Category Archives: Transportation

Transportation: 56% of Norway’s new cars are EV-based – but geesh, crappy journalism

42% of Norway’s car sales were pure battery electric, and almost 14% were plug-in hybrid. Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling car, with 11% of the market.

Source: 56% of Norway’s new cars had a plug in 2019, Tesla Model 3 overall best-seller – Electrek

In other words, the government pays consumers massive subsidies to purchase EVs today.

The reporter says EVs are a success in Norway and if they can be so successful in Norway, EVs can be successful anywhere!

The reporter does mention  oil subsidies (exaggerated by converting ordinary business tax credits that apply to all businesses into “oil subsidies”) but does not mention anything about Norway’s EV subsidies. The result is a fake news article by a dufus reporter.

So yes, EVs can be successful in any country with pre-existing cheap, non CO2-producing power and where 50% or more of the EVs’ purchase price is subsidized by the government. This model  surely works in all countries! Not.

What a crappy piece of journalism.

Transportation: Tesla produced 367,500 EVs in 2019

Tesla said Friday that it delivered 367,500 electric vehicles in 2019 — 50% more than the previous year — a record-breaking figure largely supported by sales of the cheaper Model 3.

More than one-third of those deliveries — about 112,000 vehicles — occurred in the fourth quarter.

Source: Tesla surpasses 2019 goal and delivers 367,500 electric vehicles | TechCrunch

And as 2020 gets underway, Tesla has ramped up to 3,000 vehicles per week in their new China factory.

Transportation: New battery promises for EVs

Nikola, a start-up that has focused on hydrogen and battery-powered heavy-duty trucks, isn’t offering many details about the new technology and, considering that other promised breakthroughs have failed to prove production ready, there are plenty of skeptics. Even if it does pan out, tech consultancy ABI Research warns it would likely take several years, at the soonest, to begin manufacturing.

Source: Could this new battery slash the cost of an electric car?

They claim – indirectly – that their battery would extend the range of EVs to 750 miles . Specifically, they say that with 2,000 charge/discharge cycles, their battery is good for 1.5 million miles. 1.5 million divided by 2,000 is 750 miles.

As a practical matter, while ICE vehicles do exceed 500,000 miles life, at times, I wonder what the typical max lifetime mileage of an EV will be? Keep in mind that besides motors and batteries, there are other things that fail over time, including interior finishing,  steering wheel covers, controls, window seals, etc. Still, if their claims are true, this implies excellent range and long lifetime battery banks.

Similarly, IBM recently announced a claimed breakthrough in battery tech made from common materials and enabling extremely fast charging. But as with Nikola, no details have been provided.

IBM Reveals staggering new battery tech – withholds details

Hopefully one of these breakthroughs works! And soon!

Longer ranges – or faster charging – is important for EV success. We could take a year round/4 season range of 300+ miles if charging could be completed in perhaps 15-20 minutes, or a 4 season range of 600 + miles (looking at the routes we travel). One or both of the two options would improve EV practicality by a lot. Of course, affordability will be a key factor. Current EVs with a 200+ mile range are priced and marketed as luxury vehicles and are not yet for the masses.

Price and range anxiety are the two largest impediments to purchasing an EV.

Transportation: Vehicle miles driven per capita are dropping

“For decades, the country’s driving pattern moved in sync with the economy. Now, we’re driving less even though the economy has been expanding for more than a decade.”

Source: America’s Love Affair With Driving Takes a Back Seat – WSJ

This trend is important and is apparently invisible. Oregon and Utah have launched optional vehicle gas or license fees based on miles traveled rather than a fixed annual fee. (A problem with this method is they charge you for miles traveled out of state too.)

Some news reports suggest a per mile charge is needed because of better gas mileage vehicles but miss that people are driving driving less.

“The program emerges after states saw gas tax revenues fall continually in recent years, largely because cars are getting better mileage — and because a growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles escape that tax.”

Cars are getting better gas mileage. EVs, though, represent about 1% (or less) of cars on the road and are an insignificant factor at this time.

The real reason is people may be driving less than in the past while vehicles achieve better gas mileage.

Energy: Lifecycle GHG emissions from a hybrid, plug in hybrid and an EV are about the same

This graphic, from the International Energy Agency, illustrates the lifetime CO2 equivalent emissions from different types of vehicles. “BEV” is a battery electric vehicle with a 400 km range, HEV is a hybrid (like Prius), PHEV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.  This chart assumes the GHG emissions from electricity generation plants are in line with the global average. (FCEV is a fuel cell/hydrogen based system.)

Notably, BEVs are NOT zero emission vehicles and are, in general, on par with PHEVs and Prius-like hybrids when viewing their overall lifecycle emissions.


Source: Global EV Outlook 2019 – Analysis – IEA

The IEA’s model assumes similar sized vehicles in each category, that the EVs have a 400 km range (this determines the battery size), and that local electrical generation emits the global average CO2-equivalent for electricity generation. If the EV range were to be extended by 200 km more, add in the gray zone box above the EV column.

Energy: In many countries, hybrid gas/EVs emit lower emissions than pure electric vehicles

An average battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars using electricity characterised by the current global average carbon intensity (518 grammes of carbon-dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour [g CO2-eq/kWh]) emit less GHGs than a global average ICE vehicle using gasoline over their life cycle. But the extent ultimately depends on the power mix: CO2 emissions savings are significantly higher for electric cars used in countries where the power generation mix is dominated by low-carbon sources. In countries where the power generation mix is dominated by coal, hybrid vehicles exhibit lower emissions than EVs.

Source: Global EV Outlook 2019 – Analysis – IEA

Says the International Energy Agency.

Transportation: Electric Motorcycles

The link, below, is a year old but still good information. Electric motor cycles for city and off road use are interesting. Many are speed limited (e.g. 45-50 mph) or range limited (e.g. 70 miles), but many are also inexpensive.

Some have swappable batteries. This is important for those who – say – live in an apartment and do not have easy access to charging where they park their bike. Just carry the battery pack inside.

Some have range extension options, such as an optional second battery, or plans for future, larger capacity batteries.

Some of the electric motorcycles are priced inexpensively ($2500-$4500) while some are silly – US $30,000 for an electric motorcycle? Seriously?

Source: Electric Motorcycles coming out in 2019: Here are all the coolest options!

Energy: Comparison of internal combustion engine efficiency versus EV battery packs

How many pounds of Lithium batteries do we need to replace 10 gallons of gasoline? We can calculate this out and find that we need about 1,700 pounds of Lithium-based batteries to replace about 10 gallons of fuel because of the much higher energy density of gasoline.

Read one to learn more … Continue reading Energy: Comparison of internal combustion engine efficiency versus EV battery packs

Energy: Should you buy carbon offsets, an EV or solar PV to reduce your environmental impact? It depends.

Some people think they should buy carbon offsets to reduce their environmental impact.

Others think that by switching to an EV, they will reduce their CO2-emissions.

And of course, some think that by installing solar PV panels, they will cut their CO2-emissions.

The reality is far more complicated. In some cases, buying an EV may increase your overall lifetime CO2 emissions especially when your electrical utility produces most or all of its electricity by burning coal and other fossil fuels. Similarly, installing solar PV panels when your utility is already 100% greenhouse free will likely increase your lifetime emissions of CO2. How? Because of the GHGs emitted during the solar PV panel manufacturing and installation and ultimately, not offsetting any GHGs because your utility is already GHG emission free.

Most people are oblivious to product’s lifetime GHG emissions, ignoring that for most products, the greatest production of GHG emissions is during the product’s manufacturing.

Continue reading Energy: Should you buy carbon offsets, an EV or solar PV to reduce your environmental impact? It depends.