An Electric Future

By now, the effect of burning fossil fuels is quite clear. What many don’t seem to understand is:

 

We can enjoy a better quality-of-life experience

and for less money, when we make

the switch to electric.

 

Here’s an announcement from the world’s biggest car manufacturer, Volkswagen, about both new electric models and about a major investment in battery production, which will drop the cost of their e-cars even more.  Other car manufacturers are doing the same – expanding their range of body types as they cut costs.

After the article, I’ll take what’s already evolving one step further.

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Volkswagen’s electric future is quickly taking shape

 

Demand for electric cars has grown slowly.

But the tsunami is coming

 

Hanna Ziady

CNN Business

September 6, 2019

 

London (CNN Business) Volkswagen is picking up the pace in its bid to dominate the auto industry’s electric future.

The world’s biggest carmaker announced Friday that it had struck a deal with Sweden’s Northvolt to build a giant battery factory in Germany. It also confirmed production dates for two new models key to the group’s success.

The German company said production of lithium-ion batteries would begin in late 2023 or early 2024, a move that will be vital to Volkswagon’s ability to mount what it calls “the largest electric offensive in the automotive industry worldwide.”

The group plans to launch almost 70 new electric models in the next decade, and hopes to build 22 million electric cars over this period. It is investing more than €30 billion ($33 billion) into electrifying its fleet over the next four years, prompted in part by pressure from regulators and the fallout from its diesel emissions scandal.

If successful, Volkswagen could overtake rivals such as Tesla (TSLA) and Warren-Buffet-backed BYD in China.

 

Battery factory big win for Europe

Lithium-ion batteries, the majority of which are currently produced in China, are a critical part of Volkswagen’s electrification strategy. Batteries account for about a third of the cost of electric cars, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

China is home to 70% of global lithium cell manufacturing capacity, with the United States in second place at 12%, said Simone Tagliapietra, a climate and energy fellow at Bruegel, the European economic think tank. Europe lags behind and hosts only about 3% of global production capacity, according to the European Commission.

The Volkswagen-Northvolt deal represents a “very significant investment for the future of European battery production,” Tagliapietra told CNN Business.

Volkswagen is investing €900 million ($993 million) into the Northvolt joint venture. Some of the money will go into the German factory, the rest will secure Volkswagen a 20% stake in Northvolt and a seat on its supervisory board.

Volkswagen also confirmed that production of the new ID.3 electric car series would begin this November, with the first models delivered to customers next year. It has already sold out a limited edition of the ID.3, which is due to make its world debut on September 9 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Also premiering at the show will be an electric version of the vintage Volkswagen Beetle. The conversion of the Beetle is being done by a specialist partner company, eClassics, and will use components from the new VW e-up! city car.

Porsche, one of Volkswagen’s premium brands, confirmed on Friday that it would start producing its first all-electric sports car — the Taycan — on September 9.

 

A new production plant

Alongside investing in battery production, Volkswagen is pouring €1.2 billion into overhauling its Zwickau vehicle plant, which formerly produced internal combustion engines, so that it can make electric cars.

This process began in 2018 and is expected to be completed by 2020. By 2021, the plant is expected to produce 330,000 vehicles per year, making it Europe’s “largest and most efficient electric vehicle plant,” according to Volkswagen.

The ID.3 will be the first vehicle to be built on this new modular electric car production platform, or MEB. In the next three years, production of 33 models across the group’s brands is due to start on the MEB.

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A few years ago, when gas prices rose to about $4.00/gallon, a friend was looking to trade in her expensive big SUV. The offers she got were ridiculously low, which angered her.  When I asked her who would want a car that’s so expensive to operate, she at least understood the problem:  She hadn’t done any “if/then” anticipating.

We’re back in that same boat now.

Our Garden Atrium homes are more efficient than most. We had a 5kW PV system installed, which ran about $16,000.  It provides 100% of the power for our home and the e-car we use for all local driving.  On a typical 30 year mortgage, that’s only about $75/month – to power your home and your car.  Not bad?

For a typical, traditional subdivision home, you might need a 6kW system, which ups the investment to about $18,000, or about $84/month. Can you even imagine paying that little for your home’s power and your car’s gas?  Actually, it’s even less.

There is a growing urgency, which is why I’m sharing this information now.

Just as my friend’s giant SUV was worth a fraction of what it cost her, when gas was more expensive and no one wanted a car so expensive to operate, e-car sales are growing – as they have been, every year – and already account for over 50% of all new car sales in Europe. The future is electric; why else would VW make such a huge investment?

 

What do you think your gas car will be worth in trade

as the demand for old gas cars continues to shrink?

 

In addition, the 30% solar tax credit – which means the $18,000 solar system actually only costs you $12,600, or about $59/month to power your home and car. But – if you can believe it – that tax credit is being phased out by our federal government, initially dropping from 30% to 26%, December 31st.

Even forgetting that our climate problem is caused by burning fossil fuels, the future is electric.  Big picture, we’re learning to live with what Earth provides, naturally.  On a personal level, we already have the technology to give us the power we want for home and car … and for less cost.

A lot less cost!

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