Electric Mobility Updates: Tailwinds in Germany, Should We Make a Bet?

A lot is being published lately on Electric-Mobility and the rising popularity of electric cars. China looks to dominate and out-produce everyone including producing up to nearly 5 times Tesla’s Battery Gigafactory capacity in the next 3-4 years. This all points to lower prices and greater affordability. Some complain that it will also jeopardize battery quality and the advancing of technological development.

“Global battery manufacturing capacity is about 110 gigawatt hours a year, mostly for consumer electronics, electric vehicles and electricity storage. In the past year, China has announced plans to add more than 150 gigawatt hours of production in the next three to four years, tripling current capacity. That dwarfs Tesla’s “gigafactory” in the Nevada desert, which aims to add 35 gigawatt hours by 2020.” (WSJ)

China controls a great deal of global battery manufacturing.

Charged Up~

Price for a lithium-ion battery that meets electric vehicle specifications

(Top line is $500 per kilowatt hour, $400 down to 0, 2005 ~$450 and 2020 est. ~$100)

2005                     ’10                  ’15                 ’20

Note: 2017-2020 are projections.

Source: University of California, Berkeley


Above Charts Source: WSJ.com, h/t Paul Menestrier; Read full article / WSJ-The Daily Shot

and here’s a video about Chinese battery dominance… (Bloomberg)

And while cobalt is one of the main ingredients going into lithium-ion batteries, there is growing turbulence and threats of war in the Congo where China sources much of it… Cobalt’s price has doubled in the past two years due to the high demand for batteries, yet this Economist article only describes the violent dangers of pending war without mentioning the possible economics behind it and the consequences… The Congo has the resources to power all of Africa, if only it could get organized.

Another source of demand for batteries is the necessity for storage! Germany’s wind energy is produced in the north and needed in the south, but cannot be transported or stored sufficiently. Maybe California will be their model.

California is adding batteries to support its alternative energy sources.

Source: @ctraywick; Read full article / WSJ-The Daily Shot

California has an ambitious greenhouse emissions reduction plan–the most demanding of standards–can battery storage help?!?

Source: @EIAgov; Read full article / WSJ-The Daily Shot

Electric vehicle demand continues to climb-monthly Chinese Electric Car Sales 2015-2017.

    Source: @andypeaps, @anjani_trivedi; Read full article – WSJ The Daily Shot

Electric Car Sales in the top 5 markets is expected to reach nearly 1.2million this year with Germany taking 3rd place after China and the USA!

Source: @BBGVisualData; Read full article / WSJ-The Daily Shot

You would think that the rising demand for Electric Vehicles would have a more disruptive impact on carbon fueled transportation, renewable energy and storage, but it looks only slightly meaningful in the chart below…

The economic impact of disruptive technologies.

Source: @Davos; Read full article / WSJ-The Daily Shot

Teslas Are Finally Replacing Porsches on the Autobahn (Bloomberg)

(Keep in mind, the Porsche has huge advantages esp. on the Autobahn and going 140mph without the fear of running out of power…)

Only 10 years ago, German automakers and suppliers dismissed the electric mobility concept. Even in 2014, the idea was one for the distant future. They argued about the infrastructure, practicality (no range) and the need for electricity production which was not any friendlier for the environment (burning coal that is). The VW diesel scandal and the ambition for autonomous driving has changed all that.

In 2015, I attended an Electro-mobility conference in Berlin. Everyone laughed at the government’s goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020. They may still be laughing, but is it so far fetched now? At this conference was a Futurist who compared efficient and affordable battery production to making popcorn the old fashioned way. You heat up oil with the popcorn which he called the lineal course and takes about 4 minutes for the popcorn to start popping. AND once it does start popping, it enters the exponential phase. Battery affordability and efficiency is about to enter the exponential phase. German cities are introducing very strict emission standards for cars to be allowed to drive in them. Once the enough electric cars are produced, the government may start a campaign to trade in the diesels for electric cars. Diesel cars before the VW scandal made up over half the cars sold in Europe.

Shall we make a bet, that there just might be 1 million electric vehicles on German streets by 2020?

PS: Electric Cars Threaten to Leave This European Nation Behind (Bloomberg)

This story about Slovakia also illustrates the fears in Germany of the disruption caused for auto suppliers who participate significantly less in electric car manufacturing. Germany will make it gradual in any case by going through an interim phase of hybrid engines.

PPS: Somehow we can imagine this technology will also be first used in electric vehicles

Advanced Lighting Technology for Autonomous Driving from TI

“…Eventually, these headlights could become essential for autonomous cars. “The chipset was developed to support adaptive driving beam headlight systems, but is capable of being programed to project information on the road,” says Brian Ballard, TI’s exterior lighting manager. A driverless car won’t have hands to tell that man waiting at the curb that it’s safe to cross the street. Headlights that can project a crosswalk, or even write out “Go for it!,” could fill the communication gap and encourage the public to accept these crash-preventing vehicles onto their streets.

“TI says its (so far unnamed) automotive customers are already integrating the tech into their headlights, but don’t expect to see it on US roads anytime soon. These adaptive driving beam systems aren’t legal in the United States, because a very dusty rule demands cars have separate light sources for high and low beams—TI’s system combines them (same for Audi’s laser setup). As with most bureaucracy, the path to updating or killing that rule is arduous, requiring manufacturers prove this is essential safety technology for new cars.

“So while we’re thrilled by the prospect of broadcasting the words “Get out of the left lane!” onto the road ahead for slow-moving cars to see (reversed so it’s legible in mirrors, of course), the best case will likely be the improved visibility that doesn’t have to be compromised just because someone else is on the road. We’ll take that too.”




One Reply to “Electric Mobility Updates: Tailwinds in Germany, Should We Make a Bet?”

  1. The greater the electric car penetration, the greater the cybersecurity concerns!
    Electric car goal in India seen creating cyber-security risks (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/auto/news/industry/electric-car-goal-in-india-seen-creating-cyber-security-risks/articleshow/62978178.cms)
    “India’s dependence on imported components for electric vehicles could make the country vulnerable to cyber-security breaches, according to the government’s chief policy think-tank.

    India should manufacture the majority of the parts needed for its electric vehicle fleet as equipment shipped from overseas could be compromised, V.K. Saraswat, a member of the think tank, Niti Aayog, said in an interview. All of the software and at least 55 percent of the components need to be made do ..”

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