Elon Musk: Electric Vehicles will Double Electricity Demand, but Renewables And Grid Scale Batteries will Deliver

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Elon Musk claiming his coming in 2021 fully autonomous vehicles are safer than human drivers, and how renewables can supply the redoubled energy needs of the future, though they will need lots of grid scale batteries.

Musk predicts full autonomy from 2021, says EVs will double electricity demand

DECEMBER 2, 2020

Speaking at an Axel Springer event in Berlin, Musk said he thinks that by 2030 the “vast majority” of new cars will be electric and almost all will have Level 5 autonomous driving.

“Ten years from now, the vast majority of cars will be electric, maybe 70-80% of cars, and almost all (new) cars will be autonomous,” he said at the event he attended to accept the Axel Springer award for “the inventive spirit and innovative power” with which he has “revolutionised several industries”.

But the transition to electric vehicles will also great more demand for electricity, he noted, adding to demand for more renewable sources of energy.

As the transition to electric cars picks up pace, intermittent electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar will need to be stored in batteries, Musk said.

“Together with large battery packs, both things need to be combined, wind power with battery packs and solar energy,” Musk said.

Read more: https://thedriven.io/2020/12/02/musk-predicts-full-autonomy-from-2021-says-evs-will-double-electricity-demand/

Musk claims his autonomous vehicles are 10x safer than human drivers, based on extensive driving tests.

I hope Musk’s autonomy claims are more realistic than Musk’s suggestion that solar and wind + battery packs can service the redoubled power needs of 2030.

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Rafe Champion
December 3, 2020 10:45 pm

There is no such thing as grid-scale battery storage and no prospect in sight. See what batteries can and can’t do.


“The VBB will not store huge quantities of surplus energy generated by renewables on sunny, windy days, and release this back into the grid for days and days when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Its energy storage capacity is limited to at most a few hours’ worth of charging and release. Claims that such batteries will magically solve all the challenges of renewable generation variability and set us on a path to 100 per cent renewables tomorrow totally misconstrue the real roles that grid-scale batteries can effectively play.”

Reply to  Rafe Champion
December 4, 2020 1:09 am

True – for now.

current grid scale battery deployment is for frequency response/grid outages. It responds much quicker than ‘conventional’ response, including spinning reserve. It also is seeing some use for peak electricity: the Tesla SA battery is stated to have already saved money there.

Australia has seen many cases of peak demand due to heatwave requiring out of state electricity, but the transmission lines fail and/or the electricity is being used at origin. The Australian batteries are already helping there…

as to the future, I think grid batteries are not the solution to large scale backup in europe. That is likely to be hydrogen in the gas grid…

Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 7:31 am

So you use solar and wind to generate H2, then recombine it to produce electricity.

Let’s take solar in the UK. Not only does it have the day/night problem, it has the cloudy/time of the year problem. So during the winter, it will be producing maybe 4 hours a day at greatly reduced power because the Sun is only 20 degrees above the horizon and when the clouds aren’t present, which in the winter is not much. Not going to get enough H2 to get you past 5pm.

Then take the summer. Longer, sunnier days and a higher Sun angle. Given enough panels (they take up huge amounts of land), on the sunny days you just might create enough H2 to provide beneficial backup. Unfortunately this is probably 4 months of the year. You also have to store H2, which is a very low energy gas that must be compressed highly. By factoring in energy losses making it, compressing it and recombining it, most of the year it is almost fruitless. No viable ROI here anywhere.

Wind is a little better when it blows. If you have a few days of steady 20kt wind you can be making a lot of H2 during the off peak times. But again you must store it and due to the energy losses making it and using it, there needs to be a whole lot of it to get you through the light or too strong wind days. Since H2 is so energy poor, there will be storage tanks everywhere.

And how are you going to convert it back to electricity? Burning it in a typical steam plant has quite a bit of losses associated with it. Using fuel cells is more efficient but extremely expensive and they don’t last all that long.

Then there will be the inevitable catastrophe when one of these high pressure tanks blows up. H2 is corrosive and over time will weaken any storage vessel. Lightning can be a bad thing.

Are we talking about quadrupling the price of electricity yet again?

Willem post
Reply to  rbabcock
December 4, 2020 1:46 pm

Great comments.
All your comments are valid.
Only non-engineers could be in favor of it.

I wrote several articles on the H2 approach.
The cost/kWh would be off-the-charts, on an A-to-Z basis

Any energy-shifting batteries would add about 20c/kWh to the WHOLESALE price of electricity, which is about 5 c/kWh, at present.

Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 7:36 am

griff dares disagree with God? Whatever Elon predicts will come true….Elon is infallible…however, Elon is generous and offers griff a seat on his Mars Explorer. Bon voyage griffter.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 8:15 am

Come off it Griff. The hydrogen route is a very expensive dead duck and you know it.

Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
December 4, 2020 8:55 am

griff is the idea guy, working out the details is the job of the little people.

Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 8:38 am

griff, unless you’re an engineer (you’re not), your comments about grid-scale batteries are vacuous. Please leave comments about that to people here who are qualified.

Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 8:54 am

Not just for now, but forever.
You would need 10 times the current battery production to even start building grid scale batteries, and that’s with no batteries going to these magical EVs, which are also supposed to be ramping up their production.

Even at these rates, the first batteries installed would reach the end of their useful life before the final batteries could be installed.

Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2020 11:19 am

“you would need 10 times the current battery production”

And that would require dispatchable electricity.. wind and solar need not apply.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 1:54 pm

“griff December 4, 2020 at 1:09 am

It also is seeing some use for peak electricity: the Tesla SA battery is stated to have already saved money there.”

Where do you get your information from on Australia and the SA battery?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 4, 2020 3:03 pm

Griff is TOTALLY WRONG, as always

The SA is MAKING a lot of money, a HUGE amount actually, because it is almost constantly being used for grid stability.

Because griff still hasn’t figured it out..

A rechargeable battery DOES NOT CREATE ANY ELECTRICITY !!

Robert of Texas
Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 2:20 pm

Hydrogen from where? And doing what to the “gas grid”?

You realize using current technology producing hydrogen without using fossil fuels and then burning it to produce electricity is about as inefficient a strategy as one could devise…never mind all the damage that hydrogen gas could possibly do to gas lines?

Or are you planning on mixing the hydrogen with methane to reduce the harm…oops, that a fossil fuel there. Maybe they will mix the hydrogen gas with some new (as yet not invented) stable blue chemical that stores and releases the gas on demand with no energy used up? I will refer to such magical storage chemicals as Smurfogens. Then we can all use Smurfogen gas for all our needs.

Oh wait…still haven’t figured out where the hydrogen gas comes from…

Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 6:47 pm

Why not just burn natural gas and be done with the Rube Goldberg idiocy?


“If he had a shred of common sense, he’d be a genius.” – Anonymous.

Reply to  Rafe Champion
December 4, 2020 1:47 am

Kindergarten Lessons for Johnson and his government, Biden and his new government, and all the other governments and elitist lefty theoreticians:
100% of 0% = 0%!
Batteries waste electricity going from AC to DC and back to AC.
Batteries don’t generate electricity
Renewables such as WT’s and SP’s are not base load power generators, i.e. they provide power when its available and at quantities dictated by capricious nature and not when demanded
All this dictates that a massive amount of additional installed base load generation capacity is needed, up to 100%, to cover for the unreasonable capricious no/low wind and sun with subsidies all round and significant additional and enhanced power transmission systems.

Then there is the inconvenient question of cost! At a time when all governments in the West have thrown of money at the Covid 19 pandemic, damaging our economies, our betters intend spending even more massive amounts of money at this CAGW/Climate Change religion. Their intended measures will push up all our costs and destroy even more higher skilled jobs.

The Chinese, India and queues of Developing Countries will continue to build and operate fossil fuelled plants and vehicles and laugh at us, but also will secretly be grateful for the massive Competitive Advantage continually being provided to them by the West’s elites’ imposition of the CAGW/Climate Change false religion! The West is being driven to further decline by our leaders. Like the Inquisition, judging Galileo, our leaders will continue to ignore physical contrary evidence.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  Peter Wilson
December 4, 2020 6:44 am

A good appraisal of the consequences of this race to renewables Peter.
However what few people understand is that the root cause of these lies in the basic Thermodynamic Laws; the second of which requires that additional energy must be supplied to a low intensity energy source, such as most renewables, to upgrade it to a level where it can be of use.
The energy needing to be supplied for this must come from another source such as fossil, nuclear or biomass. If one attempts to supply this from the renewable source itself then you wind up in a circular situation overall resulting in a potentially negative supply of useful energy due to the first Law which prevents conversation of ALL the energy to useful work as some has to be dissipated back to a lower grade. Not to mention matters of the inefficiencies in the system.
We are now beginning to see the results of this leading to a rapid escalation of costs required to store energy from renewables just to enable energy to be harvested from renewables.
As an opportunist source renewables can be useful and also in specific tasks such as pumping water etc. ; but as a reliable 24/7 supply ‘at scale’ it is thermodynamically a dead duck.
The scam CAGW virus, now pandemic, has a great deal to answer for.

Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
December 4, 2020 6:50 pm

There’s no free lunch, is there? I swear to God, there is more knowledge in that statement than is posessed by a battalion of Woke scientists.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  Peter Wilson
December 4, 2020 10:18 am

One of the best most succinct expressions of this folly I’ve seen. Thanks!

Lee L
Reply to  Peter Wilson
December 4, 2020 12:07 pm

“The Chinese, India and queues of Developing Countries will continue to build and operate fossil fuelled plants and vehicles and laugh at us, but also will secretly be grateful for the massive Competitive Advantage continually being provided to them”

… Not to mention gleeful at the massive amounts of Western currencies to be transferred to them in return for building our wind and solar equipment and electrical interface electronics.

Reply to  Lee L
December 5, 2020 12:26 pm

NOT the Developing Countries, no UN agencies or woke investment institutions will lend them any money for grid power generation, dooming their citizens to energy poverty except for NGO gifts of solar cell water pumps and solar charging stations for cellphones in the village square, but not enough power to run something useful like a welding machine, or cement mixer.

very old white guy
Reply to  Rafe Champion
December 5, 2020 4:41 am

Sounds like a perpetual motion machine. New physics?

December 3, 2020 10:46 pm

There are a few people if they were still alive would have grave doubts about his autonomous vehicles being safer. Like the fact that they don’t pick up curtain sided trucks and where are all the materials going to come from to provide all the batteries. Yet more child labour for one thing. The guy is obviously not an idiot so he is only beating his own drum to get his shares up.
In NZ where 80% of our power comes from renewables, EV’s aren’t so stupid if you don’t want to travel far but in the USA where only 14% of power comes from renewables and the distances are vastly greater it is insane.
Too many people don’t realise the massive loses when transmitting power. ICE vehicles are generally a better bang for buck on the job.

Reply to  mikebartnz
December 4, 2020 1:05 am

I would like to point out that the same child labour/slavery conditions apply to most US cell phone batteries…

If you have a cellphone and you are complaining about how EV batteries are produced, then you are a hypocrite, surely?

John Endicott
Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 5:24 am

hypocrite or simply ignorant of that particular fact. But hey, that simply puts them in the same company as you griffy-poo, as there’s no bigger hypocrite and ignorant person that post around here than you. If you have problems with hypocrisy, surely the place to start is cleaning up your own home.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 5:31 am

Being guilty of one does not give others a pass for the other.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 5:39 am

And the materials required to make ONE EV battery can produce more than 10,000 cell phone batteries, also it would take 56 EV batteries to equal 1 Grid scale battery.
Of course some cell phone batteries are smaller than others so in some cases One EV battery can demand the materials to make up to 40,000 cell phone batteries

John Endicott
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2020 7:45 am

Indeed, scale is important. At the relatively small scale of cell phones, one could virtue signal claim without any basis in fact that they are only using cell phone batteries sourced from places that don’t use child labor/slavery and there’s nothing to gainsay the validity or falsity of that claim due to the relative scale.

At the scale that EVs and Grid scale batteries require, that virtue signal claim simply doesn’t have any believability left to it. the sheer amount of resources required is simply way more than the amount of “cruelty free” sources that are available.

Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 10:12 am

Poor little Griff. Nothing between the ears. Obviously understands nothing about scale.

Reply to  griff
December 4, 2020 11:23 am

cell phone batteries require tiny amounts of child slavery

How much is needed for just one EV battery ?

Seems you still have that HATRED for ALL PEOPLE AND ALL THINGS, irksome toad griff.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  griff
December 5, 2020 8:01 am

We are talking several orders of magnitude here
Plus a phone is useful and does something useful
The EV/Grid scale battery boondoggle will stripmine the world of resources.

Other leftists have figured it out
You just need to find that one extra brain cell that will allow you to see the harm you propose and support

Reply to  mikebartnz
December 4, 2020 12:08 pm

Not many New Zealanders can afford EVs.

Reply to  Lrp
December 4, 2020 12:32 pm

One woman here was quoted over $100,000 for a new bank of Batteries for her crappy second hand Leaf. More than the new vehicle price.

December 3, 2020 10:51 pm

Wait…didn’t I hear a few years back that all new cars would be electric by 2020?

Deja vu all over again.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Art
December 4, 2020 1:03 am

So in 2030 my ’97 Toyota will be electric. Good to know. I’m still betting on cold fusion.

Bryan A
Reply to  Mike McMillan
December 4, 2020 5:54 am

Nope, in 2030 your 97 Toyota will be a paperweight with no Gas available to run it

John Endicott
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2020 7:48 am

Oh there will be gas to run it…. if you are one of the elite. It’s only the plebs that will have to do without gasoline.

December 3, 2020 10:53 pm

He has to say that . . .

Carl Friis-Hansen
December 3, 2020 10:53 pm

Elon Musk’s BEVs and batteries appeal to many who can afford them. Among the buyers are Green loving clients. What is more obvious than to advertise the wind, solar and unicorn aspect?

I also think the engineer in Mr. Musk is present. He has expressed the need for 24/7/365 stable power for his planned giant battery factory in Germany, suggesting his own power plant and he appeals to nuclear power.

You could say that there is a bit of hypocrite in him, he is a both a successful businessman and an engineer, which in some cases conflict.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 4, 2020 2:42 am

I did post the link yesterday:

“‘Where there is no risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes, the risk of nuclear energy is very small,’ says Tesla CEO”

Sadly the article is in German. I understand German almost perfectly, reading is a bit slower and translation to English is a no-go for me.
I guess imtranslator.net or any of the other online translator will be okay though.

Taken from this article:

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
December 4, 2020 5:36 am

Musk has a degree in physics so he is not an engineer. His engineering knowledge is more along the lines of Jules Verne, very imaginative but not detail or reality oriented.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
December 4, 2020 8:10 am

Not to mention that his claim that grid scale batteries will ‘save the day’ plays well with his Yuge battery factories, and his proclivity to be largely financed by subsidy farming through large government bureaucracies headed by calculationally bereft do-gooders.

John Pickens
December 3, 2020 11:03 pm

If you:
1. Replace 70% or more of liquid fueled automobiles with EV’s

2. Build the electrical infrastructure to support #1

3. Plan to use mostly solar photovoltaics with battery backup to power #1

4. Plan to dramatically reduce fossil fuel use

Then you will fail. The combined energy needed to perform these tasks will not be feasible. The energy needed would require covering vast, vast square miles of acreage with PV panels.

Please show me a three industrial plants, one producing electric vehicles, another producing EV and grid storage batteries, and a third producing photovoltaic panels which is powered entirely with solar arrays.

I submit that none of the three exist. It is simply like building a perpetual motion machine. If solar PV was such a great energy source, then we wouldn’t have to search, they’d already be using it.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  John Pickens
December 4, 2020 1:23 am

The plan isn’t to allow people freedom of travel, no matter how it is powered. COVID-19 is just the catalyst to enable that. And face nappy wearers are letting it happen!

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 4, 2020 5:51 am

I firmly agree. It seems like every new “initiative” like the “I’ve gotten my shot” passport idea strives to reduce the general public’s ability to move. Somebody wants everyone to stay in one place as much as possible.

D. Boss
Reply to  John Pickens
December 4, 2020 4:40 am

John Pickens laments that “renewables” cannot power the plants to manufacture the “green” transportation artifacts.

While he is correct, he neglects to point out the mining of the raw materials – which so far and for the foreseeable future cannot be accomplished with electrically/battery powered excavation equipment!

(aside there are not enough rare elements required for all this green manure to be manufactured for replacement of all ICE devices)

Granted the really big diggers and dump trucks on mining sites are driven with electric motors, but they have onboard humongous diesel engines driving alternators to power them – exactly as virtually all diesel locomotives. (not to mention the drills, the bulldozers, and the explosives required to do virtually all mining, etc, etc)

Solar and wind cannot power the means to produce all the raw materials, nor produce the factories to manufacture the green virtue signalling accessories (cars, etc).

Mother Nature has given us the best and highest energy density solar energy storage mechanism – fossil fuels. They are 100% solar energy storage, and burning them returns the needed CO2 to the surface where this resource is used by the biosphere to sustain conditions for all life. And nothing Musk or any other corporate idiot can produce can match the energy density, or quantities of this naturally derived solar energy storage mechanism. (even nuke plants cannot power the mining equipment – as it has to be mobile and the energy stored and released on remote sites)

Reply to  D. Boss
December 4, 2020 7:37 am

My sailboat is diesel-electric. Nothing like an electric motor for instant torque.

Reply to  rbabcock
December 4, 2020 12:52 pm

details please…would like to cross post this on the Cruiser Forum under powerplants section.

December 3, 2020 11:37 pm

People will be able to charge up their electric cars during the day when the sun shines and then drive around all night until the battery goes flat.

Coeur de Lion
December 3, 2020 11:48 pm

Not in sub-Saharan Africa.

December 4, 2020 12:12 am

I wonder if all the people lobbying for grid scale batteries understand that should one ever be built , it would have to store energy that could be measured in Hiroshimas? Ever see a video of a Tesla on fire? Multiple that by a few million… Not In My Back Yard! I’d much rather have a nuclear reactor in my back yard.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 4, 2020 6:36 am

I’ll bring the jiffy pop. I volunteer Griff though to hold it close enough the fire to pop.

December 4, 2020 12:25 am


Ian Coleman
December 4, 2020 12:31 am

Well over half of cars sold in North America each year are used. There is no used EV market to speak of. Right now, Tesla sales cut into the market for new luxury cars, which is a minor niche of the total market. Tesla poses no threat to Honda or Chevrolet. Only to Cadillac and Porsche and Lexus and Mercedes. I doubt if Tesla is a threat to the really high-enders like Ferrari or Rolls-Royce either, because that is a different market.

When you buy a new Cadillac, General Motors makes a profit on the sale. When you buy a Tesla, Tesla does not make a profit. Tesla’s so-called profitable quarters are the result of counting stock sales as income, but there are no operating profits as that term is conventionally defined. Ironically, short sellers of Tesla stock, whom Musk despises, are driving the ostensible profitability of his company.

Tesla’s sales are subsidized by government-mandated rebates to buyers of electric vehicles. There are politically tenuous, since they involve transfers to affluent people from general tax revenues.

The other big hurdle is repeat buyers. Will a consumer who buys a Tesla this year trade it in for next year’s model? This remains to be seen.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
December 4, 2020 6:40 am

Yesla makes a crap ton of money selling carbon credits to other car manufacturers. That is their bread and butter.
I believe they get the creator free because they claim to be producing a low carbon footprint product. In turn, they sell the carbon credit to GM, etc so those companies can offset their carbon footprint. A legal scam in the highest order.

tsk tsk
Reply to  Rhs
December 4, 2020 9:20 am

They get ZEV credits from CA because of the scam quick battery swap they did a few years back. Of course that doesn’t exist anywhere and you can’t buy it, but it’s good enough for the green tax trolls to give him credits that the other, profitable car companies must buy if they want to keep selling in CA.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
December 4, 2020 11:33 am

Pretty sure that just the Ford F series still outsells ALL EVS by a factor of close to 3 to 1

Ferdinand Engelbeen
December 4, 2020 12:40 am

If you look at the current performance of the (still) largest battery backup of the world, made by Tesla in South Australia, it still is peanuts:

150 MW can be delivered for about 1 hour 15 minutes (189 MWh).
Costs: A$190 million.
Average power use S.A.: 2000 MW
See: https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Electricity/NEM/Planning_and_Forecasting/SA_Advisory/2019/2019-South-Australian-Electricity-Report.pdf

For a full average day of S.A. power use you need 48000 MWh storage.
That is 254 times the current storage at a cost of near A$ 50 billion.

In comparison: one recent nuclear plant of a set of four built by South Korea in the UAE costs about A$ 5 billion and delivers 1600 MW continuously…

If the battery costs were dropping with a factor 100, it may get interesting (besides the problems to find all necessary raw materials)…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
December 4, 2020 1:45 am

Currently low wind in SA.

Wind only supplying 4% of the NEM.

Tasmania pushing BassLink to near maximum for the income.

Fossil fuel providing 83% of the NEM, Hydro 13%

NSW desperately needs another large dispatchable electricity source


SA battery trying to hold SA supply together. ! (that tiny thin purple line in the link below)


December 4, 2020 1:10 am

I don’t think autonomous cars will cope with the UK road system!

‘The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road…’

paul bradden
December 4, 2020 1:30 am

hypothetical.. I join 6 lane freeway from right and i need to get off freeway 1 mile down on left

All vehicles are autonomous and 5g’d and its peak hour

Do i satnav it or do i turn everything off and push my way across ?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  paul bradden
December 4, 2020 1:47 am

“paul bradden December 4, 2020 at 1:30 am

hypothetical.. I join 6 lane freeway from right and i need to get off freeway 1 mile down on left…”

Bad design. Should always merge or exit on the same side (Left or right depends). Merging from the right to exit on the left is just cost cutting.

Bryan A
Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 4, 2020 5:45 am

Hypothetical, all autonomous EVs intercommunicate such that they realign themselves to allow your autonomous vehicle room to maneuver within the space required for your exit.
The problem with autonomous vehicles is the unexpected unpredictable element of human drivers. Who knew he was going to Dart Out like that.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 4, 2020 11:36 am

All those roads, intersection flyover/unders etc require huge amounts of concrete, steel, tar,….

….. NONE of which can be made using wind and solar.

Steve Richards
Reply to  paul bradden
December 4, 2020 2:01 am

Who designed a freeway like that? In the UK all roads are joined and left from the same side.

Reply to  Steve Richards
December 4, 2020 3:56 am

Steve Richards

Not in Glasgow.

Bryan A
Reply to  Steve Richards
December 4, 2020 5:52 am

Get on 80 at Powell St in Emeryville and you have less than 1/4 mile to cross 6 lanes of traffic to get into the diamond lane overpass for the Bay Bridge into San Francisco.
Who designs freeways like that??? Wackyfornia!!!

Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2020 3:40 pm

There are legal engineering design standards, they are generally overridden by a “Note to File”.
Not kidding.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 4, 2020 3:02 am

“Eric Worrall December 4, 2020 at 2:49 am

Do the other cars let you in?”

Like a zipper? Still a bad design.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 4, 2020 2:04 pm

The M25 became a parking lot as soon as it was finished. It was 30 years too late. I recall in the M3/M25 intersection one night, there is a section where you can see all lanes on both motor ways as far as you can see. One night I could see white/red lights as far as I could see. It was quite a sight. I don’t recall how long it took me to get to the A308.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 4, 2020 5:50 am

Given enough communication between cars (which is what needs to happen to make all of this a reality) the cars can signal intent/goals and the other cars around them can make minor changes in speed, etc to open up a gap.

What happens right now with people drivers is that they make their move, force other people to hit their brakes, and the whole affair comes to a grinding slog as the start/stop process echos for miles.

If/when it works it’ll be a huge improvement and people will get to where they need to go faster, even if they’re being “altruistic.”

That’s an entirely different set of questions from Electric vs Gasoline though… the two aren’t tied together in any form except in Elon Musk’s head because he makes both.

Reply to  kcrucible
December 4, 2020 9:13 am

I believe that eventually autonomous driving will happen, and that it has the potential to make driving faster and safer.

I ridicule the notion that it will be ready in 10 years. If he had said 20 to 30 years, I might have been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 4, 2020 9:11 am

The problem is, how does the AI recognize the pedestrians as pedestrians? It isn’t a simple problem.

People come in all shapes and sizes, so do lamp posts.
Depending on the time of year, the amount of clothing people wear can vary dramatically, this also changes the profile. Hanging Christmas decorations on the lamp post can change their profile.

Now deal with a person sitting on a bench or the curb.

Two people hugging creates a single profile with 4 legs. 4 legs usually means an animal.

Even if they could write software that is capable of figuring all that out, being able to make a processor that is powerful enough to run that software in real time, that is also small enough and cheap enough to be put into cars is another matter.

John Endicott
Reply to  paul bradden
December 4, 2020 5:18 am

Where in the world is such a poorly designed freeway? I’m not aware of any like that near my neck of the US woods. Grantly I rarely ever drive on multilane freeways (and I’ve never driven on a 6 laner. 4 lanes is the most lanes of the ones I’ve ever had need to use). But of all the freeways I’ve been on, you always enter and exit from the same side (the right in the US, I imagine it would be left in countries like the UK that drive on the “wrong” side of the rode).

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
December 4, 2020 7:46 am

“wrong” side of the road

apparently my fingers were working the wrong side of the spell checker 😉

Reply to  John Endicott
December 4, 2020 9:20 am

In Atlanta, for some reason the designers decided to run I-75 and I-85 together while they pass through the center of the city. Last time I was there is was something like 10 lanes in each direction.
And it’s still stop and go at rush hour.

At the north and south ends of town, the roads split with the left hand 5 lanes going one direction and the right hand 5 lanes going the other.
When I was there, the last entrance, 14th Avenue was only about 1/2 mile before the split.

I just looked at that connection on a map, engineers have apparently been doing a lot of building in order to solve this problem. I can only say that I’m glad I no longer have to drive that mess.
5 minutes of studying, and I still can’t figure it out.

Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2020 11:56 am

South of town, 85 is west of 75. North of town it’s the other way around.

Reply to  paul bradden
December 4, 2020 6:45 am

If one were to get onto I 25 at 84th Ave (north of Denver) and exit on to I270 or get into the HOV lane, this is exactly the scenario described. Not sure why there aren’t more accidents in this section for that very reason.

December 4, 2020 3:58 am

Professor Michael Kelly: Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge. Formerly Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department for Communities and Local Government. A fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering tells us that:

If we replace all of the UK vehicle fleet with EVs, and assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation batteries, we would need the following materials:

• 207,900 tonnes of cobalt – just under twice the annual global production;

• 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate – three quarters of the world’s production;

• at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium – nearly the entire world production of neodymium;

• 2,362,500 tonnes of copper – more than half the world’s production in 2018.
And this is just for the UK. It is estimated that the manufacturing capacity for EV batteries would have to increase more than 500-fold if we want the whole world to be transported by electric vehicles. The vast increases in the supply of the materials described above would go far beyond known reserves.

Reply to  Hotscot
December 4, 2020 5:44 am

They won’t threaten reserves as long before that demand for resources would drive prices of EVs through the roof. Same as running out of oil. It won’t happen. Gold is relatively scarce at present by comparison but how much would you like to buy and try and corner the market?

Reply to  Hotscot
December 4, 2020 9:25 am

“It is estimated that the manufacturing capacity for EV batteries would have to increase more than 500-fold if we want the whole world to be transported by electric vehicles.”

Now add in the claims that we are going to supply grid scale batteries sufficient to supply the whole world with 30 minutes to an hour of power when the wind stops blowing at night.

Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2020 2:53 pm


I didn’t have time to bring that point up. Too much of a rush to get out the door.

Reply to  Hotscot
December 4, 2020 11:40 am

And the manufacturing of that requires COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF RELIABLE ENERGY.

And the CO2 released during that manufacturing….. roflmao. !!!

Thanks guys, the world’s atmosphere needs more CO2. 🙂

December 4, 2020 4:23 am

Does anybody have Musk’s number?

He obviously has access to some incredible weed.

December 4, 2020 5:13 am

“‘Where there is no risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes, the risk of nuclear energy is very small,’ says Tesla CEO”` There have been no natural disasters which have endangered nuclear plants. Nuclear plkants cannot be built on fault lines, etc. Only stupid nuclear operators, like the Japanese used to be allow a plant to run out of cooling water. But the future, my dear ignorant Mr. Musk, is
SMR molten salt nuclear plants, which pose no danger irregardless of any natural disasters

John Endicott
Reply to  ColMosby
December 4, 2020 7:57 am

There have been no natural disasters which have endangered nuclear plants.
is contradicted by
the Japanese used to be allow a plant to run out of cooling water

The Japanese that you referenced did have a nuclear plant that was endangered by a natural disaster (Fukashima ring any bells?), mainly down to mistakes made in design and placement, but endangered none-the-less. Pretending otherwise does you no favors.

But the future, my dear ignorant Mr. Musk, is SMR molten salt nuclear plants

SMR molten salt nuclear plants, like fusion, and several other vapor ware technologies have been “the future” for years and decades now. Wake us up when they actual start to go into commercial operation, then and only then will claims of being the future (that any of us will still be alive to see) will actually have any merit. Until then they have as much chance of being “the future” as Mr. Musk’s pipedreams – or even less, as at least Musk is putting his (or rather other people’s) money where his mouth is in attempting to make his pipedreams happen.

tsk tsk
Reply to  John Endicott
December 4, 2020 9:27 am

The difference being that MSRE actually worked and that was decades ago. It was unfortunately killed off by politics promoting the fast breeder–one of the ideas that has been implemented so apparently that qualifies it in your eyes, except for the fact that they have never proven economical or lived up to their promise.

So to answer your question begging: there are no commercial MSR reactors. They showed a lot of promise in the prototypes and address many of the issues with current PWR lightwater reactors. If we’re going to be investing any money into energy R&D, then they certainly deserve a seat at the table more than the same old EV, battery, solar, wind, PWR retreads. Oh, and please no Thorium. It’s an unnecessary distraction that increases technical risk and timelines for no meaningful gain, sorta like the fast breeders of the 70s…

Reply to  tsk tsk
December 4, 2020 11:59 am

It worked in a lab.
I’ve lost track of the number of things that worked in laboratories but were never able to transition to the real world.

There are lots of issues that must be resolved before commercial production can begin. Little things like what to build the pipes out of. With those temperatures and the salt being corrosive, it’s a big problem.

John Endicott
Reply to  tsk tsk
December 7, 2020 1:54 am

The difference being that MSRE actually worked and that was decades ago

Worked in a lab. Never been put into commercial operation (regardless of what conspiracy excuse du jour you wish to subscribe to). That’s a huge difference between worked in a lab and worked in a real world commercial environment. There’s many products that never made it out of the lab, several of which “showed a lot of promise”. As I said, wake us up when one actually gets into commercial operation.

John Endicott
Reply to  tsk tsk
December 7, 2020 5:26 am

the fast breeder–one of the ideas that has been implemented so apparently that qualifies it in your eyes, except for the fact that they have never proven economical or lived up to their promise

Certainly came a lot closer to being “the future” than something that has never made it even that far. You want us to believe it’s the future, than show us one (just one, is that really too much to ask?) in commercial operation, so that (like the fast breeder before it) the actual real world results can be evaluated and *informed* decisions can then be made going forward from there.

Reply to  John Endicott
December 4, 2020 9:28 am

The future is molten salt nuclear plants.

And always will be.

December 4, 2020 5:13 am

One million EV cars charging overnight will require the output of about five 1,000MW power plants. New car sales in the US are about 15 million a year. Does anyone have a plan to build these plants and the distribution system to deliver the energy? This won’t work out well.

Tim Gorman
December 4, 2020 5:21 am

What ever happened to the “Smart” car? The same thing will happen with EV’s. Their utility for the average person is so low that market penetration tops out at a very low level. Urban elites like Musk somehow never seem to understand what the average person wants. He may be a great engineer but hi car is s a lot like the Edsel Ford – something most people don’t want, don’t need, and won’t buy.

John Endicott
Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 4, 2020 8:14 am

Indeed. Left to market forces, EVs are a niche product that the masses don’t want. We can see from how EV sales tend to drop when government subsidies drop.

There’s reasons why the ICE engine won that battle back in the early days of automobiles and many of those reasons still stand today.

Other than virtue signaling, there’s really nothing the EVs do that ICE’s don’t already do as far as what most people want and need in an automobile, and ICEs can do a lot of things that EVs can’t such as drive longer without refueling, refueling measures in seconds to minutes rather than minutes to hours, etc. And ICEs do it cheaper (a new ICE is significantly cheaper than a new EV without subsidies, and often still somewhat cheaper even with EV subsidies), can go further without refueling, can refuel faster, etc.

Ian Coleman
Reply to  John Endicott
December 4, 2020 1:49 pm

Hello John Endicott. More than half of vehicles purchased in a given year in Canada are used. You can buy a safety inspected, insurable, used gas car in Edmonton, Alberta for about $4000. There is no market for used EVs. The cheapest EV available right now in Western Canada is at least $40,000, and has a limited range on a charge. So, if you buy an EV, you’re paying ten times as much for a car that has far less real utility than your cheaper option. EVs are a novelty item for rich people. I’ll bet that most EV owners own at least one other gas car for all the times that their EVs are just impractical.

Tesla motors looks suspiciously like a giant stock market bubble. Tesla can’t sell cars for more than it takes to make them, and one day Elon Musk will just collapse the company, take his multibillion dollar capital gain, and turn his energies to getting gullible people to believe that there is a way to profit from space travel.

Jim Turner
Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 4, 2020 9:39 am

Sadly not true, they are not relying on consumer preference. Here in Britain the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. Technological advance is driven by utility – the motor car, the jet engine, the telephone, the digital camera… etc. all replaced earlier technology at the point when they offered a genuine improvement over earlier technology for the user, they did not have to be made compulsory.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Jim Turner
December 4, 2020 1:28 pm


All the ban on “new” ICE vehicles will do is push the price of used vehicles higher. Repair part manufacturers will see a boom, as will repair installations able to continue working on the older ICE vehicles. (think Morris Minor)

Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 4, 2020 3:04 pm

Think Havana.

John Endicott
Reply to  Jim Turner
December 7, 2020 5:30 am

Indeed, that they feel the need to ban the competition tells you all you need to know about how desirable to the public they really are. If they were all that great, you wouldn’t need to ban the competition as the public would be flocking to them in droves.

Brad Lena
December 4, 2020 5:46 am

My guess is that a functioning and fairly robust economy supporting consumer demand and ability to access this mobility utopia is as important is as important as electricity.

Coach Springer
December 4, 2020 6:04 am

Good points above about resources required and their effect on price. But watching wind power in Illinois, we’ve been building wind like crazy and haven’t come close to replacing the generating capacity of about a dozen nuclear plants that provide a minority of electricity in the state. Let alone covering a doubling of demand.

Dude is obsessed. And it’s selling so well if he stops suddenly, his butt is going to be imprinted on a lot of faces.

John Endicott
Reply to  Coach Springer
December 4, 2020 8:01 am

in Illinois, we’ve been building wind like crazy and haven’t come close to replacing the generating capacity of about a dozen nuclear plants that provide a minority of electricity in the state

Well, if the wind is blowing just right, and all those wind turbines are actively generating electricity, you might just about replace the capacity of some of those nuclear plants …. for all of a minute (until the wind speed drops below or rises above the turbines capacity to make use of it). Planning your electrical grids needs on unreliables is beyond stupid.

Reply to  Coach Springer
December 4, 2020 9:46 am

“Let alone covering a doubling of demand.”

More like an increase of 4 to 5 times.

December 4, 2020 8:04 am

Elon Musk: Electric Vehicles will Double Electricity Demand, but Renewables And Grid Scale Batteries will Deliver

And as promised we’ve all had our flying cars on our driveways since 1970.

December 4, 2020 8:11 am

The ICE will dominate for the next century unless they can figure out where to get the rare resources required for an EV transformation.

December 4, 2020 8:51 am

Being able to negotiate a closed track with no obstacles is easy.
Being able to drive down a busy street in a real world city is 3 to 4 orders of magnitude more complex.

Jim Gorman
December 4, 2020 9:02 am

What I don’t understand is where are all 50 of the state Public Utility Commissions planning documents for this. The PUC’s are AWOL on the planning process for the generation and TRANSMISSION of this power. The transmission of this amount of power is going to require major replacement of much of the regional and and local distribution equipment from lines, transformers, substations, conduits, and even drops to houses. Who is going to pay for this? Where is the equipment going to come from when all of the U.S. tries to do the work over a decade? Can cable manufacturers create enough cable to replace say 90% of the local distribution lines? How about transformer manufacturers?

All of this is going to take decades. To even have a start by 1930, designs should already be on the drawing board and orders being negotiated with suppliers. PUC’s should be having public meetings right now to discuss what is going to be done where and how the money will be recovered in the electric rates.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
December 4, 2020 9:48 am

2030 perhaps?

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
December 9, 2020 7:20 am

well the first electric car was built in the 1830s, so they’ve had nearly 200 years to get started, and yet (barring government mandates for EV/bans of ICE) can’t manage to get more than a very small niche of the market in sales, let alone plan for anything beyond that.

December 4, 2020 9:25 am

He sells electric cars. What else would he say?

Gordon A. Dressler
December 4, 2020 9:30 am

I noted some serious typos in the above quotes ascribed to Musk in the Bridie Schmidt article excerpt.

I have corrected the most serious ones here:
“ ‘Ten years from now, the vast majority of cars will be still be ICE-powered, maybe 70-80% of cars, and almost all (new) cars will NOT be autonomous due to the numerous technical problems and accidents revealed after autonomous driving software and hardware was implemented across a wide-range of real world driving, traffic, roadway and weather situations’, he said.”

Chris Hanley
December 4, 2020 12:38 pm

I like this quote from a Manhattan Institute study:
“The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of materials are mined, moved, and processed for every pound of battery produced”:

Robert of Texas
December 4, 2020 2:13 pm

“Ten years from now, the vast majority of cars will be electric, maybe 70-80% of cars, and almost all (new) cars will be autonomous,”


No, 10 years from now they might make up as much as 10% of the total car sales…maybe.
Have autonomous features like change lane warning? Yes, Truly autonomous – no….no….and no. Autonomous cars might make up 1% of the fleet in 10 years.

I guess Elon Musk is hoping for massive Federal subsidies to make these technologies affordable by more than 5% of the population. Just wait until the raw resource prices for certain elements triples or more and see how economic batteries are then. Visionaries are terrible at practical economics and the speed at which change can progress or what constitutes a real physics breakthrough. So they can see “a future”, but never get the time right to get there.

December 4, 2020 2:21 pm

“Ten years from now, the vast majority of cars will be electric, maybe 70-80% of cars…” says Musk. Let’s see, in our first ten years of electric cars we reached <1% volume for EVs world wide and he thinks it will grow by how much? The only way his claim will come true is if ICE cars are banned.

John Endicott
Reply to  markl
December 7, 2020 1:59 am

The only way his claim will come true is if ICE cars are banned.

Politicians on the left, in countries around the world, are certainly working hard to make that happen

December 4, 2020 4:03 pm

That’s great Elon, so how about we demonstrate just one developed country that can operate totally on wind, sola and batteries for a year. That might be nice before thinking about doubling demand, which is another issue. Just one country.

With the current technology set the “transition to renewable energy” is complete BS, even setting aside the idea of doubling demand.

December 4, 2020 6:53 pm


December 5, 2020 5:55 am

Elon better start paying off the government to get the money to install “charge while driving” infrastructure on major thoroughfares. After all, the roads and rails were built before mechanical transportation became common.

Stefan P
December 5, 2020 7:42 am

Tesla is building a large car factory near Berlin. At the beginning of the planning it was widely spread that this factory will be operated exclusively with renewable energy. Now it turns out that there is also a power plant on the site, which will be fired with gas to provide the necessary process heat for the production.

Even Musk’s statement that nuclear power plants will be needed to meet future electricity requirements is not well received in Germany.

James P
December 6, 2020 1:55 pm

I don’t want an EV. I’m annoyed enough by the loss of warm colored incandescent bulbs and non-functional low flow toilets, dribble showers, and food-hardening dish washers. Note to government:. Please leave me alone.

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