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Tesla, rivals, software may kill petrol car as soon as 2025

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The response to our article on Monday “Tesla Motor’s Elon Musk just killed the petrol car” was as fascinating as it was overwhelming. It is on track to be the most read story on our web-site to date.

The response was fascinating because it came from a mixture of those prepared to imagine the future, and read the signs of change, and those focused on short-term issues – be it meeting production schedules, reducing battery costs, or the immediate future of the Tesla share price.

Then there were those who simply didn’t want to know. The oil industry is one of them. It is making predictions, and seeking capital, as though the EV didn’t exist. The nuclear industry also wishes it wasn’t so. “This is bullish*t”, tweeted one of the most prominent nuclear advocates, still clinging to the old centralised energy model.

So we thought it would be useful to explain more about how it is that Musk has killed the petrol car. And for that we went back to Stanford University’s Tony Seba, the academic who predicts that fossil fuels, coal and oil in particular, will be redundant by 2030.

Seba tells RenewEconomy that the latest developments at Tesla, with the huge response to the sneak preview of its new Model 3, and the rollout over at General Motors of the Chevy Bolt, confirm his predictions. They may in fact accelerate them.

Seba’s message is not one that sits comfortably with incumbent industries, the auto and oil sectors in particular. He thinks that new internal combustion engine cars will not be on sale by 2025. Anywhere in the world. And there may not be many internal combustion engine buses, trucks, and tractors either.

This graph below is the key to the story. It comes from Seba’s Clean Disruption book released 18 months ago, and is a forecast of the declining cost of electric vehicles as battery storage costs plummet. The release of the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, both at around $US35,000, put developments ahead of his curve.
seba ev costs fall copy

It means that within a few years, high-performance EVs will cost less than the average car in the US. Within five years they will be competing with low-cost Buicks.

“For the past 100 years, the auto industry has told us that if you want high performance you have to pay big bucks,” Seba says. “So when you get a car with a better performance than a Porsche and a cheaper price than a Buick, that’s the end for both Porsche and Buick.”

But that’s not the only point. Seba argues that electric vehicles will cost 10 times less than internal combustion engines to charge. Electrons are easier to move than petrol and diesel. Solar powered charging stations will deliver refills at zero marginal cost.

Maintenance will also be significantly cheaper. An international combustion engine has more than 2,000 moving parts. An electric vehicle has less than 20 moving parts. It will have negligible maintenance costs.

Seba explains more: “The Internal Combustion Engine is 17-21 per cent efficient while the electric motor is 90-95 per cent efficient. The EV is 5 times more energy efficient than the ICE car.

“Combine that with the fact that it’s cheaper to transmit electrons (electricity) than atoms (gasoline or diesel) and you get that energy costs/mile are 10 times cheaper for EVs.

“This number of course changes according to local conditions (as you know electricity vs petrol costs vary widely depending on taxes, transmission costs, subsidies, industry protection, etc.), but I haven’t seen a market where energy cost per mile for EVs are less than 5 times cheaper than energy costs for ICE cars.”

Seba worked his predictions on a 200-mile range (320kms) EV costing $US30,000 by 2020, cheaper than the ICE alternative and with huge fuel and maintenance savings.

“Assuming both these cars (GM Bolt and Tesla Model 3) do in fact go to market 2017 and the industry catches up to them by 2018, it fits my forecast perfectly,” Seba says.

“This means that 2020 would be the tipping point for the disruption, the point at which it would make no financial sense to purchase an ICE vehicle for the average vehicle buyer. Follow the EV cost curve and by 2025 all new vehicles will be electric.

“Interestingly, the median new ICE car in the US is now $US33,000 (compared to his forecast of $US31,000) and the EV cost curve may be accelerating beyond the 16 per cent per year curve that I predicted.

“So, in fact, the end of the ICE vehicle era may happen faster than my 2025 prediction. By the way, this is not just the end of the ICE car era. My prediction is that by 2025 all new vehicles will be electric: cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, tractors, anything that moves on the ground with wheels.

“When digital cameras disrupted film cameras, it didn’t just happen with low-end cameras,” Seba says. “It happened with all cameras. It’s the same dynamics with vehicles.”

These predictions do two things: they validate targets, such as those by India’s roads minister for all cars to be electric by 2030; and they make policies such as the Dutch ban on internal combustion engines from 2025 appear a little redundant.

And here it is worth reinforcing a point we tried to make yesterday. These predictions do not lie in the success or otherwise of Tesla, or the ability of Musk to meet production targets. And they also do not assume that individual ownership of vehicles will be as paramount as it now is.

Musk, you see, is not alone, he is just blazing a trail. FoxConn, the makers of the Apple laptop, predicts it will be making EVs at a price of $US15,000. Ford, Seba notes, has announced plans to invest $US4.5 billion in electric vehicles, not necessarily to capture the lion’s share of the market in units sold, but to become a “mobility company”.

GM is also investing in the “mobility services” business, snapping up interests in companies investing in lifts and autonomous cars. Google and Apple are investing heavily in similar technologies.

Tesla also has a “master plan”, as we noted on Monday. This does not centre around selling units so much as miles or kilometres travelled. Morgan Stanley says Tesla’s future will rely not on EV deliveries, but the network of service and free charging that is “critical to delivering mobility service-based revenue in the future.”

Seba says a similar transition is happening in the electricity supply industry, where the plunging cost of solar and of battery storage is changing the rules of the game from a centralised to a distributed model, also based around a “zero marginal cost of production”, rather than the increasing marginal cost on which the fossil fuel industry relied.

There are three reasons for this change in focus in the auto industry, Seba says. Cars are moving from internal combustion engines to electric, they are being driven by computers rather than people, and they will be shared rather than owned.

“Change comes from the outside,” Seba says, referring to the photo, computer, media and telco industries. “ECs are computers on wheels. Companies offer free charging. We are moving to zero marginal cost.

“You can power hour house with your car. If every car in Norway is a full EV, they will be able to store one half of the daily electricity demand.”

And there is one other things that may change too. The use and need for car parks. If Seba is right, and car sharing dominates over individual ownership, then car fleets will be significantly smaller and car usage will switch from 10 per cent usage and 90 per cent parking, to 90 per cent usage and 10 per cent parking.

That’s a lot of car parks lying under-utilised. It may turns out that cheaper real estate is on the way too.  

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  • JohnM

    Funny thing, -how come there’s absolutely no mention of this on the ABC?
    Surely the model 3 phenomenon is a major event.
    The pre-sale capital raised alone is a seismic economic and technological development. Did they just miss it perhaps…?

    • Bristolboy

      Can’t comment about over there but the BBC has runsevdral stories (many which appeared on the most read charts) about the Model 3. Hopefully this will have helped spread the word about Tesla to a wider audience.

    • nakedChimp

      Maybe they were peed that the RHD version will be built last 😉

  • Nick Thiwerspoon

    Not sure what the horizontal scale in the chart shows!

    • Pfitzy

      Year. Just got truncated a bit

    • Axl D

      Years. Just looks like a formatting issue. The first year is 2014.

      • Nick Thiwerspoon

        Thanks

  • Lindsay

    If this happens sooner rather than later, it is going to be just another problem for the Federal budget as they collect nearly $18b in fuel excise each year.

    • Michael Dufty

      I’m sure if cars are smart enough to drive themselves they will be smart enough to tax themselves as well.

      • Ian

        Very nicely said. Maybe they can fine themselves when they drive too fast, then we won’t need traffic police.

    • Charles

      I guess that can be balanced with savings from the health budget.

      • Bingo!

        But expect the fossil fuelers to make up every Crocodile Tear Excuse they can think of to bad mouth EVs.

        Big Oil will DO what they have ALWAYS done. That is, they will cheat as much as they can and corrupt politicians as much as they can to change laws in order to strangle competition from EVs and the Renewable Energy that powers them.

        Right now, the oil and gas industry is busy throwing its employees off the bus. Those are the employees that the fossil fuel executives always claimed were the “salt of the earth”.

        More than 29,000 oil and gas employees have been stiffed over $40 million in back wages, according to findings from more than 1,100 investigations launched since 2012 by the Labor Department.

        Despite booming industry profits and record oil and gas output – which together rejuvenated the country’s economy and transformed the U.S. into the world’s top oil and gas producer in 2014 and 2015 – companies misclassified their workers and failed to pay them required overtime, even as they put in long workdays in often dangerous

        “We continue to find unacceptably high numbers of violations in the oil and gas industry,” Betty Campbell, regional administrator for the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest, said in a statement.

        Violations ranged from failing to pay production bonuses to wrongly considering employees as “exempt” from overtime requirements, paying them flat salaries regardless of how many hours they worked.

        If the above surprises you, then you do not understand the “philosopy” of life of the Predators ‘R’ US crowd that run the fossil fuel corporations. Their “business model” REQUIRES that they “externalize” pollution costs to the population and biosphere while they fleece the same population through “subsidy” swag and various bought and paid for tax fraud loopholes.

        IOW, they make money because they CHEAT.

        For example, there is NO WAY that Fracking OR ocean rigs could have EVER made money if they were not able to flare all those toxic gases into the atmosphere and had to capture and process them.

        These psychopaths that will OBVIOUSLY not hesitate to SHAFT their “salt of the earth” employees the INSTANT anything gets in the way of the SWAG for the management, will do WHATEVER skullduggery they can get away with to destroy EV competition.

        You are seeing JUST THE TIP OF A MASSIVE “iceberg” of the routine skullduggery of Corporate Tyranny of Big Oil.

        We need fossil fuel corporations like a HOLE IN THE HEAD. As long as they have a nickel, they will spend it to crap all over the people and the planet. Ethical business practices are a JOKE to them.

        HERE, with my answer, are some the empty arguments against EVs the fossil fuelers will make with ample crocodile tears about the “pollution” from EV battery manufacture:

        Fossil Fueler QUOTE:

        What kind of batteries are used and how much of the necessary materials exists to support the production of these batteries? What are the environmental consequences of mining and production of these batteries?

        UNQOUTE

        School is out, fossil fueler. I don’t respond to leading questions for the simple reason that I post repeatedly on TOTAL solutions for the environment and human civilization. Elon Musk’s battery factory will run exclusively on renewable energy (the part now running ALREADY DOES). Lithium is one of the most common elements on the earth, in case you did not know. The wide spread use of this type of battery technology will kill the horrendously polluting and toxic lead acid battery market, which you are noticeably silent about. I have posted on what lead acid batteries DO to our biosphere.

        YOU should be applauding the FACT that Musk will make batteries and battery technology environmentally friendly, but instead you start some cherry picking based leading questions. What next, Mr. Crocodile Tears Fossil Fueler? Are you going to tell me the battery factory will kill desert wildlife so it should not have been built? Musk has thought of that TOO. And it is NOT harming the local biome!

        France’s environmental minister is trying to sell Musk on putting a Tesla factory where an old Nuclear power plant is so the jobs are not lost when it is decommissioned. I don’t like it but if France will clean the site up properly, it’s an excellent way to aid in the vitally important (if we are to survive as a species) transition from polluting poison crap to a viable biosphere renewable energy world.

        If you wish to reason this out objectively, you MUST look at ALL the pollution from mining for the metals for internal combustion engines (60 to 70% of which will NOT take place in an EV powered world), the pollution from lead acid battery world wide use (which will cease to exist in an EV powered world) AND the fossil fuels caused pollution and deleterious health effects of internal combustion powered vehicles (which ARE NOT THERE in an EV powered world). You are obviously not doing that.

        The “it’s not ready for prime time” excuse for claiming renewable energy technology “is just as polluting, more expensive and therefore unjustified” has been used by the fossil fuel industry for over 50 years. Don’t try that one me. It has ALWAYS been bullshit. I wrote a long article on that.

        ??

        Hope for a Viable Biosphere of Renewables: Why They Work and Fossil & Nuclear Fuels Never Did

        When you decide to be objective about a cost benefit analysis of all renewable energy technologies versus the current destructive, polluting and unsustainable status quo, let me know.

        I will be happy to repost my old article on Lead Acid Batteries if you so desire. The Lithium battery technology (of which a manganese type seems to be the best right now – there are different types and ALL Lithium type batteries CAN be made WITHOUT polluting – including the recycling involved) is KEY for EVs and Renewable Energy storage needed to enable us to obtain a viable biosphere.

        We DO NOT HAVE a civilization that guarantees a viable biosphere at present. Musk is trying to get us there.

        • MaxG

          You are soo right… and the low number of likes demonstrates how many or rather few get your message… and why so many vote for the major parties.

          • Thank you. I believe you are 100% right about the voting irrationality.

    • john

      I think the solution to user pays for all vehicles is that GPS chips are made mandatory with anti taper technology.
      The vehicle owner pays per mile of travel and if the vehicle exceeds regulations as in speeds uses roads with no entry etc the fine is automatic.
      If a vehicle owner is not able to pay the fine or road use then the vehicle is disabled by transport department until the situation is rectified.
      This of course means not immediately but via agreement on the terms of use for roads.
      The idea that 90% of police work is traffic is a terrible waste of their time.
      Commercial usage of the road would be at a different cost to private.
      Where high cost infrastructure as in freeways are constructed the cost to use is higher than gravel low cost roads.

    • Adam Kondic

      Maybe if the gov stopped wasting taxpayers money they wouldn’t need to raise so much revenue. I mean a $30000 painting of Bronwyn bishop…who voted for that? Camera phone, glossy a4 paper, job done. Better yet, we should decide who is imortialized in parliament not them. These puffed up morons don’t need anything else to feed their over exaggerated egos. We the people need to stand up and make the politicians cut their waste before finding new ways to tax us.

    • nathan rotstein

      China produced 300,000 e.v.’s last year and will double that this year. Why can’t canada become the largest manufacture of e.v. for north america? We have the plants, the skilled labour, and a cheap dollar.
      GREEN JOBS.
      Wake up justin and stop giving everything away.
      The honeymoon is over.
      New budget required. GREEN and TECH.

    • trackdaze

      That 18b is off the back off a much larger mostly imported fuel stock

  • wmh

    The fossil-car’s Kodak moment. And surely it is about time that we ended the car’s domination of our street space. Only 60 years ago, us children used the street to play in.

  • Ken Dyer

    The achilles heel of electric cars has always been battery capacity.

    This is about to end.

    http://futurism.com/scientists-develop-better-battery-thanks-graphene/

    Graphene is also being used to boost not only the capacity and charge
    rate of batteries but also the longevity. Currently, while such
    materials as silicone are able to store large amounts of energy, that
    potential amount diminishes drastically on every charge or recharge.
    With graphene tin oxide being used as an anode in lithium ion batteries
    for example, batteries can be made to last much longer between charges
    (potential capacity has increased by a factor of 10), and with almost no
    reduction in storage capacity between charges, effectively making
    technology such as electronically powered vehicles a much more viable
    transport solution in the future. This means that batteries (or
    capacitors) can be developed to last much longer and at higher
    capacities than previously realised. Also, it means that electronic
    devices may be able to be charged within seconds, rather than minute or
    hours and have hugely improved longevity. (http://www.graphenea.com/pages/graphene).

    EV’s are here to stay

    http://gas2.org/2014/08/21/tesla-developing-500-mile-graphene-battery/

    • solarguy

      Graphene is promising and so is zinc bromine cells, UNSW not talking about flow batteries either.

      • Ken Dyer

        Consider the R&D that is going into battery development right now in three industries; electronic vehicles, home/utility solar PV and information technology. Literally billions of dollars are being spent to develop better batteries, and this is reflected in the reduction in battery costs that has been maintained at 7% a year for several years. If anything, cost reduction will accelerate.

        If a battery costs $10000 today, it will cost about $5200 in 2025, which means that a Tesla, that costs about $100,000 today should cost about $50,000. In a nutshell, renewable energy improves quality of life.

        Battery development enjoys a similar paradigm to Moores Law that has seen computing capacity double every two years for the last 50 years, unlike the downward spiral of fossil fuels. There is no doubt in my mind that just as the giant coal surplus will remain, the current oil surplus will continue to grow as EV’s become mainsteam.

        It is also unfortunate that the influence of fossil fuel industries is so embedded in Australian Governments today. It will be an uphill battle to bring EV’s into the mainstream in Australia, and will require every minute of the next 10 years to achieve, unless the politicians get off their backsides, and descend from their ivory castles to see the reality of the tsunami of renewable energy that is overtaking fossil fuel energy. Their political lives will ultimately depend on their decision to tangibly embrace renewable energy.

        That is why voters at the next election should kick out those politicians who do not walk the talk of renewable energy in all its multiple manifestations.

    • Ian

      Oh, I so hope you are right. Batteries are THE key to this whole renewables adoption thing. If Musk has done one thing, then this is it: Getting us over the battery cost/mass adoption/ mass production paradym . As others have said, even if he fails to produce the mass market goods, he would still have stirred up a motor industry hive of bees. He has opened the EV Pandora’s box and there is no going back. Like a whack-a-mole arcade game there is no suppressing this movement. Hit its head in America and it will pop up in China or Europe. Smash it down in China and there it will appear in South America. All eyes on batteries guys, that’s the next big thing. How very obvious, did no one see this coming? Cheap batteries = cheap electric cars = expensive fuel = renewables deployment.

  • Bob_Wallace

    By 2025 desire for an electric car may be 100%, but it’s unlikely there would be enough battery manufacturing capacity to supply that many EVs. With 90 million vehicles sold per year we would have to build about 190 Gigafactories in the next nine years. And ramp up material production to feed them.

    • nakedChimp

      Hm.. have they ever built one?
      Can they use copy&paste yet?
      If Tesla stays the course it might actually try to share it’s experience on that one as it did with the EV patents?
      Anyone who knows?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Sure, what P/T is doing can be copied. Build a big plant that takes raw materials in one door and ships finished battery packs out another. No magic there. But to build that many, supply them with equipment and raw materials would mean that we’d have to start all 190 in the next couple of years.

        • Sebastian M. Büttner

          Nice discussion! IMHO you really get the point of Tony Seba.

          The solution to 190 Gigafactories is to build 1 Gigafactory factory on every continent that produces 1 Gigafactory every year (credits to Amory Lovins at the betd2016 conference). But watch out for speedup of change via new battery technologies and via new ‘economics of battery energy storage’ (again credits to Amory Lovins at rmi.org).

          • Bob_Wallace

            We’ve only got a half dozen or so battery manufacturers that operate at a scale that would make them candidates to build a GF. If all of them committed right now they would likely start with on GF in order to make sure they were doing it right. That would take five years.

            I’m pretty much a ‘can do’ guy. But I’d be very surprised to see ten GFs under construction by 2020. I suspect the number is going to be considerably lower.

            We’re in the proof of concept stage. Tesla has to get a few thousand Model 3s on the road and people have to be convinced that they are what we think they will be. The first GF has to be seen working and pumping out batteries for less money than LG Chem’s several smaller factories that produce about the same number of batteries (450k car’s worth compared to Tesla’s 500k in 2020).

            My timeline is that it will be 2020 when Panasonic and Tesla prove themselves (or not). By 2025 there will be enough battery capacity to manufacture no more than 10 million EVs per year (20 GF) and that’s a high estimate, IMO, a lot depends on China moving faster. (Which it is right now.)

            I don’t think the industry will be able to furnish 100% EVs even in 2030. Perhaps by 2035.

          • neroden

            I think people will start delaying car purchases to wait for EVs. Industry will be scrambling to scale up as fast as possible.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I can see that happening. People may decide to hold off purchasing a new car for a couple of years in order to get an EV. That will create slumping ICEV sales and speed up the manufacturing of EVs.

            Film camera manufacturing crashed very rapidly as digital gained a foothold. The first thing that happened was that manufacturers quit spending on ICE research. Then they quit introducing new models. At the end they were selling what few film cameras that were wanted out of warehouse stock. IIRC Nikon had several years’s worth of new fSLRs in their warehouse. Enough to carry them for a long time after manufacturing was halted.

          • Sebastian M. Büttner

            Thanks for elaborating. Yes, China is definitely good for (good?) surprises. And dezentralised energy brings dezentralised thinking which brings more innovation and cross-section coordination.
            Change of mindset is the key to making it happen.

          • Bob_Wallace

            China manufactured 150,000 EVs last year and is aiming for 300,000 this year. They’re ramping rapidly. And they already have over 100 million electric bikes on their roads so Chinese drivers should be very familiar with charging stuff.

    • kontis

      ” With 90 million vehicles sold per year”

      That number will start to rapidly decrease once autonomous cars are introduced. In 2030 only car enthusiasts and people who have to drive large distances will buy new cars.

      The world probably won’t need 1/100th of the cars it currently has.

  • Axl D

    Malcom T talks of innovation, but what Australia needs is a project or a shared vision around which we can innovate, something like Kennedy’s man on the moon by decade’s end.
    So here is my suggestion for a national vision – Australia to be the first country in the world to adopt a driverless, electric, uber-style fleet.

    • solarguy

      Ah yes, just not comfortable with the driverless bit.

  • Sean Williams

    Interesting article. I’m sure its intention is to provoke, but it does itself a disservice by the inherent naivety. While I’d agree that the future looks bleak for the ICE, the pace of change is simply not going to be as significant as promoted here. There is simply too much invested in the distribution system for petrol and diesel, and not enough for e-vehicles. And the range promoted on the cars makes them unusable for rural Australians. Finally, the view expressed that trucks are going to be electric in the same time frame is unsupported. I expect that heavy vehicles will need to move to some sort of biofuel if society wants them to be weaned off oil.

    I wish this were true, but ask any battery vendor their best price for a 100kW battery. You wont get any change from $100,000. And so even if costs drop at 25% p.a. it is still many years before the battery’s are competitive in heavy applications.

    • solarguy

      You will get change out $100k about $22k actually. Sean, we share the same name but different spelling. Just thought you’d like to know that. Anyway there is every chance that trucks and buses will be electric. A bus just recently travelled from Melbourne to Sydney on a single charge, so expect the unexpected there. Buses and trucks could be hybrid for extended journey’s to the outback for example. All in all it will be done.

      • Sean Williams

        Thanks Solarguy (aka Shaun?). Again, I would point out that there is a difference between demonstration or pilot projects and true mass adoption.

        • nakedChimp

          a 24 wheeler that can drive 24/7 with AI, doesn’t need coffee breaks will be 100% electric.
          And it will be here in 10 years.
          And it will be cheaper to run than the ICE version.

          • Roger Brown

            Can it fix flat tyres ?

        • solarguy

          Well Sean, sure that’s a valid point, but you need to consider that if the demo does work, and it did, in this case, then we have a great technology demonstrator yeah. In the history of human endeavour and invention, e.g.”the Wright brothers”, change comes about through demo’s and ultimate adoption, if it’s a way forward and it is. Can be zero carbon. Yes please!
          In this case we need to transition away fron fossil fuels quickly and it just so happens that, in this time of history we have the tools to do just that. It simply has to happen now, as there is no alternative.

          • Sean Williams

            I’m with you.

      • Roger Brown

        They could use the 40ft x 2.4 mt trailer roof for recharging the batteries , along with the charging while braking (old engine/exhaust brake ). Car charging stations would have solar panels on the roofs and car park would be covered with panels also , so the cost to supply power to the vehicles would be minimum . solar panels would tax deductible .

        • solarguy

          Man after my own heart. Sure your not my twin?

      • Brian Tehan

        Buses could have a roof full of solar panels to provide some auxiliary charging during the day. This would help extend their range.

        • solarguy

          Yep, Brian for sure. What ever works. And I’m also sure you realize that buses and trucks have lots of room for batteries too!

    • solarguy

      to

    • Bob_Wallace

      Kodak had a lot invested in film. The world did not keep on using film because Kodak would have lost money. Kodak went bankrupt.

      The grid is in place. The US has enough spare capacity to charge about 80% of all cars if they turned into electrics overnight. Over 50% of all US drivers have a place to plug in where they routinely park. It won’t be hard to stay ahead of the needs as we move toward 100% EVs.

      I don’t know about rural Australians, but with 200+ mile range EVs and a Supercharger every 50 miles or so they should have no problem.

      Trucks could move to swappable batteries right now. Swap out the batteries ever 200 miles and do the swap in well under five minutes. Battery capacity increases will increase the range.

      A year and a half ago Tesla was paying Panasonic $180/kWh. That’s $18,000.

      GM has announced that they will be paying LG Chem $145/kWh for the batteries for their Bolt. $14,500.

      When the Panasonic/Tesla Gigafactory opens battery prices are expected to fall about 30%, to about $130/kWh. $13,000. Battery prices may be down to $100/kWh by 2020.

      • Sean Williams

        Bob, thanks for the data on battery prices. I admit, that my figures were not just for the battery, but the surrounding energy management and environmental control solutions too.
        I’m afraid that I disagree with your Kodak analogy. Film is fair less part of the political system than both energy transmission and the oil industry. The incumbents have huge resources to to resist, or simply slow progress. Not to mention mainstream resistance from the average punter down under. I’d agree that there will be some parts of the world that go all (or mainly) electric, just dont expect Australia to be in the vanguard.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Energy management and environmental control solutions” = > $80,000?

          The Tesla 90 has a 90 kWh battery pack and sells for around $100k for an entire car. Your numbers seem far, far off.

          Now, the political system. How does bit oil stop the EV? How do they slow it? Fossil fuel interests tried to pass legislation to stop/slow wind in the US and failed. In the most conservative states.

          Do you think oil interests are strong enough in AU to pass laws against owning EVs?

    • Christian Koncz

      What you’re missing is that unlike petrol, eletricity is everywhere. Even if you live in Ubulubaluru in the Yoba-Yoba homeland, I’m pretty sure it is connected to the electric grid and there are electric lines along every single paved road in Australia. It takes very little effort to create unmanned charging stations at regular intervals along major and minor roads, literally half an afternoon in the Canberra madhouse debating it and half a minute for a vote. Solar prices are coming down rapidly as well and unless you have a sun shortage where you live (Not likely unless it is in the Australian Antarctic Territories), I think you’ll be fine. Frankly, you have much bigger things to worry about out there, like those bloody spiders the size of my head. What’s that all about?

      • Chris Fraser

        The spiders are ok, they don’t eat much. The problems are the drop bears and the jellyfish that burn you like 5M hydroflouric acid.

        • Christian Koncz

          You had me there for a minute. I was picturing a saber-toothed coala that jumps down from trees and bites your head off. But the box jellyfish thing is genuinely scary…

      • solarguy

        Chris, I’m with you, I really hate big hairy f&%k’n spiders. And hey, if there isn’t a grid worth a damn, solar and wind with storage will do the job.

      • Bob_Wallace

        If you live some place so remote that the grid doesn’t reach you can be sure there’s not a petrol station close by. You’ve probably got a large storage tank and pay a truck to fill you up from time to time.

        For not much money you can put up some solar panels and have your ‘fuel’ covered for the next 30+ years.

        13,000 miles per year. 0.3 kWh per mile. 5 solar hours per day.

        You need about 2.5 kW of panels, plenty to cover charging and system loss. Installed in AU is around $1? $2,500 installed. No charge for driving for the rest of your life.

      • neroden

        Even in places with no grid… a community with some open space can now buy a set of solar panels and a battery pack, have it delivered in a single truckload, and have electricity supply set up in a few days.

    • Roger Brown

      That’s why the Arabs are selling out of Big Oil ? Get to the front door before the Old Money people wake up and start a stampede out the door . Looks like Tesla will be selling their battery cheaper than $100k for 100kW . Their fastest car has a 85 kW battery in it and is a up market super-fast supercar . Did see a top fueller in the USA do a 4.94 sec run , all electric .

      • Diego Matter

        Surely you mean Tesla’s fastest car has a 85kWh battery?

        kWh is the energy stored, kW is the power a battery can deliver.

        • Roger Brown

          Whoops , missed the h’s .

      • Sean Williams

        Maybe, but 2 points.
        1-Tesla has never made a profit, so its unclear what the real cost of batteries will be when thats factored in.
        2-If you actually go into the market place today and try to buy a battery, it will cost you several hundred dollars/kWh. That is the cost for the PowerWall, and if you look at what the batteries being placed into remote communities today are selling for, its abt the same.

        I’d agree that Saudi selling its stake in Aramco is hugely important, and a sign of where they think the future is going. I just dont think we’ll get there as fast as what the article suggests

        • Bob_Wallace

          Sean, Tesla hasn’t yet made a profit because like other rapidly growing companies it is investing in future earnings.

          Tesla does make a profit, and a very sweet one, off the cars it manufacturers. Tesla has one of the highest gross profit margins in the car business. Second only, IIRC, to Porsche.

          As for batteries, don’t confuse retail with wholesale. And don’t confuse cell price with “packaged” cells.

    • Ian

      Some truck and bus markets might get electrified more quickly than cars I think. The cost advantage of EVs is in the cost of operation (fuel and maintenance) and its disadvantage is in its high capital cost. So vehicles where operational costs are high relative to capital cost (such as commercial vehicles, taxis, delivery trucks, and busses) are likely to see EVs as economically viable earlier on. Urban delivery trucks in particular are well suited to electrification because they can take advantage of regenerative braking.

      • Bob_Wallace

        There are already lots of electric buses running city routes. Electric delivery vans are in limited use.

        With rapidly dropping battery prices I suspect we’ll see lots of increased application.

      • Sean Williams

        Agreed. Urban delivery will be the same solution as EVs. Dont agree that long haul will be EV inside next 20yr.

  • solarguy

    As an ex mechanic, I know only too well that ICE engines have far less than 2k moving parts and electric motors have only one moving part. Perhaps Seba is confused with other parts of a car. I think the free charging thing will stop once a critical mass is reached and who knows when that will be. After all it’s not sustainable for Tesla or any company.

    • Roger Brown

      Coffee shops , Fast food , cafe etc etc would have some chargers , to draw in customers to recharge . While the car gets recharged , they get recharged with food and drink$ etc etc.

      • solarguy

        My god man you have read my mind again, but don’t forget the pubs either!

        • JeffJL

          Yes. Chargers at pubs. So people can drink and drive.

          • solarguy

            I wasn’t suggesting that, but I was thinking, take the ball and chain with you, feed her lemon squash while you get shit faced. That’s if you so desired.

            Problem solved!

    • Alistair Spong

      I agree moving parts is absurd , but when I started counting things through in my head , the numbers for a 4 cylinder engine were heading up to 400 , I’m counting everything from big end bearings through to head bolts and radiator clips – and your right an electric motor isn’t just one part – but there are less points of friction and wear and it is a far simpler design as creators of momentum . But if we started counting componentry in the controller , batteries, and other extras – the parts while being physically smaller would be considerable in number

      • solarguy

        Well Alistair, I never counted how many parts in a 4 cyl engine, but that many don’t move. Some parts like the rings and circlips, etc are integral. I think you read my post incorrectly, an electric motor only has one moving part and that’s the rotor. The shaft is integral.

        • Alistair Spong

          I’m not sure if i mis read or not but I’ve rebuilt quite a few engines so your words got me thinking – yes of course just the rotor and supporting bearings – but if we step down to the sub atomic world of electrons we find quite a few more moving parts , mostly they react and respond internally, but they also wear degrade .

          • solarguy

            Now that’s a good discussion to have over a bottle or two of Wild Turkey Honey. There will be enough wear and tear in that.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Rings are the part of an ICE that suffer the most wear.

          Compare an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The ICE has an alternator.

          The ICE alternator has as many moving parts as the electric motor. Everything else in the ICE that moves or expands with heat is a fatigue point.

    • Charles

      The thing with Tesla’s chargers is that they aren’t really free – just pre-paid.

      • solarguy

        Only for now though.

        • Charles

          My point is you said it wasn’t sustainable. A portion of each car sale goes towards building them, that is how they are funded.

          • solarguy

            Charles, I already got that point, but business is business, It won’t be sustainable, because in the long run it will drive Elon broke. He is only doing this now to help sales that’s all.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tesla has said that the Supercharger system is costing less than they anticipated. For those who use it a lot there are many who seldom or never charge at a SC.

            I believe that Tesla’s plan is to back up their SC system with solar farms. The money collected from customers will be used to purchase solar farms which will produce power that can be sold to the grid and that income will pay for the electricity used by their chargers.

            Since the solar panels will outlast the cars by a decade or two (or more) operating the SC system will be come cheaper over time. That will allow Tesla to cut car prices or increase profits.

          • SentiBM

            You don’t seem to understand that supercharging isn’t free, its price is included into the price of the car. Superchargers are for the long distance trips anyway – placed in locations a bit inconvenient to charge up at on a daily basis so people are mainly charging at home. My simplistic calculations are as follows: 0.1 eurocent per 1kWh which is imo a high estimate (I’m sure companies that use a lot of electricity can negotiate those prices). That means you can fully charge 90kWh battery for 9 euros. You can drive 400km with that. Even if you count that people will drive 100000km (which is again a high estimate imo) for “free” charging on superchargers in the car lifetime it gives you only 250 (100000km / 400km) full charging cycles, 9 euros for each, which sums up to only 2250 euros (around 2550$) paid by Tesla for electricity.

      • JohnM

        Elon also owns SolarCity, the biggest generator of solar power in the US.
        He can essentially give away all he likes folks…

    • Brian Tehan

      Engines, gearboxes, drive trains, alternators, mechanical controls, etc – I’m not sure how many parts there are but it has to be a large number. None of these are in an electric car.

      • solarguy

        Yes that’s true Brian, While we’re on this subject, I always thought that EV’s while seemingly without need for a transmission could do with an overdrive as they consume more juice at highway speeds, than at town speeds. Well, it so happens BMW agree, the I8 has a 2 speed tranny, the benefits already explained. Well, I just had to tell someone!

        • Matt

          The first Tesla Roadster models did have a 2 speed gearbox.

          • solarguy

            Well I didn’t know that. I’ll have to check it out.
            Cheers

          • neroden

            Tesla found that designing a transmission was really difficult. So they decided to leave it out. They had limited engineering time and expertise, and a lot of other things to debug.

            Eventually electric cars may all have transmissions, but you get such good results without them that it seems like it’s not worth it.

    • Phil

      Even piston rings move and wear out .I believe the ICE part count would be well over 1000 parts when you add up all the shims , bearings , washers that spin or get wear due spinning parts touching them. Along with the other parts in the alternator .Throw in possbly a turbo , wastegate , injectors , pollution control air pumps etc . The auto transmission alone would have several hundred plus parts that wear. Then add the driveshaft parts.

      EV’s have none of these mentioned parts. But they have in common with ICE vehicles wheel bearings and brakes.As well as power steering and steering rack , shock absorbers and springs, air conditioning and of course the Electric motor which depending on design will usually be a rotor driving some fixed or selectable gearing to reduce the motor speed and probably a differential if a single motor drive to 2 wheels.They also have fluid cooling of the battery so there would be a pump to do that job as well i would think.

      So there are still many parts to wear out in an EV , just not as many as an ICE and far fewer fluids.

      The suspension , tyre and wheel alignment guys will still be in a job and the brake guys to a lesser extent.Plus technicians to test and replace as needed other parts.

      I am looking forward to it (The EV revolution) because the Authorised car dealer just filled my ICE car starting battery to the very top rather than the fill line and of course acid went everywhere over the body and suspension. And a another friend of mine at another dealer had his very expensive car cooling system filled with plain water only- no glycol coolant . They don’t employ mechanics anymore for car servicing , just technicians with either poor training or missing a brain in more cases than you could imagine . And they charge a premium for it.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Thanks to regenerative braking EVs don’t use their mechanical brakes very much. Much less wear and tear.

      • solarguy

        Hell, how did it get to this. All I said is that there isn’t 2000 MOVING PARTS, not how many actual parts FOR GODS SAKE. And of course things wear out. And a mechanic is a technician.

        • Phil

          Maybe we are making the most of reminiscing about a dying technology .
          I myself have rebuilt a few motors and many manual gearboxes

          Perhaps one day we will gaze upon the ICE as a wonder of the past .
          Like steam trains.

    • Jimbo

      The electricity Tesla uses per kilometer on grid power costs 5% the cost of petrol. That is even cheaper if you top up from your solar panels at home or work. Tesla builds the cost of electricity for the first 8 years into the price of the car. Detroit can’t do that with petrol.

  • Zvyozdochka

    The very real problem with the car industry is that it has spent almost its entire post-war history positioning itself as a fashion or personal statement. People are encouraged to compete with their neighbours and/or be ‘different’ to other road users.

    It is not like consumer electronics where everyone is happy to have the same iPhone.

    Suburbs of Tesla Model 3s or Volts where you can only choose the colour, are not going to happen.

    There will have to be a very wide variety of makes, vehicle types and styles to maintain the differentiation marketing the car industry has built itself into.

    • solarguy

      Well of course.

      • Zvyozdochka

        Which is why (and I did not state it in the end!) the time-frame seems a bit optimistic to me.

    • john

      In fact the motor vehicle is marketed as a personality extender.
      “Look at how successful I am i can waste $100 k on a 4X4 ” that has never seen gravel.
      Marketing does not equate with quality of product.

    • Macabre

      Perhaps we should be thinking of cigarettes in plain packaging. Force all car makers to use a uniformly ugly body shape painted olive green with a big sign saying “Caution, this car is destroying the planet”.

      • Chris Fraser

        … or plastered with images of car accidents …

  • Coley

    What’s the “discontinued ” bit all about?

  • Phil

    It’s a tragedy the Electricity Grid doesn’t jump on board and start rolling out chargers in public places and the home along with solar panels to offset the extra local grid demand where viable.

    Where the electrons come from is less important that the ability to access them in the first place whilst travelling.

    • solarguy

      Too right mate, just seems they can’t see the business case. Oh I wish I had money.

  • Ian

    Wow, the comments are manic on this EV article, the excitement is palpable, maybe more lithium of the medicinal kind is needed here. Unfortunately the devil is in the details. EV need doggone batteries. Musk is trying to land a rocket on a barge with this itsy bitsy battery problem. Let’s hope he succeeds. If he does, then amazing things will happen, as the article suggests.

    If I get a high performance electric car I shore as hell am not going to let a computer drive it and I certainly won’t share it with anyone else. Actually what I am waiting for is an all electric motor home, with rollout solar panels.

    Oil companies need not totally despair. At present their product is so deeply tied to the whole world’s economy that even bread and milk have an oil consumption cost to them. Fuel prices cannot rise above a certain amount without dragging other costs with them. Renewable energy and battery storage can provide an alternative energy source to primary food and other products production, which can unshackle oil prices from General commodity prices. If oil is no longer fundamental to every other endeavour, then the price of oil can rise freely without other prices slavishly following suite. There may come a time when there will be no shackles on the price of oil and it will soar freely like an eagle. The Saudi’s will be able to count the same number of Riyals for ever diminishing barrels per day production, and no one will give a damn. We will all be sitting in our EV’s, air conditioned and still in a traffic jam. Those in old ICE clunkers will be cursing at the pump, and maxing out their credit cards but those in shiny teslas will be smiling from solar powered home to solar powered work.

    • solarguy

      Bring it on!

    • JohnM

      It’s worth remembering that we have been squandering our oil resources, with no concern for what happens when they run out.
      Using less oil means we preserve the many beneficial uses for centuries to come. Oil is not the devil, just the way it’s splurged around.

  • Cooma Doug

    There are many powerful influences that emerge in such developments that are hidden by our life just rolling on.
    1……insurance of autonomous EVs will be much less. Almost all serious accidents will have human control route cause.

    2……noise reduction will change many aspects of life as we know it.

    3…….traffic density management via mass co ordination and satelite technologies will hugely affect infrastructure design and requirements for the better.

    4…….pollution reduction will be the elephant in the room with huge benifits

    5…….car interior design will change enabling different activities during travel that will benifit life in many ways.

    6……The absurd level of danger and risk of death and injury on the road will soon begin to be seen for what it is today. Risk and safety management will be hugely empowered by the EV revolution and will rightly become a major influence in change.
    We will look back at todays hazzardous roads and be thinking wow….how did they ever allow such crazy things to persist.

    • RobSa

      How is the risk from a motor vehicle reduced by changing the fuel source?

      • Cooma Doug

        It isnt the fuel so much. It is the driverless aspect and traffic control.
        Having said that, petrol is a fairly dangerous product I would say. If petrol came to the world today, it would not get a good review.

        Driverless cars are going to eliminate
        trillions of dollars from the health budget of advanced nations.

        • Phil

          Yes so true . This could be the biggest benefit of EV , the autonomous vehicle factor built in already as part of the design.

          There are some that say non autonomous vehicles may be impossibly expensive to insure as the accident risk of a human behind the wheel is too great.

          I’m not so certain they will work in all situations. Such as the passenger door opens , it’s a windy day , you see the shoolgirl and her hat and you start braking because you know her hat is going to blow onto the road and she will run out and grab it. You are stopped before you hit her.And as she runs back near the car the mother looks at you wondering why your stopped !

          These pre-emptive actions i hope can be built into the technology through constant self learning like we do.

          • Cooma Doug

            PHIL..some thoughts

            I remember sitting down at diner with the nerd who invented the cigarette lighter USB connector for the car. He was into high tech future cars way back. I suggested in the future we control traffic the same way we control electricity on the grid. It is all about bottle neck management using short term market signals.
            So I suggested we might end up with tolls on all roads, satelite technology adjusting these price signals to manage bottle necks and traffic problems. For example your car might take an unexpected route to your destination but you find out later it was an ecconomic decision. Indeed at times you might get paid to go a little earlier. You might get paid to go later or longer. On the energy grid prices go negative at times to manage risk and bottle necks.
            Add to this the concept that your car will know the travel plan and expected route of all vehicles within your hazzard management zone.
            These decisions and annalysis performed in milli second time frames. Obviously the person driving in this environment would shut things down in the observation area they are at any moment.

          • jeffhre

            “…but you find out later it was an ecconomic decision.” With an available 18″ (46 cm) touchscreen that decision will be right in front of you. And soon power demand management and power arbitrage options as well.

        • jeffhre

          It’s also the big empty crumple zone in front – instead of the hot gas filled chunk of metal in front of the driver, which no longer dominates the structure of the car.

  • Asdf Ghjk

    What has nuclear got to do with electric cars, apart from being the only viable green alternative to coal and gas?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Something is wrong with your sentence. The correct version is –

      “What has nuclear got to do with electric cars, apart from being an unaffordable low carbon alternative to coal and gas?”

      The viable green alternatives are wind, solar, geothermal and hydro. Perhaps tidal and wave will join them later on.

      • Asdf Ghjk

        Wind is limited to coastal areas, solar is limited to sunny areas. Take a look how much Germany’s huge solar&wind installed capacity actually performed in terms of actual production, and the graph of the production with respect to time (lots of spikes and lots of days with no production at all).

        To produce a meaningful amount of energy from solar&wind without being a particularly sunny or windy area, you need to cover HUGE swaths of your area with solar cells and wind farms, and also install HUGE energy banks to act as a buffer for periods lasting up to several weeks when it’s cloudy and the wind isn’t blowing.

        Nuclear is expensive only because the economies of scale (the main factor driving down the cost of solar in the past years) aren’t on its side right now. If we’d be building lots of new gen 4 reactors, their price would come down signicficantly. Too much political opposition unfortunately.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I don’t know about Australia but in the US there are wind resources all over the place. For a while we thought wind was limited to offshore and right in the center of the country but once we looked up higher we discovered that there is a lot of wind. Look at the 80 meter and 140 meter hub height maps for the US. Look at how there is plenty of wind in the lower right (Southeast states) if one uses taller towers.

          A grid run with wind and solar rather than coal and nuclear is doable, it’s just that the way energy is handled will be different. With nuclear we had to add storage in order to move nuclear produced electricity from times of low demand to times of high demand. With wind and solar we will use storage to move wind/solar produced electricity from times of high wind/solar input to times of low wind/solar input. Same-same, but different.

          You are greatly overestimating the amount of land it would take for a wind and solar grid. IIRC AU could get all the electricity it needs from existing rooftops. The US could get 60% from rooftops.

          The land needed to produce 40% of all US electricity with wind would take up about 2.5 ‘Manhattan Islands’.

          “Several weeks” is bull.

          Nuclear is not expensive due to economies of scale. Even as the number of reactors being built at the same time back in the 1970s increased the price continued to rise. Nuclear reactors are very complex operations and take a long time to construct.

          Even if we could find a way to cut the cost of nuclear in half, nuclear would still not be competitive with wind and solar.

          • awakeinwa

            With cost effective at home distributed solar, demand for both nuclear and oil will only diminish.

          • JeffJL

            Yeah Bob. Most of the wind farms are inland in Oz as well.

        • Cooma Doug

          In order to power all of the usa using solar, the space required is effectively nothing. Sure you need an area effectively the size of one of the smalles states. However when you chop it up on the map and spread it out it disappears into available roof space.
          In order to power the nation this way we will need storage. Using the same map the area required for the storage disappears into virtually nothing. It is a single pixel on a 2m square map.

          • Asdf Ghjk

            “Sure you need an area effectively the size of one of the smalles states.”

            You answered it yourself. Now the only thing that remains is to calculate just how much that would cost you. And you don’t just need solar, you also need enormous amounts of batteries. Financially completely impossible.

          • Cooma Doug

            You missed the forrest for the trees.
            The area required to power the entire USA including the entire transport industry, if done with solar could be achieved in such an allication of space. However, it will be available in roof space.
            This is out there in various studies. Google it and you might be surprised.

          • Cooma Doug
          • Cooma Doug

            I will be very kind here to the brown coal industry. The area of land that is redundant and unsafe or with various conditions imposed by the mining and plant required to generate, is enormous. Just go and have a look.
            So lets be generous and say that a 2000 mw brown coal PS has burried 50 km squared in its various processes.

            Look close at these numbers and you will begin to see that Solar is a winner in this aspect by far. When you disperse these quantities throughout the nation on the load side, the problem for solar disappears.

            The 330kv transmission lines that connect the large coal to the cities consumes and cripples enormous areas of land. It is also the cause of countless bush fires over the decades.

            We could generate enough power for the nation just utilising the area closed down and hazardous due to the lines coming out of the coal stations.

          • Cooma Doug

            You need to look closer at the storage cost. A battery, if connected to the load side and the response initiated by frequency variations on the grid, is about quarter of the cost of a grid side peaking plant. That is on todays figures. The main reason being the ability to discharge instantly and at higher levels during the frequency excursions. This will virtually eliminate the need for most peaking plant on the grid.

          • jeffhre

            What state is that small, LOL?

        • Cooma Doug

          The best wind generation sites in Australia are inland and not near the coast.

        • Jimbo

          The opposition to nuclear power is not from Governments. It comes directly from the people. You appear to prefer to cover swaths of land with mines and soot. Solar power was cheaper per kilowatt hour than the coal fired electricity in 2014 and is dropping at 22% per year. Batteries are 40% cheaper than a few short years ago, and in another few years they will triple in energy density and be even cheaper. The end of coal and oil is just around the corner so you may as well get used to it.

        • Cooma Doug

          Have a look at the wind website of NEMCO. What you say is not true.
          For example Burtinjuck Crookeell, Yass and Boorowa are hundreds of km from the coast and one of the most promising wind trails goes from the southern highlands to QLD

        • Cooma Doug

          At the moment many homes are paying 500 dollars a MWH for grid energy. The power station producing it gets 45. When you do it at home you eliminate the middle men and it starts to look ok.

        • Cooma Doug

          Something you need to understand. Wind generation in locations other than tropical high rain areas has a high relative generation capacity factor. In fact it is more than double hydro.
          The capacity factor of peaking plant that is essential in nuclear or fossil fuel large base load grids is so low…lets call it zero. It is less than 1% in many cases.

          The wasted space of large base loaded systems is many times in excess of wasted space in renewable dispersed systems.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Capacity factors for wind are rapidly rising due to new turbine and blade designs. GE is now reporting that they are commonly seeing CFs in excess of 50% in the US. The DOE recently released a map showing where we could expect wind CFs to exceed 60%.

            The trick largely seems to be designing the hardware to produce well in lighter winds and then just dump some of the energy in high wind conditions. By extending the operation ability into the lighter wind zone it increases the hours of production per year.

            Natural gas peaker plants in the US average CFs of 5%. The sit idle 95% of the time.

          • Cooma Doug

            The 5% is a generous number
            I expect. If such plant is sitting in a wholesale market with ecconomic price trigger around 300 dollar mw. The number would also configure test run numbers which may be distorting the need/value assumptions.
            Now we see 1000 dollars construction cost per kw for a gas peaker running at less then 5%. I am a bit generous with that cost of 1 million dollar a mw also. That was the cost years ago.
            Now when you consider a battery located on the load side at a cost of 1000 dollars a kw…it is better when you look closer. No transmission lines required to perform a much faster and effective peaker function. Add to this the fact that in performing such tasks it can be discharged at much higher output then the 1000w rating.
            So the battery can perform all of the peaker task and provide high percentage of the normal loading
            requirements up to 10 times the effectiveness of a HV grid located gas peaker.

          • Bob_Wallace

            $1.06/watt, $1006/kW will buy one a CCNG plant in the US. Peakers are cheaper.

            You can’t make a peaker/battery direct comparison when it comes to deep backup. NG plants store energy very cheaply in the form of NG in existing gas infrastructure. If needed that plant can sit idle for months and then, if needed, produce for days at a time. In the case of a nuclear reactor disruption such as we saw when both SONGS reactors went offline the gas plant can run for months.

            Batteries will take the short cycle peaker work away from gas turbines but aren’t going to be the deep storage solution. We need something else for that and gas will play that role until we find it.

          • Cooma Doug

            The gas plant takes a long time to start. 2 minute minimum.The battery on the other hand can respond to frequency excursions in milli second response times.
            If that response time can happen within the first 5 milli seconds, you have a load splitting effect as if disconnected from the system and energy respose to disturbance more effectively localised. It makes the large base load peaker look a bit expensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s true. And it means that pre-batteries we needed spinning reserve to deal with sudden changes. Batteries wait passively. No fuel wasted keeping something spinning.

          • Ian

            Widely distributed solar and wind assets with inter connectivity and redundancy should largely negate the need for long period storage, highly unlikely that there would be no wind and no sun over a large geographic area for many days on end. As you say, gas or liquid fuels can be stored for months without deteriorating, so why not keep these for deep backup. Throw hydro and flow batteries in the mix and this will further reduce the need to start up the last line off backup.

            Flow batteries are interesting as the electrolytes can be stored in large quantities relatively easily and can also be stored for prolonged periods without deteriorating. How practical they would be to back up a large renewables grid for extended periods remains to be seen.

            Flow batteries may find a place in the suburb or town-wide minigrid, providing a community’s behind-the-meter storage. The community could use this battery to arbitrage energy and buy electricity at a bargain price by providing a predictable and invariable load.

    • Jimbo

      Nuclear power, green? That must be in a parallel universe. Just check with the good people of Fukushima or Chernobyl, who will know. How Cheap and green they were, and many others like them.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Hey, come on. Nuclear is green. Chernobyl and Fukushima glow bright green at night… ;o)

        • Asdf Ghjk

          Chernobyl and Fukushima are actually very green from vegetation, the radiation levels are negligible in most areas and the air is very clean, so actually if you were to live there your life expectancy would be higher than if you lived in, say, NYC. That right there is a fact and you can look it up.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It is true that vegetation and wildlife seem to be abundant inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone in spite of radiation levels several times what is considered safe.

            I’ll bet with just a little bit of thinking we can come up with a better plan for creating a habitat free of humans without having to melt down a reactor.

          • Cooma Doug

            Bob
            When they did the wild life survey they discovered later there was a miss count. Seems many of the deer had three heads and messed up the count

          • Bob_Wallace

            It averaged out due to the headless ones running around.

            Radiation is our friend….

        • Jimbo

          Love it Bob! I forgot that glowing plume that now stretches from Japan all the way to the USA.

        • Ian

          The Russians and Ukrainians could work out their differences and create an impenetrable border using a radiation wall between them.

      • Asdf Ghjk

        Not ususally responding to trolls like you, but yes, it is green. It’s not like solar and wind are made of recycled wood and the number of deaths from Chernobyl is smaller than the number of deaths caused by solar and wind, not to even mention the deaths caused by hydro when the dams collapsed.

  • Ian

    This schedule is backed up by looking at it from the standpoint of what we should expect about the speed of adoption of new technologies. The EV market has been expanding at an annual rate of between 152% (2012) and 49% (2014) since the inception of the modern EV. If it continued to grow at the low end of those rates, it would reach market saturation somewhere around 2026. The global market has been growing at an CAGR of 83% since 2011. If it continued at that rate EVs would reach market domination much sooner. This is also roughly in line with the speed at which the markets for a lot of other technologies have grown historically.