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Electric Vehicles To Become Mainstream In Short Period Of Time

Electric Vehicles To Become Mainstream In Short Period Of Time

What would the world look like if electric cars took the lead in market share by 2030? “Couldn’t happen,” you say?

Consider the ramping up of some of the most basic items that have conquered the American market over the past century. Refrigerators went from a luxury item to 60 percent household penetration during the Depression and World War II. Technologies we used to live without including PCs, the Internet, and cell phones have become an integral part of daily life. Related: Price Manipulation In The Oil Markets?

PercentageOfUSHouseholds

Percentage of U.S. Households - Source: Financial Times (Click Image To Enlarge)

Once a breakthrough gets its footing, the rise to mainstream requirement is meteoric and, for reasons unknown (Copernicus has yet to weigh in), the rocket burn lasts about 15 years as the chart above indicates. Trace the rise of both electricity and automobiles. Radios had the sharpest rise of all, which may be why the 1920s were known as the Radio Days. Since the war, color TVs, microwaves, VCRs, PCs, the Internet and cellphones have all caught on as fast as radio. The air-conditioning vector appears to have been bent by the oil embargo in 1973. Auto production sputtered and coughed during the Depression, and throughout the war years, as factories churned out tanks and airplanes. It is not a coincidence that when the stock market peaked in 1929, auto production did too; neither would exceed the 1929 level until 1953. Related: Bursting The Solar Leasing Bubble

We are about to find out if electric vehicles can make their mark and become mainstream. The launch sequence and liftoff phase (now barely underway) will soon reveal the extent of their fuel supply, i.e. How much interest will consumers have in EVs when a 200-mile-per-charge car costs less than $25,000? When a 60 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery costs $9,000, there will be plenty of room in the budget to build a lightweight car around it. (UBS says that at $150 per kWh, the key variable in the calculation above, the EV market will take off.

At any price, the cost of ownership falls by 75 percent (not including cheaper insurance and maintenance); gasoline miles costing 12 cents each (at the current mileage standard with $3 per gallon) cannot compete with electric miles costing 3 cents or less. Related: China Hopes To Setup New Oil Futures Contract By End Of Year

An average 15,000 mile per year commuter in the US (NHTSA) will save roughly $1,350 in the first year, and the expected 5-year savings are $10,000 (as renewable power gets cheaper and, though no one knows, gasoline could still get a lot more expensive), just the sum needed to put 3 kilowatts (kW) of PV panels on your roof. (You can install 5 kW in Germany for that.) This figure will supply you with all 14,000 miles (from 4,200 kWh – USA average -- in the desert in the southwest the output doubles).

However, if your house can’t see the sun, or it points in the wrong direction, or your landlord is not interested, or you live in an apartment or condo, NREL estimates that half of all residential and commercial PV will be ‘shared solar,’ also known as Community Solar, by 2020, when multiple independent owners benefit from a larger centralized array.

But if electric vehicles at all resemble technologies of the past, they could rapidly transform from a niche product into a mainstream necessity in a relatively short period of time.

By Henry Hewitt for Oilprice.com

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  • David Hrivnak on June 07 2015 said:
    As someone who now has two plug-in cars I fully agree. Not only are electric far cheaper to operate they are more fun to drive due to the lower center of gravity and great off the line torque.
  • mf on June 09 2015 said:
    photovoltaics on the roof does not add up unless you have two electric cars, one charging while you drive the other, or an extra battery. You tend to work during the day.
  • cb on June 15 2015 said:
    EV's will also be less expensive as battery prices drop out of sight and that they will not have the most expensive component that combustion cars have.....an engine....or the maintenance.
  • David Dines on June 24 2015 said:
    This article brings up good points about technology adoption. Not mentioned directly, but there is tremendous progress in bringing battery prices down tremendously while decreasing charging time and making lighter cars. I personally know the people developing technology will enable a 400 mi EV that charges in 10 minutes (with both Li batteries and with flow batteries), and the costs will be on par with conventional cars. Given cost curves and development time, 5 years is a good target (could be faster with more investment). 10 years from now, costs will be even lower and performance even greater.

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