David Wallace-Wells | Electric Vehicles Keep Defying Almost Everyone’s Predictions – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“It is striking that in the same year that Tesla’s stock price dropped by about two-thirds, destroying more than $700 billion in market value, the global market for electric vehicles — which for so long the company seemed almost to embody — actually boomed.

Boom may not even adequately communicate what happened. Around the world, E.V. sales were projected to have grown 60 percent in 2022, according to a BloombergNEF report prepared ahead of the 2022 U.N. climate conference COP27, bringing total sales over 10 million. There are now almost 30 million electric vehicles on the road in total, up from just 10 million at the end of 2020. E.V. market share has also tripled since 2020.

The pandemic years can feel a bit like a vacuum, but there are almost three times as many E.V.s on the world’s roads now as there were when Covid vaccines were first approved, and what looked not that long ago like a climate pipe dream is now undeniably underway: a genuine transition away from fossil-fueled transportation. This week, the Biden administration released a blueprint toward a net zero transportation sector by 2050. It’s an ambitious goal, especially for such a car-intoxicated culture as ours. But it’s also one that, thanks to trends elsewhere in the world, is beginning to seem more and more plausible, at least on the E.V. front.

In Norway, electric vehicles now represent four out of every five new cars sold; the figure was just one in five as recently as 2016. In Germany, more than 55 percent of new cars registered in December were electric or hybrid. In China, where more electric vehicles are sold than everywhere else in the world combined, the rise is perhaps even more dramatic: from 3.5 percent of the market at the beginning of 2020 to 20.3 percent at the beginning of 2022. And growing, of course: Nearly twice as many electric vehicles were sold last year in China as in the year before. The country also exported $3.2 billion worth of E.V.s last November alone, more than double the exports of the previous November. Its largest single manufacturer, BYD, has surpassed Tesla for global market share — so perhaps it should not be so surprising that Tesla’s stock is dimming while the global outlook is so sunny.”

David LIndsay: This is good news. Here is the most popular comment:

Richard Blaine Not NYC Jan. 11

We rode to work in electric cars for 25 years. . They weren’t expensive at all. They didn’t require batteries. We didn’t have to worry about parking or repairs. We had a professional chauffeur, too. . That’s the beauty of an electrified catenary, the miracle of steel wheels on steel rails, and the proper provision of public transit. . Electric automobiles are probably not the solution to Climate Change, although they may be part of it. . The bigger part of the solution is reliable, frequent, electrified public transit.

6 Replies506 Recommended

Bill Saporito | Will Southwest’s Debacle Finally Spur Congress to Act? – The New York Times

Mr. Saporito is an editor at large at Inc.

“It’s the holiday season, and terrible weather is causing airlines to make a cascade of cancellations across the country. One airline — its jets and crews caught in the wrong places, its data and phone systems hopelessly inadequate — suffers a catastrophic meltdown, stranding thousands of angry passengers and employees for days as it struggles to knit the system back together.

Southwest? No, JetBlue, in 2007, in what became known in the industry as the Valentine’s Day Massacre.”

EPA Tightens Rules on Pollution From Vans, Buses and Trucks – The New York Times

By Lisa FriedmanDec. 20, 2022, 9:45 a.m. ET4 MIN READWASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Tuesday strengthened limits on smog-forming pollution from buses, delivery vans, tractor-trailers and other trucks, the first time in more than 20 years that tailpipe standards have been tightened for heavy-duty vehicles.The new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency is designed to cut nitrogen oxide from the vehicles by 48 percent by 2045. Nitrogen dioxide is a poisonous gas that has been linked to cardiovascular problems and respiratory ailments like asthma. The rule will require manufacturers to cut the pollutant from their vehicles starting with the model year 2027.

Elon Musk Puts His Own Politics on Display on Election Day – The New York Times

Elon Musk put himself and his politics center stage on Twitter on Election Day.

“The world’s richest man began his day on Tuesday by tweeting to his 115 million followers that they should vote Republican in the midterm elections. He said he was not being motivated by criticism that he has faced from Democrats over his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, which he completed last month, along with his other business dealings.

“While it’s true that I’ve been under unfair & misleading attack for some time by leading Democrats, my motivation here is for centrist governance, which matches the interests of most Americans,” Mr. Musk said.”

David Lindsay:  This is upsetting. I have been saving up to buy a new Tesla next year.  Now, I will be shopping for one of its new competitors. Trumpsters who insist that the last presidential election was stolen, with no evidence,  are conspiracy theory mongereres who do not bring balance to the democracy, they threaten its health, possibly its survival.

E.V.s Start With a Bigger Carbon Footprint. But That Doesn’t Last. – The New York Times

“. . . . To determine the environmental costs of the trade-off, trade organizations and universities have conducted life cycle analyses, or L.C.A.s: comparisons between the amount of greenhouse gases created from the production, use and disposal of a B.E.V. and the gases from a gasoline-powered vehicle of a similar size.

The good news: Studies have found that, though it’s true that the production of a B.E.V. causes more pollution than a gasoline-powered counterpart, this greenhouse-gas emission difference is erased as the vehicle is driven.

And erasing the difference does not appear to take very long. In a study conducted by the University of Michigan (with a grant from the Ford Motor Company), the pollution equation evens out between 1.4 to 1.5 years for sedans, 1.6 to 1.9 years for S.U.V.s and about 1.6 years for pickup trucks, based on the average number of vehicle miles traveled in the United States.

The study found that, on average, emissions from B.E.V. sedans were 35 percent of the emissions from an internal-combustion sedan. Electric S.U.V.s produced 37 percent of the emissions of a gasoline-powered counterpart, and a B.E.V. pickup created 34 percent of the emissions of an internal combustion model. (Because gasoline-powered pickups consume more fuel than smaller vehicles, switching to a battery electric pickup results in a greater reduction in emissions.)

These results vary, based on how much greenhouse gas is created through the production of the electricity needed to charge a battery. The greater the use of renewable sources — such as wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower — the greater the reduction in emissions.”

How the New Climate Law Can Save You Thousands of Dollars – Coral Davenport – The New York Times

“The Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by President Biden in August includes about $370 billion to fight climate change, some of it in the form of tax credits and rebates to help consumers save thousands of dollars on energy-efficient appliances, plug-in vehicles and renewable electricity for their homes.

But taking advantage of those savings will require patience and initiative.

The Biden administration has created a website designed to help you figure out which cars, appliances and home improvements will qualify for the tax credits and rebates. The answers are not yet clear in many cases because the programs are so new or the requirements of the law so stringent. White House officials say the website will be frequently updated as details take shape, and they advise consumers to subscribe to receive emailed updates.

Here’s what we know so far about how to use the new law to save money. One thing all the benefits have in common: Each one runs through at least 2032.”

New electric cars parked under photovoltaic systems at a parking lot in Jinzhong.

From NYT article, see previous post.

“New electric cars parked under photovoltaic systems at a parking lot in Jinzhong. China has one of the fastest-growing E.V. markets, with sales expected to double this year to about six million vehicles.Credit…Visual China Group via Getty Images”

David Lindsay: We are cutting down forests to put up solar farms, when we could be doing this to parking lots all over the country!!!

Source: (20+) David Lindsay | Facebook

For China’s Auto Market, Electric Isn’t the Future. It’s the Present. Electric Isn’t the Future. It’s the Present – The New York Times

“Zhang Youping, a Chinese retiree, purchased an all-electric, small sport-utility vehicle from BYD — China’s largest electric vehicle maker — at an auto show for around $20,000 last month. Her family has bought three gas-powered cars in the last decade, but she recently grew concerned about gas prices and decided to go electric “to save money.” A few months earlier, her son had also bought an E.V. It was a $10,000 hatchback from Leapmotor, another Chinese manufacturer.

This year, a quarter of all new cars purchased in China will be an all-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. There are, by some estimates, more than 300 Chinese companies making E.V.s, ranging from discount offerings below $5,000 to high-end models that rival Tesla and German automakers. There are roughly four million charging units in the country, double the number from a year ago, with more coming.

While other E.V. markets are still heavily dependent on subsidies and financial incentives, China has entered a new phase: Consumers are weighing the merits of electric vehicles against gas-powered cars based on features and price without much consideration of state support. By comparison, the United States is far behind. This year, the country passed a key threshold of E.V.s accounting for 5 percent of new car sales. China passed that level in 2018.”

Railroads’ Strategy Thrilled Wall Street, but Not Customers and Workers – The New York Times

“America’s first commercial railroads were built almost two centuries ago. Freight rail has been a symbol of the nation’s economic might and ingenuity ever since.

In recent years, some of the biggest names on Wall Street have made significant investments in railroads, reaping big stock gains as railroads reported higher profits. But the underlying strategies that strengthened railroads’ bottom lines have caused friction with customers, regulators and particularly workers — giving rise to a contract dispute that threatened a nationwide shutdown of the railway system.

After losing ground to trucking in the mid-20th century, the rail industry managed to recover through decades of consolidation and a push for efficiency. Critics say those same dynamics created a system with thin staffing and minimal competition, making it particularly vulnerable to shocks like the coronavirus pandemic.”

Edward Niedermeyer | We Can’t Just Throw Bigger Batteries at Electric Vehicles – The New York Times

“. . . . Compared to the herculean task of building supply chains to sustain a broad domestic E.V. market, tackling this problem from the demand side almost seems easy. Proving that E.V.s can road trip may have been an important psychological hurdle for the technology to tackle, but it remains more psychological than real: the average American motorist drives about 40 miles per day and 95 percent of our car trips are 30 miles or shorter.

We haven’t so much overcome this psychological hurdle as thrown big batteries at it, which is having a paradoxical (if predictable) effect of actually entrenching it. Despite dramatic growth in median E.V. range, to 234 miles in 2021 from 90 miles in 2015, consumer demand for range is always one step ahead. Three hundred miles might have been a desirable figure for potential E.V. buyers in 2019, but come 2021 it was 341 miles, according to findings from Cox Automotive. We could cater endlessly to this desire for more range without ever satiating it: More is always more, but more is also never enough.

As much as these psychological challenges are born of American geography, history and mythology, they are also born of the unique attributes of gasoline. Rather than holding E.V. adoption hostage to our ability to make batteries match internal combustion in every way, government policy should focus on the cases where E.V.s have advantages that internal combustion will never match: waking up every morning with a full “tank” sufficient for daily commuting and errands.

By improving home charging for urban apartment dwellers and prioritizing vehicles with smaller batteries, rather than road-trip-enabling charging stations and big batteries, we could maximize the miles we can affordably electrify. In an era of battery scarcity, we could have two 150-mile E.V.s for the battery capacity in every 300-mile E.V. Or, using the same 300-mile E.V. battery, you could have six plug-in hybrids with 50 miles of electric range for daily driving and a gasoline engine for those rarer road trips or many, many more e-bikes.”