Home » Posts tagged 'electric vehicles'

Tag Archives: electric vehicles

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

2020 Will Be A Crucial Year For Oil

2020 Will Be A Crucial Year For Oil

Oil

It’s the start of a new year and a new decade, and the oil market is as unpredictable as ever.

Will OPEC+ extend its cuts? Will U.S. shale finally grind to a halt? Is this the “year of the electric vehicle”? Here are 10 stories to watch in 2020.

Shale debt, shale slowdown. The debt-fueled shale drilling boom is facing a reckoning. Around 200 North American oil and gas companies have declared bankruptcy since 2015, but the mountain of debt taken out a few years ago is finally coming due. Roughly $41 billion in debt matures in 2020, which ensures more bankruptcies will be announced this year. The wave of debt may also force the industry to slam on the breaks as companies scramble to come up with cash to pay off creditors.

Year of the EV. Some analysts say that 2020 will be the “year of the EV” because of the dozens of new EV models set to hit the market. In Europe, available EV models will rise from 100 to 175. The pace of sales slowed at the end of last year, but the entire global auto market contracted. EVs may struggle to keep the pace of growth going, but EVs are capturing a growing portion of a shrinking pie.

Climate change. 2020 starts off with hellish images from the out-of-control Australian bushfires. 2019 was one of the warmest years on record and the 2010s was the warmest decade on record. As temperatures rise and disasters multiply, pressure will continue to mount on the oil and gas industry. As Bloomberg Opinion points out, climate change has surged as a point of concern for publicly-listed companies. Oil executives are betting against climate action, but they are surely aware of the rising investment risk. In the past two months, the European Investment Bank is ending financing for oil, gas and coal, and Goldman Sachs cut out financing for coal and Arctic oil. More announcements like this are inevitable.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Human Cost of the EV Revolution

The Human Cost of the EV Revolution

Mining

There’s a chance that the iPhone you’re about to get for Christmas contains cobalt mined by a six-year-old. There’s also a chance that that six-year-old has been killed or maimed in the processes of mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the lion’s share of the world’s cobalt comes from. 

Or, maybe, for those whose Christmas lists are more upscale, you’ll be driving around in a new Tesla next week, with a battery containing cobalt from that same mine. 

Our luxuries are necessarily someone else’s sacrifice – and sometimes that sacrifice is the ultimate one. 

The EV and electronics revolutions have come at a steep human cost: a boom in child labor in the DRC as child cobalt miners offer battery makers and Big Tech cheap labor.

That’s the focus of the first-ever lawsuit targeting giant tech firms as end-users of cobalt from mines in which young children have died. 

Having failed to bring down giant miners of cobalt in DRC, such as Glencore, this time lawyers are going after the end users themselves. 

The first reports about child labor in the cobalt mines in the DRC emerged several years ago. And while no one likes to hear that their Tesla, lithium battery, smartphone, or fitness tracker has cost a child his health—or worse, his life—this is the reality of cobalt mining today.

This week, International Rights Advocates filed a lawsuit against Tesla, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, and Alphabet for knowingly benefiting financially from child labor in the DRC. 

The suit was filed on behalf of 13 families whose children died or were seriously injured while mining for cobalt. The suit also seeks damages from miners Glencore and Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, which supply cobalt to the tech majors and to Tesla.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coming Copper Peak

The Coming Copper Peak

Elon Musk told a closed-door Washington conference of miners, regulators and lawmakers that he sees a shortage of EV minerals coming, including copper and nickel (Scheyder 2019).   Other rare metals used in cars include neodymium, lanthanum, terbium, and dysprosium (Gorman 2009).

***

Richard A. Kerr. February 14, 2014. The Coming Copper Peak.  Science 343:722-724.

Production of the vital metal will top out and decline within decades, according to a new model that may hold lessons for other resources.

If you take social unrest and environmental factors into account, the peak could be as early as the 2020s

As a crude way of taking account of social and environmental constraints on production, Northey and colleagues reduced the amount of copper available for extraction in their model by 50%. Then the peak that came in the late 2030s falls to the early 2020s, just a decade away.

After peak Copper

Whenever it comes, the copper peak will bring change.  Graedel and his Yale colleagues reported in a paper published on 2 December 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that copper is one of four metals—chromium, manganese, and lead being the others—for which “no good substitutes are presently available for their major uses.”

If electrons are the lifeblood of a modern economy, copper makes up its blood vessels. In cables, wires, and contacts, copper is at the core of the electrical distribution system, from power stations to the internet. A small car has 20 kilograms (44 lbs) of copper in everything from its starter motor to the radiator; hybrid cars have twice that. But even in the face of exponentially rising consumption—reaching 17 million metric tons in 2012—miners have for 10,000 years met the world’s demand for copper.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Do electric cars take more CO2 to build than they save?

Do electric cars take more CO2 to build than they save?

EVs take a lot of CO2 to manufacture but should save more over a lifetime of use

Electric vehicles generate about 25 per cent more CO2 than the manufacture of gasoline powered vehicles largely die to the massive lithium batteries. (Getty images)

Listen 2:33 (click on above link to listen)

This week’s question comes to us from John Stinner in Prince George, B.C. He asks:

Do electric car batteries take more CO2 to make than they save?

Olivier Trescases, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Toronto suggests that this is a very important question to answer given the projected increase in the use of electric vehicles in the coming years.

Trescases says there has been research to suggest that the amount of CO2 produced by the manufacture of an electric vehicle is 25 per cent greater than that generated in the manufacture of a gasoline vehicle.

The difference is largely due to the massive lithium battery required to power the vehicle.

In terms of CO2 emissions from driving, EV-related emissions depend on where the electricity comes from. In the United States, even considering the various sources of electricity, the total emission of CO2 over the lifetime of the vehicle is still 50 per cent less than the emissions from a gasoline-powered car.

In the future, that number will increase as more electricity is generated from wind and solar power.

As well, lithium batteries are likely to become smaller and more efficient, and will therefore generate less CO2.

Visualizing How Much Oil Is In An Electric Vehicle?

Visualizing How Much Oil Is In An Electric Vehicle?

When most people think about oil and natural gas, the first thing that comes to mind is the gas in the tank of their car. But, as Visual Capitalist’s Nicholas LePan notes, there is actually much more to oil’s role, than meets the eye…

Oil, along with natural gas, has hundreds of different uses in a modern vehicle through petrochemicals.

Today’s infographic comes to us from American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers, and covers why oil is a critical material in making the EV revolution possible.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada’s Cars Are World’s Worst Gas Guzzlers, but BC May Be Tipping Point

Canada’s Cars Are World’s Worst Gas Guzzlers, but BC May Be Tipping Point

Surge in electric vehicle sales a silver lining to high pump prices.

SUVTireSnow.jpg
Without BC’s carbon tax on fuel, UBC researchers figured, demand per capita would be seven per cent higher and the average vehicle’s fuel efficiency would be four per cent lower. Photo via Shutterstock.

[Editor’s note: Accelerating gasoline prices in B.C. have triggered an investigationby the B.C. Utilities Commission and are helping to fuel a boom in electric vehicle sales in the province. Refining more crude locally might eventually cause gasoline prices to drop but that would take years and a major investment, says one analyst. “I can’t see anybody wanting to invest at least a billion [dollars] for a new refinery in British Columbia because you’ve got electric vehicles coming over the hill. They’re in the market, they’re available, and they are a viable alternative to gasoline powered cars.” 

Is that a tipping point we hear? The Tyee’s Geoff Dembicki predicted in December that might happen. Earlier this month, University of Calgary professor Blake Shaffer revealed Canadian cars are the world’s top gas guzzlers, but B.C.’s carbon tax along with provincial and federal electric-car-friendly policies are mapping the road to redemption. Given trends at the pump and in the atmosphere, Shaffer’s findings are more relevant daily.]

Usually when Canada is at the top of an international ranking, it’s cause for celebration. Not this time.

A recent report by the International Energy Agency shows that Canada’s vehicles have the highest average fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre driven. They are also the largest and the second heaviest in the world.

In short: Canadian vehicles are bigheavy and guzzle a lot of gasoline. For a country that is championing its climate action, how do we square these facts?

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Electric Car-Owners Shocked: New Study Confirms EVs Considerably Worse For Climate Than Diesel Cars

Electric Car-Owners Shocked: New Study Confirms EVs Considerably Worse For Climate Than Diesel Cars

The Brussel Times reports that a new German study exposes how electric vehicles will hardly decrease CO2 emissions in Europe over the coming years, as the introduction of electric vehicles won’t lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from highway traffic.

According to the study directed by Christoph Buchal of the University of Cologne, published by the Ifo Institute in Munich last week, electric vehicles have “significantly higher CO2 emissions than diesel cars.” That is due to the significant amount of energy used in the mining and processing of lithium, cobalt, and manganese, which are critical raw materials for the production of electric car batteries.

A battery pack for a Tesla Model 3 pollutes the climate with 11 to 15 tonnes of CO2. Each battery pack has a lifespan of approximately ten years and total mileage of 94,000, would mean 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometer (116 to 156 grams of CO2 per mile), Buchal said. Add to this the CO2 emissions of the electricity from powerplants that power such vehicles, and the actual Tesla emissions could be between 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometer (249 and 289 grams of CO2 per mile).

German researchers criticized the fact that EU legislation classifies electric cars as zero-emission cars; they call it a deception because electric cars, like the Model 3, with all the factors, included, produce more emissions than diesel vehicles by Mercedes.

They further wrote that the EU target of 59 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2030 is “technically unrealistic.”

The reality is, in addition to the CO2 emissions generated in mining the raw materials for the production of electric vehicles, all EU countries generate significant CO2 emissions from charging the vehicles’ batteries using dirty power plants.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are We Sleepwalking Into The Next Oil Crisis?

Are We Sleepwalking Into The Next Oil Crisis?

Oil

One school of thought is that future oil demand is set to decline because consumers will have better options. Many in this “peak demand” camp believe that the growth of electric vehicles will soon make oil obsolete.

That’s a relatively painless view of the future and is consistent with much of our past experience. Old technologies are frequently replaced by newer, better, and cheaper technologies.

I have written previously on why I don’t believe this version of future oil demand will unfold anytime soon. In a nutshell, if you “do the math,” it becomes clear that it will be years before EVs can take a meaningful bite out of oil demand.

Meanwhile, some organizations are sounding the alarm that rather than a peak demand scenario, we may soon face a peak supply scenario. Or at the least, the loss of global excess spare capacity. The last time this happened, oil prices rose above $100 a barrel.

Words of Warning

In January 2017, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid A. Al-Falih warned CNBC that he foresaw a risk of oil shortages by 2020:

“I believe if the investment flows that we have seen the last two or three years continue in the next two or three years, we will have a shortage of oil supply by 2020. We know, from what we have seen in the last couple of years, that prices around the current level and below are not attracting enough investment. We know the level of natural decline that existing production is undergoing, and we know that demand is picking up at 1.2 to 1.5 million barrels a year. So between increase in demand and natural decline, we need millions of barrels every year to be brought to the market, which requires massive investment.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Not So Happy Motoring


It hasn’t been a great month for America’s electric car fantasy. Elon Musk’s Tesla company — the symbolic beating heart of the fantasy — is whirling around the drain with its share price plummeting 22 percent, its bonds downgraded by Moody’s to junk status, a failure to produce its “affordable” ($36,000 — Ha!) Model 3 at commercial scale, a massive recall of earlier S Model sedans for a steering defect, and the spectacular fiery crash in Silicon Valley last week of an X model that may have been operating in automatic mode (the authorities can’t determine that based on what’s left), and which killed the driver.

Oh, and an experimental self-driving Uber car (Volvo brand) ran over and killed a lady crossing the street with her bicycle in Tempe, Arizona, two weeks ago. Don’t blame Elon for that.

There’s a lot to like about electric cars, of course, if, say, you’re a Google executive floating through life in a techno-narcissism bubble, or a Hollywood actor with wooly grandiose notions of saving the planet while simultaneously signaling your wealth and your “green” virtue cred. Teslas supposedly handle beautifully, ride very quietly, have great low-end power, and decent range of over 200 miles. The engine has something like twenty moving parts, is very long-lasting, and is easy to repair or change out if necessary.

Are they actually “green and clean?” Bwaahaaaaa….! Are you kidding? First, there’s the energy embedded in producing the car: mining and smelting the ores, manufacturing the plastics, running the assembly line, etc. That embedded energy amounts to about 22 percent of the energy consumed by the car over a ten-year lifetime. Then there’s the cost of actually powering the car day-by-day. The electricity around the USA is produced mostly by burning coal, natural gas, or by nuclear fission, all of which produce harmful emissions or byproducts. But the illusion that the power just comes out of a plug in the wall (for just pennies a day!) is a powerful one for the credulous public. The cherry-on-top is the fantasy that before much longer all that electric power will come from “renewables,” solar and wind, and we can leave the whole fossil fuel mess behind us. We say that to ourselves as a sort of prayer, and it has exactly that value.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Another way to destroy a grid: add a million electric vehicles

Another way to destroy a grid: add a million electric vehicles

New electric vehicles have big fat batteries, which will help solve the problem known as “charge anxiety” (let’s call that the Flat-Bat-Fear).

The new fat-batteries, however, have the small catch that they need two days to trickle charge. Hmm. Then there is the other catch that each slow charger (7KW) is equivalent to adding nearly three houses to the grid. At the same time our Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg predicts there will be one million electric cars on Australian roads by 2030.

You might think this is slow motion train wreck, but we might avoid this if households opt for fast 50KW chargers. In that case we can do the train-wreck at top speed.

Each fast charger will apparently be “like” adding the equivalent of 20, count them, 20 homes.

This is fearmongering obviously — no one is going to want a fast charger when they could leave the car in the garage for 48 hours instead.

New Zealand report claims new generation electric vehicles threaten the power network

Ben Packham, The Australian

New Zealand’s biggest energy distributor, Vector, warned electric vehicle chargers “put a large electrical load on the network”, with even 2.4kW “trickle” chargers adding the equivalent of one additional home to the grid.

Vector’s electric vehicle network integration green paper said the shift to larger batteries would encourage drivers to opt for faster chargers, to avoid a two-day charge. A “slow” 7kW charger would add the equivalent of 2.8 homes to the grid, while a “rapid” 50kW charger would add the equivalent of 20 homes.

It said New Zealand’s power grid could require a $NZ530 million ($500m) upgrade if 7kW chargers were used, and one in four cars on the road were electric vehicles.

Can someone calculate the cost per EV in NZ? Thanks…

BP Sees Peak Oil Demand In 2030s

BP Sees Peak Oil Demand In 2030s

BP

BP says oil demand will peak in the 2030s, and that EVs will rise 100-fold to capture about a third of the car market.

BP released its annual Energy Outlook, with forecasts through 2040. Unlike in years past, this version sees more upheaval on the horizon as the energy landscape evolves rapidly. “Indeed, the continuing rapid growth of renewables is leading to the most diversified fuel mix ever seen,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said in a statement. “Abundant and diversified energy supplies will make for a challenging marketplace. Don’t be fooled by the recent firming in oil prices: the focus on efficiency, reliability and capital discipline is here to stay.”

BP believes that just about all of the growth in energy demand will come from fast-growing developing economies, with China and India alone accounting for half of the total growth in global energy demand through 2040.

BP offered several different forecasts, but all predict a peak in oil demand in the 2030s, with varying degrees of decline thereafter. Its central forecast sees peak oil demand in the mid-2030s at about 110 million barrels per day (mb/d), with consumption plateauing and declining through 2040 and beyond. In other words, demand grows for another two decades, rising by 15 mb/d, before consumption tops out.

BP sees the number of EVs on the road surging to 320 million by 2040, capturing about a third of the market in terms of miles traveled. That equates roughly to a 100-fold increase from the 3 million EVs on the road today. It is also sharply up from the 100 million EVs BP expected to be on the road in 2035 in last year’s Energy Outlook.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are Electric Cars As Clean As They Seem?

Are Electric Cars As Clean As They Seem?

electric car

Tesla’s unveiling of its mass market Model 3 sparked a global interest in making electric vehicles the next big thing in automobile manufacturing. But can the category’s green agenda keep up with its metal and recycling needs?

The concept of bunking the traditional engine for a non-gas guzzling counterpart has been here for decades, but creating an ecosystem for battery charging and bringing vehicle costs down was a challenge for decades.

The sheer force of Elon Musk’s vision is building the infrastructure needed to sustain millions of electric cars in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Most major manufacturers have joined the enthusiasm to ditch old-school engines to construct the international fleet of tomorrow.

But this new step doesn’t solve all of the world’s environmental pollution issues related to transportation. The extraction of rare earth minerals, the disposal of lithium-ion batteries, and the sourcing of the energy that powers charging stations are all issues that plague the future of the green argument for electric vehicles.

As Wired notes in an article from last year, electric vehicles are most efficient when they’re light. That way, they need minimal energy to transport their valuable cargo. In search for a light material to carry and conduct batteries, scientists discovered the power of lithium—a highly conductive metal that adds little burden to the vehicle’s frame.

Discovered in 1817, this key ingredient is mostly extracted from deposits in the United States, Chile, and Australia. The most cost-effective method for lithium processing involves pumping salt-rich waters into special evaporation ponds that eventually produce lithium chloride. Then, a special plant adds sodium carbonate to turn the former lithium chloride into lithium carbonate, a white powder.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“End Of Oil” Narratives Are Misleading

“End Of Oil” Narratives Are Misleading

Oil

The world isn’t reinventing the wheel. But we are changing how it turns, who it carries and where it’s going.

Over the next few decades we’ll be plugging in more cars, hailing and sharing them, and reminiscing about the good ol’ days of the steering wheel.

To be sure, these looming mobility changes are all exciting and impactful. But none of these nascent trends extrapolate easily into a narrative about “the end of oil,” a disruptive displacement of the fuel everyone loves to hate.

Contrary to armchair calculus, more electric vehicle (EV) sales do not equate to the world using less oil anytime soon.

In fact, whichever way you cut the spreadsheets, the numbers are pointing in the opposite direction. By 2030, less than 15 years from now, I expect around 400 million more internal combustion engines will accumulate into the global fleet of passenger cars – even after assuming that EV market penetration is accelerated with the heavy-handed help of governments around the world.

Here is an indication of the scale of vehicle accumulation: So far this year, to the end of September, over 70 million vehicles with internal combustion engines have been sold worldwide. Every new vehicle that’s sold lingers in the fleet.

Simplistic assumptions and analogies abound. A petroleum-powered vehicle is not like a cheap DVD or videocassette that gets pitched out the minute you buy a Netflix subscription. A car already on the road is an expensive asset –most often financed with debt – that’s put to work for as long as possible by a string of owners. What’s under-appreciated is that most oil-burning vehicles will resist going to the scrap yard, due to their stubborn and improving reliability (see my column Old Pistons Die Hard from October 16th.)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Electrifying the A9 Trunk Road in Scotland

Electrifying the A9 Trunk Road in Scotland

The Scottish Government recently announced the phasing out of the internal combustion engine by 2032, i.e. in 15 years time. To support the policy it was also announced that the A9 trunk road would be electrified with the provision of charging points along the route. Like all announcements made by the Scottish Government on energy policy I viewed it with some skepticism and I wanted to find out what it would entail. Did this mean hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of charging points?

The A9 Trunk Road Route

The A9 today originates in the heart of Scotland’s densely populated Central Belt near the town of Dunblane, the home of Andy Murray. The road is in three main sections. Dunblane to Perth (29 miles); Perth to Inverness (112 miles) and Inverness to Thurso (109 miles) giving a grand total of 250 miles. It is Scotland’s longest road. Thurso lies on the N coast and is home to the Dounreay fast breeder reactor (now being decommissioned).

Figure 1 The route of the A9 showing the towns mentioned in the text. Blackford and Tomatin are the points where traffic volumes are recorded.

The most famous section is Perth to Inverness since just N of Perth the road enters the Highlands and winds its way north through the scenic Grampian and Cairngorm Mountains and it is this section that will be the focus of this post.

Electric Car Range

“Family” electric cars today have a typical range of 100 miles. Teslas will give you 200 to 400 miles but only through cramming a huge battery pack into the chassis adding lots of weight and cost. While there is much ‘Greenspeak’ about battery technology improvements, in reality battery technology has not improved much for decades since the Li ion battery came of age.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Aston Martin CEO: UK Fossil Fuel Ban “Meaningless”

Aston Martin CEO: UK Fossil Fuel Ban “Meaningless”

EV

British performance carmaker Aston Martin’s chief sees his country taking a very unrealistic approach to dealing with air pollution.

The UK government’s July announcement that it will be banning the sale of petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 is “meaningless” to Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer.

Government officials are certainly not automotive engineers and are missing the mark, he said.

“Policy makers should not try to be engineers,” Palmer said. His conclusion was that the July announcement banning fossil fuel vehicles by 2040 was “just spin” and doesn’t stand a chance of being achieved.

China is now becoming one of four countries joining the UK in stopping fossil-fuel powered vehicles on its roads, along with France and Norway. Xin Guobin, the country’s vice minister of industry and information technology, announced in a speech earlier this month that regulators are working on a timeline for phasing out the sales and production of the gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

Other countries central to the global auto market are considering heading toward an eventual phase-out of petroleum-powered cars through government incentives and mandates. It’s a big job – with about 695,000 of 84 million new vehicles sold last year being electric; and with about a billon gasoline and diesel vehicles out on roads across the world now.

These regulators are getting their wires crossed with national mandates, Palmer said.

“In my view as an engineer, it’s better to prescribe the emission, and then let the engineers figure out what the right technology is,” he said.

Palmer thinks the technology is already there with fuel efficient gasoline engine vehicles. He made reference to Formula 1 racers in development that can already double their previous fuel economy.

Hybrid vehicles can confuse the issue.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase