As e-car recharge stations continue to proliferate, and as new batteries can now be recharged in five to ten minutes, the percent of new car purchases of electric cars will soon be greater than that for gas or diesel. It’s already greater in countries, such as Norway.
As the trend continues, trade-in prices for fossil-fueled cars will drop, with fewer maintenance places remaining. Changing from cars we’ve used all our lives to an unknown product can be uncomfortable. But the change is happening. Evidence is: it’ll be good for the planet and give us better driving for less cost.
• • • • • • • •
Electric vehicles close
to ‘tipping point’ of
Sales increase 43% globally in 2020 as plunging battery costs
mean the cars will soon be the cheapest vehicles to buy
Damian Carrington Environment editor
Fri 22 Jan 2021
In a poll of electric car owners, 91% said
they would not want to return to petrol.
Electric vehicles are close to the “tipping point” of rapid mass adoption thanks to the plummeting cost of batteries, experts say.
Global sales rose 43% in 2020, but even faster growth is anticipated when continuing falls in battery prices bring the price of electric cars dipping below that of equivalent petrol and diesel models, even without subsidies. The latest analyses forecast that to happen sometime between 2023 and 2025.
The tipping point has already been passed in Norway, where tax breaks mean electric cars are cheaper. The market share of battery-powered cars soared to 54% in 2020 in the Nordic country, compared with less than 5% in most European nations.
Transport is a major source of carbon emissions and electric cars are vital in efforts to fight the climate crisis. But, while they are already cheaper to run, their higher purchase price is a barrier to mass uptake. The other key factor is “range anxiety”, but this week the first factory production began of batteries capable of giving a 200-mile charge in five minutes.
Government grants and tax breaks have cut the cost of electric cars in some countries, but the point when they become cheaper without subsidies is key, said James Frith, the head of energy storage at BloombergNEF: “That’s definitely an inflection point. [Then] we really see the adoption of electric vehicles taking off and real market penetration.” In 2020, 4.2% of new cars were electric. Prof Tim Lenton, at the University of Exeter, said …
“There’s been a tipping point in one
country, Norway, and that’s thanks to
some clever and progressive tax incentives.
Then consumers voted with their wallets.”
Data from Lenton’s latest study showed that in 2019, electric vehicles in Norway were 0.3% cheaper and had 48% market share. In the UK, where electric cars were 1.3% more expensive, market share was just 1.6%. Once the line of price parity was crossed, Lenton said, “bang – sales go up. We were really struck by how non-linear the effect seems to be”.
BloombergNEF’s analysis predicts lithium-ion battery costs will fall to the extent that electric cars will match the price of petrol and diesel cars by 2023, while Lenton suggests 2024-2025. McKinsey’s Global Energy Perspective 2021, published on 15 January, forecasts that …
“electric vehicles are likely to become
the most economic choice in the next
five years in many parts of the world.”
A poll of 3,000 UK drivers by the RAC, published on Thursday, shows the importance of prices, with 78% of motorists saying pure electric cars are still too expensive compared with conventional vehicles of a similar size and just 9% saying their next car would be electric. Rod Dennis of the RAC said …
“The single biggest barrier to a driver
choosing an electric car has to be cost.”
The fall in battery prices in the past decade has been dramatic and much faster than most people predicted, Frith said. In 2010, even a small-car battery of 30kWh would have cost $30,000, far more than the total price of an equivalent fossil-fueled car. Today, BloombegNEFs research shows the battery pack costs $4,100, thanks to a scale-up in production and cuts in material costs, such as reducing the amount of expensive cobalt required.
Battery packs passed the milestone of $100/kWh in 2020 for buses in China, said Frith. But he expected further manufacturing improvements to mean this would be the average price for all vehicles in 2023, making a small-car battery cost $3,000 and electric cars the same price as their conventional counterparts.
Electric cars are quieter and have faster acceleration, and rapid mass adoption will also be increased by the fact that, once motorists have one, they will not want to return to a petrol or diesel vehicle. In a recent poll of 2,000 electric car owners, 91% said they would not want to go back. Electric cars rise to record 54% market share in Norway.
Melanie Shufflebotham, at Zap-Map, which maps charging points, said ….
“The poll shows the strong and enduring
impact of switching to a clean car. The
evidence in favour of electric vehicles grows
more compelling with each one of our sur-
veys, even in a year as disruptive as 2020.”
One automotive trend is moving the other direction – the rising sales of petrol-guzzling SUVs. The International Energy Agency reported earlier in January that in 2020, despite Covid-19 lockdowns cutting global emissions, pollution from SUVs increased. Furthermore, over the past decade, SUVs were the only area among all energy-related emissions that increased in high-income nations.
However, battery prices are expected to continue to plunge, suggesting even power-hungry SUVs will be going electric before long. New lithium-ion technologies being developed are creating cheaper, more energy-dense batteries, that could start being introduced mid-decade.
An even more advanced technology, solid state batteries, could enter the mass market by 2030 if new manufacturing methods can be mastered, Frith said. BloombergNEF forecasts average prices of about $60/kWh at the end of the decade.
“It is an incredibly exciting time.
We see so much innovation coming
from all areas, whether industry
or research, and so much money
being poured in by governments
and everyone, that it seems like
there will be a lot of changes to
come and it’ll just get more exciting.”
• • • • • • • •
This is an essential change we all need to make. The question:
What’s been the easiest way
we’ve made changes in our lives?
If you are or have been a smoker, withdrawal is uncomfortable – though it does save us money. The same goes for overdoing snack foods. There’s also no financial investment needed to try the change, and you can easily go back to the “old way” if you don’t like the change. The health benefit may be huge and the risk to try the change is near nothing. Adding D’s comments …
“Yah, baby, go electric. It’s more fun
to drive and better for the Earth.
“We like your thoughts about change and how do we change. Change can be painful, but once you’ve taken your initial step , it can be effortless.
“The first step is to test drive one, and see how it feels.
“While talking doesn’t usually change us, the second step could be to talk to one or two people who own an e-car and ask them about the pros and cons.
“Third, some e-car dealers will also let you buy the car with the understanding that the sale is not finalized for, usually, three to five days … which gives you a longer no-risk period to see how the change feels to you.”
One of my mentors, a behavioral scientist, did considerable research into “risk-taking.” His first advice was: “The best risk to take is none! But if it’s something you need to do, look at each of the risks involved. Then reduce the risks you can reduce.” The three steps D suggested all seem oriented toward reducing the risks of changing to an e-car. Once you’ve done that, then think about the e-car owner survey cited in the article …
“In a recent poll of 2,000 electric car owners,