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Is The Electric Car Boom Overhyped?


The number of electric vehicles on the road surged to two million last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Registered plug-in and battery-powered vehicles on roads worldwide rose 60 per cent from the year before, according to the IEA's global EV 2017 report. However, despite the soaring numbers, electric vehicles still represent just 0.2 per cent of total light-duty vehicles.

The electric car market is set to transition from early deployment to mass market adoption over the next decade or so, and the likes of Elon Musk's Tesla have helped bolster public perception of electric vehicles, while car giants have been plugging investment into electric vehicles as interest in diesel cools.

Tesla is aiming at cracking the mass market with its new Model 3 sedan, and in April, the electric car firm accelerated past GM to become America's most valuable car firm, having just surpassed Ford, with investors buying into Tesla's belief that electric cars will soon rule the roads.

China remained the largest market in 2016, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the electric cars sold in the world, with more than 200m electric two-wheelers and more than 300,000 electric buses on the roads.

China, the U.S. and Europe were the three main markets, making up 90 per cent of all EVs sold around the world.

The IEA report noted that in some markets electric car deployment is swift: in Norway, electric cars had a 29 per cent market share in 2016, the highest globally, while in the Netherlands they made up 6.4 per cent. Related: U.S. Oil To Break Production Record In 2018

But, the IEA said: "They have a long way to go before reaching numbers capable of making a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In order to limit temperature increases to below 2°C by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040."

It added that "strong policy support" will be necessary to keep electric vehicles on track.

Between nine and 20m electric cars could be deployed by 2020, and 40-70m by 2025, according to estimates based on recent statements from car firms.


By CityAM

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  • DK on June 08 2017 said:
    Yes, there may be a gradual progression towards EV's just as there was a gradual progression from horse and buggy to automobiles. The rate of progression will be based on costs, resources, infrastructure, and technological advancements. Most EV's will be marketed towards daily commuters, as these vehicles offer zero torque and will not operate efficiently with high rpm and low gear ratio as compared to trucks, 18 wheelers, heavy machinery, etc.
  • jhm on June 08 2017 said:
    It is nice to see that the IEA finally accepts that the electric fleet could grow at an annual rate between 40% to 50% headed into 2025. This is doubling every 21 to 25 months.

    People may think that just 0.2% of the current fleet is a triviality, but when this is doubling every two years, this grows very fast. Within 8 to 10 years this will destroying more that 1mb/d demand every year.

    Think of it like small cancer tumor. The host can only tolerate about 3 or 4 more doublings. If you think you're safe just because the tumor is small. Think again. This cancer is not benign, and it cannot be stopped.
  • Henry on June 08 2017 said:
    Hey DV, The problem I have found about the EV is no one knows what they are talking about. If they educated themselves before comment or learned about the EV then they could understand it better. You are right the EV right now makes for a excellent commuter. You touched on no torque and thats incorrect. EV have instant torque and far more then any gas motor could ever dream of. See example below

    The torque at RPM is what needs to be looked in thinking about your question.

    The torque of the gas engine is listed at 82 lb-ft at 4200 RPM.

    The torque of the traction motor is listed at 295 lb-ft at 0-1200 RPM.

    The beauty of an electric motor is that it develops quite high torque at low rotational speeds. This is utilized in diesel-electric locomotives in getting a heavy train into motion. As the traction motors increase in RPM the total torque falls off.

    The internal combustion engine has very little torque at low RPM, thus the need for either an automatic or manual gearbox to allow the RPM get up to give the wanted torque.
  • Joe on June 08 2017 said:
    So I bought this base model 2017 Chevy Volt, discounted, for $30,000 in January. Got a "welfare" tax credit of $7500 which was nice (thank you American tax payers - and I'm kicking in $300K per year myself, so, kind of a rebate). This is my daily driver. Small car. It drives very, very well. Very quiet. Haven't been to a gas station since late January. My motivation was national security, not CO2. Anyway, I've discovered that really like electric propulsion and I cannot imagine ever buying a gasoline-only vehicle again. Maintenance is easy. My first oil change will likely happen in January of 2019. The financial break even point should happen within 6 years, so not a bad ROI. My guess is that EVs will sell to those beyond the early adopters due to convenience, Total-Cost-of-Ownership and performance. Right now Tesla, GM, Nissan, BMW, Toyota, Hyundai and Ford offer all-electric vehicles. Soon Chrysler, Volvo, Mercedes, VW and others will have US sales of their EVs. Battery cost are dropping year over year. Due to lower demand and the ever present threat of fracked oil production, gasoline should stay cheap for a long time, but it still won't stop the adoption of EVs.
  • Timmie Teee on June 08 2017 said:
    EV max torque is at zero ram and declines from there. ICE engines are so efficient and clean now, I'll never buy an EV. It's. It worth the extra cost and inconvenience, and they're an expert site paper weight in a natural disaster. NO thanks. I predict EV's top out at 10% market share.
  • Filip Subocz on June 08 2017 said:
    also... china, 200 million 2-wheeler? I guess extreme poor motorized ones with a very small accumulator capacity?! I like Tesla cars and okay California is usually the most expensive state in the Lower 48 in gasoline prices, but the Energy must come from somewhere, the accumulators need to be good and have as much as possible cycles, but the price is very high, even for the US, electric prices in the US are very low in average and there are these free charging stations (I do not understand this, for a few cars maybe wind, solar, hydropower or whatever is enough, but more cars and stations and a once payment for free energy?

    We talk about over 1 MWh or even over 2 MWh for drivers which are recharging daily almost the whole car at these stations.

    In China I think the normal loading, maybe with a special recommended energy connection (in OECD countries I would say ask your power company, but in China I do not know if they lay you a line which can make 11 or 22 kW loading (I think in Germany it can be 11 kW or more, companies make this for free or almost free since for them its like a few new customers, if you are smart you take one of these "take it or leave it"-contracts where you pay for a minimum taken, the more you take the lower the price and the price for energy exceeding this demand... for owners of a large house this can be already an option, especially if it is a 2-family house, but with that...

    In China I think the renewable energy they build will land in many places, but most of the 4 wheeler EV energy would come still from coal and increasingly from Russian natural gas... Tesla in its current form is nothing for European masses, "Made in the US", now even the accus will be build in that coming factory, a joint venture with Panasonic I think (they are leader for AA/Mignon and AAA/Micro accumulators and for sure they can build the Lithium-Ion or the much better Lithium-Polymer accus, if they are made in California too it will even increase the production costs (workers payment, many materials still need to be imported from oversea I guess), it will take a while, but a "Autogaz" car is nice, in Poland they are used a lot in a gasoline or LPG variant... some stations in Berlin sell it too, you can switch the fuel, except the cold starting has to be gasoline, its much cheaper per liter but a nice amount of that has to be taken away because of the lower power density resulting in a ~30% higher consumption, but it is still a lot cheaper... and in Poland you do not pay taxes for your car to the state directly :D It is involved in the fuel taxes, which are still quite low, tourism for gasoline is heavy down, but some German cars still drive to buy the 800 cigarettes per person, some other stuff and before leaving you fill your tank, you can take I think 10 liter in a canister, but only few people make use of this... normal tank filling is enough with around ~100 kilometers to Berlin, a bit more to the Western part or the centrum...

    If we would right now in any country put in 1 million EV's for loading, even with "only" 2,3 kW (I think that is the amount of Teslas usual home loading cable, but you need to let it run for like 2 days.... at the maximum, even damaging it I did read if you make it 48 hours or more, which is necessary if you were almost empty, that is why you need the special connection......
  • Uncle Skippy on June 08 2017 said:
    Here's the thing with EV, while there is a lot of criticism of the current state of EV technology, these are not complaints of the idealized EV (i.e. 400mile range, 5 min recharge time, low cost, torque, etc). If you make a leap faith, and simply consider the idealized EV car, there is little to hate about it. In terms of energy resources question, it is a winner. Indeed if you are pro-clean coal, like some people are, you actually should be pro-EV. If you are pro-NG, you should be pro-EV. If you are for energy independence, you should be pro-EV. If you are anti-climate-change, you should be pro-EV. If you are pro-Saudi, on the other hand, you should be anti-EV.

    Of course the technology has yet to be perfected, and EV cost isn't competitive, but to bet against EV car is to bet that technological advances will come to a stand-still in the near future....and I would really challenge anyone to make THAT bet.

    So the question is not IF electric vehicle will be the norm, but rather WHEN will EV be the norm.
  • Tim on June 09 2017 said:
    Electric? two wheeler is a human powered and part time electric bike.

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