 45 years old, with abundant mature trees; the subdivision is called Sherwood Forest. All the electrical lines are underground! To even get to the lines, many trees would have to be damaged or removed. Not the ‘greenest’ of actions!

Paul Penrose

Since when does any Tesla model cost $180,000? AFIK the top of the line Telsa is about $90,000. Other than that, your friend is correct about the electric grid not being ready for a big influx of EVs.

Paul – We are in Canada and our Cdn dollar is now below 80 cent US. The price is accurate.

Mark: The acceleration is excellent, and the battery does not run down THAT fast.

The key flaws with electric cars are:
1. Recharging – slow recharge with huge power demand, as outlined above.
2. Battery cost and limited life.
3. Cold weather problems.
4. Limited range.

The pros are:
1 The excellent torque-speed characteristic of the electric motor – no need for a transmission.
2. Very few moving parts in the drive train.

Paul Penrose

OK, so if you start out with the most expensive model and max out the invoice with every possible add-on package, you can get to CN $180K. But that’s hardly the median price. Nor do you need to spend that much to out accelerate just about every production car made. For under $100K you can pretty much do the same thing. But I suppose it’s more shocking to claim the higher figure.

Go ahead and hate on Elon, but he’s not doing anything illegal or even particularly unethical (when compared to other businesses). Your complaints about subsidies lies entirely with the government; and I promise I won’t defend them!


The cost of replacing batteries exceeds the cost of replacing the power train, and happens much more frequently.


I don’t hate Musk for making a product that people want to buy.
I hate him for stealing my money in the process.

Paul – for the record:

I do not hate Elon – I think he’s having a lot of fun (with other people’s money) and I wish him success.

I like electric cars because of their simplicity and their potential, but I have stated above their limitations at this time – especially true for “pure” electrics. The Chevy Volt configuration appears to make the most sense, given today’s technology. Pure battery cars are just too expensive.

I do not understand why this Volt configuration is so expensive compared to other much more complicated hybrids – basically it is a lawn mower engine and small battery driving two electric motors. Is the extra cost all in the battery?

The Reverend Badger

Correct – it is the LV distribution infrastructure that is the real bottle neck and solving it is going to be VERY VERY expensive. I have posted before that for the 23 dwellings off the 1 transformer where I live (rural settlement 3m from town) the LV upgrade would cost c £400 – 450K for 23 houses with an average of 2 cars. One car charged 5 nights a week (commuting), second car charged twice a week. Where the flip is that kind of money coming from?

Tom Halla

Is that the total cost, including running new service lines to each residence and installing the requisite number of chargers? Or just the cost for the utility to upgrade the service to the neighborhood?


Not true, all you need is a 200 HP or so gas powered generator in your garage to charge your EV. No need for new power lines.

RethinkX comes to a different conclusion.

“We are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential
disruptions of transportation in history. By 2030, within 10 years of
regulatory approval of autonomous vehicles (AVs), 95% of U.S. passenger
miles traveled will be served by on-demand autonomous electric vehicles
owned by fleets, not individuals, in a new business model we call “transport-
as-a-service” (TaaS). The TaaS disruption will have enormous implications
across the transportation and oil industries, decimating entire portions
of their value chains, causing oil demand and prices to plummet, and
destroying trillions of dollars in investor value — but also creating trillions of
dollars in new business opportunities, consumer surplus and GDP growth.

The disruption will be driven by economics. Using TaaS, the average
American family will save more than $5,600 per year in transportation costs,
equivalent to a wage raise of 10%. This will keep an additional $1 trillion
per year in Americans’ pockets by 2030, potentially generating the largest
infusion of consumer spending in history.”

To which I would add I think LENR powered cars will appear soon after 2030.

I Came I Saw I Left

“the average American family will save more than $5,600 per year in transportation costs”

And suffer many times that in loss of convenience and utility. Most people are willing to pay $5600 for the convenience of owning their own car.

J Mac

We’ve heard similar promises:
The average family will save $2400 per year with Obamacare.


You can get the same thing with taxis, yet for some reason people still prefer to own their own cars.
The idea that people are going to stop owning cars and start using self driving taxis for everything is ludicrous.
When I want to go somewhere, the car is right there at my doorstep waiting for me. I don’t have to wait 20 minutes for one to arrive. Hopefully.
When I want to come home, same thing.

Secondly, since the vast majority of trips are, just like today, going to happen at the same time, there is no decrease in the total number of vehicles needed. And the vast majority of those vehicles are going to sit all day waiting for people to come home from work.

There are not magical savings to be made here.

One of the absolute dumbest ways to foresee the future is to simply extrapolate some graph.
This is especially true in an area where the technology and economics are changing significantly.
If anyone had done this when PCs first appeared (at $4,000, with practically no functionality, no graphics, etc), then by this time there should be fewer than 100,000 PCs in existence. The exact same thing is happening in the electric car business, which, unfortunately, has become a football
in the global warming debate. But people like zero emission vehicles for more than just a reduction in CO2 emissions Let’s take the reasons for the slow growth of EVs over the past
decade : slow recharging, no or few publc charging stations, high cost of batteries, very few models to choose from, living in a place where the owner can’t recharge at their residence, no general repair shops outside of dealerships, few automakers with a large loyal clientele even building electric vehicles, mainly due to battery costs. So if you take a graph of those sales and simply extrapolate it into the future, you are displaying incredible ignorance of what’s been going on – battery prices not 5 years ago were roughly $500 to $600 per kWhr. Now they are down to between $150 and $190 per kWhr. Fast public chargers reduced the time from Level 2 (hours and hours) to those of DC fast chargers – 30 minutes for an 80% charge at Tesla, now 15 minutes for 300 miles of range from CCS Combo, which is certain to become the universal charging protocol (Royal Dutch Shell Oil just bought a company that installs DC fast chargers to begin replacing gas pumps in its gas stations). Almost every single automaker has announced an enormous number of electric models over the next few years. Some simply won’t manufacture any ICE vehicles after 2019. I have no clue as to where all those ICE vehicles mentione above are going to be built 5 years from now. And also assuming that iCE vehicles will be scrapped at the current rate is also a very foolish assumption. An electric vehicle is intrinsically superior to an ICE vehicle in every conceivable way – lower operating costs, a far more reliable vehicle, easier to repair (I exclude Tesla’s overly complicated vehicles) , etc. A Tesla Model S just completed 350,000 miles – no repairs needed. Now how often do you repair or do maintenance on your electric refridgerator? They can run for over 20 years without any attention.
In the past, especially, electric cars got a bad rap because of the govt subsidies, which has practically nothing to do with the recent surge in demand for EVs – it has all been about the batteries. The batteries, the batteries – their costs and recharge times, both of which have been reduced enormously. And will continue to do so. Skeptics point to things like cobalt supplies, just as people used to point to peak oil. They also had been pointing to the high cost of lithium, until someone pointed out just how small the amount of lithium contained in a battery really is – the price had virtually no effect on the battery prices. The cobalt assumption is another case of assuming nothing changes – but solid state batteries are within 5 years of commericalization. That would allow even faster recharges , although not really neeed – less than 15 minutes is fast enough,
and we can do that now with an electric Porsche and some other EVs. And I seriously doubt that
IF there is a continued high demand that cobalt cannot be mined in greater amounts before long.
When two things happen – automakers ceasing production of ICE vehicles, and EVs
becoming far more available and cheaper and better, keeping ICE vehicles away from the scrp heap for decades simply ain’t gonna happen.
It is possible, using the Elio architecture, to produce a two passenger three wheeled electric vehicle for well under $14,000 , with a driving range of 200 miles or more, and an 80% recharge in less than 10 minutes. It would be a VERY cheap vehicle to operate, with fuel costs (assuming 12 cents per kWhr) of close to 1 1/2 cents per mile. No tune ups, no oil, no antifreeze, no exhausts, etc. The drivetrain would last practically forever. THAT is the car the younger low economic classes need, not an old ICE vehicle that can’t pass either a safety or emissions inspection.
So the global warmists can save their strength to fight some other battle – the coming dominance of electric vehicles won’t be based on anything other than its superior technoogy. It is simply a better, more reliable, (will be) cheaper to build, chaper to fuel and maintain, easier to repair vehicle,
tht has thousands of fewer parts than an ICE vehicle. Just the loss of all those engine management sensors and fuel injectors is a good reason to want to own an electric. Compared to an electric drivetrain, an iCE drivetrain is a disaster (or a hundred potential disasters) waiting to happen. I am waiting for a DIY conversion kit so that I can convert my vintage 1957 Ford Thunderbird to electric.
I have worked on ICE drivetrains all my life and won’t miss them one little bit. They are simply horrendously complicated , and costly.

“One of the absolute dumbest ways to foresee the future is to simply extrapolate some graph.”
You;re right. See my comment above yours. Many less vehicles will be required in cities.

I would also guess the rich will have LENR personal drones as that energy source will make them practical.


You are delusional if you actually believe that this solution will result in a decrease in a total number of cars on the road.
Just take a look out your window during the next rush hour. Tell me how you are going to get rid of most of those vehicles.

Many +

I said much of the above a while ago and was flamed for it.

I Came I Saw I Left

“Some simply won’t manufacture any ICE vehicles after 2019.”

That’s not true. Most of the cars manufactured by those companies will be hybrids, which are ICE cars. They will simply have an additional battery that allows them to qualify as electric cars.

Roger Knights

“Almost every single automaker has announced an enormous number of electric models over the next few years.”

That’s because California will require them to offer EVs if they also sell ICEs. They will lose money on their EV sales.


It is possible, using the Elio architecture, to produce a two passenger three wheeled electric vehicle for well under $14,000 , with a driving range of 200 miles or more, and an 80% recharge in less than 10 minutes.

That would be an EV Isetta:
comment image

(picture is backwards)

Retired Kit P

“now 15 minutes for 300 miles of range”

I want to see the 10 MWe battery charger just before it put the batteries in orbit.

People generally do not understand how much power things use.

My ‘big’ 2000 w inverter/battery charger in the motor home draws more power than the frig, A/C, hot water heater, micro wave, and coffee maker. This is why many RV appliances are electric or propane. Unless a campground has 30 or 50 amp service, I can not run anything else until the batteries are more than 75% charged.

I got a quote for putting a 50 amp service for the motor home where are son lives. $600! I tied into an existing 20 amp kitchen service for $10. Then we had to move the coffee pot to keep from trip the circuit.

The point here is that there is a huge difference low power electronics and things that draw lots of power when it comes to storing energy in batteries.

Solid state batteries will spark an EV revolution within ten years. Peakers won’t be necessary. Nuclear renaissance within 20 years.

Mark T

I’ve been watching battery technology creep along for over 20 years now. Predicting a revolution in any time period cannot be based on any actual evidence, so it must be based purely on faith. Religion, in other words.

Hardly religious. Definitely optimistic. Toyota is in production engineering for a 2022 EV using ultra fast charging and high energy density batteries. Glass electrolytes also look promising, holding at least 3x the charge. I expect we’ll see solid state batteries in phones in the next three to five years. Imagine fully charging a phone in less than five minutes, with the batteries simply not wearing out. These batteries also promise to operate in extreme hot and cold environments.

Looking into my crystal ball, I see EV’s dominating light vehicle sales in ten years. The resulting storage capacity should be able to buffer the daily and weekly demand cycles for electricity. We’ll need to double our base load generation capacity. Better nuke technology should also be coming online around that time, perfectly suited for the task.


What is a solid state battery? Are you talking capacitors? Have you checked out the leakage rate for capacitors?

Not capacitors. It’s a battery where the electrolyte is a solid instead of a liquid. They eliminate dendrites so the batteries essentially don’t wear out. The problem in the past was low voltage, but that appears to being overcome.
I ran some numbers assuming 100% EV uptake for light vehicle duty (far distant future). In the US that’s about 3 trillion miles per year at about 3 miles per kwh. If I’ve done my math correctly, that would require an extra 100Gw of constant generating capacity. That’s less than 10% of current capacity. I thought it would be more. Maybe I’ve slipped a digit somewhere.


EVs may be simpler, but they will never be cheaper.


You may be able to charge to 80% in 10 minutes, assuming you have paid hundreds of dollars to provide electric service that can support that.
However you will only be able to do that a few hundred times (at most) before you have to replace those burned out batteries.

There are no lack of predictions that we will soon run out of this and that, but that seldom happens. Cobalt is not a particularly rare element; it comprises 0.0029% of the Earth’s crust.

Furthermore, the amount of cobalt used in batteries have decreased eightfold since 2008.
The 53 kilowatt-hour pack on a 2008 Tesla Inc. Roadster contains an estimated 38 kilograms of cobalt. The same-sized battery on a 2017 Tesla would have about one-eighth of that, or 4.8 kilograms.


Clyde Spencer

It isn’t usually a question of running out of any particular non-renewable resource. With sufficient cheap energy we could obtain almost anything from sea water or common rocks. The problem is that, as a resource becomes restricted in supply, its price goes up, often to the point that it is not economically competitive with substitutes. The problem is, if the substitute were the best choice, it would have been used in the first place! So, the end product ends up having some inherent engineering defect such as reduced longevity, less efficiency, greater weight, increased difficulty to re-cycle, etc. When trying to optimize a product, costs have to be considered. That is why we so often curse cheap Chinese imports.

I see your point Clyde, it is a good argument.

However, the cost of metals make up only small fraction of the cost of a car, and that fraction has been decreasing in the long time perspective, so I do not think some increase in the metal prices are highly dramatic for any automobile company.

I have read it but I do not believe all their conclusions. For instance they say:

It’s a safe bet that there are no undisclosed Tesla contracts because Mr. Musk can’t sign anything without promptly tweeting the details

Really? I do not think so.

I would expect that any responsible CEO, including Mr. Musk, would secure their deliveries by having alternative suppliers for all vital resources.

There are good reasons for holding such strategic deals confidential.


The solution to the electric drive car’s woes appears to be free piston linear generators (FPLG). When’s someone gonna build one?
comment image
comment image


permanent magnets use rare-earth metals that communist China has a near-monopoly on the global supply. That is why Musk insisted that Tesla motors not use permanent magnets.


they don’t have a monopoly, they are the lower cost provider so they effectively have all the marcket, which is quite different. Those mineral are NOT rare (despite their name), and can be produced elsewhere if need be, if you are willing to pay significantly higher than Chinese are willing to sell nowadays.
I don’t know if, and why, Musk insisted Tesla motors not use permanent magnets, but i suspect rare-earth very dirty image (quite like palm-oil) may impact his greenwashing business.

Clyde Spencer

Semantics! If a company has the means to produce something much more cheaply than anyone else, they have a virtual monopoly because they have eliminated competition. It is only during wartime, when a country doesn’t have sufficient supplies of a mission-critical resource, that the government absorbs the extra cost to provide a necessity. Thus, the Nazis developed a process to produce liquid fuels from coal. Nobody uses the process today because it isn’t competitive with crude oil.


Clyde Spencer
Not Semantics, basic economy. It makes a hell of a difference if you are alone on a market because you are the cheapest, or if you are alone in the market because nobody has the right/ the know-how to compete with you. In the first case, you can get replaced any time or if you ask higher price, in the second, it won’t happen no matter what and you can price as you wish. .

Fischer-Tropsch process is still used nowadays, it is competitive against crude oil in some specific case.

Clyde Spencer


You said, “Fischer-Tropsch process is still used nowadays, it is competitive against crude oil in some specific case.” Strictly speaking, you are correct. However, the point is that it is not the method of choice for supplying the huge global demand of liquid fuels, and it is the issue of economics that you gloss over that restricts it to niche markets.

We were discussing rare-earth elements, and joelobryan remarked about “a NEAR-monopoly on the global supply.” You came back denying that China had a “monopoly.” Once again, strictly speaking you were right. However, joelobryan didn’t claim a complete monopoly. As David Middleton observed, China is capable of exploiting its rare-earth elements because of cheap labor, and also virtually non-existent environmental laws. As to your claim “…can be produced elsewhere if need be,…”, that is open for debate. The only other location that I’m personally familiar with is the Mountain Pass locality in California. With what Americans need for income to survive, and the environmental restrictions, it is doubtful that Mountain Pass will ever re-open. What defines a ‘mine’ is the ability to economically extract the resource, not just the presence of the resource. So, while rare-earth elements may be widespread, but in low abundance, that doesn’t necessarily equate to the ability to ramp up global production by just paying a little more for it.

Curious George

Exactly. The solution to the electric drive car’s woes is a new type of combustion engine.

Roger Knights

I’m not sure, but the engine pictured above may be the one that Bill Gates is backing and that is predicted / projected to go into service next year. It supposedly is as efficient, or more efficient, as what Mazda has in the pipeline.

John F. Hultquist

GM’s Chevy Bolt is here, and GM is a real car company.


Priced start at ONLY US$ $37,495 for a tiny little car…

I like electric cars for engineering reasons but THE COSTS ARE STILL FAR TOO HIGH.

Cdn $43,195 US$ $37,495
Includes A/C Tax

Up to
in Government Incentives

Estimated up to
383 km
of range

Full charge in

0 to 96 km/h in under


Electric traction is common in trains and boats. But it comes in two flavor
* somehow linked to the grid, through a rail or line (never happen for boats, obviously)
* diesel-electric, with the motor providing the current, not direct traction. Optionally, this flavor can usually be connected to the grid, where available
It makes sense to see this kind of thing in trucks and cars (connecting lines along main roads, engine-generator used elsewhere). Fully electric moving object with only batteries is just non-optimal expensive nonsense


Please detail how the trillions of dollars needed to electrify the nations roads is going to work.
Do not forget to include safety features so that grannies and little kids don’t get electrocuted whenever they go out for a walk.

Bruce Cobb

The bottom line is that it is the market which should decide, not government, on how many EVs are produced and purchased. That means no government meddling. None. No punishing ICE vehicles via “carbon” taxes, and favoring EVs. They need to pull their own weight, and since they aren’t contributing their fair share of taxes used for roads and bridges via the gasoline tax, they need to be taxed based on mileage.


Good point Bruce, not to mention that after spending millions on a suitable battery none exist yet which provides a suitable range. Finally who is going to pay for the replication of the fueling system that exists throughout the US and other countries that allows us to drive almost anywhere even in rural areas. This was private capital even with average people who own gas stations throughout the country.
It seems like the elites expect the tax payers to subsidize charging stations for their expensive cars.


Not to mention the cost of beefing up the electric grid to handle the extra load.


“…but new ICE cars are still accumulating by tens of millions per year, and are being driven for longer.”

That’s because new cars are so much better built than they used to be. The average car in America now lasts 11 years and often exceed 200,000 miles. Over time cars will become more reliable and last even longer.

Clyde Spencer

See my comment above about my 1970 IH Scout.

Clyde Spencer

I also have a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette that is in running condition and still a force to be reckoned with. The issue is whether one feels it makes economic sense to invest money to keep the car running. For most commuter cars, the decision is to scrap it when it starts requiring repairs.

Clyde Spencer

327 over-bored to 350 when the guy I bought it from in 1974 re-built the engine to FI specs. It has always run a little warm because the cooling system was intended for 327.


There’s a lot on those graphs that clearly is “mockumetary” material.

For instance, the y = 10⁻²³⁷ e⁰.³¹⁹n business. That’s a ridiculous equation. There are 2 data points, 2015 and 2017. Subtract the blôody base year, please.

Say (and perhaps its true) that until we overcome the cobalt and lithium and neodymium and samarium ‘supply problems’ (which there’s no magic wand to fix), well … we’re limited to maybe what, 5,000,000 e-cars a year based on lithium battery chemistry and super-magnet rotor switched 3-phase field motor EVs? OK.

The authors propose 2× the cars in 2030. That’s 2,000,000,000 cars. They propose that the world’s to have a moratorium on ICE production that year. (Anyone ask the Ugandans and Nigerians what they think of that?) 13 years off. 5% growth a year, compounded.

4.7% tho’ of 1,000,000,000 present tense cars is 47 million of them. Next year. Happening? NOT. Maybe another 600,000 or 1.3% of what’s needed. So… the percentage of ECars toward the ultimate growth is still WAY low. But OK, let’s say ECar growth can sustain 40% a year until the number of cars approaches the precious-element resource limit of (at present) 2,000,000 cars. And that that PERL (nice acronym!) can itself grow with exploitation and discovery some 15% a year. (chose a bûtt-crack number. I admit it.)

Well… a little Excel work, and I find that by 2030 (intentionally matching their projection) there’s s total of 2.02 billion cars putt-putting around. 75,000,000 of them (with 3.5% recycle rate) are electric. Totally resource limited in only 5 years. They’re now 3.7% of the total car fleet. Cool! Not nearly enough, according to those-worried-about-CO₂.

I guess that’s the bottom line: we need a radical change in dependence on RARE materials that aren’t conveniently deposited in thousand-foot-thick ore bodies. (Like iron. In Australia and elsewhere.)

One might suppose that the neodymium crisis (rare earth) is solvable by going back to slip-field iron-copper rotor motors. No big permanent magnet. No rare earths. That’d fix that part up. But what about the lithium-battery stack? Cobalt ‘n’ lithium. Turns out the lithium is probably not all that rare. Its a common component of both petrified evaporite bed deposits and present day evaporite areas. (Dried out salt lakes) There’s quite a bit in Bolivia, Afghanistan, China, and likely the Sahara. Iran. You know, old desert fields. But cobalt?

The cobalt dependency needs a revolution. Seriously so. Either we get WAY lucky and find a mountain of the stuff or three, OR we find a lithium-battery (or other electropositive element) that doesn’t depend so critically on Cobalt. Dependence on something WAY more common like copper, manganese, iron or yeah, even nickel. There’s a lot of that.

Anyway, always wanted to answer my rhetorical question.


The Cobalt issue is interesting. I would expect a “Cobalt Spike”, but no cliff. Sort of like the Peak Oil crap—-high prices will bring on new supplies. Heck, there is a town of Cobalt, Ontario where mines are firing up right now. Mining development takes time however, so a shortage won’t go away overnight.

This promises fun. Cobalt requires authorisation under EU chemicals law.

CD in Wisconsin

Consumer Reports places the Tesla Model X among its 10 LEAST problem-free cars on the road today:

“Price as tested: $110,700
Trouble spots: Body hardware, paint and trim, climate system…..”.

For $110,000, I would expect it to be nearer to the top.

Stephen Richards

The worst fault is when it won’t let you in.


Legislating EV usage will not make it happen. It may stop the sale of new ICE cars but the ramifications of everyone switching from ICE to EV …. personal and commercial ….. is a pipe dream in the foreseeable future. We don’t have the electrical infrastructure, economy, or lifestyles to support it. The miserable showing of EVs in the past decade since they were introduced should give the promoters a hint of the problem and it will get worse before it gets better now that all the low hanging fruit has been picked and charging resources are starting to feel the pinch even with the minimal amount of EVs on the road. Here’s my look into the future: Used ICE cars will become in demand as gasoline prices drop and EV charging becomes an issue. Those that can go EV will when they can afford it and once battery life and subsequent replacement becomes common place the shine of EVs will dull. EV turnover will become a problem for manufacturers as the built in obsolescence of EVs is lower than ICE vehicles and pricing will reflect that. Installing a new battery will be less expensive, but far from cheap, than buying a new car. EV road recovery services will be the business to get into.

The Reverend Badger

Refurbishing used diesel generators (for road recovery) will be the business to get into. Here in the UK we recently had a “little problem” on a motorway and miles of traffic was stuck for up to 15 hours. If they had all been EVs what % would have gone flat while waiting for 15 hours, and of course trying to keep warm.

Now if that had have been in the middle of winter with -5C outside temperature I think we would be looking at having to reover some bodies first before charging the car with the recovery truck.

Mary Brown

I bought a Greeworks Lawn mower. Electric. Just pop the battery in. It is awesome. Quiet and no exhaust and so I get exercise when I mow instead of noise and fumes. Cuts almost as well as a Briggs and Stratton. Battery lasts as long as I do. When it gets tired, so am I.

Highly recommend.

Retired Kit P

Mary must have a small yard.

As far as batteries last, I hope Mary will live longer than 5 years.

Nigel S

Hook it up to a trailer and set off for Mount Zion, Wisconsin!

A wonderful film for anyone who doesn’t know it.

Mary Brown

Actually, i have a pretty big yard. Guessing I can mow 0.15 acres on one battery charge

I’m impressed… esp love the light weight, clean and quiey

My car, however is a Suburban with a hybrid sticker i bought off the internet for $2

Mark T

.15 acres is a small yard. I have 1.38. It would take at least 10 of those, not considering the riding mower’s greater fuel usage.


You didn’t get excercise with your walk behind mower?
PS: 0.15 acres, is a small yard.

Keith J

Peak cobalt? Thanks for the investment tip.

Retired Kit P

In 2030: BEV = zero %, US wind = zero %, rounded to whole numbers.

My similar prediction about wind in the US was wrong 20 years ago but a lot closer than the wind zealots who thought wind would exceed nuclear.

Being a test engineer, I like new things. But the results need to be checked. Things that work well keep running. Things that don’t, don’t.

A big deal is made every time a nuke plant is shut down. Because it is a big deal. Wind and solar are mickey mouse.

BEV are new, but they will not be in 2030.

Steve from Rockwood

Some dip-stick from the national energy board of Canada (NEB) just came out with a report that Alberta will be 80% renewable energy by 2040. In fairness to her she looks ready to retire in about 5 years.


Is it possible just as private capital has almost made us energy independent there are those who want to ban fossil fuels and make us again dependent on an unfriendly nation for our energy in the future?


I’m just totally unconvinced that a ‘self driving’ car could work in the UK…
Fine on motorways (freeways) but – get one into our congested urban streets (laid out by monks in the 12th century) or our narrow country lanes, and I reckon they would just have the electronic equivalent of a mental breakdown…
Then there are mini roundabouts…! (‘After you James..’ ‘No, after YOU, Charles…’ Repeat for ten minutes….)


I absolutely agree!

We have some bizarre road layouts in abundance right across the country.

I can think of major A roads in Devon which suddenly contract to one and a half lanes with no road markings for a hundred yards or so, for example.

And you’ve seen the roundabout in Hemel Hempstead which consists of 7 mini roundabouts around a larger central circle?


one and a half lanes? what luxury. I have just driven back through the middle of Dartmoor on the A road which contracts to one lane in places

No road markings, blind bends and sometimes you have to be assertive, sometimes you have to hold back and sometimes you have to reverse.



Laugh all you like, but I predict there will be some LENR powered electric cars and autonomous ones, by 2030.
How long it takes for ThinkX’s prediction is anybody’s guess.