Electric car sales are rising much more quickly than people – and industry analysts – expected.
Great piece Hannah. I’ve found the IEA’s forecasting (and particularly their inability to learn from their mistakes) particularly amusing over the years. We humans really struggle with non-linearity don’t we?
All we need is more reliable and affordable electricity production and we will be on our way. The main barrier to that is that we have no cheap scalable way of dealing with intermittency that does not involve fossil fuels. This is where nuclear is essential, as only with nuclear do we know we can have zero emission reliable and cheap electricity, which is obviously essential for electrifying transport and heating.
Without nuclear we will have to pray for revolutions in storage and/or carbon capture.
Having owned two plug in hybrid Mercedes over the last six years I am not at all surprised. I was happy to invest ahead of the curve to help the
Planet and drive innovation. Early adopters are different to the late majority, beware the long tail. Plenty of books on both these subjects tell us what is happening.
While initially expensive to buy the price and competitive offers have all expanded the market and created the economies of scale that a proper functioning market always does.
That acts to lower price and improve performance.
I’ve found over six years the cost of
Ownership and knowing the reduced engine emissions helps my carbon footprint and all other drivers and pedestrians.
Charging at home over night for me is easy and cheap. What needs to happen now is to ensure that everyone can afford one, that charging is easy for everyone in their location and lifestyle and that the grid provides massively more electricity cleanly and cheaply to replace all the petrol and diesel miles.
Like all technology be that washing machines, tv, phones, pc, mobiles, the benefits to the individual and communities pulls through the supply and demand. That needs to be delivered by engineers and industry with some controlled support of govt.
Let’s keep going with cleaner more
Sustainable options and keep a check on the reality through science moderating politics.
Progress is sweet especially when it is inclusive. We need to see these trends at home help the poorest people and countries and not loose sight of that as Market failures apply around the word.
With many things predictions are made by drawing lines through points. For EVs they need to factor in the new mines that need to be opened. New mines can't be opened quickly and EVs need plenty of new mines. With PV, the mineral constraints aren't as tight.
But the even bigger issue is that BMW (for one) estimate that their EV lifecycle emissions are about 40% lower than the ICE version. That means we can't decarbonise transport just be switching to EVs. We need more public transport and fewer cars. Public transport is slow to both plan and build. Can EVs reduce their lifecycle emissions to the kind of level we need ? (ie., 5% of current ... offset the rest?). That doesn't look remotely possible.
Even though electric cars are mildly better for the environment, USA still needs to be moving away from car-dependency as much as possible.
We need bike lanes, bus lanes, rail expansion, and urban infill housing that is located in pedestrian-friendly areas.
Developers are happy to build pedestrian-oriented housing, we just need more upzoning to allow it.
Excellent work, as always.
Incorrect, on two counts. A) PV hasn't taken off, not in any meaningful sense, and event today provides very little overall amount of power (compared to aggregate demand) and B) EVs are not functionally equivalent to ICE cars, for the one car middle class. The middle class is not buying EVs en masse, because to do so would represent a decline in their standard of living.
A plea for data, Ms. H: perspectives on how to get the most renewable E on line ASAP. Options of what kinds of in-the-meantime duct-tape-and-string imperfect things can be done to maximize increased use of intermittent wind/solar/etc. Thanks.
I think that argument miss an important point: the fact that the cost of an addition can increase with the penetration of the resource, even if the cost of production decreases.
For the "political side" i think subsidies are more important thing than general "policy", especially for the time factor.
That is a common talking point without much in the way of facts. The Oil industry is heavily taxed and regulated. Some tax incentives exist but not taking money from someone is a long way from taking money from someone else to pay to make another product cheaper.
Yes this is all true. But it WON’T reduce emissions because same amount (roughly) of oil will need to be extracted for non-gasoline products. EVs well and good but won’t improve environment or global social issues.
EVs are heavily subsidized. If that were not the case the sales would plummet. Not to mention EV's increase our dependence on china and do nothing for the environment.
I can see solar powered transportation becoming ubiquitous in India and tropical areas within a decade. In India the possibilities of cheap solar panels when combined with human ingenuity are endless.
Also behind the curve on this - the British government (and no doubt many governments across the world, regardless of left-right placement or commitment to democracy). I'd dearly love for them to be ahead of this curve and installing tons of charging stations right now - but they clearly aren't.
The US market is still dominated by Tesla, they sell most of the EVs here. The model 3 and model Y together make up most Tesla sales. So to me it seems like, there are two very popular EVs in the US. Will any company other than Tesla break into this top tier? What's the key issue here, does Ford just need to produce enough EV F-150s and then they'll start selling?
I appreciate that you are a "Climate Optimist" and want to tell an optimistic upbeat story. I also appreciate the reality that decarbonizing our electrical system and our transportation systems are an absolute necessity. But you are being wildly optimistic here and wildly unrealistic.
You are making the same assumption that most Climate Optimists and Techno Optimists make, over and over again. You assume future stability and look at only one aspect of the developing Climate Crisis in isolation.
I have no doubt that if "everything else stayed the same" for the next twenty years, your predictions about solar panels and EV's could come to pass. That's not going to happen Hannah. You know that, or you should. You are selling a story of "false hope" here.
This is Climate Disinformation.
Because things are RAPIDLY getting worse now. You should know by now that a MONSTER EL NINO is starting. Just like I predicted last year.
The next 4-6 years are going to be catastrophically bad. I am forecasting deaths in the 800 million to 1.2 billion range. Things are not "going to stay the same".
By clinging to the delusion that we can "buy our way to salvation" by installing solar panels and getting an EV. You and the other "Climate Optimists" create the false hope in people that life is going to go on the way it is now. You convince them that they won't have to sacrifice anything and that we won't have to make any real social changes.
You prevent the change we need from happening by selling the idea that people can keep the life they have. Just with everything electrified.
Individual cars should be banned. An EV for everyone is insane. You can make 40 e-bikes with the resources of one EV. You can transport the same amount of people on Electric buses and streetcars for about 1/20th the resources. We don't need more EV's, we need better public transit and mandated retirement and removal of gasoline cars.
As long as you keep selling "false hope" people will keep eating it up and refuse to start on the hard work of real change. Salvation without effort is always an easier sell than 'repent sinner, the hour of judgement is at hand'.