With Mass Vehicle Electrification on the Horizon, New Oil Development hits a 70 Year Low

“One thing is certain: Whenever the oil crash comes, it will be only the beginning. Every year that follows will bring more electric cars to the road, and less demand for oil. Someone will be left holding the barrel.”Bloomberg

*****

As the global climate situation worsens, the rickety and destructive old energy sources that caused the problem in the first place continue to look less and less secure. Meanwhile, the new energy sources that will help to address what is now a very serious crisis continue to gain strength.

Plummeting Oil Discoveries, Investments

A report out from the International Energy Agency this week showed that new oil discoveries had fallen to 2.4 billion barrels — less than 1/3 of the 15 year average. Meanwhile, the volume of conventional resources sanctioned for development fell to 4.7 billion barrels or the lowest level seen since the 1940s.

(Global oil discoveries and sanctioned developments hit historic lows during 2016. A structural trend due to new energy market factors that is likely to continue through at least the end of 2017. Image source: International Energy Agency.)

Sanctioned development is a direct measure of investment in new oil extraction infrastructure while new discoveries are a key factor in maintaining or expanding present oil supply rates of around 85 million barrels per day globally (total liquid fuels including biofuels are now 92 million barrels per day). If investments are falling along with new discoveries, at some point daily production rates will start to lag.

A combination of low oil prices, strong opposition to new oil projects, divestment of fossil fuel market capital, concern over climate change, loss of good faith in the oil industry, and rapidly falling renewable energy prices have all weighed heavily on oil exploration and new project investment. Intense efforts to extract unconventional oil (shale oil and tar sands) in the U.S. and Canada also depressed the broader global markets. IEA sees this trend continuing through at least 2017. A potential for price increases may emerge post-2017 due to supply tightening despite a feeble expected demand growth of 1.2 million barrels per day over the next five years. Given such weak expected increases in demand, most of any supply tightening would tend to come as flagging new project investments fail to make up the gap in falling well production rates.

Oil Major Predicts Electric Future

But over the same 5-year timeframe another factor pushing down global oil demand is expected to begin to emerge. Electric vehicle purchases, which now make up about 1 percent of the global market, are expected to dramatically expand in the coming years. A fact that even oil major Total acknowledges.

(Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects rapid adoption trend for electric vehicles. However, once this kind of market momentum starts, it can tend to snowball very rapidly. Potentially even more rapidly than this trend graph suggests.)

According to a recent report from Gas2:

At the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York on April 25, Joel Couse, chief economist for Total, predicted that sales of electric cars will surge from about 1% globally in today’s new car market to up to 30% of the market by 2030. If that happens, he says, demand for petroleum based fuels “will flatten out, maybe even decline.”

Coming from an oil major, this is a big admission. And one that jibes with past reports made by Bloomberg showing electric vehicles dramatically eating into global oil demand by the 2020s. Since Bloomberg’s 2016 report, new revelations have continued to emerge showing EV market strength. Battery prices are falling by 20 percent per year — which just keeps making both EVs and related battery storage more accessible. Meanwhile, EVs continue to develop in ways that surpass their conventional counterparts. Michael Liebreich, who founded Bloomberg New Energy Finance, expects that by “2020 there will be over 120 different models of EV across the spectrum. These are great cars. They will make the internal combustion equivalent look old fashioned.”

Potential to Decimate Oil Demand in Just One Decade

More than 50 percent of global oil demand comes from gasoline use. Another 15 percent of that demand comes from distillate use which includes diesel — which is also a motor vehicle based fuel. Start replacing significant portions of the global vehicle fleet with EVs and that demand is going to fall.

(Total oil demand is significantly vulnerable to fluctuations in gasoline and distillate products demand — both of which are heavily impacted by electric vehicle and solar energy adoption rates. Image source: Quora.)

This is arguably already a marginal feature of the oil market with EVs making up 1 percent of global vehicle sales and with solar now acting to directly replace diesel based electric generation. But the ground swell we are beginning to see in the energy markets appears to be the start of transformational trend.

Cities and countries are banning (or planning to ban) petrol-based vehicles. Automakers like Volkswagon, GM, Nissan, BMW, Audi, Ford, and Toyota are dedicating increasing portions of their vehicle fleets to electrics even as all-electric manufacturers like Tesla are growing more dominant. And fast charging stations that are capable of 5-10 minute charge times are on the horizon. Given the emerging confluence of affordability, capability and desirability — it appears that a big, S-curve-like, EV adoption bump is coming on fast. If and when such an event occurs, a crash in oil production rates is likely to follow soon after.

Links:

International Energy Agency

Total Predicts Electric Cars Will Decrease Oil Demand

Bloomberg New Energy Finance

How Goliath Might Fall

The 5-10 Minute EV Charging Stations are Coming

Quora

Hat tip to Steve Piper

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109 Comments

  1. Bill Rice

     /  April 27, 2017

    Good people have known this for decades, money hates to give in

    Reply
    • Hello, Bill. Good point. I was over there on the Oil Drum back in 2004 arguing with the fossil fuel cheerleaders about exactly that. It’s nice to see we’re not alone here. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Suzanne

     /  April 27, 2017

    That is why the fossil fuel industry is so desperate…
    They are behaving like a cornered animal…
    That’s why this comment really grabbed my attention from the article I posted about how certain Republicans are urging Trump to weaken the Paris Agreement:

    “Representative Kevin Cramer of oil-producing North Dakota and eight other members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Trump urging him to use the country’s “seat at the Paris table to defend and promote our commercial interest, including our manufacturing and fossil fuel sectors.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-climate-idUSKBN17T2JS

    Selfish…greedy…destructive bastards all!!

    Reply
    • Nailed it, Suzanne.

      Reply
    • Robert Alexander

       /  April 28, 2017

      Darwin strikes again.

      Quite naturally.

      And sadly……..

      Reply
      • More like a form of social Darwinism in which elevation of the individual results in the dismemberment of civilization. A term I’m certain Darwin himself would be aghast at had he lived to see its present manifestation as an object example of how a civilization or a race might pursue an irrationally suicidal path.

        Reply
        • sunkensheep

           /  April 30, 2017

          The ideology in question should rightly be called social Spencerism after the man who proposed and promoted it. A justification for “might is right” and the subjugation of the poor, weak and downtrodden. It was not original and has basis in a religious idea “poverty and misfortune are proof of having sinned”.

        • The notion that wealth makes right is behind so many troubles. But I’d like to add that the present problem is primarily centered on the abuses by the fossil fuel bad actors even as we should be well aware of the fact that present hyper-individualistic institutions and world views have fed the beast and allowed it to grow to hitherto unmanageable proportions.

  3. coloradobob

     /  April 27, 2017

    RS –
    I’ve been on this ride here for several years now . It’s really remarkable how you digest so many things now. As a writer, as a researcher , as citizen, as a thinker.
    Like DT , I once wanted to ring this bell as well. But age overran us . Then we you came along with the bit in your teeth.
    If I may, I speak for him tonight.
    You do him proud, you do me proud , you do Cate proud, you do Willi proud, you do Andy proud , you do names I can’t spell proud from places i never dreamed of proud, you do the dozens of new names I have never seen before proud.

    But above all you do life proud. And the Earth proud.

    Reply
    • Aww, shucks Bob. You’re making me tear up, buddy. You guys are 100 percent of the reason I’m here. You and everyone else. We’re all doing this together. If hell comes to breakfast, as you say, we’re the main course. I love you guys too much just to stand by and do nothing as it starts to happen. All hands on deck, right?

      Reply
      • Cliff

         /  April 28, 2017

        Most of my friends and family claim to be concerned about climate change, but are unwilling to change their lifestyles in any way. Buying an electric car, on the other hand, is the one thing they ARE willing to do. (Several already drive Prius’s).

        I think you’re right, electric vehicles are about to be a game changer.

        Reply
        • People want to be a part of something progressive. To take part in an advancement. And often they do so with their dollars. For once in a long, long time you can actually buy things now that help make a difference. And that is absolutely true for solar panels and EVs. It’s a shame that an underlying culture of consumption remains ingrained. But this new trend is a big game changer. One that has snuck a good deal of sustainability into the mass consumption chain. For that reason, it’s more than a bit of a coup. And, ironically, the mechanism of mass production will proliferate that particular set of helpful objects very rapidly.

    • Suzanne

       /  April 27, 2017

      You all keep me sane.. And feeling not so much a stranger in a strange land..:)

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  April 27, 2017

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  April 28, 2017

        CB, you made me tear up too, friend. You always ,speak the truth, whole and unvarnished and nothing but. And yes, Suzanne, agreed. This is not just a blog, this is a unique sanctuary, an oasis of climate sanity, where I come every day for my climate reality fix. Yes, things are bad, and yes, in may ways, things are getting worse. But yes, there is plenty we can do, and much more that we are doing (as this post explains), and guess what? It’s still not too late to deflect the worst of what might come.

        RS, you are the author and creator of this space of common sense, and it is a huge credit to you. I thank and bless you every day for your inspiring dedication to this cause. What other cause is as great, at this moment in the history of our beloved planet?

        Folks, don’t forget, we need to all do what we can to spread the word from here. Share, copy-paste, get those readers and thinkers in here!

        Reply
        • Suzanne

           /  April 28, 2017

          +1

        • +2 Cant imagine not having this comment thread . Thinkers and researchers are far and few between in my life it seems , at least as far as the living planet goes anyway,but if you want to talk Game of Thrones !!!

        • I consider it an honor to have you all here. People like you, Cate, give me faith to carry on.

    • wili

       /  April 29, 2017

      +3 ^ 30,000! I’d say more, but I have a certain march to get to! ‘-)
      Best to all!

      Reply
      • deb

         /  May 1, 2017

        +++

        At the 2018 March for Science in Sydney I will remember to ask someone to take a photo of the “robertscribbler.com 4 great CC threat analysis” side of the sign fixed above my chair (NO CSG was on the other side) , with MY phone! ‘Could do better’ is on this BAppSc’s report card…

        Might also try to come up with something shorter, dare I say something punchier, something more along the lines of the very effective three-word slogans that were used to devastating effect on the population and media in Australia’s 2013 Federal election.

        Mr Tony Abbott (one time pugilist and now ex prime minister), and his cronies at the time pledged non-stop to AXE THE TAX and shortly after they came to power, they did (ie the carbon tax) . Any ideas would be greatly appreciated 😀

        Reply
  4. Mblanc

     /  April 28, 2017

    Good stuff RS, as always, lovely to read something positive, even as we lurch towards disaster. Been lurking for the last few months, but I always pop in to keep up-to-date.

    Two anecdotes on EV’s.

    My mates have a BMW i3 range-extender, and very swish it is too, if a bit ugly! One of the clever bits is the carbon-fibre sills, which catch the eye on entry. Apparently BMW worked on (expensive) pioneering construction techniques to shave off crucial weight, which was key to getting reasonable range, at that time (2009-2011ish). But recent advances in battery power have eased that pressure, and now BMW are going to use slightly heavier (and much cheaper) carbon-fibre composites going forward.

    An executive of said company recently stated that ‘range anxiety’ will not be a factor, in the very near future.

    Second story, a friend was advised recently not to buy an EV, because the cars available in a couple of years time are going to be so much better than the ones available today! He was advised to lease a hybrid in the interim.

    I think estimating the future adoption rate of EV’s is very difficult in such fast moving times, and many of the available estimates will be out-of-date, if they were not made in the last 6 months. It will clearly take longer for commercial vehicles to make the switch, and maybe hydrogen fuel cells will be the only solution for them, but all the old assumptions seem to have been thrown up in the air,

    And don’t let me get started about how reliable and cheap to run these EV’s will be. It is proper disruptive tech, a game changer for personal automotive emissions, and it gives me (much needed) hope, in these dark times.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the thoughts, Mblanc. Your detailed perspective on how these innovations are advancing is fascinating. I kind of feel like people must have felt at the turn of the 20th Century as aircraft and automobiles began to make their way. Now it’s electrification. And a major progression it is. The transformation of energy systems and related advances in sustainability are both amazing and crucial. And in the face of the progressively worsening dangers we face from the climate system, there’s a heroism to electrification and wind and solar that was absent from the earlier, and arguably more ominous, progression of fossil fuel based industrial civilization.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  April 28, 2017

        10 or 20 years ago I thought we were nowhere near to having the skills to de-carbonise quickly. Now I feel it’s more a question of how much effort are we prepared to put in.

        It’s not enough, of course, but one only has to look at the roll out of LED lighting to see how fast things can improve, if we get our ducks in a row.

        Still doesn’t make me optimistic tho, just a bit less pessimistic!

        Reply
    • I can’t at this time afford a new electric car, but my husband and I did back the Elio, a 2 person car that costs about $7300 and is projected to get 84 mpg. (Expected release date in 2018.) Not perfect, but better than most cars these days, and at a price that will let a lot of people on limited incomes get rid of their gas guzzlers.

      I am hoping it might be able to be converted to biofuel in the future.

      Reply
  5. Mblanc

     /  April 28, 2017

    One other thing, isn’t Saudi selling off a bunch of shares in its oil companies, interesting timing if you ask me.

    Found it. 5% of Aramco. The largest public offering in history. $100 billion dollars estimated.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenrwald/2017/02/25/the-worlds-biggest-ipo-is-coming-what-you-should-know-about-aramco/#527b2521535f

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  April 28, 2017

      Worth remembering the Saudis have a colossal budget deficit, astonishingly, and they are buying and using a lot of bombs on their neighbour.

      http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/22/saudi-arabia-cuts-2016-budget-deficit-to-boost-2017-spending.html

      Reply
      • Saudi is bombing both Syria and Yemen in search of ISIS targets. But both countries are humanitarian basket cases. And bombing may just be fueling the problem of extremism more than helping the matter. In the case of Yemen, there’s an emerging drought/climate change related famine on top of everything else.

        Reply
    • As Bloomberg mentioned above, someone’s going to be left holding the barrel once everyone else abandons it. It’s kind of like a fossil fuel investment game of hot potato or musical chairs. The Saudis had better learn to diversify their economy quick. They’ve arguably done a bit better at this than other regions. But overall, the Middle East is in such a rough spot due to combined economic, geopolitical and climate stresses.

      Reply
  6. One of the first things that struck me after I got my Nissan Leaf was how quickly I started to see combustion-engine vehicles as old-fashioned and barbaric, especially at stoplights.

    Reply
    • Pretty amazing aren’t they? Nissan’s Leaf has gotten a lot of great reviews from owners. Looks like the new model is going to have a 200 mile + range as well.

      From Green Car Reports:

      “Considering models such as the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV and even the new 124-mile Hyundai Ioniq Electric have more range than the world’s best-selling electric car, the expectations are high.

      It has been hinted that an electric range between 200 and 250 miles could be expected from the new Leaf.

      Nissan Motor CEO Hiroto Saikawa said that by 2020, the company would even be able to reach the 300 mile-range.”

      http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1110176_nissans-plans-reignite-electric-car-sales-boost-lagging-mitsubishi

      Reply
  7. Greg

     /  April 28, 2017

    A panel with leaders from Shell, GE and BHP Billiton just recommended steep declines in fossil fuel use. Oil and Gas Heavyweights Back a Roadmap for Deep Decarbonization
    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/oil-and-gas-heavyweights-back-a-Roadmap-for-Deep-Decarbonization

    Reply
    • So we’ve heard this tune before. And now it looks more aggressive than ever. But will talk this time turn into reality? Total, at least, is more and more heavily invested in renewable energy. Shell has the capability and apparent will to do the same. And at least the Dutch government isn’t filled with a bunk of numskulls like present-day republican-dominated America.

      I think what’s most likely to happen is that we get a lot of lip service to climate policies as one by one the various more morally oriented majors start to defect. There’s a lot of people there still holding out for CCS and pushing this crappy solar geo-engineering nonsense. But it appears now that at least a degree of momentary clarity has settled in.

      Reply
  8. Thanks, Robert as usual.
    Sheri

    Reply
  9. Matt

     /  April 28, 2017

    And for some good(ish) news…
    “Westpac has effectively ruled out financing Adani Group’s controversial, giant coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin under a new climate change policy.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-28/westpac-adds-coal-to-its-lending-black-list/8479600
    But of course there was this in the article also…”The decision angered Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan, who described Westpac as a pack of “wimps”.
    “Corporations are wimps these days in standing up up these (environmental) activists,” Senator Canavan told a press conference”
    Yes it does say “standing up up”… I think the ABC here has had to sack all its proof readers because of savage budget cuts……

    Reply
    • Mark in OZ

       /  April 28, 2017

      Good onya Matt for providing the great(ish) news!

      Personally, I was quite proud of being associated with that raggedy group of ‘environmentalists’. With nothing more than clever slogans on cardboard signs and rhythmic chants that reflected our consideration for all who live on Earth, we entered the corporate octagon where ‘we’ caused their most fearsome warrior to ‘tap out’.

      Some, though it’s very small, attribution to Westpac’s decision ( and our victory) needs to be placed on the bank’s own assessment of ‘profitability’-the only language they speak after all. It’s fair to say that Adani has shopped every lender on this globe to provide the financing and they all (including Westpac) can see nothing but a white elephant with zero future.

      Last, it’s very evident that RM Canavan is just pizztov that the ‘dream’ job promised at Adani once he retires from public ‘service’ where he collects huge consulting pay for getting the deal over the line ‘ain’t never gonna happen now.

      PS Key ‘learning’ and ‘takeaway’ from the octagon: We were surprised at how ‘weak’ the opponent was once we reached that moment where strength was ‘tested’. They ‘looked’ to be big as a tree and totally ‘ripped’. In reality, they were neither; our prior conclusions had deceived us. They are becoming hollowed out and contain mostly air. We threw them to the canvas and kept them there with ease. They had no desire to ‘stand-up’. They ‘knew’ they had lost.

      Reply
    • Vic

       /  April 28, 2017

      “Westpac is the 19th bank globally to either specifically, or by way of policy, commit to not funding the Adani project and other new coal mines in the Galilee Basin region.” 😀

      Meanwhile, news coming out of India suggests Adani’s desire to wreck the global climate system is facing serious challenges…

      “In the light of the Supreme Court order, Adani will have to write off the entire Rs 8,800 crore that it has taken credit for, meaning that its entire net worth could be effectively wiped out. Its debt burden of Rs 50,000 crore is another albatross around its neck,” the Angel Broking blog said.

      http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/sc-ruling-on-power-tariffs-to-hit-imported-coal-based-power-generators/articleshow/58351409.cms

      Reply
    • Vic

       /  April 28, 2017

      In a state of panic about where their next donations will be coming from, Queensland’s Labor State Government has responded by opening up more land for coal exploration.

      http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/queensland-government-opens-more-land-in-coal-search-20170428-gvudp5.html

      Reply
    • phil s

       /  April 28, 2017

      Coming on the back of a new report by CSIRO that our electricity can be zero carbon by 2050. Our current crop of rule makers will not be happy. Those pesky scientists:

      Federal and state governments have been told Australia could generate electricity with no carbon emissions by 2050, but a carbon price will be needed to achieve that.

      http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-28/carbon-price-vital-for-emissions-free-future,-roadmap-shows/8478364?pfmredir=sm

      Reply
    • Spike

       /  April 28, 2017

      I read that the much fabled jobs boost is over rated by the LNP. The CEO of Adani envisages a largely robotic mine – those coal jobs are no more.

      Reply
    • Thanks for the context, Matt. A really amazing move by Australia at this time. Especially considering the disposition of the present national government. It seems that wisdom has won the day against all odds.

      In response to some of the contrarian statements from the article —

      Corporations are noticeably horrified by the vast destruction now occurring directly off their shores in the form of the Great Barrier Reef turning white and then dying and of various island nations sinking or sunk whose populations are increasingly seeking asylum in Australia. Corporations have a responsibility to promote the public welfare and their articles of incorporation may be revoked if they generate an unreasonable level of harm. It’s only rational that they’d start to turn back now. It’s also worth noting that the cadre of environmentalists has grown. It doesn’t just include hippies and tree huggers anymore (we should all be proud tree-huggers these days!). My father in law who helped build missiles for the U.S. Navy has joined the Sierra Club. Rational people from all walks of life now see what’s happening and are doing everything they can to avoid more disasters.

      Reply
  10. Matt

     /  April 28, 2017

    The whole EV thing is hard here in Australia, due mainly to the Government holding back the installation of charging stations. They just don’t get how far behind we will be in such a short amount of time….. pitty.

    Reply
  11. wharf rat

     /  April 28, 2017

    Rat’s a fan of non-violent civil disobedience, and, at times, has thought about turning a demonstration along the highway into a sit-in on the highway when an extreme event requires more than just a march. Fittingly enuf, as the climate march approaches, Mother Nature decided to shut it down herself, about 40 miles north of me. This slide has been going on for a while. Cal-trans gets 1 lane open, and then more rain causes renewed sliding.

    Reply
  12. Bill H

     /  April 28, 2017

    The graph from Bloomberg could well be underestimating the speed with which electric cars will take over. Some are predicting that the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) will be obselete by 2025. Certainly, the pace of change is fast with Nissan and Renault introducing 40 kWh capacity batteries over the coming 12-18 months, which means ranges of at least 150 miles (240 km). See https://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/06/tesla-rivals-may-kill-the-petrol-car-as-early-as-2025/
    As an electric car (Nissan Leaf) owner myself they are wonderful things, perfect for my 20 mile (32 km) daily round trip commute, and doing something to improve the dreadful air quality in London. The other advantage, which needs to be trumpeted more, is the ease of maintenance: 20 moving parts compared with 2000 in an ICE vehicle, no need for coolant, no clutch (whoopee!!). It seems to me that they should last a lot longer than ICE vehicles, with only the battery requiring replacement after maybe 60 thousand miles (95,000 km). That’s why I bought mine second hand with 31,000 miles on the clock: seemed an excellent long term investment.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 28, 2017

      I know a driving instructor with a major company/Drive school in Victoria Australia. He uses a Toyota Camry hybrid and loves it, maintenance costs way down, operational and fuel costs way down and he is exposing new learner drivers to the benefits of electric cars.
      For driving instructors, fuel costs and maintenance costs are the killers, Hybrid are the big winners there, electric would be even better

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  April 28, 2017

        Awaiting moderation – Huhh ?

        Reply
      • Yep. So I got sick of moderating various kinds of misinformation in the comment thread directly and set up much tighter filters. The downside to that is that legitimate and helpful stuff like your post here sometimes gets held up for no apparent reason. I’ve cleared it and there was nothing wrong with it in the first place. I just ask everyone to be a bit more patient. I’ll try to work some of the kinks out of the system but I’ve decided to err on the side of a bullet-proof thread. Best to you Abel and best to everyone.

        Reply
        • Abel Adamski

           /  April 29, 2017

          Thanks Robert.
          Worth noting that I note increasing numbers of Hybrid Camry’s and even the odd Pries operating as Taxi Cabs, spoke to one of the drivers/owners and he loved his Prius, as above. But parts and panels are expensive and Taxis do score dings and panel etc damage.
          As the range of available vehicles increase this too will grow and it once again exposes customers.

          Also one of Australia’s Motoring Clubs the RACV has been for years buying and building resorts (8 or so with member discounts) , they provide 2 Nissan Leafs at each resort for customer hire, always booked out with people wanting to try an EV. I did, great little car.

          Plus Hire Car companies are slowly getting in on it, Thrifty has a Tesla available in Canberra (trouble is politicians have government cars and drivers)

        • John S

           /  April 29, 2017

          Don’t ever have to apologise for this RS. I am sure I speak for many to say I am most grateful that you do the dirty work – like dipping one’s head in a latrine was the apt phrase I recall – so we don’t have to. It is heart wrenching to stumble into the vitriol of uncensored comments on less moderated sites. Take as long as you like!

          (++ from the grand kids)

        • John S

           /  April 29, 2017

          Not only vitriol, also deceit and misinformation, and wilful pig-headed stupidity.

    • Allan Barr

       /  April 28, 2017

      Tesla has a battery that will last hundreds of thousands of miles. Just 6% degradation in range after 200,000 miles. One needs to consider getting the 2070 batteries they are clearly superior. Engine is designed to last one million miles. Disclosure, I am heavy long TSLA.

      Reply
      • Wow. 1 million miles? That presents some pretty amazing opportunities for used vehicles. One wonders if a cottage industry will spring up around adding new car frames to old Tesla chassis? Of course the after market batteries are also an amazing energy storage resource at just 6 percent degradation post the 200K mile mark.

        Reply
        • Mblanc

           /  April 28, 2017

          There was a lot of anxiety about battery degradation/replacement, but the batteries have turned out to be better than expected, and it’s not just Tesla that have had positive results.

          Most ICEs are going to lose a significant amount of efficiency over 200k anyway, I would be very surprised if it wasn’t at least 5%, on average.

          Thinking about re-using elements of old Tesla’s, it is possible to make iconic cars sing newer, greener tunes, if you are motivated enough.

          http://www.autoblog.com/2017/04/06/porsche-910-le-mans-race-car-electric-replica/

          Macho, consumption-heavy ICE car culture isn’t going to disappear overnight, but we can offer something to soothe the pain of the petrol-heads.

      • bostonblorp

         /  April 28, 2017

        That’s a pretty excellent duty cycle. I’m a bit of a nut but I practically get on my knees and pray every night that John Goodenough’s battery lives up to its promise and is commercialized *soon*. A quadrupling (or more) of energy density vs Lithium, solid state (no gels to catch fire), cheap, a long cycle life… it would be a marriage made in heaven for PV.

        To be clear, we don’t *need* this thing to get off fossil fuels but dang if it wouldn’t blow the doors open for electrification of long-haul aircraft, utility-scale energy storage and so on.

        I’ve held a candle many times before.. Rossi’s e-cat being the most recent example.. but this is the godfather of the lithium battery we all use.

        Reply
    • Nissan is talking about a 2018 model with 200 to 250 mile range and a possible 300 mile range by 2020 or 2021. The capability is certainly there today for a 200+ mile Leaf. Amazing cars.

      Reply
  13. Ryan in New England

     /  April 28, 2017

    Fantastic article, Robert. This is some really excellent news, the kind that makes me feel hopeful (as opposed to my usual feelings of dread since the election). I just recently read the biography of Elon Musk, which was a fascinating insight into how difficult it was to develop Tesla into the company it is today. At one point they were going to be acquired by Google in order to remain viable, but narrowly escaped being bought out. The vision and forward thinking of Tesla has certainly contributed to the progress we’re seeing with EV adoption. The big auto makers thought Musk was nuts and never saw Tesla as a threat to their sales. Now they’re singing a different tune.

    Reply
    • So you guys know I’m not a big individualist/market kind of guy. I’m innately distrusting of markets in the same way many of the people of my generation or before were innately distrusting of government. But I think the kind of forward-looking mindset that Elon engenders is something that we need considerably more of today in both the private and public sectors. He radiates a kind of can-do spirit that used to suffuse America but somehow got sapped out of us. If there’s something we need to adopt en masse — it’s that kind of innovative, can-do attitude and willingness to take big individual risks for big long term society-encompassing reward.

      Reply
  14. Ryan in New England

     /  April 28, 2017

    Noam Chomsky explains why the the Republican party is the most dangerous organization in world history.

    http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chomsky_on_gop_has_any_organization_committed_destruction_20170427

    “I also said that it’s an extremely outrageous statement. But the question is whether it’s true,” replies Chomsky. “I mean, has there ever been an organization in human history that is dedicated, with such commitment, to the destruction of organized human life on earth? Not that I’m aware of. Is the Republican organization—I hesitate to call it a party—committed to that? Overwhelmingly. There isn’t even any question about it.”

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 28, 2017

      +1. Chomsky nails it, every time. Thanks for this, Ryan.

      Reply
    • Thanks for posting this, Ryan. I read it yesterday and I’m very proud of Chomsky for taking a stand like this. He’s always been a great, sensitive guy in my estimation. And I’ve always admired compassion, his intellect, and his much-needed truth-seeking. But we need leaders like him to call the republican party out for the terrible things it has done and continues to do. Bad action often requires the cover of darkness. And Chomsky shines a light where it is much-needed.

      Reply
  15. Cate

     /  April 28, 2017

    Dr Stefan Rahmstorf has published his letter to the executive editor of the NYT explaining why he is cancelling his subscription to the paper in the wake of their recent appointment of known denier Bret Stephens to write about climate change.

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 28, 2017

      “There is no left-leaning or right-leaning climate science, just as there is no republican or democrat theory of gravity.”

      —Stefan Rahmstorf

      This needs to go viral.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  April 28, 2017

        Absolutely. Get on the Facebook and social media pages of all grassroots groups for one. On it now.

        Reply
    • And speaking of shining a light in a dark place… Thank you for stepping up, Dr Rahmstorf!

      Reply
    • Dammit. I *just* subscribed to the NYT two days ago so I could guiltlessly read Krugman’s blog. I also thought of it as a dig to Trump. Now I have to go cancel it.

      Reply
  16. Suzanne

     /  April 28, 2017

    Robert and Fellow Scribblers…
    For our “sister” People’s Climate March WPB tomorrow..a couple of us have been charged with talking to the media. Since I have never done this before..and don’t want to ramble on..which I am apt to do when it comes to CC 🙂 I would appreciate some pointers…and concise talking points. I want to give “clear and coherent” answers…that will resonate.
    Remember..that our “theme” is Sea Level Rise since we are S. Florida.
    Thank you in advance…

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 28, 2017

      Suzanne, I admire your on-the-ground activism so much. It cannot be easy. Thank you for the work you do in bringing the issues forward—-you must know you have the moral support of all the scribblers, I believe it’s safe to say.

      Reply
      • wharf rat

         /  April 28, 2017

        “you must know you have the moral support of all the scribblers, ”
        Give her actual support. all of us should be in the streets tomorrow.

        It’s a beautiful mornin’
        I think I’ll go outside a while,
        An just smile.
        Just take in some clean fresh air, boy
        Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside
        If the weather’s fine and you got the time.
        It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day.
        Either way,
        It’s a beautiful mornin’

        Reply
    • wharf rat

       /  April 28, 2017

      Put out some markers showing where sea level will be with a 1 foot, 1 meter, and 10 foot rise.

      . California Sea Level Could Rise 10 Feet By End Of This Century
      Airports, roads, towns and homes could be swamped, a state report says

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/california-sea-level-rise_us_59027f0fe4b0bb2d086c5f31

      Reply
    • So here’s a good one:

      Reply
    • Or you could simply print this image and post it on a sign:

      rising seas

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  April 28, 2017

        Thanks for all the good signs, etc. But what I really was hoping for..since I am actually talking to the media…being interviewed..was some “concise talking points”and ideas to give them.
        Sorry I wasn’t clear.
        I am just nervous about actually having to talk to the media..knowing I will be quoted.

        Reply
        • Suzanne

           /  April 28, 2017

          And here is a banner being done by some very talented women from our environmental grassroots group…Just love this:

        • For talking to the media:
          1. Choose about 3 points you really want to make. There won’t be time for more. For S. Florida I agree with Warf rat- showing what to expect for different projections on the street you are on is great.
          2. Practice making them so you have the wording you want in your head. (Not necessarily word for word, but the basics.)
          3. If one or more is represented by your sign(s) that will make a good prop (and a good reminder for you).
          4. Be ready for questions about your points.
          5. Depending on the media, be ready for challenges about your points, or climate change in general.
          6. Good luck!

        • +1

          Good advice here 🙂

        • John S

           /  April 29, 2017

          You’ve got this Suzanne, but for I’m all for moral support. Titania has good advice, some random thought primers for 3 points (and it is very late here so this may well read like juvenile rubbish in the morning)…

          Remember the Tea Party lady a few posts ago – phrasing around values rather than facts
          If it’s anything like our local media examples would be
          Waste of Tax Payers Dollars – building walls is wasting our money on symptons
          Dereliction of Duty – any delay is shameful failure to protect the value of our property and security of our State
          Jobs squandered – the jobs of tomorrow are here today, and they are in renewables [was it renewables > oil + gas + coal ?]
          Typical politicians response – acting short term is sweeping the problem under the carpet and creating a bigger more expensive problem tomorrow, and we will all be picking up the tab
          Economic suicide – taking CC seriously is good for the economy, every day we dance around the issue we give away economc advantage to other countries

          Graphics are good props (offer to email jpg to journo’s)
          The CO2 graph and RS map above –
          Massive CO2 spike last 50 years equals flooded coast and ruined property

          responses (when in doubt rinse and repeat):
          CO2 is like thermal underwear for the planet, putting on more when you are already hot is not just dumb but a threat to your health

          Frankly I’d rather trust a physicist than a politician

          Yesterdays responses are no longer good enough for today’s problems, it’s time to modernise our thinking and act accordingly

          The problem is the selfish few (FF industry + lazy politicians) defending yesterday’s obsolete technology, favouring their profit over our national well being and prosperity

          Those who are too lazy, too dumb or too predjudiced to get up to speed on the science (of CC) have no place in public office.

          Go get em girl, one of you is worth a thousand armchair professors

      • mark ó dochartaigh

         /  April 30, 2017

        In SW Florida we had about 150 at our rally in Naples and around 400 at our rally in Fort Myers. More and more people are being awakened and taking action. We are almost at the point that we should have been 30 years ago.

        Reply
  17. Cate

     /  April 28, 2017

    Mauna Loa:

    26 April 2017 412.63ppm “highest ever daily average”

    26 April 2016 407.41ppm

    Reply
    • chilyb

       /  April 28, 2017

      not good.

      Reply
    • Erik Frederiksen

       /  April 28, 2017

      Hmmm, that’s so much higher than recent annual gains in CO2 that it makes me wonder if one needs to use more than the figure from a single day.

      I hope so because nearly 5ppm in a single year would, as chilyb noted, be not good.

      Reply
    • So this is right in the max expected daily range of 411 to 413 ppm for 2017 we discussed last week. We have a late April to early May window where it could tip a bit higher. After that we should expect it to start dropping off as N Hemisphere foliage starts to break out.

      Reply
  18. bostonblorp

     /  April 28, 2017

    Good news indeed. May oil derricks become a curiosity.

    I have come to think of this century as “The Window.” Will the rise of EV, PV, the global green movement, etc, develop in time to forestall the most dire effects of CC? Will civilization “hold” long enough for them to have the chance to fully turn off the nozzle of CO2 emissions? Will it be in time? Will the dark horse of carbon-capture come to our rescue? Will the fool Captain Trumpf sail us into the tempest? It is the grandest of operas in which we all play a part. It would be fascinating were it not also terrifying.

    Reply
    • Aptly described. A drama we all play a part in now.

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  April 28, 2017

      Can we get through this ‘window’ before the thing slams shut, especially given that we aren’t really sure where it really is?

      Watch this space, for more updates on the greatest drama in human history, with added audience participation.

      Reply
  19. webej

     /  April 28, 2017

    In the Netherlands climate spokesmen for all the main stream parties on both sides of the political spectrum have agreed that starting in 2025 all new cars must be electric. This does not mean that this consensus is a done deal for actual policy, but it is a good step in the right direction.

    Reply
  20. Stunning post, phenomenal comments, awesome Robert. I am privileged to be able to follow.

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  April 29, 2017

      Yup – imagine if MSM had this level of information, integrity and debate.

      Reply
  21. Mblanc

     /  April 28, 2017

    Just to keep the spirits up, I thought I would point out the latest TED talk from Musk, where he teased us with his semi. 😉

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/28/elon-musk-teases-tesla-electric-semi-truck-up-to-4-new-gigafactory-locations/

    The thing to understand here is that no-one, literally no one, believed this was possible 10 years ago. The energy density and cost of batteries was nowhere near good enough, and the truck would have had to carry far more batteries than cargo.

    Reply
  22. Vic

     /  April 28, 2017

    Our first glimpse of the all electric Tesla Semi, due to be unveiled in September.

    https://electrek.co/2017/04/28/tesla-semi-elon-musk-teaser-image-all-electric-truck/

    Reply
  23. Mblanc

     /  April 29, 2017

    One more contribution to this thread.

    More detail on battery life. It is certainly the case that early Nissan Leafs have had replacement batteries, but Tesla and Chevrolet have done much better.

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1110149_tesla-model-s-battery-life-what-the-data-show-so-far

    Reply
  24. sunkensheep

     /  April 30, 2017

    I said it 10years ago, my first oil burning car would be my last, if the world has any chance against CO2 buildup, now it finally looks possible.

    The electricity industry released an ultimatum to the Australian government: put a price on carbon so we can plan the transition – zero emissions generation by 2050 under a BaU case (even with an expected electric car transition), saving $100 Billion over continuing the centralised, fossil fueled design. A bit too late, but showing great promise.

    Reply
    • We needed to start ramping below 350 CO2 (and probably CO2e as well) in the period of the 2010s, 2020s, and 2030s to avoid a number of pretty harmful outcomes. These were bad outcomes, but probably survivable to human civilization. Without this mass transition soon, we hit 450 ppm CO2 and 530 ppm CO2e in about 13 years. With a rapid move to transition we can slow down hitting that threshold, maybe to 20 years. But we need to get a move on fast. Crossing that threshold implies locking in changes that will not be survivable to a number of the more marginal nations and to a much larger number of cities and communities in pretty much every region around the world. These changes will happen this Century and many that are difficult will happen in the next two decades.

      I’m not sure if we can fully avoid those threshold impacts. But we can avoid the far worse impacts that are implied by hitting 550 ppm CO2 and 700 ppm CO2e. We can and must also look toward removing CO2 from the atmosphere in order to further mitigate the crisis over time. Solar geoengineering is not a crisis mitigator but is likely, instead, a crisis enabler. It would further destabilize precipitation patterns and storm patterns by generating regional instabilities in the climate system. It would also enhance the rate of ocean acidification and eutrophication. All this while only providing a very temporary and transient respite from the overall rate of warming.

      So our only real choices are the energy switch to renewables and more efficient ways of using energy and to ramping atmospheric carbon draw-down.

      Reply
  25. These are fabulous technical advances being described above, which makes the original articles’ extrapolation of uptake seem plausible, but we mustn’t forget that electric doesn’t automatically equal lower emissions – an explosive uptake of electric vehicles is just as likely to mean we keep burning coal to make electricity (or switch back to burning all that oil in electrical generators) even longer if the increased electrical demand outstrips the increase in renewable capacity. Of course the improved efficiency, longer life of parts etc are still valid benefits.

    And by the way thanks for a great blog – I read every article, but haven’t commented before.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words, Pete. As for your statement, we should address a few inherent logical fallacies.

      1. Electric motors are more efficient than gasoline engines — using about 1/3 the energy of an ICE. So even if all vehicles were electric and were plugged into a fossil fuel based grid, we’d still burn less fossil fuels.
      2. Coal is going. Because…
      3. Natural gas and renewables are replacing it. And…
      4. People and nations are more and more concerned about climate change. Furthermore…
      5. Renewable electricity generation is now less expensive than coal and gas in many places. Also…
      6. The wave of vehicle electrification is following behind a wave of mass transition to renewable energy in the electricity generation arena. The fraction of renewable energy in the grid is rising.
      7. So as the electrification wave progresses, we will use less energy and more and more of this energy will come from wind and solar and other renewables.
      8. Finally, the present impediment to mass vehicle electrification and a mass transition to wind and solar and renewables for electrical generation is now political. In other words, both the economic and environmental incentives align to support renewables vs fossil fuels in the power generation sector.
      9. The point of the above article was to show that economics and environment will both start to favor electrical vehicles as well and that this is likely to take place by around 2020-2022 in net and earlier in specific regions that are predisposed to early adoption.

      Reply
  26. Mblanc

     /  May 1, 2017

    Good news from India. This is an ambitious goal from where they are now, but once EV’s are cheaper than conventional cars (early 2020’s maybe?), the economic pressure to switch will be huge, particularly at the lower end of the car market. ICE’s will be a luxury option from that day forward.

    ‘Every car sold in India will be powered by electricity by the year 2030, according to plans unveiled by the country’s energy minister.’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-electric-cars-2030-fossil-fuel-air-pollution-piyush-goyal-climate-change-a7711381.html

    Reply
  27. Jimbot

     /  May 1, 2017

    Hi RS,
    I doubt if this will get read but maybe you can use the notion for a future post someday.

    The ( apparently practical ) idea of converting ICE vehicles to run on hydrogen. Unfortunately we have been crushing so many still useful old cars that could have been reused for this. I have read that the manufacture of a vehicle uses as much energy ( still very much FF based at this point ) as it will use in fuel over an average vehicle total mileage. The estimates I have seen for this vary and I don’t know what criteria they’re based on.

    If you had experienced first hand a major mining operation you would understand where I’m coming from on this tack.

    Another thought while I’m at it:

    My “gut feeling” is that the world’s car companies are currently in runaway manufacturing mode, producing more vehicles than there are buyers available. There is some evidence of this but it seems to have been tagged as a conspiracy meme.. The corporate owners don’t want us to know this since they have to maintain the illusion of a functional sustainable market. I was told by a used car dealer that in this province, B.C., there are about 3 roadworthy cars for every 2 drivers. The only limiting factors appear to be parking and road space.

    In Cuba they still run 53 Chevs and anything else they can get apparently. A lot of jobs could be made converting and maintaining an old fleet. This would not sell in the boardrooms however and also the population is well conditioned to demand only new or like new.

    Reply
    • Hydrogen fueled vehicles are so much more expensive to produce than electric vehicles that it just makes more sense to continue the push for vehicle electrification. I think it might be a good idea just to re-use materials for the old ICEs in EV conversions.

      Reply

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