Sell that Oil Stock! Electric Cars are Here

The Tree | – –

As fossil fuels fight loud and clumsy battles for continued dominance in countries such as the US, UK, and Australia, a renewable revolution as quiet as the electric cars it powers continues apace everywhere that people care about air and noise pollution, prosperity, and the global environment.

After a decade of underestimating clean energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has stunningly revised its renewable growth forecasts, while batteries have become a trillion dollar threat to credit markets due to their looming disruption of electricity and automotive industries. We are unstoppably accelerating towards a future where energy is more distributed and democratic, and where electric vehicles and 21st century battery storage systems clean up the mess fossils created, as they revolutionise life as we know it.

The clean energy revolution is happening faster than anyone imagined, and batteries and electric vehicles are further accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels. The Paris Agreement triggered a new race, with countries such as China, the EU and the US all taking strong legislative steps to accelerate EV growth. Every new home across the EU will have to include an EV charging point from 2019, while the US alone expects more than 11 million EVs by 2025. This revolution in transportation is taking place as renewable energy reaches record-breaking levels of growth – further greening the grid to make EV’s even cleaner.

Clean energy has already beaten fossils, and the booming battery storage and electric vehicle markets are finishing the job. Battery powered homes, grids, and vehicles are a trillion dollar threat to credit markets saturated with fossil investments, with death spirals beginning to manifest for utilities and automotive businesses that fail to move with the times or, worse, get busted scandalously greenwashing.

The end of fossil fuels means a better quality of life for all. Fossil fuels do not help alleviate poverty, they worsen it. Renewable energy benefits all through massive reductions on the premature deaths attributed to air pollution each year, greater community control over power needs, and greater energy security in a world of increasingly extreme and destructive weather events. Electric vehicles further improve air quality, while simultaneously driving dramatic reductions to noise pollution that will make the cities far more liveable.

The renewable energy revolution is now well underway, but many continue to underestimate just how fast and transformative it is going to be.

Despite a conservative approach to energy markets, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has just announced that ‘we are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables’. A bold statement that comes in the wake of new data showing that more than half of new power capacity added last year came from renewable energy sources like wind and solar power – beating fossil fuels for the first time.

The expansion of renewable capacity reflects impressive cost reductions for onshore wind and solar panels that would have been ‘unthinkable just five years ago’ according to the IEA, who fully expect the trend of declining costs to continue.

If rapid improvements continue in renewable energy and innovative technologies like electric vehicles, petroleum consumption will peak in 2030 and decline thereafter, according to a report from the World Energy Council. The plunging cost of renewable energy, with solar-module costs falling 50 percent since 2009, is already upending the business model of utilities.

Disruption could swiftly spread to the oil industry as electric vehicles become more economical than gasoline or diesel cars – potentially displacing millions of barrels of daily fuel use by the late 2020s.

We are already approaching a tipping point in the electric vehicle revolution according to industry experts. Technological advances in battery storage, vehicle design and interconnectivity are increasingly standing electric vehicles up as serious competition for fossil fuel-burning vehicles – even when it comes to performance and affordability.

Many governments can see the writing on the wall and several countries are competing to be the first to go beyond fuel-burning cars – including Germany, India, the Netherlands and Norway. China, the largest market in the world for electric vehicles, is aiming for a 10-fold increase in sales by 2025 and is offering up generous subsidies to support this drive.

As new and retrofitted electric vehicles become the norm, the whole soundscape of our cities is going to change. Alongside dramatic improvements to air quality, this has the potential to completely revolutionise modern life, but to fully realise the major benefits of switching to a clean transportation system other key sectors – in particular shipping and aviation – need to up their game. The current deadlock that is delaying an effective global deal to cut pollution from shipping, and attempts to expand major airports in the UK, France and Turkey, put these sectors behind vehicular transport in the race for adequate 21st century systems.

Via The Tree

Related video added by Juan Cole:

IBTimes UK: “Paris Motor Show 2016: The best electric cars”

6 Responses

  1. The Renault Trezor concept car shown in the video has 350 horsepower to drive around 2 people. Electrical cars may be more efficient compared to internal combustion vehicles, but nowhere near enough to legitimize this insanity.

    Where is the energy coming from to move around this ornament, let alone build it in the first place? And didn’t “supercars” go out of fashion in like the 1990s?

    Trains and buses are multiple times as efficient as already massively overpowered cars, let alone these monstrosities. Cars imply tons of materials: asphalt for roads, metal for bodies, rubber for tires (which ends up as fine particles in the air and contributes massively to lung disease), and while electrical ones don’t burn gasoline directly, they need lithium and rare earths for batteries.

    Let’s face it: for the foreseeable future we can’t actually afford this one car per person extravaganza. Meanwhile, let’s use small ones and keep them around for decades, cut down on the horsepower and gadgets, and share them between us rather than have them sit idle for 90%+ of the time. Oh, and have the new ones be electrical, but don’t use that to pretend that we don’t actually have to adapt our (quite lonely and depressed) lifestyles…

    • I don’t understand your premises. If you run the car off your solar panels, the only question is how many you need to charge the battery. As for the car, Renault’s Tangiers plant advertises itself as net carbon zero.

      • We need to be energy-efficient. Cars aren’t an efficient mode of transport to begin with, let alone “supercars”. For a car to have 350 horsepower rather than 60 (or even 3, let’s be honest), it will have to be massive in weight.

        About 40% of energy inputs already go into the making of a car. Was the mining for the excess metal for this huge 2 seater car “run off solar panels”?

        Let’s say you have really bought enough solar panels (which were also made using fossils fuel inputs for now, btw) to power this monstrosity.

        Now imagine you instead use but a third of them to power a normal (still overpowered) car like your Volt and feed in the remainder to the net. Actually, if you were to take the train or a bike, you could feed in even more.

        Earmarking solar panels to a vanity project does not contribute at all to the (slow…) shift to renewables in the energy mix at least some of which reflects basic energy needs such as heating homes.

        Before we have fully completed this switch (2060? ever?) there is no case considering joy-driving with 350 horses as a “carbon-neutral” activity by any stretch of the imagination. Until that day the extra energy it eats up is either full of carbon if we’re honest, or takes needed renewable inputs from the table that we specifically earmarked for that purpose, which is but an accounting trick.

  2. I agree with everything but the noise impacts. Our two LEAFs are notably quieter when idling( they shut off at idle) and at slow speeds but they make the same noise as petroleum powered cars when going more than 30 mph . This is because most of the noise made by traffic moving at any kind of pace is due to the tires rolling along the ground and the air moving around the car. Stand next to a highway and listen. What you hear is not engines running , it’s the tires and wind.

  3. If someone comes up with a cheap car with good range that will plug into a regular socket I think it would sell. Electrics should be considerably cheaper than gas because they’re so simple and have thousands of fewer parts. The most complicated mechanical system on an electric car is the windshield wipers. Some genius will redo Henry Ford and bring electric to the masses with a simple, cheap car that works. Right now they cost too much. It’s all proprietary. Nothing standardized.
    Still, soon you be able to buy electric car motors and controllers off ebay. I betcha.
    Range is still an issue. I think there may be some merit in universal battery packs that can be quick swapped at service stations. It might be a logistical nightmare but who knows? If a system of universal, quick swap packs were developed it would make long distance car travel and freight by electric trucks viable.

    • The new Chevy Bolt and Tesla 3 have a range of 200 miles on a charge, which is more than enough for ordinary driving. Fast charge ports are being put in around the country. Both will retail for $28,000 after a $7500 Federal tax rebate (in some states you’d get a state offset, too). That’s not expensive for a middle class family, and they are nice cars. The fuel is very inexpensive and is free if you power them off your rooftop solar panels. You are underestimating battery costs. Batteries are a tough nut to crack because there isn’t that much give in chemical processes. But they are coming down in price and becoming more efficient.

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