The NMA Foundation presents The Car of the Future weekly feature:
This has been the summer of announcements for electric vehicles (EVs). So many announcements—hard to keep track really.
Bloomberg posted this week that the Electric Car might be as big a disrupter as the IPhone.
California officials also announced this past week that they are exploring the idea of banning the sale of gas and diesel-engined vehicles, perhaps by 2030. California had already set a goal to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent of the 1990 levels by 2050—this would actually require the state to replace virtually all combustion by renewable energy. Governor Jerry Brown considered this idea after China announced earlier in the month that the world’s largest car market plans to go electric as well.
Mary Nichols, chair of the California Resources Board stated that there is no timeline as of yet but 2030 is not “out of the question.” There are currently just over 300,000 EVs on California roads. A ban would likely have an impact on the entire auto industry. No doubt!
Over a seven year span, California spent $449 million on consumer rebates to boost zero-emissions vehicles sales. In 2016, of the two million cars sold, only 75,000 were electric or plug-in hybrids. Of the 26 million cars and light trucks registered in the state, around 315,000 are EVs or plug-in hybrids. Much discussion in the auto press as of late has been on whether governments should give rebates or should EVs stand on their own in the marketplace.
Last month, China announced it plans to ban all sales of gas and diesel-engined vehicles (no date set yet). This is big news because China sells 30 percent of all the world’s cars. China announced that they will even allow other non-state carmakers to help build EVs in China.
In 2016, China became the country with the largest electric car stock: 200 million electric two-wheelers, three to four million low-speed vehicles (LSEVs) and more than 300 thousand electric buses. China also accounted for more than 40 percent of EVs sold worldwide doubling the amount sold in the United States. Until 2015, the U.S. accounted for the largest portion of the global car stock.
According to a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, 95 percent of EVs are sold only in ten countries: Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.
By 2025, India and Norway plan to end the sale of gas and diesel-engined vehicles. In 2017, Norway had 40 percent of all newly registered vehicles as EV, hybrid, or hydrogen-fueled engines and last year, the country held 6.4 percent of EV market share due to their aggressive efforts.
Automakers are getting into the act as well. Volkswagen is all in and so are Volvo and BMW. Porsche also announced recently they plan to have half of their models electric by 2023. (Not everyone is happy about Porsche going electric nor Volvo.) General Motors is already planning on launching ten models to China by 2020. Daimler has also recently made a partnership with a Chinese car company.
Germany has been discussing the switch to electric. As a world powerhouse in making cars, Germany could lose a great deal. If all their auto companies were to no longer make or sell internal combustion engines beginning in 2030, ten percent of the German workforce would be affected according to a study commissioned by the German Association of the Automotive Industry.
Another issue before going electric is where can owners charge their vehicles? Many states are already thinking about solutions but if EVs become more popular rather quickly, many more stations that can charge fast will need to be online. Currently there are 44,000 public charging stations online. Tesla expects to make and sell over 400,000 EVs by the end of 2018 which is double their current stock plus if you add all the other companies bringing EVs and hybrids online, the United States will certainly need more EV chargers and soon.
Gasoline Companies are even getting in on the act by discussing potential partnerships with EV automakers to bring EV chargers to their stations.
Another issue the industry is trying to tackle–if enough EV owners charge their cars at peak demand or at high-speed chargers, there may not be enough power on the grid to accommodate everyone.
Also, some are questioning whether utilities should build charging stations for EVs? California’s Public Utilities Commission has readily agreed to the idea of utilities helping build stations but in the past year, the utility commissions in three states, Michigan, Missouri and Kansas, have denied requests. These commissioners felt that the private sector instead of ratepayers should handle the building of charging stations.
The amount of time it takes to charge an electric car is also still a problem. Researchers are close to building a fast drive-through charger. Daimler has invested in a potential five-minute charger and BMW announced last week they plan to roll out a wireless pad charger.
Electric cars are coming into their own and experts predict that they will be cheaper to buy and operate than gas and diesel-engined cars by the year 2025.
That may be the case but many blocks need to be in place before many more of us buy electric. Perhaps, the dates governments tout to end the sale of gas and diesel-engined cars are soft targets rather than drop-dead dates.
Even so, this is perhaps the dawn of electric vehicles but the case is still out whether or not EVs will be as disruptive as the IPhone.
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