A sampler of news happening around the world in energy transition and specifically electric vehicles using a high level and holistic view. This is a rather lazy diary entry since I’m mostly quoting stories but the transition to EVs and renewables is very complicated and I prefer to let the articles speak for themselves. If I try to rewrite what the article says I will likely get things wrong and confuse people. So please click on the links to get more of the story.
A 100% solar car
A super interesting car experiment in one of the sunniest and harshest place on Earth. While it won’t work everywhere it shows what is possible by building and testing — which is awesome!
Solar-powered off-road car finishes 620-mile test drive across north Africa
The Stella Terra was designed by students at Eindhoven University of Technology and completed trip without recharging.
A solar-powered car said to be the first in the world capable of driving off-road over long distances without recharging has completed a 620-mile (1,000km) test drive across Morocco and the Sahara.
The two-seat Stella Terra, designed by students at the Eindhoven University of Technology, completed the journey across a variety of challenging landscapes as part of a final test of its lightweight frame and aerodynamic profile.
The car, which runs off the energy provided by multiple solar panels on its roof, has a top speed of 90mph (145kmph), weighs only 1,200kg (1.2 tonnes) and has a range of at least 440 miles (710km) on a sunny day.
Read the rest at The Guardian
The United Kingdom Ramps Up Electric Vehicle Transition
The Sunak coalition announced a five year delay for the mandate that new car and van sales must be 80% electric by 2030 or the manufacturer will face penalties. This change was roundly criticized by businesses affected by the alteration as car companies, for example, need many years to manage such a transition. Changing the rules in mid stream can cause serious disruptions in the supply line and tooling plans. The good part of the UK EV mandate is that it applied equally to all companies selling cars and vans so the field was leveled. All of the companies expressed a strong need for commitment and consistency from London during the transition — but maybe chaos is Sunak’s goal.
A reassuring article states that the EV mandate stays in place regardless of Sunak’s diversion.
From The Guardian
Most new cars sold in UK will have to be fully electric by 2030, government confirms
The government has confirmed the majority of new cars sold in Britain will have to be electric by 2030 despite Rishi Sunak’s decision last week to delay a ban on petrol and diesel cars by five years.
Under the long-awaited zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate, 80% of sales must be fully electric, or another alternative, within seven years. Carmakers would have to pay £15,000 for each petrol or diesel engine above that threshold, the Department for Transport said on Thursday.
Under the plans, 22% of sales in 2024 must be powered by batteries, compared with the actual figure of 20.1% in August this year. The proportion will rise annually, hitting 52% in 2028, two-thirds in 2029, and 80% in 2030. Alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cells will also count but in practice there is almost no market for them and batteries are set to dominate.
Lisa Brankin, the UK chair of Ford, said the US carmaker’s plans to go all-electric in Europe by 2030 were “unwavering” after she criticised the UK’s U-turn on the 2030 ban. She welcomed the ZEV mandate because it would provide “a strong investment signal to infrastructure providers to accelerate installation of new charge points”.
Nissan jumped in with this statement.
From The Guardian
Nissan vows to go all-electric by 2030 despite Sunak delay on petrol ban
Nissan has vowed to “press ahead” with a plan to only sell electric vehicles in Europe by 2030 despite Rishi Sunak’s delay to the UK ban on new petrol and diesel car sales.
The Japanese carmaker said all new models in Europe will be entirely electric by the end of the decade, as it launched a new EV design in London.
Carmakers have already spent billions shifting their models and supply chains towards electric cars, and the ban could disrupt their plans for phasing out petrol and diesel cars. However, Nissan said on Monday that it was “pressing ahead with plans to achieve 100% EV in Europe by 2030, with all new Nissan models from now to be all-electric in Europe”.
Ford and the Vauxhall owner, Stellantis, also plan to be fully electric in Europe by 2030, and Volvo intends to sell only EVs globally by then. Traditional car brands are racing to catch up with electric specialists such as Tesla.
Nissan’s president and chief executive, Makoto Uchida, said: “There’s no going back. The world needs to move on from internal combustion engines.”
If you wonder about public support for the EV Transition here are some polling results.
From The Guardian
Tory swing voters switch to Labour after Sunak’s green retreat, poll finds
Carried out by pollsters Opinium, the survey found that 82% of all respondents backed the growth of Britain’s green industry to boost the economy, in the same week that the prime minister announced a series of U-turns on the government’s green commitments in an attempt to create a dividing line with Labour before the election.
The survey of more than 5,000 adults found support for the green economy was even stronger among swing voters who supported the Conservatives in 2019 and are now planning to switch to Labour, at 88%.
The survey was carried out between 8 and 20 September, when the prime minister confirmed a major about-turn on the government’s climate commitments. Rishi Sunak said the UK would push back the ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars and the phasing out of gas boilers. He also plans to dilute energy efficiency standards.
When asked which of the chancellor’s five “priority sectors” of the economy were most likely to encourage growth overall, twice as many people thought green industries would have the biggest positive impact on overall growth than any other sector, including life sciences, digital tech and advanced manufacturing.
Growing investment in renewable energy was backed by 71% of respondents, according to the poll, which was commissioned by trade association Renewable UK. Only 40% of respondents agreed that the Tory party had even partially delivered on this commitment. Renewable UK is expected to reveal the findings of the poll at an event at the Conservative party conference.
Stockholm, Sweden is implementing a ban on petrol and diesel cars to improve air quality.
From The Guardian
Stockholm to ban petrol and diesel cars from centre from 2025
Stockholm has announced plans to become the first big capital city to ban petrol and diesel cars from its centre, in an effort to slash pollution and reduce noise.
From 2025, 20 blocks of Stockholm’s inner city area, spanning its finance and main shopping districts, will be restricted to electric vehicle traffic only. A decision on whether to expand the zone will be made in early 2025.
Announcing the plan, Lars Stromgren, the city’s vice-mayor for transport, said: “Nowadays, the air in Stockholm causes babies to have lung conditions and the elderly to die prematurely. We need to eliminate the harmful exhaust gases from petrol and diesel cars. That’s why we are introducing the most ambitious low-emission zone to date.”
A number of cities have introduced – or are introducing – schemes to try to tackle air pollution but Stockholm’s goes further than most. Paris, Athens and Madrid have only banned diesel cars, and London has a charging scheme that covers the most polluting combustion engines.
“Many cities have implemented low-emission zones where high-emission cars are allowed to drive if they pay a charge,” Stromgren was quoted as saying by Air Quality News. “Stockholm’s model is more far-reaching. Petrol and diesel cars are prohibited, period. It is more ‘ultra’ than the ultra-low emission zone of London.
This fits with Volvo’s plans to stop making gas and diesel cars in 2030.
What about the European Union? No new fossil fuel cars from 2035 onward.
From The European Union Website
Fit for 55: EU reaches new milestone to make all new cars and vans zero-emission from 2035
Transport is responsible for one quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, and road transport makes up 70% of that amount. Stricter CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans will bring down those emissions, helping Europe reach climate neutrality by 2050. It will also help tackle air pollution across the Union and keep the automotive industry innovative and competitive with the rest of the world. As an intermediary step towards zero emissions, the new CO2 standards will also require average emissions of new cars to come down by 55% by 2030, and new vans by 50% by 2030.
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said following the Council vote: “The final vote today marks an important step towards zero-emission mobility in the EU. The direction of travel is clear: in 2035, new cars and vans must have zero emissions. The new rules on CO2-emissions from cars and vans are a key part of the European Green Deal and will be a big contribution to our target of being climate neutral by 2050.”
Let’s give Europe some rest and look at The USA. The article has loads of interesting information about how the shift to EVs will affect auto workers in America.
From The Hill
What does the transition to EVs mean for workers?
Former President Trump and other GOP hopefuls are demonizing the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) as part of an effort to win over disaffected workers in Michigan. At the same time, President Biden is making the case that the transition can go hand-in-hand with job creation.
The reality is grayer than politicians on either side of the aisle say, according to experts.
“We don’t see evidence” that EVs are “job-killers at this point,” said Sanya Carley, a professor of energy policy at the University of Pennsylvania. “We do see evidence that some factories have closed … we also see some evidence that plenty of factories have retooled or have changed.”
Speaking before autoworkers in Michigan last week, Trump described Biden’s electric vehicle policies as sending “Michigan autoworkers to the unemployment line.”
And during last week’s GOP presidential debate, former Vice President Mike Pence said Biden’s “Green New Deal agenda is good for Beijing and bad for Detroit.”
The barbs come as the United Auto Workers (UAW) union strikes over pay-related issues. The union does not oppose the transition to electric vehicles, with UAW president Shawn Fain saying it’s a “false choice” to present EVs as being in opposition to worker rights, but it has accused automakers of using the transition to pay workers less.
Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found the transition to electric vehicles has the potential to eliminate jobs from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio if policies to protect workers are not implemented.
It also found, however, that if policies are put in place to protect workers’ jobs, such as a requirement that components for the batteries needed to power electric vehicles be made domestically, the shift could actually spur the creation of 50,000 jobs in those states compared to existing circumstances.
“That was an extremely important finding that in fact we ended up with more manufacturing jobs in the tri-state area,” said David Foster, chief author of the paper.
Such rules were included in Biden’s climate law that expanded consumer subsidies for electric vehicles — and mandated that a percentage of a vehicle’s battery components must be manufactured in the U.S. for it to qualify for a portion of the credit.
Foster, a distinguished fellow at the Energy Futures Initiative and former Obama administration energy adviser, was also chief author of a paper that modeled the jobs impacts of energy legislation passed under Biden.
That paper projected that the U.S. will have a net increase of 45,000 manufacturing jobs by 2030. It projected there will be 61,000 new vehicle manufacturing jobs.
A lot of electrons have been used to trash talk electric vehicles and one major point is the availability of certain minerals and metals. I am not knowledgeable about mining at all so here is an article that covers the situation very well (in my opinion).
How a handful of metals could determine the future of the electric car industry
Companies are betting hundreds of billions of dollars on electric cars and trucks. To make them, they'll need a lot of batteries. And that means they need a lot of minerals, like lithium, cobalt and nickel, to be dug up out of the earth.
These minerals aren't particularly rare, but production needs to scale up massively — at an unprecedented pace — to meet the auto industry's ambitions.
And there's another big challenge: The existing supply chain is dominated by a single country: China.
"China pretty much controls almost all the metals required," says Kwasi Ampofo, the head of metals and mining at the research company BloombergNEF.
Beijing controls about three-quarters of the market for the minerals that are essential for batteries.
It's not that China won the geological lottery and just happened to have really rich deposits of these minerals. In fact, the richest deposits are in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Australia and Chile.
But China set out intentionally to dominate the processing of these minerals, as part of a plan to become a major player in electric vehicles.
Beijing had the authoritarian power, the money, the massive market and the will to make that happen. And it worked — much to the anxiety of the West.
Worried about future access to battery minerals, the Biden administration and other governments around the world are trying to build up their domestic supply chains to reduce their dependence on China.
Congress has earmarked $3 billion to support U.S.-based mining and processing of battery minerals. Companies are racing to get projects off the ground — or rather, into the ground.
But in the U.S., many communities are understandably reluctant to allow a new mine or refinery to open.
Trent Mell is the CEO of Electra, a company working to process cobalt in Canada. He points out that Idaho has significant cobalt deposits — mostly on U.S. Forest Service land. It's not easy to get permission to mine there.
"I've been a miner for 20 years," Mell says. "America is one of the best places in the world to mine, but one of the harder places in the Western world to permit."
There is a lot more in the article and I encourage you to read or listen to it.
And what about General Motors? Here is a very fancy website that is encouraging and upbeat about electric vehicles, charging, home energy storage, and other things. I had fun perusing through it but I always am skeptical of any huge corporation with respect to truthyness.
From the GM energy website
WHAT IS GM ENERGY
An Electric Ecosystem, Reimagined
We’re designing integrated energy solutions that will change energy as we know it. With the power of Ultium technology, we’re introducing a network of charging stations, dedicated back-up home power and a suite of new products to help create a more resilient grid.
CREATING THE FUTURE
Powering Homes, Communities, & Businesses
GM Energy is launching Ultium Home and Ultium Commercial. These all-new product lines will provide cohesive energy management at the home, commercial and community level.
DRIVING THE FUTURE FORWARD
GM is investing nearly $750M in charging infrastructure so you have a better charging experience at home and work. We’re also pursuing the development of a coast-to-coast public charging network.
Overall the picture is brighter than it ever has been and I look forward to our clean, electric future. I’ve paid my dues trying to keep internal combustion engines working and I am ready to change. Eliminating most of our worldwide petroleum usage can only bring big benefits in terms of wars, corruption, pollution, and noise. Lets keep the oil in the ground and power our transportation with solar, wind, and hydro.