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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS is an excellent weekly source of its industry’s happenings and trends. In particular, it has presented a variety of facts and opinions on electric vehicles. Here are a few tidbits gleaned from recent AN issues.
Battery Recycling. “VW Recycling Project Targets Spent Batteries,” by Larry P. Vellequette, Automotive News, March 4, 2019, describes a pilot facility in Saltzgiller, Germany, about 30 miles southwest of Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters. “Beginning in 2020,” Vellequette notes, “the plant will accept about 1200 tons of used automotive lithium battery packs a year—the equivalent of what’s in about 3000 EVs today.”
Batteries with some life remaining will be given a second use as mobile charging stations. Others will be shredded into powder, with their raw materials extracted and recycled.
What’s an Oil Giant to Do? “Big Oil Taps into Electric Era,” by Urvaksh Karkaria, AN, March 4, 2019, identifies Shell, Chevron, and BP as oil companies preparing for the demise of mobility based on fossil fuels. Karkaria writes that Shell New Energies “said it plans to spend $1 billion to $2 billion a year through 2020 on commercial opportunities, including electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”
Shell is quoted as predicting, “A mosaic of different fuels will be needed to meet growing demands for transport in a low-carbon future.”
A reader put this in historical perspective in AN’s “Letters,” March 11, 2019: Norman P. Higby, president, WMP Forecasts, writes, “It took oil companies until 1914 to grasp that Ford had changed their world [with its 1908 introduction of the mass-market Model T]…. Gas, hydrogen, hybrids, and all-electrics have to fight each other for survival, much less dominance. But it was steam vs. electric vs. gasoline from 1895 to 1925….”
Pure Internal Combustion, Goodbye? In its autonews.com column, March 4, 2019, AN reports that “All new Honda vehicles for sale in Europe by 2025 will be battery-electric or hybrid.”
Even traditional Volvo, through its Polestar brand and its Chinese venture, is going EV. In AN, March 4, 2019, Urvaksh Karkasia writes “Volvo’s EV Takes On Tesla.”
The Polestar 2 is powered by two electric motors supported by a 78-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The car is said to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in less than five seconds.
What’s Promoting EVs Sales? This spirited acceleration from near-instant torque is part of EV appeal, quite apart from any environmental benefits.
In AN’s “Final Assembly” segment, March 18, 2019, it quotes Steve Carlisle, Cadillac president: “We’re not talking about displacements anymore…. It’s the early torque. It’s the driveability. It’s the acceleration. We see this as a step toward the future and moving into battery electric vehicles.”
However, most consumers still seem reluctant to give up fossil fuels. AN cites IHS Markit’s forecasts of sales and market shares of EVs, both battery electrics (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
Despite automaker hoopla, and EV’s non-trivial growth, its market share in 2030 is projected to reach only about 14 percent of sales, split about 8 percent PHEVs and 6 percent BEVs.
But Count the Norwegians Already In! In another “Final Assembly” segment, April 8, 2019, AN reports “A Milestone for EVs in Norway.”
The Tesla Model 3 “accounted for more than a quarter of registrations in March and pushed zero-emission vehicles to a record 58.4 percent of passenger-vehicle sales for the month, the Norwegian Road Federation reported last week.” This compares with last year’s rate of 31.2 percent and 2017’s 20.8 percent.
Much of Norway’s EV success is government-engineered: Zero-emission vehicles get discounts in parking fees, road tolls, and ferry fares. Although Norway’s vehicle taxes are high, ZEVs are exempted.
Gee, all this and spirited acceleration too! ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019