Dec 30, 2022Liked by Hannah Ritchie

This is an incredible trend. It makes the UK goal of banning new fossil fuel cars in the next decade feel very achievable. Is there any data that tells us whether supply of charging points, generating capacity and grid capacity can keep up?

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Great analysis. I would just add one important element - the market doesn’t just magically learn how to get more affordable on its own. We need to give full credit to all the government-funded research of the US Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab and others that has consistently helped bring down the costs of PV, batteries and other essential technologies of the clean energy transition.

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Interesting article. How long do these batteries last, hopefully longer than my iPhone?

What happens to the battery after it is no longer usable?

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The best thing about this from a terminally-online perspective is that it is finally possible to be both pro-EV and anti-Musk.

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Hmm… not sure what to do with this analogy. Does it scale?

I teach a graduate engineering management course to Detroit-based auto managers, and this year we are looking at the viability of the BEV business model. (Btw Hannah, I post some of your Our World in Data articles for class reading.)

A couple of years ago the IEA posited that the battery mineral supply must increase by 40x to replace the existing ICE fleet of 1.4b autos. Your research highlighted greater battery efficiency through density, but there is only so much that mining can do to be more efficient. What’s more, Nickel, Manganese, Cobalt, Lithium sources are politically fraught, and resource economies tend to create new political tensions. E.g., a BBC 4 podcast noted that Ukraine’s Donbas region is high in battery minerals.

But beyond batteries, BEVs (a power consumer) need the same magnet materials as any turbine based power producers. (E.g., all but solar.) in the traditional ownership model, private vehicles sit idle 95% of the time… do we have so many battery and magnet minerals that we can leave them idle 95% of the time?

And how do we charge them? Or more to the point, for how long? I confess I don’t have personal experience with this, but my brother (whose family has two HEVs and BEV) estimates 15 minutes per 100 miles, whereas about 4 minutes of petrol fueling provides 400 miles. Using the traditional gas station model, we would need a 15x increase in the number of fueling stations. Of course there are solutions to this (e.g., chargers in parking lots) but charging 1.4b vehicles at 15m per 100 miles is no trivial thing. And while we currently ‘rent’ a parking space solely for the purpose of car storage, the need to charge creates a dual demand. How do we balance the need to charge, and the need to park?

But I am no fan of ICE. The solution I envision involves much less transit in general, and it is accomplished by electrically powered trains and trolleys, powered by stationary sources.

All that said… I appreciate your work! Spent yesterday afternoon creating a slide based on CO2 and land use change.

References here:


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The transition from ICE to EV is indeed an improvement, but further entrenches car dependency...especially as costs drop. More cars means more traffic. If you love being stuck in traffic, you'll love an EV future.

EV transition is necessary, and I enjoy the luxury of owning a private car, but it's not sufficient in a world witnessing exponential population growth in urban regions. We need both an EV transition AND a transition to a more balanced and creative use of public transportation and land use.

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Availability of base materials may slow things down. We believe focusing on hybrid vehicles is the sensible compromise.

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I think your manipulation of the data is interesting, but like many things these days is biased towards the desired outcome.

Nowhere in your data are the impacts to third world societies and environments from the aggressively destructive mining of raw materials, the reliance on slave labor within China and its CCP satellites, or the realities of non-urban life (farming, trucking, rail and air transport).

The sustainability cost, when described as cost to the end user, is only reasonable when all the other unseen costs are disregarded.

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One consequence of the declining cost of batteries for EVs which I find interesting but which I guess is less amenable to number-crunching is the extent to which they not only electrify existing vehicles - cars, vans & buses - but their effects on other modes. The huge rise in electric bicycles could be regarded as electrification of mopeds but who saw electric scooters a few years ago?

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I would like to learn more about the following:

1) How do the CO2 emissions of an electric car compare to a fossil fuel car when all factors are considered, such as the electricity generation?

2) To what degree do electric cars reduce overall CO2 emissions, and to what degree to they shift CO2 release from the vehicle to the electric power station?

3) How much money does an electric car consumer save when the cost of the needed electricity is compared to the cost of the needed gasoline?

These are questions, not points. Thanks for any replies.

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Dear Hannah

We are writing a scientific paper on demand for electric cars. For this purpose, we need the price of this car over time. Your data for electric car battery prices is a good proxy to show the price trends of these cars. Please provide me with this data if possible. I will be very grateful. Or to follow this article together, which will make me very happy. Salehghavidel421@gmail.com

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