The Economist has an interesting and informative new video up: “Electric cars will come of age in 2018.” The Economist supports that view that the global tipping point for electric cars may well be 2018 based on information regular CleanTechnica readers know well, but it’s great to see such communication in the mass media.
One key point is that the more affordable total cost of ownership is shifting from gasoline cars to more sublime electric cars. The head-to-head comparison shows the total cost of ownership of an EV to be cheaper in 2018, based on estimates from The Economist.
Additionally, we no longer see EVs as the funny or odd contraptions that turned off many people in the 1980s and 1990s. Tesla’s supreme appeal thanks to the performance and high tech of its cars have led the way into a new era, and its modernistic minimalism keeps attracting new buyers. Electric cars are truly cool in 2017 — hip as the miniskirt once was.
The Economist does, of course, bring up environmental concerns that routinely come up about electric transport — it can be powered by coal. However, it’s important to recognize that even driving electric on the dirtiest grid is cleaner than driving an average car. Most of us who drive electric for the environment do use solar-powered charging spots when we can. And in the midst of a grid shift to renewable energy, the overall electricity mix we drive on will get cleaner and cleaner. More and more charging infrastructure will rely on solar and wind.
The Economist suggests that there is a global shift of power in the works. Oil is going to become much less important. Instability across oil nations is going to increase as a result, however.
Electric car batteries are coming swiftly into focus. The batteries often rely on the mineral cobalt. Two-thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from one country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Economist continues that demand for cobalt has doubled over the past 5 years. It will triple by 2020. The Democratic Republic of Congo does not bring to mind safe politics and does bring to mind a certain amount of corruption and environmental degradation. Cobalt mining there is probably something many of us would emotionally prefer to not learn more about. Heartbreaking issues are in the underbelly of all too many consumer goods. (Personally, I would like to see Fair Trade accreditation for my EV.)
Many governments are driving this emissions-free electric car push. We can expect to find increasing regulatory tightening on gas emissions and gas cars. There is going to be a global shift. Electric cars have unstoppable momentum. CleanTechnica pinned 2017 as a game-changing year. It’s great to see The Economist pegging 2018 as the truly breakout year for the industry. We do agree with that forecast.