Electric Vehicles

September 2017: Why switching to all-electric cars will take time. There is no question that the car industry is undergoing a radical change. Car makers are not saying they will get rid of diesel or petrol cars completely. They are simply promising to make electrified versions of them available. It is also important to recognise what “electrified” actually means. It can refer to fully electric battery powered vehicles (such as the Tesla), but it can also be used to describe hybrids – and hybrids come in many forms. Although manufacturers’ pledges may sound a bit more dramatic than they really are, it is true that carmakers are investing a great deal of money in new electric models. Clearly, if millions of petrol and diesel cars are to be replaced by electric versions, then a huge investment will be needed in charging infrastructure. They will also need batteries – a lot of batteries. Meanwhile, hybrid cars offer a convenient and effective stop-gap. As BMW’s chief executive Harald Krueger puts it, petrol and diesel cars “are not dead yet. You will see a transition time, with investments in combustion engines – petrol engines, diesel engines, very efficient engines.” link



  • Overview of the electric car market
  • Tesla leading EV production
  • Battery charging advances
  • The role being played by Asia
  • Commercial vehicles & buses
  • Hydrogen fuel-cell development
 Overview of the electric car market

May 2018: Electric vehicle sales set to surge. The number of electric vehicles on the road worldwide could reach 125 million by 2030, up from just over 3 million last year. The number of EVs worldwide jumped 54% between 2016 and 2017: China is currently the largest electric car market, with 580,000 EVs sold in 2017, half of global sales. link

October 2016. Environmentalists will have unprecedented choices as the number of battery-only and hybrid plug-ins grows to 33 in 2017 from just three in 2011, according to the Consumer Federation of America. link  
lt’s looking like the 2020s will be the decade of the electric car – link
March 2017: The number of electric vehicles on the road rocketed to 2 million in 2016 after being virtually non-existent just five years before, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency). But they represent just 0.2% of total light-duty vehicles on the road, with China accounting for more than 40% of the electric cars sold in the world and more than double the amount sold in the United States. link 

September 2017: 10 giant companies commit to electric vehicles. A coalition of global corporations launched a global campaign to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and away from gas- and diesel-powered transportation. The EV100 coalition is expanding EV charging infrastructure and shifting away from gas for transportation. Since more than half of the cars on the road belong to companies, the new coalition hopes to have a major impact. link

The electric vehicle world’s sales database – EVVolumes.com

June 2017: Electric cars accelerate past 2m mark globally.  The number of battery-powered vehicles numbered just hundreds globally in 2005 and passed the 1m milestone in 2015, but sales jumped 60% in 2016.  link  December 2017: EV & hybrids pass 3 million mark – link

February 2017: Norway leads Europe’s EV surge. Norway is the clear electric vehicle pacesetter in Europe, which now has about 500,000 electric vehicles. In 2016, nearly 40%of the nation’s newly registered passenger cars were EV’s. China leads the world in EV usage, with about 600,000 all-electric vehicles on its roads and an ambitious plan to deploy 5 million EVs by 2020. Norway and the Netherlands, intends to phase out all fossil fuel-powered automobiles by 2025. link

February 2016: Electric cars will be cheaper to own than conventional cars by 2022. An analysis published by BNEF on Thursday predicts that the total cost of ownership, combining purchase price and running costs of battery-only cars will dip below those with internal combustion engines in 2022, even if the conventional cars improve their fuel efficiency by 3.5% a year. link

How do electric cars work? (2016) Within a few years, the total amount of all-electric car models has gone from a select, expensive few to well more than a dozen, with most major brands and a handful of new companies throwing their best technologies and innovations into these models. As the technology is constantly changing to create cars that are better for consumers, there’s been a great deal of mixed messaging about their safety, ‘greenness’, and convenience. While there’s a lot to consider when buying a car, electric cars are far more convenient today than may people realize. To fully understand them, one must start with considering how electric cars work. More reading
Timeline history of the electric car from 1832  – link 
Trends in electric car searches in USA  by state  link

April 2016: Can Tesla lead to an EV revolution in time? Current transportation emissions, on a global scale, were 6.7 billion tons of CO2 in 2010, or about 23% of all global greenhouse gas emissions related to the use of energy, and projected to be 12 billion per year in 2050, barring major policy shifts. By 2040 35% of new cars sold could be EVs,  and could comprise about 25% of the global auto fleet. link
October 2013: Electric car sales surge in US in 2013 as “range anxiety” fades. link

September 2013: How much CO2 are electric cars responsible for? A map showing where electric car charging ends up using the most low-carbon electricity is linked here. Each country has a number attached to it, which is the number of grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer. This means how much CO2 is emitted per kilometer traveled. It takes into account vehicle manufacturing carbon emissions as well, though that number is held constant in each country. The lowest numbers are Iceland, Paraguay, Uruguay, Norway, Sweden, France, and Switzerland. The worst countries with the most carbon-intensive fuel mixes are, unfortunately, a lot of high-population countries with high coal and oil consumption. India leads this pack. link

November 2017: Global 2-wheel electric market. The global electric scooter and motorcycle market size was almost $13 billion in 2016, and is expected to reach $22 billion by 2025. The Asia-Pacific market accounted for more than 90% of 2016 sales. link

Plug In America is an advocacy group for electric vehicles.

Tesla leading EV production

December 2017: Toyota announces major electric car goals. Toyota is the latest automaker to announce a significant electrified push for the next decade as the global car market tries to embrace more plug-ins and fuel cells to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards. The world’s largest producer of automobiles announced it would introduce at least 10 new electric vehicles by the early 2020s, first in China and then globally. It says it plans to sell at least 5.5 million electrified vehicles by 2030, including 1 million “zero-emissions” vehicles that include full battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. link

Time to look more closely at Tesla, and Elon Musk.
Over the course of several years, Tesla sold about 2,400 Roadster sports cars:
April 2016: Tesla Model 3 orders top 250,000 in first 36 hours – link.
October 2014: Tesla on track to sell 50,000th Model S – link
Tesla’s supercharger network – link
Toyota sells more Camrys in a month than Tesla plans to sell in a year.  If batteries get 50% better, it will put EVs on an even playing field with gas cars. Between the time Tesla produced the Roadster and Model S, the batteries have improved by about 40%. And Tesla does not advertise, does not give discounts, and has never given any test-drives. (Tesla’s $465 million in federal loans was paid back in full, nine years early.) 
April 2017: Batteries from Gigafactory could be Tesla’s secret weapon – link
December 2014 Elon Musk’s so-called gigafactory may soon become an existential threat to the 100-year-old utility business model – link

June 2014: Tesla helping advance electric vehicle technology. Tesla Motors is handing over the keys to its technology in an unusual effort to encourage other automakers to expand beyond gasoline-burning vehicles. link

January 2018: Ford to invest $11bn and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles by 2022. Ford Motor Co will significantly increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11bn by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model line-up. The investment figure is sharply higher than a previously announced target of $4.5bn by 2020. Of the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans for its global line-up by 2022, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids. link

May 2015: Dyson could become the next Tesla motors as it develops a new electric car, according to a leading industry expert. Filed patents show the Dyson vehicle may use solid-state batteries, which would see the car’s range stretch to hundreds of miles and also be safer than current batteries. link          (Update – September 2017: Dyson to take on Tesla with its own electric vehicle by 2020 – link)

 Battery charging advances
 Lessons from four EV hotspots in United States editorial – August 2012 

April 2018: 8-minute charge. ABB, a major Swedish-Swiss multinational technology company, is unveiling its own full 350 kW electric vehicle charging technology, which it claims can add 200 km of range in 8 minutes. link

January 2018: Plug wars: the battle for electric car supremacy. Swiss bank UBS has estimated that $360 billion will need to be spent over the next eight years to build global charging infrastructure to keep pace with electric car sales, and it will be key to limit the numerous technologies now in use. German carmakers hope a network of high-power charging stations they are rolling out with Ford will set an industry standard for plugs and protocols that will give them an edge over electric car rivals. At the moment, Tesla and carmakers in Japan and Germany use different plugs and communication protocols to link batteries to chargers, but firms building the charging networks needed for electric vehicles to become mainstream say the number of plug formats will need to be limited to keep costs down. link

August 2016: Public electric vehicle (EV) charge points will outnumber petrol stations in the UK by 2020, marking a potential tipping point in the adoption of zero emission vehicles. link

February 2013: Estonia installs “world’s first” nationwide fast-charging network. Estonia has become what is thought to be the world’s first country to launch a nationwide fast-charging network with 165 web-connected direct current chargers can recharge an electric vehicle in just 15 to 30 minutes. link

November 2017: The electric car as an energy storage system.  Electric cars are, in effect, energy storage devices, and because they spend much of their time parked up not doing anything they can help smooth out the peaks and troughs in energy demand. The system is called Vehicle to Grid, or V2G. Nissan is developing it in partnership with an Italian power firm, and is already operating a small trial hub in Denmark. link

See also page on lithium

Lithium-ion batteries.
October 2017: Lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other metals are part of an EV lithium-ion battery pack. Neither lithium nor cobalt, the main metals needed, is termed a rare earth metal. There are important issues surrounding the production of lithium-ion batteries that must be acknowledged and addressed, including poor human rights and worker protection records in the countries where these materials are mined. It is also important to note that these impacts are not happening just because of EVs. They are also being driven by the global demand for cell phones, laptop computers, and the multitude of other electronic devices that use lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt is mined all over the world, but 50-60% of the global supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has a poor human rights track record. link

 The role being played by Asia

June 2018: Regulations in China are pushing foreign automakers to invest in electric vehicle production. In 2017, the Volkswagen group announced plans to build 100,000 all-electric vehicles in China with a goal of one million a year by 2025. link

September 2016: China to boost electric car sales ten-fold. China understands the electric revolution better than any other country. The government is aiming at a more than 1,000% increase in sales of electric vehicles by 2025, some 3 million units a year, offering subsidies that can total 60% of an electric-car’s sticker price.  link

February 2016: Chinese market electrifying for green vehicles. Government subsidies are fueling a boom in electric vehicles in China, driving hopes for the industry’s global future as the world’s biggest car market offers economies of scale that could make the technology mainstream. Sales of electric cars, though still modest, have rocketed four-fold in a year thanks in part to lavish government handouts, as Beijing looks to cut down on dangerous air pollution that shrouds urban areas. The government says it wants five million “green” vehicles on the road by 2020 in the country of more than one billion people. link

August 2015: An Asian alternative to Elon Musk’s approach. Developing countries in Asia are steering along their own path on electric vehicles. There they see a market for two- and three-wheelers that is ripe for the picking. One Japanese auto company, is positioning itself as the Tesla Motors of the developing world. Toru Tokushige, founder and CEO at Terra Motors Corp said last year. “Our long-term goal is to create a company with rapid growth, beyond the growth of Samsung and Apple, Our short-term goal is to take the lead in the Asian market just as Tesla has positioned itself as a leader in the electric automotive industry.” link

Commercial vehicles & buses

Electric buses

April 2018: China had about 99% of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17% of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet. link

December 2017: Shenzhen, China, to have 16,000 electric buses in 2018. Shenzhen (population 10.8 million) rolled out its first pilot of fully electric buses. By the end of 2017, the city’s entire fleet, 16,000 buses, will have shifted to electric, making it the first city in the world to reach that goal. In 2016, it surpassed Tesla to become the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer. By 2015, there were 3,600 electric buses on city streets, and 9,000 by 2016. (In the entire U.S. only 300 of 65,000 buses are currently electric). link

July 2017: Electric trucks and vans cut pollution faster than cars. In Europe, less than 5% of vehicles are commercial vehicles or heavy duty trucks, but they contribute to almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, Given there are more than 300 million commercial vehicles on the planet’s roads, according to data portal Statista, it is clear that this goal need not be focused solely on passenger cars.  Unlike most car owners, businesses and governments can often afford to absorb the initial cost of going electric and make the business case for fuel savings down the road. link

September 2016: New Proterra electric bus can drive 350 miles on one charge. Proterra’s newest bus is set to hit the streets next year. In August this bus logged 600 miles on a Michelin track on one charge. Electric buses save money on fuel and maintenance, and some cities qualify for pro-electrification local and federal subsidies. That takes the sting out of the Catalyst E2 Series’ $799,000 base price. (A conventional diesel bus can go for as low as $300,000.) link

May 2016: Battery electric – the next generation of buses. Proterra is the leading U.S. electric bus company. Their 40-foot electric buses have fuel efficiency equivalent to 22 miles per gallon, giving them one-fifth to one-fourth of the per-mile fueling cost of regular diesels, hybrids, and natural gas buses. And they have much lower maintenance costs. So over the 10- to 12-year lifetime of a typical urban transport bus, the Proterra can save $400,000 in total operational costs compared to a typical diesel. link

More about electric buses

Commercial vehicles.
March 2016: A focus to greener trucks and buses. Heavy-duty models are undergoing rapid innovation for applications like battery-powered city buses, delivery trucks, freight loaders, and ferries. Experts say that these electric workhorses can play an important role in decarbonizing transport, and could spin off technologies that benefit electric cars, a far larger  and more important market. Tesla co-founder, Ian Wright, is now working to electrify commercial vehicles. link

Smith Electric Vehicles, a British company, is the world’s largest manufacturer of electric commercial vehicles and they’ve just made the world’s largest electric road vehicle. link  Ford is working with Smith Electric Vehicles to market a pure battery electric-powered light commercial vehicle in North America, based on the all-new Transit Connect global commercial vehicle platform. Since 1920, Smith has converted tens of thousands of vehicles to battery electric power.   
Medium and heavy duty trucks only make up 4% of road traffic in the U.S. but suck up 22% of US oil transport demand – link

Hydrogen fuel-cell development

Fuel cell vehicles are basically electric vehicles that use hydrogen tanks rather than batteries for energy storage. With current technology, fuel cell cars tend to have greater range than pure electric cars. Hydrogen tanks are lighter than big battery packs and take much less time to fill. However, electric cars have the advantage of an existing charging infrastructure – a hydrogen station infrastructure has yet to be built.

September 2017: Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have flopped with driverslink

November 2017: Hydrogen fuel cell technology on back-burner. Toyota still betting on hydrogen, but hydrogen-car backers such as Honda, Hyundai, and Volkswagen AG’s Audi have refocused their zero-emissions car strategies on EVs. Investment in hydrogen power stations has been glacial and technology advances have lowered the cost of batteries and extended driving ranges. China, the world’s leading car market, doubled its electric charging points to 215,000 but only has 5 hydrogen stations. link

July 2015: Toyota, Nissan and Honda combine for fuel cell expansion. link
January 2015: Toyota releases hydrogen fuel-cell patents. Toyota will make more than 5,600 patents on fuel-cell technologies available for use, free of royalty payments, to a wide array of companies in the transportation sector. link

May 2009: Hydrogen fuel-cells not a solution for USA  link

An in-depth comparison of the costs of fuel-cells versus electric – here 
Links to other alternative fuels: biodiesel  hydrogen  natural gas  electricity  propane  ethanol
supplied by the Department of Energy