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.
“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.”
“. . . . 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.”
“WARREN, Mich. — General Motors made a splash last year when it announced a bold plan to ramp up sales of electric vehicles and said it would stop making gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
But more than a year later, some other automakers appear better positioned to lead the industry’s transition to E.V.s. Tesla had global sales of more than 310,000 electric cars in the first quarter of this year, while G.M. is far behind unless it counts E.V.s made by its Chinese joint ventures. It sold fewer than 500 E.V.s in the United States in the quarter. Ford Motor has just started production of an electric F-150 pickup truck and has taken customer reservations for more than 200,000 of them.
Yet, G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, is unconcerned. In her view, the G.M. strategy should enable the company to make more affordable E.V.s than most competitors, and eventually to win over many of the tens of millions of mainstream car buyers who are not yet shopping for electric vehicles.
Last year E.V.s accounted for about 3 percent of the 15 million cars and trucks sold in the United States. As that percentage grows, G.M. expects this cost advantage to allow it to overtake most of its rivals within a few years and to challenge Tesla for the lead in E.V. sales before the end of the decade.”
“It celebrated the production of its first cars less than two months ago. Deliveries have just begun. But for a company with so few vehicles on the road, Lucid Motors is generating a lot of buzz.
Its debut sedan, the $169,000 Lucid Air Dream Edition, has been hailed for its workmanship and the ability to travel a record 520 miles on a single charge. MotorTrend magazine declared it the car of the year. And Lucid’s shares have more than doubled in the last month, putting the company’s worth at $85 billion — a valuation higher than Ford Motor’s.
The accolades are a tribute to Lucid’s chief executive, Peter Rawlinson, an auto industry veteran who engineered the Model S, the sedan that established Tesla as a serious carmaker. Now, he hopes that the Air will do the same for Lucid.
“The first product defines the brand,” he said recently in an interview at Lucid’s factory in the Arizona desert. “We’ll need to create a technological tour de force, and I think that’s what we’ve got in Lucid Air. We define our brand, we define our future.” “