Automakers Badger China for Extra Year of Non-Compliance

China Gives Automakers More Time in World’s Biggest EV Plan
Bloomberg News

Signage for a parking space for an electric automobile is displayed at a charging station operated by Tellus Power Inc. at an underground parking lot in Beijing. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China unveiled a comprehensive set of emission rules and delayed a credit-score program tied to the production of electric cars, giving automakers more time to prepare for the phasing out of fossil-fuel powered vehicles in the world’s largest auto market.

Under the so-called cap-and-trade policy, automakers must obtain a new-energy vehicle score — which is linked to the production of various types of zero- and low-emission vehicles — of at least 10 percent starting in 2019, rising to 12 percent in 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its website. The rule applies to car makers that manufacture or import more than 30,000 traditional vehicles annually, and those who fail to comply must buy credits or face fines.

Originally, China required 8% of cars sold in 2018 to be Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), but US automakers whined and whined until China relented. Hey, what’s a few thousand more air pollution deaths in the free market?

Harsh you say? Sure, unless you are one of those people slowly suffocating.

Musk sends Tesla

Tesla Is Sending Battery Packs to Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Bloomberg News

Tesla Inc. is sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels in an effort to help the battered island territory restore electric power, the company said Thursday. Some of the systems are already there and others are en route.

The equipment is sorely needed, since the island remains largely without electricity more than a week after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. The company has employees on the ground to install them and is working with local organizations to identify locations.

Apparently, that S.O.S. paid off. I note from the article that Musk moved faster than the U.S. government in dispatching equipment and trained techs to coordinate with locals on which arrays to get up first.

Solar PVs – 1, CAT 5 Hurricanes – 0

Antigua’s PV systems sustain impact of hurricane Irma
Solar Daily

Designed to withstand hurricanes of up to the category 4, each of the 55 solar power installations on Antigua, ranging from several kWp to the 3 MWp and 4 MWp utility scale installations at the international airport of Antigua and in the Lavington/Bethesda region with a total of 38,000 panels mounted, have survived hurricane Irma without damages or substantial system failures.

One of these PV systems, based on a 50 kWp sun2safe hybrid converter, was even able to generate 25% of its maximum expected performance during the worst hours of the hurricane, thanks to its proprietary MPPT tracking algorithm which is able to optimise the production even under extreme weather conditions.

A little deserved bragging from a trade journal, but this really should be on the evening news. This is the good news. The bad news is that since almost all PV arrays are “grid-tied” they require the main grid to be up in order to provide power. When the main grid goes down, absent a battery or a special inverter, the solar array goes down as well. This is primarily a safety issue, since you don’t want linesmen injured working on a downed power line they think is dead, but is actually energized by a solar array.

Unlike traditional power sources on poles, solar arrays are highly resilient and likely to survive these types of storms. What they need now is a battery backup so they can be isolated from the main grid, and continue to provide power when the mains are down. Cheaper battery prices will make this a reality in the next few years (much to the horror of many utilities who are fighting the future instead of embracing it).

California next to ban new gasoline cars sales?

California Considers Following China With Combustion-Engine Car Ban
Bloomberg News

The internal combustion engine’s days may be numbered in California, where officials are mulling whether a ban on sales of polluting autos is needed to achieve long-term targets for cleaner air.

Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, would be replicating similar moves by China, France and the U.K.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

Embracing such a policy would send shockwaves through the global car industry due to the heft of California’s auto market. More than 2 million new passenger vehicles were registered in the state last year, topping France, Italy or Spain. If a ban were implemented, automakers from General Motors Co. to Toyota Motor Corp. would be under new pressure to make electric vehicles the standard for personal transportation in the most populous U.S. state, casting fresh doubts on the future of gasoline- and diesel-powered autos elsewhere.

“Shockwaves” is an understatement. Certain pumpkin-hued individual’s head will explode all over the golf course when they read this. If California follows through, expect a major counter-offensive from the oil and auto industry.

Battery price drop still vastly understated

This chart shows the predicted price of lithium-ion batteries by the Energy Information Agency (part of the US Department of Energy), Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Navigant, a technology consulting group. Each of these groups predicted where battery prices would be from 2013 through 2048.

So, how accurate have their predictions been four years out? Let’s look:

EIA – $575 per kWh
BENF – $450 per kWh
Navigant – $400 per kWh

Average – $475 per kWh

Right, so what was the actual price? Well, we are not sure, but the best guess based on industry watchers who have taken Tesla cars apart and priced the components, the best estimate is $227 per kWh, meaning the EIA missed the number by a mile, and even the average was more than twice the actual. But what is the price actually? According to Tesla probably somewhere around $124 per kWh.

If true, “experts” need to seriously re-evaluate their price prediction methodology.


With all these automakers promising new EVs…

…one remains skeptical. After all, promises of new models and new investment are cheap, actually investing money and building cars is VERY expensive.

But let us assume that all these companies are sincere in their commitment to build more EVs. In that case, I one is forced to ponder the question: “How will they vehicles charge themselves?”

Now obviously, we are big fans of charging at home (and work if you can persuade the boss), and certainly that is sufficient for PHEVs and short range EVs (150 miles and under). But anyone promising an EV with 200+ miles of range needs to provide a means for customers to charge on the road quickly, or the EV is hindered. The biggest knock against GM over the Bolt is that they refused to offer any charging deal, they just sold the car and left it to the buyer to worry about charging. That’s great for folks living in locations with a good public charging infrastructure, but not much help to the other 75% of the country.

One of Tesla’s main selling points is that every day it gets easier to charge the car on the road as they continually expand their Supercharger Network. Right now they are adding 4-6 stations per week, and that is likely to continue into the end of 2018.

A company serious about selling EVs is also serious about charging those EVs away from home.

Shell UK adding charging to gas stations

Shell Retail Looks to the Future With Car Charging
Bloomberg News

Shell set up its first hydrogen refueling station in the U.K. earlier this year and will install its first electric car charging point later this month, said John Abbott, the top executive of its downstream business, which includes refining, marketing, retail, trading and chemicals. By 2025, he expects these new operations supplying cleaner fuels, including natural gas, to make up a fifth of margins from selling fuel.

Shell, still doesn’t quite get it. They are trying to preserve legacy methods of fueling involving tanks, tanker trucks, and all the plumbing that goes with fossil fuels (I include hydrogen since it is generally made from natural gas). It may seem like a way to preserve their capital investment, but really they are just making their stations WAY more expensive, since they will have to install more storage tanks and fueling hardware, which just mean spending LOTS of money and creating a very complex, expensive to maintain site, that will also complicate the logistics of scheduling deliveries of natural gas and hydrogen on top of the diesel/gasoline products already carried.

Oh, and you are adding the dangers of H2 and NG “spills” to the risk of gasoline/diesel spills. So, each time you resupply a station, you triple the number of chances something can wrong.

It’s simple guys. You have electrical wires right there above your station. Installing chargers is a matter of tapping the existing electrical infrastructure and setting aside some spaces for charging EVs. Simple installation, nothing to resupply multiple times a week, fewer tanker trucks on the road burning diesel.

Just some numbers to ponder…

According to the latest figures, U.S. sales for EVs/PHEVs 121,502 through August of this year. Since 2010, 686,192 cars have been sold. These sales represent dozens on models sold by sixteen car companies.

Currently, the confirmed pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3 stands at a minimum of 400,000 cars, with a minimum sale price of $35K each (though the average price is more likely to be $43K). This means that one car company, Tesla, is set to sell the equivalent of roughly 60% of all the plug-in cars for the last seven years, in the next 16 months.

One company.

One model.

400,000 units.

A minimum of $14 billion in sales.

China Pulls Out Death Certificate and Pen for ICVs

China’s Fossil Fuel Deadline Shifts Focus to Electric Car Race
Bloomberg News

China will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, becoming the biggest market to do so in a move that will accelerate the push into the electric car market led by companies including BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Corp.

Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales. The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday.

The world’s second-biggest economy, which has vowed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and curb worsening air pollution, is the latest to join countries such as the U.K. and France seeking to phase out vehicles using gasoline and diesel. The looming ban on combustion-engine automobiles will goad both local and global automakers to focus on introducing more zero-emission electric cars to help clean up smog-choked major cities.

China does not set a date, just says one is coming. Chinese automakers are putting a smiley face on the announcement.

“The implementation of the ban for such a big market like China can be later than 2040,” said Liu Zhijia, an assistant general manager at Chery Automobile Co., the country’s biggest passenger car exporter that unveiled a new line for upscale battery-powered and plug-in hybrid models at the Frankfurt motor show last week. “That will leave plenty of time for everyone to prepare.”

Yeah, about that.

If China is looking to cap carbon emissions by 2030 and improve air quality, I am guessing they have a date in mind much closer than “later than 2040”. Also, this announcement is a big slap in the face to all the automakers (except Tesla) who have been pressing China to relax its EV requirements and let them sell more ICVs and fewer EVs.

EVs in the U.S. have now arrived at 1% of sales, up from 0.01% in 2010. That might not seem like much, but it is a two order of magnitude improvement in seven years. If we cut that growth rate in half, that would mean that EVs would make up 10% of car sales in 2024, and 100% of sales by 2031.

Seems to me we are at the bottom of the “S-curve” right before it spikes upward.

Wind & Solar Exceed Expectations, Again…

Wind power costs could drop 50%. Solar PV could provide up to 50% of global power. Damn.

Solar and wind energy have been underestimated by analysts and politicians again and again and again. They have gotten cheaper and scaled up faster than even the most optimistic forecasts of a decade ago, or even a few years ago.

And there’s good evidence we’re still underestimating them. In fact, two new reports — one on solar, one on wind — make the point vividly. They argue that the radical trends of the last decade are going to continue, which is all that needs to happen for the energy system to tip over from disruption into revolution.

Lots of charts and graphs in this article you need to see, so go read the article.

Bottom line: The costs of solar/wind continues to drop, as market penetration gets deeper