Gas to Electricity

Here are two articles about the same subject, the transition from gas to electric vehicles. The first may come from Tesla, the second from a news source.  Their big picture is the same, from slightly different perspectives.

I’ll add comments and “what to do” suggestions afterwards.

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Elon Musk expected to use Tesla ‘Battery Day’ to argue for the end of combustion engines

 

By Tina Bellon

21 September 2020

 

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc TSLA.O CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday is scheduled to showcase the company’s advanced battery technology, with investors expecting he will outline how the company’s electric vehicles will surpass the cost and convenience of internal combustion engines.

As automakers shift from horsepower to kilowatts to comply with stricter environmental regulations, investors are looking for evidence that Tesla can increase its lead in electrification technology over legacy automakers who generate most of their sales and profits from gasoline-powered vehicles.

Musk – who frequently launches new products in attention-grabbing, show-like announcements – has fueled expectations for Battery Day over the past months, in April calling the event “one of the most exciting days in Tesla’s history.”

On Monday, Musk said on Twitter that the battery improvements to be unveiled at the event would not reach “serious high-volume production” until 2022, sending Tesla shares down 5% in extended trade.

Analysts expect Tesla to present a range of updates, including significant improvements to the amount of energy its batteries can store, allowing vehicles to drive further on a single charge. They also await updates on the production cost of battery cells, largely seen as an impediment to wider electric vehicle adoption.

Canaccord analyst Jed Dorsheimer said in a Monday note:

 

“We suspect there will be a plenty for everyone.”

 

Investors, for example, expect Musk to explain how Tesla will capitalize on its 2019 acquisition of U.S. battery company Maxwell Technologies Inc.

Some investors expect the automaker to announce that Maxwell’s dry battery electrode technology could significantly reduce manufacturing costs, speed up production and improve batteries’ energy storage capacity.

Musk has complained in the past that Tesla vehicles are not affordable enough. Tesla’s lowest-range Model 3 sedan with a range of 250 miles (400 km) currently starts at $37,990 in the United States. Musk in July said scaling battery cell production at an affordable price was Tesla’s biggest limitation to growth.

Tesla’s futuristic Cybertruck, expected to be released in 2021, will have a maximum range of 500 miles, among the longest range of any electric vehicle on the market today.

While average electric vehicle prices have decreased in recent years thanks to changes in battery chemistry and composition, they are still more expensive than conventional cars, with the battery estimated to make up a quarter to a third of an electric vehicle’s cost.

Some researchers estimate that price parity, or the point at which electric vehicles are equal in value to internal combustion cars, is reached when battery packs cost $100 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Tesla’s battery packs cost $156 per kWh in 2019, according to electric vehicle consulting firm Cairn Energy Research Advisors, which would put the cost of a 90-kWh pack at around $14,000.

Analysts at UBS expect Tesla to announce battery cell costs of $70 to $80 per kWh over the next three years, allowing the company to save roughly $2,300 per vehicle.

Such a price advantage would leave competitors unlikely to catch up to Tesla, the UBS analysts said.

Tesla currently produces batteries in partnership with Japan’s Panasonic Corp 6752.T at its $5 billion Nevada factory, while South Korea’s LG Chem 051910.KS and China’s CATL 300750.SZ supply cells to its Shanghai factory.

Musk on Monday said Tesla intends to increase battery cell purchases from those three suppliers and possibly with other partners as well.

Tesla is also building its own cell manufacturing facility at its new factory in Germany and is setting up a battery research and manufacturing facility at its largest vehicle factory in Fremont, California.

Musk in July also said Tesla was open to license and supply powertrains and batteries to other automakers.

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It’s possible that the preceding article was a PR announcement from Tesla. For data reliability, I like multiple independent sources reporting the same information – even with different perspectives.

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Eyeing the end of gas-powered cars

 

Joann Muller

Axios

Sep 25, 2020

 

Gasoline-powered cars may be going the way of the woolly mammoth, even if it will take decades to replace them and seems hard to fathom today.

The big picture: Internal combustion engines (ICEs) have powered automobiles for more than 100 years. But the shift to electric vehicles, slow to materialize at first, is now accelerating due to tightening government policies, falling costs and a societal reckoning about climate change.

Driving the news: California said this week it plans to phase out sales of conventional new cars by 2035 in favor of zero-emission vehicles that run on electricity.

 

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order no doubt faces a giant legal fight and could depend heavily on the election outcome and the shape of the Supreme Court, Axios’ Ben Geman explains.

 

  • The rest of the world is far ahead, with at least 15 countries already banning new gasoline cars and others adopting strict policies to spur EV adoption.

 

  • “Europe and China have woken up to the fact that [the combustion engine] is dead,” Arndt Ellinghorst, automotive analyst at Bernstein Research, told the Wall Street Journal. “Now, it looks like the U.S. is waking up.”

 

Automakers are already pivoting, investing some $200 billion on EV technology over the next five years, per Alix Partners.

 

  • “We have to realistically believe that around 2035 there will be a serious discussion about banning the internal combustion engine, and not just in California,” Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson told the Journal.

 

Why it matters: Climate change is here and eliminating emissions from cars and trucks is front and center in efforts to curb CO2 emissions.

 

  • Urban planners aim to redesign cities around people, not automobiles, by investing in walkable neighborhoods instead of suburban freeways.

 

  • Until that happens, people will keep driving, warns Brookings fellow Adie Tomer. “Metropolitan America is stuck with driving for the time being so we have to electrify the fleet immediately,” he told Axios.

 

Where it stands: Fewer than 2% of U.S. cars today are electric (and barely 6% in California).

 

  • Even if every state followed California’s lead by 2035, it would be decades before all gasoline vehicles disappeared from American roads.

 

  • BloombergNEF sees EVs growing to 58% of new car sales worldwide by 2040, but still only 31% of all cars on the road.

 

 

 

  • Even so, investors are already amped up: Stocks of EV and renewable energy companies have been soaring, even those that haven’t yet produced any vehicles.

 

  • Shares in little-known SPI Energy jumped by as much as 4,000% Wednesday after the company announced it was getting into the EV business.

 

Yes, but: There are serious hurdles that must be overcome before EVs are affordable and convenient for everyone, including lower-cost batteries and more widely accessible charging infrastructure.

What to watch: Tesla this week laid out a road map for cheaper batteries with higher energy density and the goal of selling a $25,000 EV. But CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that milestone is still a few years off.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen thinks it has the right formula with its new ID.4, unveiled this week.

 

  • VW is offering three years of free charging and an attractive price — $39,995— on the ID.4, which is aimed at the heart of the compact SUV market.

 

  • With a $7,500 federal tax credit and potentially thousands more in state tax rebates, the ID.4 could well undercut gas- and hybrid-powered competitors like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

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In terms of affordability When you deduct the $7,500 federal tax credit from the sales price, you have a quality car for around $30,000. What the articles don’t say – and what I’ve found to be a huge positive factor, since buying an EV in 2013 – maintenance and operating costs are far less.  EVs have no spark plugs to replace, no carburetor to clean, no muffle to replace, etc.  They do have brakes and tires, of course.  But overall maintenance has been only $230 a year.  And with our photovoltaic panels providing power, driving has been essentially free.

In terms of range You’ve probably seen the EV recharge stations popping up everywhere … in parking lots, parking garages, outside of hotels, office buildings, apartments, and highway rest stops. In your years of driving, how often have you actually run out of gas?  Maybe never, because cars have gas gages that tell us when we’re running low on gas.  EVs have gages, as well.  And in 7 years I’ve never been close to running out of power.  Plus, you can get an app that points you to the nearest recharge station.

While I use my e-car for city driving, when I’m going cross country for a vacation, my wife and I take turns every two hours, or roughly 120 miles. By the time we have a meal, visit a rest room, and just stretch our legs, an EV can have an 80% recharge.  How much time does that really add to our ability to reach our destination?

When I first bought our e-car, I was concerned about running out of power; no longer. The car also handles better than our gas car.  It’s a lot quieter.  And it’s a lot peppier.

To combat global warming and the increased frequency and severity of storms, we need to cease using fossil fuels. But on a personal level, e-cars are less expensive and more fun to drive.  While the percent of e-cars cited relates to U.S. , Europeans have been buying more e-cars than gas for a few years now, enjoying lower costs, quieter streets, and better air quality.

What’s not to like?

If you have two (or more) cars, be sure at least one is electric.

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