Air Quality

Published on September 6th, 2015 | by Michael Barnard

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EVs Could Cut Global Gasoline Use By 2040

September 6th, 2015 by  

A tipping point has been reached in the last two years for electric cars. Almost half of all fully or partially electric vehicles sold in the past decade were sold in 2014. In addition to the standard-bearing Tesla, every car manufacturer in the world has fully or partially electric cars in their lineups. The most exciting cars in the world are now electric.

But what does this mean for global gasoline consumption over the coming decades? To explore this idea, I created two scenarios, a moderate speed penetration of EVs and a more aggressive penetration.

EV impact on car gasoline consumption

The good news is that electric vehicles will reduce gasoline consumption even if no other levers are used related to personal transportation. The bad news is that it will be 15 to 20 years before gasoline consumption growth flattens and 25 to 35 years until consumption returns to 2014 levels and lower if electric cars are the only lever that is pulled.

There are a few things to consider when thinking about how fast electric vehicles will spread:

Electric Vehicles Are Here To Stay And Will Expand Quickly

  1. Tesla is targeting 500,000 car sales annually by 2020.
  2. Tesla is creating an ecosystem for long-range electric vehicles with Superchargers being open to other manufacturers, and patents being made available freely.
  3. Tesla is not the only company making electric vehicles — it’s just making the best electric-only vehicles by a long shot. There are about 38 fully electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars sold from the bottom end of the market to the top in 2015. (Electric Cars 2015 — Prices, Efficiency, Range, Pics, More)
  4. Currently, the fastest two production cars to 60 mph in the world are plug-in hybrids: the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder and the 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari at 2.2 and 2.4 seconds, respectively. The fastest production sedan ever is the Tesla Model S P90D with Ludicrous Mode at 2.8 seconds, and it’s the 13th fastest production car of any type ever in the 0–60, with the term “production car” being a bit generous to several of those models. (List of fastest production cars by acceleration)
  5. Near the bottom end of the market, the Nissan Leaf is already cheaper to buy than the relatively equivalent Nissan Juke, and is much cheaper over 5 years of ownership. (Mike Barnard’s answer to “Why don’t people use electric cars more?” on Quora.)
  6. Plug-in electric cars — battery only and plug-in hybrid (but not hybrids that can’t be plugged in) — sold 58% more units in the USA alone in 2014 than in 2013. (100% Electric Car Sales Up 58% In US In 2014) There has been softening of demand in 2015 coinciding with decreased oil prices (which may or may not have a significant affect) and the approaching release of 2nd-generation versions of the country’s two most popular electric options — the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt.
  7. 90% of owners of partially or fully electric cars won’t consider a gas-only car. (Electric Car Drivers Tell Ford: We’ll Never Go Back To Gasoline)
  8. There are now 11,000 high-speed charging stations globally between Superchargers and CHADeMO networks, and the numbers are increasing rapidly. (Tesla Supercharger Network Growth Surges Over Last 14 Months, CHAdeMO Association) Most people don’t use charging stations, but just plug in at home overnight, so this vastly underrepresents the actual infrastructure for charging.
  9. Every car manufacturer in the world has plug-in hybrids or hybrids in their lineup, typically many of them at multiple price points. Even companies which publicly state their dislike for electric vehicles — Fiat, Toyota — both produce and sell fully electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and conventional hybrid vehicles.

All of these factors tell us the following: electric vehicles of various types are here to stay.

  1. They have better performance characteristics.
  2. They are cheaper to operate.
  3. They are cheaper to maintain.
  4. They are becoming much more convenient, and for most owners are much more convenient than gas cars because they are always full in the mornings.

Tesla is a standard bearer, but it doesn’t even have the best-selling electric car. It is currently the best marketing for the Nissan Leaf that exists, though, helping drive sales of that affordable alternative. It is driving the rest of the car manufacturers to pay attention to fully electric vehicles, to respond to its exuberant performance, and to strategically position themselves to deliver more and more electrified vehicles.

When you multiply that all out, the 500,000 cars Tesla will sell are going to have a force multiplier on the rest of the automotive industry. It’s likely that when Tesla is selling 500,000 cars, other manufacturers will be selling five to ten million cars with electric drive trains, in whole or in part. And that five years after that, the numbers will have increased again substantially.

When the Tesla Model 3 comes out in 2017, it will be at a price point before any rebates of $35,000, be all-wheel drive, be faster to 60 than any small sports sedan, corner like its on rails due to its low centre of gravity, and be cheaper to own and operate than economy cars from other vendors. It will be amazing. But it’s still a $35,000 car, not a $12,000 car. And there will be no second-hand cheap ones for a few years for people with more aspirations than dollars.

It will be a game-changer, and other manufacturers are already responding to it, especially Chevy with its planned Bolt.

The story is increasing electrification of all automobiles, not just Tesla.

But Car Ownership Is Increasing Fast And Cars Last A Long Time

What does this mean for impacts on gasoline consumption? Well, let’s look at some numbers.

  • For the past ten years, new car sales have been expanding at an average of 4% per year. Let’s make an assumption that this will continue for the coming decades. (International car sales 1990-2015 | Forecast.)
  • This implies that there will be roughly 90 million cars produced and sold annually in 2020, 110 million in 2025, and 133 million in 2030.
  • Cars last roughly 13.5 years before being scrapped (UK average). That means that in 2020, effectively all of the cars built in each of the years from 2007 to 2020 will still be on the road.
  • That means that in 2020, there will be roughly 1.035 billion cars in operation, in 2025 there will be 1.265 billion, and in 2030 about 1.541 billion. And in 2050, there would be 3.77 billion cars if this continues. Car companies love this math.
  • This is likely incorrect, as global population growth is flattening and expected to peak in 2050 at 9–10 billion, and this is counteracted by expectations of significantly increased affluence globally. It’s very difficult to predict, but this at least gives a basis for this analysis.

So let’s make some more assumptions in two scenarios, a moderate growth of EV scenario and a fast growth scenario.

  • The moderate scenario has 5% of total new vehicles in 2020 having at least partially electric drivetrains, 10% in 2025, and 25% in 2030. Under the faster scenario, the percentages of new vehicles which were fully or partially electric would be 10%, 25%, and 50% in the same periods.
  • Under the first scenario, in 2020, a total of 2% of all cars in the world would be partially electric, 5% would be in 2025, and 12% would be in 2030. Under the second scenario, the numbers would be 4%, 11%, and 25%.
  • The ratio of partially to fully electric cars will reverse from 2020 to 2030 given battery improvements and the like, from 25% fully electric in 2020 to 75% fully electric in 2030 (and likely close to 100% in perhaps 2045). Electric cars completely eliminate petroleum, but hybrids of various types don’t.
  • The average internal combustion passenger vehicle has a consumption of 8.9 litres per 100 km (2008 US average per Wikipedia). Let’s also assume that fully electric vehicles are 0 litres per 100 km (reasonable) and that hybrids are 2.1 litres per 100 km (BMW i8 rating, for fun).
  • So the last two assumptions work out in the following way. In 2020, the average vehicle with electric components will have a litres per 100 km of 1.58 litres per 100 km, in 2025 it will be 1.05 litres per 100 km, and in 2030 it will be 0.53 litres per 100 km.
  • Cars will be driven 20,000 km per car per year, the North American average. That’s high globally, but it gives a baseline.
  • This also assumes global grid improvements even in developing nations, something which is underway today. A reasonably good grid is necessary for widespread use of electric vehicles and shifting off of gasoline.
  • Finally, autonomous vehicles will not impact personal car ownership or diminish driving per vehicle, which is very arguable.

These assumptions have some interesting implications.

  • In 2014, there are in the range of 804 million cars on the road globally. They are consuming roughly 1.4 trillion litres of gasoline annually.
  • In the moderate scenario, in 2020, cars will consume 27% more litres of gasoline in total annually than in 2015; in 2025, 51%; in 2030, 71%. They will consume less gasoline than if electrification was not underway to the tune of 2%, 4%, and 11% respectively.
  • In the fast electrification scenario, in 2020, cars will consume 25% more litres of gasoline in total annually than in 2015; in 2025, 42%; in 2030, 46%. They will consume less gasoline than if electrification was not under way to the tune of 3%, 10%, and 24% respectively.
  • It will take to until 2035 in the moderate scenario for global gasoline demand to peak, and by 2050 (assuming even greater penetration of electrics) demand will still be higher than in 2014.
  • Under the fast scenario, demand would peak around 2029 and it won’t be until 2040 when demand starts decreasing from 2014 levels.

What Can We Conclude From This?

So oil companies will be impacted, certainly. Demand for their product will not be skyrocketing quite as much. Electric cars under the aggressive scenario will cut a lot of new demand, but since the total number of cars is growing so fast, fossil fuel companies will still see a lot of demand growth for the next decade or two. But it’s pretty easy to see that declining demand due to personal transportation shifting to electric is coming.

This model slightly overstates the percentages of reduction due to the way in which I calculated efficiency of the total electric vehicle fleet on the roads, but is close enough to be illustrative.

  1. The number of cars is increasing so fast and cars last so long that it’s going to take decades to slow and reverse fossil fuel consumption via electrification alone.
  2. Buying a hybrid car is better than buying a pure gas car, but still locks in 13.5 years of increased fuel consumption.
  3. The more pure electric cars purchased sooner, the greater the benefits will be in terms of reduced pollution and carbon emissions. A decision to buy an electric car today eliminates 13.5 years of gasoline consumption into the future.
  4. Fossil fuel companies are not shaking in their boots over this in the short term. But Saudi Arabia has opened the taps because they see that fossil fuels are going to have a diminishing market in the coming decades and they want to get profit from each barrel that they pump while they can. Saudi Arabia’s plan (at least before the recent massive power shakeup there) is to be a clean electricity regional exporter by 2050 as a major part of its economy.
  5. Transportation only represents in the range of 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Getting transportation close to 0% is necessary, but insufficient by itself.
  6. A lot of effort is required in addition to electrification of cars to reduce pollution and carbon emissions from transportation. Urban densification, electric autonomous carsharing, substantial transit improvements, bike shares, and other mechanisms to reduce car demand per capita are critical. If global demand keeps steady, we would see close to 3.4 billion cars by 2050, when the world population is expected to peak at 9–10 billion people. That’s an untenable number of personal passenger vehicles. Thankfully, there are signs that in developed countries, teenagers and young adults have less of an intense and burning fixation on cars, preferring to have smartphones to connect. Fingers crossed that this is a global pattern.

Electric vehicles are here to stay, they are going to grow very quickly, and they are a lot better than the gasoline and diesel vehicles they are replacing. While electrification of personal transportation is a must in the fight to reduce human-induced climate change, it isn’t a silver bullet. Having driven a Tesla in Insane Mode, I can safely say that it is a very fun bullet, though. This is an adaptation that will increase the amount of fun in the world while simultaneously being virtuous.


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About the Author

For the past several years Michael has been analyzing and publishing reports and articles on decarbonization technologies, business models and policies. His pieces on electrical generation transformation and electrification of transportation have been published in CleanTechnica, Newsweek, Slate, Forbes, Huffington Post, Quartz, RenewEconomy, RenewablesInternational and Gizmag, as well as included in textbooks. Third-party articles on his analyses and interviews with Mike have been published in dozens of news sites globally and have reached #1 on Reddit Science. Much of his work originates on Quora.com, where Mike has been a Top Writer annually since 2012. He also has published a climate-fiction novel, Guangzhou Future Tense.



  • Otis11

    Sorry, the Nissan juke is not even close to comparable to the leaf… Targeting completely different markets. Try Nissan versa.

  • Kenneth Ferland

    Their dose not seem to be any accounting for rising fuel efficiency of the ICE cars, taking that into account is important to figure out what the total fuel consumption will be. Personally I do not believe large increases in Oil production are possible because ‘plateau oil’.

  • Epicurus

    Since 70% of oil consumption goes for transportation fuel, it’s critical we make a faster transition. We need to increase the incentives for buying a plug-in: rebates instead of tax credits, nationwide build out of fast chargers, preferences in parking and freeway lanes, free charging stations, tax-free sales, etc.

    What’s the best way to sell Republicans on plug-ins? Bumper sticker: “Stop supporting terrorists, Putin and the Ayatollah. Buy a plug-in car.”

    • Keanwood

      My girlfriends family is 100% Republican. They don’t believe in climate science. They asked me why I prefer electric. I told them, “Every drop of oil is paid for with American blood. How could a patriot buy gas in good conscience?”

      I think they finally stopped thinking I’m a hippy after that conversation.

      • Bob_Wallace

        If they bring it up again you can add that you’re a conservative when it comes to spending. It makes no sense to pay ten cents a mile (pick your number) when one can drive for less than four cents a mile.

      • Epicurus

        Fantastic. All you need now is a flag lapel pin, and they will follow you anywhere.

  • Oil4AsphaltOnly

    I think there’s a little bit of social economics missing in this analysis.

    The people who buy EV’s for economic reasons can only justify it if they drive far enough … the high mileage folks. So although EV’s might not have significant market penetration for a while, their effect on gasoline consumption should be much more significant.

  • Ian

    Damn fine job of jawboning electrical vehicles, but truth be told they still require batteries. Batteries are expensive and don’t last too long. The power they pack is like “You call that a punch!? I felt it but it was like, so what.” People in general seriously misuse the freedom of the open road afforded by petrol cars and for the vast majority of the time use them to commute. The same route, at the same time, day in and day out. This is a vexing problem that the best of public transport minds have been unable to solve. 1.4 trillion litres a year to get people to work and back. That is a travesty . It’s like shooting the last rhino for its horn, or the last elephant because it ate your crop of corn. Decarbonise the commute , and save our climate, maybe our children will be able to enjoy the open road.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Ian, you’ve missed the news that battery prices have been rapidly dropping and are expected to keep on dropping rapidly to the point at which within a few years it will be cheaper to purchase an EV than an ICEV.

      Furthermore, batteries are holding up very well. Tesla says that its ModS EVs should get 200,000 miles from their batteries. And after 200k the batteries should still have 80% capacity, making them an excellent commute car for someone.

  • Ross

    Ignore the greenhouse effect from the CO2 why don’t you. The non-CO2 air pollution from coal is worse than nuclear because of the quantity of the stuff burnt.

  • John Moore

    Many, many fine comments on this article. Whenever I’m reading an article here, I am hoping that there will be a large number of comments. Some of the top commenters here provide as much or more illumination on a given subject as the article itself.

    My view on this subject, perhaps overly simplistic, is as follows. The prospective buyer looking for a new car in 2020 will have to choose between an ICE vehicle and an EV. By this time, battery advancements will make the cost of the EV much cheaper. Cheaper than parity with an ICE car. It seems like every scientist in the world is working on the cheaper, longer lasting battery, right now. They will not fail us. And since EVs have all of the advantages discussed on sites like this, AND they will be cheaper, almost everyone will want the EV. I can see pubic acceptance of this reality happening very quickly, once it begins.

    I know things can happen to thwart or slow the speed of the transition. Maybe I’m wrong by a few years. Maybe the major manufs will slow the transition by slashing the price of ICE cars out of desperation, to stall for time because they haven’t done the things they need to do to compete. Maybe gas prices are lower than expected. Maybe they won’t be able to ramp up battery production fast enough to meet demand. Maybe Elon Musk will be kidnapped. Or a dozen other mitigating factors that I can’t foresee.

    But EVs are better. And they are going to be cheaper real soon. Battery cost and performance will not be what holds the wave back. So when they become cheaper AND better, the world will switch to EVs, and I think it will happen much more quickly that the author predicts.

    • Watch the average age of ICE cars plummet when it is more economical to buy, operate and service an EV.

      Google “aircraft graveyard” to see how technology changes make even multi million dollar ‘vehicles’ obsolete.

      • Epicurus

        A used plug-in couldn’t be more economical than now. Used Leaf prices are fantastic bargains–$8000-$13,000. Coupled with the fuel savings–they can be refueled for the equivalent of 50 cents to 1 dollar a gallon of gasoline (i.e. the cost of the electricity to go the same distance)–they are like getting a free car.

        Why aren’t they flying off the car lots? Because few people know this. No one is advertising their economic benefits.

        • TedKidd

          Other factors.

          1 early adopter vehicles coming off warranty – very small buyers market.
          2 very low monthly leasing cost due to tax credit drives market value down. Why pay $250 a month to own a used car when you can lease a new one for $250?
          3 manufacturers have done NOTHING to support a used market (besides Tesla).
          4 dealers have no clue how to sell these cars when new, expecting them to understand how to sell a used one is delusional.
          5 these cars are significantly handicapped (excluding Tesla). As non-handicapped cars that will make these cars near worthless are clearly on the horizon (Bolt, model 3), the market has factored this – and the other capital risks – into the secondary market.

          These cars should have a lot more value, but with so much against them it’s understandable why they don’t.

          • Epicurus

            Good points.

            And lastly, outside of a few states, 80-90% of consumers don’t know that plug-in cars exist or what their benefits are.

  • In a mature economy, the number of vehicles per population stays roughly constant. If even a small fraction of those vehicles go electric, low-margin gas stations could be strongly impacted. More efficient ICE vehicles, hybrids and autonomous cars also worsen gas stations’ ability to make a profit, possibly leading to a reduction in the number of gas stations and eventually a rise in the cost of gasoline, which speeds up the transition to electric vehicles.

    • Ronald Brakels

      A lower volume of sales, which US service stations have already experienced, will drive some service stations out of business. But service station margins are pretty low so a 10% increase in their margins will have a large effect on their profitability without having much effect on gasoine prices. But if filling up on gasoline becomes less convenient for drivers due to a reduced number of service stations, that will help electric vehicle sales. But where I am there are so many service stations around if half of them disapeared it probably wouldn’t cause a huge inconvenience as far as filling up is concened. Like the availability of leaded petrol, it might be easy to obtain for a long time and then suddenly become much harder to find once sales volume falls below a certain point.

    • Epicurus

      Gas stations, like the one across from me, are expanding or remodeling their buildings to make room for food and beverage sales. The one across from me installed more refrigerators to hold the beer they hope to sell. Beer sales are where they hope to make more money.

      • Kenneth Ferland

        But Gasoline is the hook for making nearly every food or beverage sale so much so that most stations sell it at cost or even a small loss. If that critical hook dries up the ability to continue functioning as pure convenience store is very low, contraction or conversion to another business would be inevitable.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Don’t you think we’ll see convenience stores associated with rapid charge stations (Superchargers) later on?

          A 20 minute charge is even better than a gas pump for bringing in customers. Many of us fill up without going into the store and spending money – swipe, pump, go.

          With an EV it will be plug in, spend 20 minutes doing something, go. Getting some food/drink will be a natural. And while you’re in the store you spot ….

          • Kenneth Ferland

            I don’t think the modern gas-station can do the transition. First off the whole underground tank system would need to be removed and replaced with an electrical system, that’s likely to be as costly as building a whole electrical charging station from scratch.

            Second you have the convenience station attached to the typical gas station, it is designed for quick in and out purchases with transaction times of about a minute. The consumers product choices and expectations are radically different in a 20 minute time frame, they will want to sit down at the very least, eat food which is prepared fresh, watch some TV etc etc. It’s a lot more like a truck-stop which provide a lot more services and have much bigger footprints. On the kind of plot that most gas-stations are on I just can’t see adequate services to fill a 20 minute break, drivers will simply drive past charging stations without amenities and too one which won’t bore them to tears, this will drive the size of charging stations way up, forget 12 charging stalls, it will be >100 and have a large building capable of accommodating ~500 people. The only way you could operate a charging station without accommodations is if it is surrounded by independent restaurants, shops and the like.

            Lastly you have the urban customer base vs highway customer base. Rapid charging stations are going to be along highways just like the Tesla network and existing highway serving gas stations will have potential to transition as they will have a steady customer base and already host more accommodations (but they will still struggle to kill 20 minutes). But the urban gas-station which traditionally existed to fill up the tanks of urban home-2-work daily commuters will be in grave trouble. This customer base will just charge at home and eventually at work and parking garages as well, so they will not be using urban charging stations once long range batteries are the norm (conceivable some tiny amount of ’emergency’ aka ‘ops I forgot to charge last night and don’t have enough charge to get to work so I need to rush to a get a rapid charge might exist but I don’t see it sustaining more then a tiny amount of rapid charging in urban areas). Compounding this is the small footprint of the urban gas-station which precluded adequate accommodations and the lack of a good synergy with neighboring walk-able businesses (because they never had to build thouse synergies) will drive them out of the market entirely. The real-estate will simply be converted to normal business like fast food, Starbucks and conventional retail and some small portion will continue as pure convenience stores like 7-11..

          • Bob_Wallace

            I wasn’t suggesting gas stations would morph. Many are likely to turn into hazarous sites which will need to be cleaned up at taxpayer expense.

            I’m suggesting we’ll new convenience storage and highway restaurants build using rapid chargers as a customer draw.

            We may also see urban fast charge stations for people who don’t have a place to plug in where they park. Most urban drivers would probably get by with a single charging session per week.

          • Epicurus

            This could be a huge opportunity for Starbucks. 20 minutes is perfect for their beverage and food menu. Imagine them dotting the interstates.

    • Kenneth Ferland

      Yep, that will be what drives the ICE vehicle out of the market someday. As the market share drops gas-stations will close and it will become so inconvenient to fill up the tank that the hold outs with switch. It is notable that the gas-station network was essential to creating modern car culture, and without it cars instantly cease to be viable means of transport.

      I’d estimate this effect only really starts occurring at around 90% electrification. Commercial trucking is a separate issue as it relies on very centralized mega-truck stops along highways.

  • China’s leadership are capable of tilting their local market in favour of electric vehicles, and will probably do so as EV’s become cheaper to build, particularly as doing so gets their manufacturers experience building the kind of vehicles the rest of the world will be buying in ten or fifteen years.

  • Russell

    Good article, we need to see more of these analysis going forward. Yes your one isn’t perfect but its good to put things down and see how they play out.

    My personal guess is this prediction is a bit pessimistic because
    #1 passenger sales won’t continue to grow as much
    #2 ICE will get more efficient
    and very importantly:
    #3 “Finally, autonomous vehicles will not impact personal car ownership or diminish driving per vehicle, which is very arguable.”

    Yes – especially if the new autonomous vehicles which will surely be electric are driven >4* more than non autonomous ones. If 10% of new vehicles are electric autonomous that has a massively greater effect. The old ICE’s may be “on the road” but not really driven at all if the autonomous one is cheaper.

    • Fleet vehicles, and other vehicles such as taxis, that drive a lot of road miles, can justify quicker replacement with electrics because A) they’re replaced more frequently and B) fuel costs are a larger fraction of the total cost of ownership.

      The more the road miles a vehicle is expected to amass, the stronger the argument for replacing it with an EV.

  • hohum

    Although, if there were small and cheap enough battery packs conversions may become quite popular…

    • nakedChimp

      maybe for some old cars that go to Africa or something like that.. but not for normal western societies.. there only a small part of the cars will be converted, it’s just too much hassle (knowledge, time, legalities, etc.). The age of repairing/upgrading is through.. it’s cheaper to get a new one from a mass manufacturer.

      PS: I don’t know if that still calculates if all environmental costs are in there, but for now it’s like that.

  • eveee

    Oh really. How poor. You can’t notice that there is sun somewhere else? Or wind? Or hydro? Don’t be silly. We are not powering the whole grid everywhere from one solar cell.

    You guys with your model of one solar cell and a lightbulb need to get real.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Good job of cherry picking, Larry. Looks like a cloud system passed over for an hour or so. By the time you posted there had been several hours of good output that you skipped over in your attempt to misinform.

    Let’s see, looks like you posted about 6:30, after a lot of sweet, sweet solar input that you failed to report.

  • larryw4csc

    Environmentalism and climate control alarmism aside, let’s ask some problematic questions….

    Every summer we come very close to melting down the electric infrastructure they seem to have forgotten in our ignorant, electric car schemes. To charge a few million new electric cars will require an immense investment in electrical utilities or we’ll all be sitting in the dark, sweating in Summer and freezing to death in Winter, a logical reality that’s undeniable. Every power company I know is begging you to “save energy” because they are near capacity, NOW, not after you plug in your wonderful new EV. It’s not rocket science. Charging a powerful EV is like adding another huge central air conditioner to your house’s load on the grid. Electric cars run on battery power charged by the electric system is a horribly inefficient way to use energy. The grid, itself, loses about 1/3 of the power generated by the 60% efficient power plant. That supercharger in your garage and the battery pack charging in the car waste even more power in the conversion from AC/240V to DC for the car. Much more is wasted by the chemical conversion to and from electricity to run the motors. Oh, I know, as long as electric is dirt cheap or someone will charge it free, who cares!

    Who? All of us better. Power is 12c/KwH where I live, about average. Many places are cheaper, lots are more. If the EV ever gets popular, we’ll all look back and laugh when the bill comes in for $3/KwH from Dirty Electric & Gouge in the future. There’ll be this huge infrastructure charge for new ??? plants to feed the grid what YOU demand. Everybody, unfortunately, will pay for this, at least until the tax and punishment system catches up with the Electric Vehicle Cost Adjustment Charge, adding 30% to the bill and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Tax, showing up on the bill as a government addon to pay for roads and bridges you’re NOT paying for today.

    • Keanwood

      Most likely, EVs will have no effect t on the grid. The majority of charging will happen at night. And at night there is massive overcapacity.

      And also I don’t think we come close every summer to “melting down the grid”

    • Bob_Wallace

      Let’s see if I have the energy needed to plow through all that….

      End-user solar should soon start bringing down our hot sunny afternoon peaks. The strain will go away. I’ll show you what happened to Germany wholesale power prices once they put a small amount of solar on their grids. (below)

      EVs will charge mostly at night. Our grid is stressed during daylight hours. We may need to make sure people don’t start charging as soon as they get home but delay until late night.

      We have enough spare capacity right now to charge 70% of all US cars at night if they were turned into EVs.

      The grid does not lose anything like 30% of generated power. The EIA puts transmission and distribution loss at 6% and we should see improvements as we replace old transformers and switches with modern tech.

      Battery charging loses about 10%. 90% of the energy in batteries turns into kinetic energy.

      EVs will almost certainly make electricity cheaper. EVs can be used as a massive dispatchable load which will allow much higher penetration of wind and solar without storage. EVs can charge on supply peaks and drop out during periods of stressed supply. The more <3c/kWh wind and solar we bring online, the lower our electricity cost drops. And we're heading toward 3c/kWh wind/solar.

      I think I managed to address all your FUD.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Larry, you might want to read the site posting rules.

      http://cleantechnica.com/cleantechnica-comment-policy/

      You’re skating on some very thin ice with the misinformation you’ve posted.

      • larryw4csc

        Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was an EV advertising site. I’m out…Dream on.

        • Bob_Wallace

          It’s a fact based site that reports on clean energy developments.

          You showed up short of facts. Read articles, Larry. Catch up.

    • eveee

      The grid you are looking for is right there under your nose.

      Electricity demand is at night is less than half of what it is during the day. We pay for these idle generators and transmission lines whether we use them or not.

      Adding EVs will only lower rates, because we won’t have to pay for unused capacity, and because EVs will be able to store cheap energy when its available.

      Already utilities like EV offer cheaper off peak rates to EV customers.

      http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/saveenergymoney/pev/rates/index.page?WT.mc_id=Vanity_pevrates

  • Peter F

    Great article but probably a bit pessimistic about gasoline peak

    Quick points:
    1: I very much doubt that light vehicle consumption will continue to gro at
    4% per annum. Europe is still lower than its peak, China seems to have
    maxed out, the US is around its peak but that is only making up delayed
    replacement and young people have nowhere the interest in cars as
    freedom/status symbol that earlier generations did. They would rather go
    round the world twice a year than owning a car.
    2: All the arguments for EV’s ignore the rapidly improving efficiency of IC
    engines. This is good in terms of reducing gasoline consumption anyway
    but it makes it more difficult for electric cars to compete so the
    economic forces driving the transition will be slower.
    3. The long term improvement in efficiency and lower demand for vehicles will reduce demand for gasoline below BAU and therefore depress prices of gasoline therefore harming the economics of the switch to EV’s

    I have no idea of the combined effect of these trends but my guess is that demand will plateau earlier than you have projected but after that the rate of decline will be slower

    • eveee

      That would matter if the switch to EVs was primarily because of

      cheaper fuel prices. That does make a difference, but the difference in

      operation and maintenance is at least as big.

      Utter silence and complete lack of vibration.

      Instant torque.

      No smelly gas stations to queue in and

      Just get in and drive.

      having to wash your hands or wear gloves.

      Did I mention no exhaust fumes or pollution, and no tail pipe.

      EVs are just better.

      You are way off on technology adoption. Looking at adoption rates now is like looking at cell phones when they were bricks and declaring adoption peaked.

      Batteries are still advancing. When they hit parity, the growth will boom.

      • Peter F

        I am not arguing any of these points, just that the main driver for the vast majority of the population is cost followed reliability in all senses including “range anxiety” by status followed by drivability.
        My first point suggests that demand for vehicles will not rise as high as projected.
        The second point is that that smaller number of vehicles will use even less fuel anyway
        The third is that not all the reduction in gasoline use will come from EV’s and that the taper rate will be slower than the enthusiasts, including me, would like because high efficiency gas vehicles will be economically competitive a lot longer than many of us would like

        • eveee

          “My first point suggests that demand for vehicles will not rise as high as projected.”

          Perhaps true. The cost of transportation has gone up as oil prices went up. EVs are meeting those as EV costs fall. That would imply a similar dynamic, but as prices fall further, it could spur demand, too.

          We are talking US only. Cars are expanding in China and India, making up for the fall in the US.

          “The second point is that that smaller number of vehicles will use even less fuel anyway”

          Not true. The number of vehicles has not dropped. US has flattened, but China and India have increased.

          You are stuck on vehicles. Oil demand has to do with oil price, not the number of vehicles or vehicle price. The number of vehicles doesn’t matter.

          “The third is that not all the reduction in gasoline use will come from EV’s and that the taper rate will be slower than the enthusiasts, including me, would like because high efficiency gas vehicles will be economically competitive a lot longer than many of us would like”

          So how about some numbers. The article puts some out. Whats your numbers?

          Statistics show that as oil price drops, people use more gas, and buy more gas hogging vehicles. Its supposed to be the argument for why EV sales will drop.

          EV sales don’t have a primary link to gas prices, but it does add interest in them. Nobody driving a Model S is thinking, gosh, I cant afford gas.

          They buy Teslas because they are a superior car. Likewise, a gas sipper thats a lemon is going to attract no one.

          As long as the tension between gas prices and the demand for huge SUVs and performance exists, there will always be demand for gas. Its gas prices that drives this. So your faith in ICE gas mileage increases is unfounded by historical data.

          In this video, Steven Kopits, an oil industry analyst explains how oil is now supply constrained, not demand constrained. The demand is there.

          But oil prices will not remain low forever and they are limited in how low they can go no matter what demand does. Thats what supply constrained means. We are living in an age of limits for natural resources.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLCsMRr7hAg

    • Ross

      The numbers of petrol/diesel stations will probably continue to decline, further accelerating FF phase out.

  • Al

    There are two more factor to consider and that is congestion and the rise of companies like uber. For eg lets say an uber driver makes 4-5 trips of 20-30 mile range with a max usage of around 100- 150 miles. The leaf is not practical today given its 85 mile range. In two years if an uber driver buys a chevy bolt with 200 mile range it now becomes a very cost effective choice given the lower maintainence costs of electric cars. This will translate to lot more uber drivers on the road and lower fares. Gradually the appeal of car ownership will wane. It is already so in cities but with lower fares it will spread to the suburbs as well. An uber driver with a gas car just cannot compete with one who owns an EV. At that point we also true inflection in terms of the number of cars sold per year.
    Second is the automated driving ability of cars. For the next 20 years cars may not be fully automated however it will reduce the strain of driving through partial automation atleast. That would also make uber drivers more productive and probably be able to drive 12 hours a day easily.
    Overall this will both reduce the number of cars sold as well as the gasoline usage per car.

  • sjc_1

    You have India and China both buying more cars, by far most of those will be fuel powered. More people, more cars, more miles driven is more fuel consumption, 3% being EV just keeps it from being worse.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The Chinese government is putting a push on EVs.

    • eveee

      Whats your alternative?

      • sjc_1

        No alternative, just good to face the truth.

        • Ronald Brakels

          If China et al increase their petroleum consumption, it will push up the price of oil which will lead to more rapid adoption of electric vehicles. Oil prices are currently low for this century, but China and other countries won’t be about to “enjoy” lower oil prices if they significantly increase their consumption.

        • eveee

          Nothing exists in a vacuum. Evaluation without comparison is a faint version of the truth.

  • tibi stibi

    i think in 2040 there will be no car sold. all cars will be rented from uber like companies who have a fleet of self driving cars.
    this will most probably start in 2020 already. and they will all be ev because of the low maintenance cost.

    • larryw4csc

      Of course, you won’t mind us shutting down your electricity while this fantasy charges itself, will you? We can’t power both you and all those EVs. Not even close! Generator sales will ZOOM!

      • Keanwood

        Garbage.

      • eveee

        FUD.

        We have enough spare capacity right now to charge 70% of all US cars at night if they were turned into EVs.

        http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/03/grid-capacity-electric-vehicles-actually-problem-studies-find/

        At night when demand is less than half of the days peak load, there are plenty of idle generators. If EVs are charged at night, we are only using idle transmission and generation.

      • Ross

        Obvious FUD. Most cars are not driven very far so the amount of electricty required to recharge them will not be a strain.

        • larryw4csc

          You do the arithmetic. Let’s say 50KwH per car, half a charge on a Tesla times how many million cars showing up in the garage to charge at 6PM when Daddy gets home while Mom is burning it up cooking dinner with the house AC running full blast to pump out the cooking heat. 50KwH X 1M EVs = 50, 000,000 KwH/day/million cars is a LOT of load….
          They’re NOT gonna wait until 2AM to recharge them. That’s more dreaming.

          • Bob_Wallace

            50 kWh per car would mean an average daily drive of about 175 miles. The average daily drive is about 35 miles.

            Charging at 6 PM is easily controlled by TOU billing. All one needs to do is to set up their car charge timer to charge after midnight, take advantage of <12 cent electricity rather than using 25 cent electricity.

          • Ross

            Bob has already dealt with you but I’ll just add that the total battery capacity of the Nissan leaf is only 24kWh (EPA range 84 miles) so clearly you’re attempting a rebuttal with obviously false figures.

          • TedKidd

            Might be giving credit for math skills not present…

          • Mark Renburke

            50 kWh?!! Way off, I don’t even overnight charge that much per WEEK

          • larryw4csc

            Times millions of EVs, even like yours, will bring the nearly loaded American power grid to its knees on every hot or cold day, right while Mom is pouring 20KW into the stove and other kitchen power gobblers cooling dinner in millions of homes. Talk about unsustainable! The power blackouts of the late 1900s will return and utility companies will be standing by your power regulators, smiling, to raise EVERYONE’s electric bill to $5/KwH to pay for new electric plants to recharge them during the peak hours they’ll demand.

            Now, tell me you’re not going to recharge it until 2AM, the usual BS from EV owners.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The existing electricity infrastructure as a national resource has sufficient available capacity to fuel 84% of the nation’s cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs (198 million) or 73% of the light duty fleet (about 217 million vehicles) for a daily drive of 33 miles on average.

            http://energytech.pnnl.gov/publications/pdf/PHEV_Feasibility_Analysis_Part1.pdf

            “Now, tell me you’re not going to recharge it until 2AM, the usual BS from EV owners.”

            All it takes is TOU billing to make that happen. EVs (at least some of them) have built in timers that determine when the car begins to charge. Arrive home, plug in, forget about it. In the morning you’re all charged up and ready to go.

            Average EV would need about 3 hours of charging per night.

            Later one we’ll likely see pricing signals from the utility telling our EVs the best times per day/night to charge.

          • larryw4csc

            Which electric car company, or greenies, did this fantasy come from?

          • Bob_Wallace

            That would have been from the government of the United States of America. I gave you the link.

          • Mark Renburke

            Your math is quite bad, it’s 37 miles as an average driving per day including ALL trips, which equates to just around 11 kWh per vehicle per day (at 3.25 mi/kWh including charging losses), not even close to 50kWh per day. And future EV models (like the BMW i3) are even more efficient.

            And as confirmed by real world data, 85% of charging is off-peak at home overnight and would continue to be. So all your fear-mongering is just that, FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) and has no grounding in facts, data, or reality for that matter. So the adoption of tens of millions, of PEVs will have little effect on the grid, arguable less so than the home air conditioning booms of the 1950s and 1970s where *peak* demand was added. Data backs this up.

            Anecdotal, but I charge up for my 35 mile drive in to work from a standard outlet at just 8 amps, also what a typical medium size air conditioner draws. Hardly a “power blackout” causing situation even if millions people suddenly (but unnecessarily) ran their air conditioners all night, would it? If only you could think about this sensibly… 🙂

      • The real number is: +20%

        You can easily lookup the numbers on vehicle miles travelled, average electricity consumption per mile and total electricity consumption in the US. Then the math becomes simple: If all cars on the road were electric, annual US electricity consumption would be ~20% higher.

      • tibi stibi

        laryw4csc it would be unwise to shut me down: i’m a producer!

        i have so many solar panels that i produce much more than i can consume 😀

  • eveee

    This is a complex subject. I will venture to state that the love affair with cars is weaning among the younger set that prefer being carless and using rideshare. The high cost of vehicles and fuel have make their toll on auto sales. Demand is there. But costs are high.

    Travel demand is down. Longer ownership reflects the higher costs of transportation, not hard to predict from declining oil resource availability. Also predictable, the world recession due to oil.

    http://www.ssti.us/2012/02/motor-vehicle-travel-demand-continues-long-term-downward-trend-in-2011/

    Those macro events overshadow an analysis of EVs alone..

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/the-dubious-future-of-the-american-car-business-in-14-charts/279422/

    The EV revolution has major implications well beyond transport. An analysis of the electricity production situation is needed to get the full import.

    There is a lot of concentration on vehicles. But the trend is away from private transport.

    Projections based on present day situation are going to change radically soon. The day after Tesla starts selling the 3 will alter things significantly. The decade after even more.

    Ask yourself like this. You now have 500,000 EVs per year being made by one mfr, and the rest are scrambling to keep up. Whats the outlook now? All of a sudden, projections become optimistic. Producers are scrambling to dump ICE vehicles because the market shuns them. ICE factories go vacant. Electricity demand goes up. Demand for smart chargers soars. Suddenly, everyone realizes that EVs last much longer than ICE.

    I say, nobody is ready for the changes and has a clear vision for how it all happens. Why? Who knew what cell phones would do until after? Who knew that smartphones would relegate wristwatches to the sidelines? Some. But the full import of these changes could not be understood until after they arrived.

    Trying to predict the EV revolution is not going to be easy. Its easier to predict that it will happen than how much and when. New technology introductions happen abruptly, non linearly. Non linear processes are harder to predict accurately because they can transition abruptly from a dead standstill.

    https://hbr.org/resources/images/article_assets/2013/11/consumptionspreads.gif

    More meaningful are tables like this that predict the advancements on a log scale because they are based on CAGRs.

    Once the line passes through a transition point, the changeover to new technology is rapid. And it does not depend on existing technology that much, although with the larger investment, people won’t just dump their ICE. Unless fuel costs keeping going up. Which we know they will….

    http://evobsession.com/ev-battery-prices-40-lower-than-in-2010/lithium-ion-battery-experience-curve/

    • larryw4csc

      I’m blaming my President Obama for the $1.79/gallon gas I “charged” up my Smart car with, in 3 minutes I might add, today. Not sure about your city, but mine has gas running out our ears!
      No wonder the Koch Brothers hate Democrats!

  • Bob_Wallace

    Let’s not ignore the rapidly dropping price of batteries.

    “In a major 2013 analysis, “Global EV Outlook: Understanding the Electric Vehicle Landscape to 2020,” the International Energy Agency estimated that electric vehicles would achieve cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles when battery costs hit $300 per kWh of storage capacity. The analysis projected that would happen by 2020.

    Yet a study last month in Nature Climate Change, “Rapidly falling costs of battery packs for electric vehicles” determined that “industry-wide cost estimates declined by approximately 14% annually between 2007 and 2014, from above US$1,000 per kWh to around US$410 per kWh.” The study, by Björn Nykvist and Måns Nilsson, also looked at battery electric vehicle (BEV) leaders, like Nissan’s LEAF and Tesla’s model S. They found, “the cost of battery packs used by market-leading BEV manufacturers are even lower, at US$300 per kWh.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/13/3646004/electric-car-batteries-price/

    From what I’ve read Tesla’s battery packs are running around $240/kWh and should drop to $160/kWh or less when the Gigafactory is running.

    That means EVs priced cheaper than same-model ICEVs. Put a 200+ mile range Civic EV next to a Civic ICE with the EV version selling for a few thousand less and watch what the market does. By 2020 we could see a major move to EVs underway, certainly before 2025. I expect we’ll see a <$25k 200+ mile Tesla well before 2025 and at least a few major manufacturers will be dragged along. Ten years is a long time when it comes to technology shifts.

    50% of all US driving is done with cars five years old or newer. EV sales are probably going to have a larger impact than just their sales numbers would suggest. People who drive a lot need new cars more often and are positioned to save a lot more in operation costs.

    As EVs start to flood the market look for ICEVs heading to the crusher at higher than current rates.

    And don't forget the already settled CAFE rates that more than double US vehicle efficiency by 2025.

    I'm not stating that there is a lower curve that we will follow, but I'm suggesting that there is a lower curve we might follow. I think there's a very good chance that petroleum use for personal transportation could be rapidly dying by 2025, certainly before 2030.

    • eveee

      Yes. This kind of analysis really needs to plot the CAGR of batteries, say, against the expected target values for technology replacement. Since oil trends upward in price, the tipping point may actually rise.

      http://evobsession.com/ev-battery-prices-40-lower-than-in-2010/lithium-ion-battery-experience-curve/

      Once the tipping point is reached, there is rapid adoption. There it gets very tricky because it is so non linear. But it can happen very abruptly. I am not sure how much investment in existing ICE will slow EV adoption, particularly when it becomes clear how high the relative cost of ICE ownership is compared to EVs.

      https://hbr.org/resources/images/article_assets/2013/11/consumptionspreads.gif

      • JamesWimberley

        Great chart. I hadn’t realized that the speed record was held by the humble radio and microwave oven. I would guess that the ATM was also very fast, although it’s not technically a consumer good. The fixed telephone (monopoly?) and the car (high initial cost) were quite slow, along with the washing machine (women’s work?).

        • mike_dyke

          What you’ve also got to realise is the effect that the world wars had on that graph when more effort went into the things that were required for war rather than ordinary people.

          You can see that effect most in the clothes washer graph which dipped down around 1945. People just went back to washing clothes by hand rather than buying a machine.

          • Bob_Wallace

            During WWII we largely quit manufacturing many products in order to build for war efforts. There weren’t washing machines and cars to buy.

        • eveee

          Yes. Bob got these kinds of charts up before. Very useful just to get an idea.

          Should have included this one with it. That way you can see where we are and when the likely tipping point will be.

          I like the logarithmic chart better, because like you, I want to see CAGRs. They become a linear ramp on a log chart.

          http://evobsession.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Lithium-ion-battery-experience-curve-800×601.png

          This one shows where Tesla is in battery performance today. They are ahead of predictions.

          The auto came in stages. Roads and gas stations had to be built. No such impediment with EVs.

          Auto hit the skids in 29 with the stock crash. Didn’t take off again until after the war.

          Electricity and telephones paused after the stock crash.

          No telling why washing machines dropped in 1940, but my goess is it was the war. Started back up after the war..

          http://rameznaam.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Nature-Climate-Change-
          Batteries-Cheaper-than-2020-Projections.png

          • Richard Foster

            Can you talk me through that graph eveee? I’m struggling to see the predictions – what are the two different lines?

          • eveee

            First, this is not my favorite graph. I would prefer time on the x axis.
            On this one, they are pointing out the relationship between volume and cost. This is indirect. As costs fall, volume increases.

            The green bar is an assume tipping point at about $250/kwhr for batteries. Tesla is already there.

            The other graph link by Ramez Naam, got messed up.

            Here is the source it came from.

            http://rameznaam.com/2015/04/14/energy-storage-about-to-get-big-and-cheap/

            http://rameznaam.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Nature-Climate-Change-Batteries-Cheaper-than-2020-Projections.png

            This one is not logarithmic, but does plot cost vs. time. The bands are the predicted or expected EV battery costs.

            The grey band is a 95% confidence interval for all industry. Thats a statistical probability measure, sort of like an error band.

            The green band is the same for industry leaders. The green circles with white centers are Tesla. They are below most of the estimates and at the bottom of the green band. That means they are far ahead of projections for advancements.

            Tesla’s $250/kwhr for PowerPack sent shockwaves through the utility industry. $610 million in orders in 7 days. Thats a staggering response. Nobody expected prices like that for years.

          • eveee

            Heres a little addendum. Its a graph of expected or projected battery costs. None of these fairly respected sources predicted $250/khwr in 2015.

            http://dqbasmyouzti2.cloudfront.net/assets/content/cache/made/content/images/articles/Storage_Cost_Drops_530_402_s.png

          • Bob_Wallace

            Navigant reported the $180/kWh price for Tesla/Panasonic cells in 2014 and predicted other manufactures would be at the same price point in “2-3 years”.

            I’d like to see a 2015 version of that (2012?) graph.

          • eveee

            Yes. Me, too. This was a prediction from back then. Those sources had to do some major rejigging after PowerWall. It bent the curves.

            Do you have more recent Navigant EV battery precition graphs?

            Here is the article about Navigants prediction you were referring to, I believe. Its from one of your comments.

            http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/battery-storage-costs-plunge-below100kwh-19365

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yep, plus I’ve read the paper on which it was based. No price predictions in it, IIRC.

        • Ian

          I don’t think the rate of adoption of autos is indicative of other technologies (such as electric vehicles), and not only because they were relatively expensive. Autos very quickly (1913- 1925) took over the existing market of horse-drawn vehicles. Slow growth after that was because a new market had to be developed with the city dwellers who had not been using horse-drawn carts and had no need for cars or a place to keep them. The U.S. had to entirely rebuild its cities over the next few decades to permit the widspread adoption of private cars. The interstate system need to be built. As well, an entire industry of petrolium refining and distribution had to be built.

    • JamesWimberley

      On the downside, there’s a fair chance of a subsidy panic like the ones that have hit distributed solar in Spain, Germany and the UK. The circumstances are different, but in all cases the cuts happened just before solar became competitive without subsidy, but after it was beginning to damage the finances of fossil generators. In the ev transition, who would provide the losing vested interest? The legacy car-makers will be on board, and their specialist ICE parts suppliers (gearboxes, mufflers, etc) hardly count. Big Oil hasn’t woken up yet, and on the other side the powerful electric utilities will support the transition. I’m reasonably optimistic.

    • larryw4csc

      Nissan wants $6,499 minus a $1K core refund IF your battery pack is rebuildable. The battery replacement is MORE than the value of a X year old Leaf, so the value of your used EV will be $0, or some negative number, in the not-too-distant future. Of course, if you break it, like in an accident, it’s core value will be $0 so you’ll pay $6,499 as the warranty, of course, only covers material defects and workmanship, like always. Over $1000 on any car, your problem is always YOUR FAULT. There’s no reason to think this will be different….

      • Bob_Wallace

        Nissan announced that price when battery prices were much higher than they are now. And battery prices will continue to fall.

        You really need to think before posting, Larry.

      • eveee

        A used Leaf for 5,500 dollars. Where? I look all the time on Craigslist and elsewhere. A wreck? Over 100k miles?

        Even with 50k miles, I still see closer to 10k dollars. A few on Craigslist a bit lower.

        If you break the battery? If you break an engine by hitting something and losing all your oil, its not covered under warranty either.

        You read the warranty wrong. It covers more than that.
        The warranty covers performance for 5 years or 60k miles.

        Doesn’t matter about fault. Unless you rammed it into a tree.

        http://insideevs.com/nissan-leaf-battery-swap-under-warranty-video/

        Most people will use the battery to beyond 80% degradation. Why not?

        If the average daily use was under 30 miles, it matters little.

    • eveee

      Here are the graphs for EV batteries. The one with Tesla is unfortunately not logarithmic. You can see Tesla Model S is way ahead of the curve in performance, dropping off the bottom of the predicted range ahead of schedule.

      http://rameznaam.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Nature-Climate-Change-Batteries-Cheaper-than-2020-Projections.png

      Here is a logarithmic chart of EV battery progress.

      http://evobsession.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Lithium-ion-battery-experience-curve-800×601.png

  • Babam

    We are statistically significantly cutting it now, why the 2040 projections???

    • JamesWimberley

      We are in a race against the clock, that’s why. The general view is that we need to get to net zero carbon round 2050. If the OP’s pessimistic scenario is borne out, that will be impossible, whatever happens to electricity, simply from ICE transport. So it’s a question of enormous importance.

    • Rick Thurman

      We’re not significantly cutting petrol consumption yet. EV use is increasing from a tiny base still, so EV sales will have to keep increasing for quite a few years to build up to a significant fraction of total auto sales. Global EV sales are still a small fraction of total auto market, even less than the current secular growth rate; that’s why Tesla adopted the marketing strategy that they have, which is to change the tastes in the small but critical population of taste-makers who can afford to be early adopters. Note that high-end cars tend to be more profitable, so recruiting well off drivers with high performance EVs disproportionately cuts into overall profits and gets the big guys’ attention. It seems to be working too, but it all takes time.

      The biggest constraints right now are all related to the logistics of scaling up what till now have been lab to niche scale manufacturing processes. Keep in mind just one EV uses as many batteries as… well, many, many laptops or smartphones, so it was always going to require dedicated factories to build enough EV batteries. Any such increase would also require expansion of mining production of any specialized materials, like lithium or rare earth elements. However, no one was going to invest in those stages until demand could be demonstrated, and that from day one of the new mine. They’ll probably work 3 shifts at current mines or try other tricks until they’re sure capital costs will be covered.

      This is probably proceeding at the pace that’s to be expected, although I’d like to see things go faster too; not just with EVS but other sustainable tech issues as well.

      Finally (!): This progression to EV dominance (and sustainability in general) will probably happen, and be newsworthy, on a city-by-city, then by-region, then by-country basis. That’s how followers learn from those crazy early adopters, so we might build a means of tracking these processes around the world on a metro-by-metro basis.

  • JamesWimberley

    “A tipping point has been reached in the last two years for electric cars. Almost half of all fully or partially electric vehicles sold in the past decade were sold in 2014 ..”.

    Sorry. The number cited in the second sentence is a mathematical consequence of a ca. 45% growth rate. A tipping point is an inflection in a growth curve, to faster or slower. I see no reason to think this is changing. You would expect the CAGR to slow down a bit, as has happened with solar, but after 50 years the solar CAGR is still around 30%.

    Mike’s projections do not give the assumed CAGRs, and instead work back from market share. I suggest this is unsound. You would be better off just guessing the CAGR. Note that if there is a tipping point, for example when batteries get to a price where a 200-mile ev is cheaper to buy than a similar ICE, then you would expect growth to speed up not slow down. I suggest it’s quite conservative to use a 30% CAGR. Starting with the 320.000 of 2014, this leads to ev sales of 102 million in 2036, i.e. the entire market. Will it happen quite like this? Surely not. But upside shocks are as likely as downside.

    Minor quibble: “Cars last roughly 13.5 years before being scrapped (UK average).” The mean age of the US light vehicle fleet is 11.4 years (link). This implies a mean life over 20 years. Is the UK really so different? Correcting for a longer life of the predominantly ICE fleet slows the transition, of course.

    The overall car market may be dramatically cut if there is a major shift from exclusive ownership to forms of sharing or rental. This is predicted by promoters of driverless cars (link to blog post of mine), but it can also happen without them. EVs may be essentially all new car sales well below 100 million a year.

    • eveee

      Good points all. CAGRs must be considered. Its very difficult to predict the kind of changes that bring cells phones and make phone booths obsolescent. To do that , you have to predict the tipping point.

  • Martin

    Very solid arguments. I hope the faster change for EV’s will happen, so much better for our planet and all of the living beings on the planet!

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