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.

Economist cover calls ICE “roadkill”

The death of the internal combustion engine
The Economist

The first death rattles of the internal combustion engine are already reverberating around the world—and many of the consequences will be welcome.

To gauge what lies ahead, think how the internal combustion engine has shaped modern life. The rich world was rebuilt for motor vehicles, with huge investments in road networks and the invention of suburbia, along with shopping malls and drive-through restaurants. Roughly 85% of American workers commute by car. Carmaking was also a generator of economic development and the expansion of the middle class, in post-war America and elsewhere. There are now about 1bn cars on the road, almost all powered by fossil fuels. Though most of them sit idle, America’s car and lorry engines can produce ten times as much energy as its power stations. The internal combustion engine is the mightiest motor in history.

But electrification has thrown the car industry into turmoil. Its best brands are founded on their engineering heritage—especially in Germany. Compared with existing vehicles, electric cars are much simpler and have fewer parts; they are more like computers on wheels. That means they need fewer people to assemble them and fewer subsidiary systems from specialist suppliers. Carworkers at factories that do not make electric cars are worried that they could be for the chop. With less to go wrong, the market for maintenance and spare parts will shrink. While today’s carmakers grapple with their costly legacy of old factories and swollen workforces, new entrants will be unencumbered. Premium brands may be able to stand out through styling and handling, but low-margin, mass-market carmakers will have to compete chiefly on cost.

I am seeing more and more “respected” publications coming to this conclusion in the financial media. Bloomberg was the first, and has been revising its estimates of when EVs will hit “critical mass” from 10% to 35% by 2040. I expected that revision to be revised.