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From Rimac’s Electric Hypercars to Volkswagen’s Big EV Spend, Everyone’s Racing to Catch up with Tesla

In a world where human-caused climate change is increasingly damaging and harmful, a global race to produce electric, zero tailpipe emissions vehicles is a positive development. And just such a global race appears to be in the offing.

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We’ve heard a lot recently about how traditional automakers are spending boatloads of cash on electrical vehicles. Every week, we see new concept cars and planned production vehicles floated to the public in an apparent effort to show competitiveness in a key emerging industry. And the vaunted term that appears to be the sought-after standard is ‘better than Tesla.’ Ironically, this is a tacit admission that Tesla is presently the first horse in what appears to be a ramping race in mass electrical vehicle production.

Rimac’s Concept Two vs the Tesla Roadster 2.0

A recent example of this trend came in the form of the electric start-up Rimac’s Concept Two. Fresh off a 30 million euro fundraising round, Rimac is planning to produce a clean electric hypercar that’s capable of edging out Tesla’s Roadster 2.0 in a number of performance parameters. To be clear, the Roadster 2.0 is a revolution in automotive engineering — leaving former ICE hypercars in the dust in practically every performance specification that matters. But typical to the presently irresistable lure to compete with (or to appear to compete with) Tesla, Rimac attempts a one-up.

(Rimac’s Concept Two is another all electric hypercar that leaves fossil fuel based vehicles in the dust. But can it outsell Tesla’s Roadster 2.0? Image source: Commons.)

Concept Two boasts a stupendous 1,914 horsepower. And its 1425 kWh battery pack can push the car from 0-60 in 1.85 seconds while achieving a top speed of 258 miles per hour. This acceleration and speed edges out Tesla’s Roadster 2.0. But only just.

Of course a big underlying question here — is how many will Rimac build and for how much of an asking price? Rimac produced another electric hyper car (with far less compelling capabilities) — the Concept One during 2013 to 2014. Eight were ultimately built. In contrast, the Roadster 2.0 is a hypercar that’s starting at around 200,000 dollars (which is rather inexpensive for a car that can blow the likes of Lamborghini out of the water) and will likely produce hundreds to thousands.

Can Legacy Diesel Volkswagen Catch Tesla by Spending Big?

Another automaker that’s trying to catch up to Tesla is Volkwagen. Globally, the world’s largest automaker, the company appears to be setting aside 50 percent of its slated investment capital in an effort to produce a massive line of electrical vehicles. Its stated goal is to have an electric version of every model and to sell 5 million EVs annually by 2025. And the company is apparently willing to spend 60 billion dollars to achieve it.

Volkswagen is also investing in not one but 16 battery production facilities. And it states that it will be producing one new hybrid, plug in hybrid, or all electrical vehicle per month by next year. These are major goals. One that is in stark contrast to the present reality in which Volkswagen currently produces just one all-electric mass market vehicle — the E-Golf. And that, admittedly capable, attractive and well-priced, EV is selling at rather lower rates than Nissan’s popular Leaf EV.

(Volkswagen’s E-Golf is presently its only all-electric model. But the company plans a big surge into the EV market over the next couple of years. Image source: Volkswagen.)

In other words, despite big investments and big stated plans, Volkswagen is presently just barely on the EV leader board, if that. This puts the company at a pole position in the EV race far behind Tesla in 2018. And major investments and innovations will be required for it to catch up.

We’ve heard big EV promises from other traditional automakers before. And those like Volvo and Ford appear to have struggled with legacy issues in their stated attempts to put EVs on a fast track. One such issue that could hamper Volkswagen is the fact that it invested heavy sums in diesel vehicle technology during the 70s and 80s. As a result, the carmaker will have to overcome a decent amount of institutional inertia to jump into an EV leadership position. Pollution and emissions scandals plaguing the company have helped to spur its EV drive. But a history of profit-making selling polluting cars may inject a degree of cynicism into the company’s leadership. So self-sabotage is something to look out for here.

If Volkswagen manages a major internal transformation and if its engineers are capable of producing market EVs with mass appeal, then it could take a huge share of the emerging EV market and surge to match Tesla sales during 2019-2021 while possibly surpassing it by 2022-2023. Perhaps. But there’s a lot of hurdles for Volkswagen to overcome before gets there, all promises and talking aside.

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53 Comments

  1. Greg

     /  March 16, 2018

    It has been one announcement after another, a tipping point for the industry it seems. Also, the entire grid is increasing its renewable sourcing which means electric cars are becoming increasingly greener in the US thanks to a cleaner electric grid. In the US, the latest Union of Concerned Scientists study shows that on average, an EV driving on electricity is equivalent to a gasoline car that gets 80 MPG, that’s up from 73 MPG in the 2017 update and the electric fleet is also getting more and more pure electric versus hybrid electric which should accelerate this trend.
    https://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/new-data-show-electric-vehicles-continue-to-get-cleaner
    And Electrek’s take:
    https://electrek.co/2018/03/13/electric-cars-greener-grid/

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    • … and there’s basically no gasoline powered car, hybrid or otherwise, without plug that’s capable of 80 mpg. Decoupling has commenced. We just need to make sure that social incentives and political policies keep feeding it.

      Here’s one:

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      • Greg

         /  March 17, 2018

        Yes. And this tonight: “Longer-term (10 yrs from now) we believe Tesla can capture 17% of the U.S. auto market”
        https://cleantechnica.com/2018/03/16/gene-munster-loup-ventures-expect-tesla-market-share-triple-1-5-usa/

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        • I think we’re seeing this potential in the communications noise now. Everyone of the traditional automakers is basically freaking out about Tesla and they’re trying to use social engineering messsaging to take some of the wind out of Tesla or at least take some of the glory. What many don’t realize is that Tesla bought into an emerging mega trend early which gives it much better positioning. Of course there’s still the potential of political or social sabotage. The Republican Party has this tendency of sand bagging leading edge industries in the US which creates a vacuum that foreign companies often jump in to fill.

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  2. Mblanc

     /  March 17, 2018

    Here’s my tuppence worth on VW’s one a month.

    If that is one distinct, fresh model a month, happy days. But VW are kings of modular builds, effectively badge engineering under different names. These are not necessarily built on the same chassis, but share many common components. Have a look at the number of different models, and badges, on their MQB platform.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Group_MQB_platform

    So I think a certain amount of skepticism is merited, at least until we actually hear what they are launching. It can’t be denied that they appear to be spending serious money, but is quite hard to tell quite when this money is being spent, and when the really serious EV’s or proper (ie battery heavy range extender) hybrids will come to market, in numbers, especially outside Europe.

    ………

    Here is another thing I noticed. You may have heard about the new hybrid London Taxi’s, which are starting to hit the streets now. Apparently the company that makes them is going to use the power train in a light van. It has a small 1.5 range extender motor, but with a pure electric range estimated to be over the 80 miles of the taxi version. At least in European applications, I would call this a proper hybrid.

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/vans/102980/new-british-built-levc-electric-van-spied-testing

    ………

    One more link I quite liked, a pure electric bus from China which is promising 200km on a charge, is being trialled in France from April this year. That is enough to do intercity travel in Europe. We hear about huge numbers of these things in China, but it is nice to see they are getting out of their domestic market. We have such terrible urban air quality in Europe that I believe electric buses are going to be massive here, pretty damn quick.

    http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/europes-flixbus-to-test-electric-buses-on-long-distance-bus-network-2018-03-16

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  3. Mike S

     /  March 17, 2018

    IMHO, we need a lot more electric cars with average acceleration rates, average horsepower, average top speeds, and AVERAGE PRICES- compared to ICE-based cars. We don’t need any more cars like the Tesla Roadster 2.0 and the Concept Two that have gut-wrenching acceleration, speeds over triple the highest speed limits, and high prices, that only the rich can buy. I wish the manufacturers would produce a lot more car models for the masses, and stop targeting the rich with these new super high performance models.

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    • rhymeswithgoalie

       /  March 17, 2018

      “…electric cars with average acceleration rates…”

      Why lower functionality? I love that my ol’ Leaf is great at merging onto busy roads. 😉

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      • Mike S

         /  March 17, 2018

        What I tried to emphasize is PRICE of the electric cars, I wish more models had been developed with prices close to the average ICE car. Too many electric models have been released recently- including the Jaguar I Pace- that emphasize high performance, not low price. Generally speaking, high acceleration comes with high prices, but I admit there may be exceptions.

        Could you let us know approximately how much you paid for your Leaf?

        Per Consumer Reports, a few new subcompact economy ICE cars can be had for as little as 16,000 to 20,000 dollars. With EVs, there will be much lower maintenance and fueling costs for the life of the vehicle, so a cost of several thousand more would be equivalent to an ICE car. Still, I’m waiting to see an EV that would cost maybe 5,000 more than the above range, say, 21,000 to 25,000 dollars. I think there’s many more people that care about affordability than going from 0 to 60 MPH in two seconds.

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      • bill h

         /  March 17, 2018

        Agreed, Rhymes, though I am even more enamoured of my ol’ Leaf’s ECO drive function whereby acceleration is deliberately throttled back and the regenerative braking correspondingly enhanced, so that friction braking is for much of the time unnecessary provided one drives sensibly, thereby greatly reducing wear on the brake pads and the rather nasty particulate pollution that results from friction braking.

        Mike, the high acceleration is an “emergent poperty” of electric cars: revs per minute is increased merely by increasing the current, so high acceleration doesn’t have to be “designed into” the car in the way it is for an ICE car.

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        • bill h

           /  March 17, 2018

          Robert, VW actually have two electric cars on the market. The second is the budget price e-up! (the exclamation mark is part of the name, not a symptom of punctuation overuse on my part). Maybe this isn’t being sold in the U.S. It sells at £16,500 plus tax in the UK (about $23,500), so very much a budget car. Only 18.5kWh battery capacity. They are bringing out a new model with significantly higher capacity this year.

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        • Thanks for this, Bill. I didn’t find the e-up! in a search for Volkswagen EVs that I though was pretty broad. So the communication from VW on that model must not be pushed much here. I’ll do some research and may add a note here.

          Do you know what kind of volume they sell in?

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        • It must not sell very well at all.

          I see no mention of it on either the inside EVs US list or on clean technica’s Europe EV sales list.

          Worth noting that e Golf is a big seller in Europe. So VW is clearly doing the marketing there. I wonder if e-up is yet to be produced in any kind of volume. But the economy platform is interesting.

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        • Yep. The battery and electric engine by the nature of the design more effectively produce torque and acceleration.

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    • There’s a capability right now to build a 100-120 mile range EV in the 16K to 20K price range. In a few years that will push out to 150+. You’re right that someone should try to fill this niche. I think the push for high quality, high price EVs is more due to automakers trying to emulate Tesla’s success or to appear to emulate it at least.

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  4. Andy_in_SD

     /  March 17, 2018

    I don’t think the FF industry can stop this wave now. They need to adapt into energy companies that leverage renewable sources. They have cash, use it for the general good and survive, or stay legacy and perish.

    The last company that made slide rules made the best ones. They were still obsolete.

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    • We’re going to see a lot of transformative change in the EV/battery storage arena over the next five years. I, for one, am excited and encouraged by the prospects.

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  5. rhymeswithgoalie

     /  March 17, 2018

    VW’s only hope to pull itself out of the hole it dug in Europe with the diesel fraud is EVs.

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  6. Andy_in_SD

     /  March 17, 2018

    I am curious if any studies have been done regarding refreeze initial amount and velocity versus melt volume loss. I suspect there is a correlation there as the melt would produce a fresh water pulse, which freezes quicker.

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  7. Jeremy in Wales

     /  March 17, 2018

    Lead is even deadlier than we feared as the full extent of its toxic effects are revealed
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/17/lead-petrol-more-deadly-than-we-thought-brexit-bring-it-back
    A by-product of the hydrocarbon age that probably affects everyone over 30 in the UK, and perhaps explains the cardiac epidemic more than butter.

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    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  March 17, 2018

      ie we used to add lead to petrol (gas) as tetraethyl lead.

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    • Andy_in_SD

       /  March 18, 2018

      Fantastic! When I was 19 I worked in a lead mine to make $$$ for school.

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    • John S

       /  March 18, 2018

      Not just those over 30. Consider lead in playground soil and home gardens, particularly inner-city or industrial cities. Also peeling paint, although now soil lead has overtaken as old lead paint is removed or encapsulated.

      http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/entomology/protecting_your_children_and_food_from_lead_in_soil.pdf

      from this article (research in Connecticut) for example…

      There is no known safe level of lead for chlidren.
      Lead does not break down over time. Because lead is tightly bound to soil, it generally does not move except when the surrounding soil is moved either by digging, by erosion, or by soil moving into the air as dust…lead in the soil has become a major source of lead in the blood of children

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    • The Romans only put it in cook-ware. The fossil fuel distributors put it in fuel, burned it. So it ended up in the air, water and soil.

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      • kassy

         /  March 19, 2018

        They lined their aquaducts with it too but that does not change the point.

        What fascinates me is the lead-crime hypothesis.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead-crime_hypothesis

        See reference 1 on link for some lines of evidence.
        This is from reference 3:

        “Ridding the world of leaded petrol, with the United Nations leading the effort in developing countries, has resulted in $2.4 trillion in annual benefits, 1.2 million fewer premature deaths, higher overall intelligence and 58 million fewer crimes, according to a new study released today.”

        So much suffering over the years because it took a while before people researched the (rather obvious toxicity).

        Even the romans knew:

        Earthen pipes have these advantages, first as to the work; next, that if damaged any one can repair it. Water conducted through earthen pipes is more wholesome than that through lead; indeed that conveyed in lead must be injurious, because from it white lead is obtained, and this is said to be injurious to the human system. Hence, if what is generated from it is pernicious, there can be no doubt that itself cannot be a wholesome body.
        This may be verified by observing the workers in lead, who are of a pallid colour; for in casting lead, the fumes from it fixing on the different members, and daily burning them, destroy the vigour of the blood; water should therefore on no account be conducted in leaden pipes if we are desirous that it should be wholesome. That the flavour of that conveyed in earthen pipes is better, is shewn at our daily meals, for all those whose tables are furnished with silver vessels, nevertheless use those made of earth, from the purity of the flavour being preserved in them.

        From: Vitruvius De Architecture Book 8, Chapter 6, 10-11

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  8. And from the man responsible for it all
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/data-war-whistleblower-christopher-wylie-faceook-nix-bannon-trump

    The Cambridge Analytica Files
    ‘I created Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower

    He may have played a pivotal role in the momentous political upheavals of 2016. At the very least, he played a consequential role. At 24, he came up with an idea that led to the foundation of a company called Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that went on to claim a major role in the Leave campaign for Britain’s EU membership referendum, and later became a key figure in digital operations during Donald Trump’s election campaign.

    Or, as Wylie describes it, he was the gay Canadian vegan who somehow ended up creating “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool”.

    In 2014, Steve Bannon – then executive chairman of the “alt-right” news network Breitbart – was Wylie’s boss. And Robert Mercer, the secretive US hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor, was Cambridge Analytica’s investor. And the idea they bought into was to bring big data and social media to an established military methodology – “information operations” – then turn it on the US electorate.

    It was Wylie who came up with that idea and oversaw its realisation. And it was Wylie who, last spring, became my source. In May 2017, I wrote an article headlined “The great British Brexit robbery”, which set out a skein of threads that linked Brexit to Trump to Russia. Wylie was one of a handful of individuals who provided the evidence behind it. I found him, via another Cambridge Analytica ex-employee, lying low in Canada: guilty, brooding, indignant, confused. “I haven’t talked about this to anyone,” he said at the time. And then he couldn’t stop talking.

    By that time, Steve Bannon had become Trump’s chief strategist. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, had won contracts with the US State Department and was pitching to the Pentagon, and Wylie was genuinely freaked out. “It’s insane,” he told me one night. “The company has created psychological profiles of 230 million Americans. And now they want to work with the Pentagon? It’s like Nixon on steroids.”

    Read the article to understand what has been done to us all, Wylie was just a young genius geek in his early 20’s intrigued with the technology challenge, now horrified at what he has created

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    • It was obvious, at least to me, that the methodology behind dissemination of misinformation during the 2016 campaign had risen to the level of information warfare. And it was not that we hadn’t seen these tactics before. Cambridge Analytica style campaigns had been going on at least since the mid 2000s as we had seen during ‘climate gate’ and other campaigns related to fossil fuel based misinformation. It was just the massive scale that dwarfed anything previously seen in 2016. You had Russia, Wikileaks, associated hackers, armies of bots, Cambridge Analytica, and some kind of tacit cooperation by the big social media giants Facebook and Twitter. Of course it is obvious now that the Trump Campaign was the author of some of the techniques involved in addition to apparently widespread coordination with Russian information warfare operations.

      In context, we should also look at what Bannon’s doing now — promoting right wing extremism and racism in Europe. And we should be very clear that this active measure is one that Russia typically uses as a tool to destabilize western democracies. It happened in the Ukraine and the same techniques developed there are being used here.

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  9. kassy

     /  March 18, 2018

    One of the driest places on Earth struggles to safeguard its most precious resource: water
    Leaky pipes, theft and dwindling rainfall threaten Jordan’s water supply

    Research published last year by Stanford University’s Jordan Water Project predicted a 30 per cent drop in rainfall by 2100, along with an increase in temperatures of 6 C. The study forecasts that the number of droughts will double.

    Turning sea water into potable water takes vast amounts of power. Israel’s desalination plants usually only run overnight to take advantage of lower electricity costs.

    EcoPeace, an environmental NGO made up of Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian activists, is floating a new idea to harness the sun-soaked deserts of Jordan, and sell the solar power to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, who would use it to run desalination plants.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/jordan-water-refugees-desalination-israel-1.4578906

    And in case that is to far away from home:

    ‘It’s not impossible’: Western Canada’s risk of water shortages rising

    Marshall says that as the population grows and the climate continues to warm on Canada’s prairies, trouble is brewing. Water shortages are likely the next time a multi-year drought hits Western Canada.

    And that’s something that may already be underway, according to Marshall.

    “It might have started last year, actually. You know, we had the beginnings of a drought last year, and it’s just a question of if we get a few more summers in a row like that.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/africa-capetown-water-shortage-drought-canada-rockies-glacier-1.4564616

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    • Renewables are the primary energy sources that increase the opportunity for desalination due to their traditionally steep learning curve and related historic middle to long term cost reductions. To look at it another way, desalination as a major resiliency feature for arid regions doesn’t become practical unless the cost of energy or the energy intensity of the process drops. Some of these drops have been achieved. But we still have a ways to go.

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  10. “Can Legacy Diesel Volkswagen Catch Tesla by Spending Big?”

    I think the answer is “Yes, they could do so easily, if they really wanted to”. Case in point: The Chevy Bolt, a decent enough EV made almost effortlessly by GM as what appears to be a half-hearted technical exercise, a manifestation of some concession made in the boardroom to rumbling in the ranks.

    All the legacy auto makers know which side of the bread is buttered, they are guided by the dotted line, not any sense of environmental ethos. They are institutions manned at the top by old lions who know their business. The problem is, their business is making buggy whips, sorry, making ICE cars. They are the third fighting fish who watches the other two bloody themselves, biding their time. The Chevy Bolt is proof that they likely do have that luxury.

    They are not going to get truly serious until they have to. BEV’s and PHEV’s make up about 1.5% of they market right now, so they – emphatically – don’t have to get serious yet. When they do, we will see them doing something about high-speed charging networks for their products. In the meantime, they are being crazy like a fox, letting Tesla evolve the technology they will happily steal, sorry, reverse engineer.

    This is what happens when you let market forces and weak EV subsidies solve the fossil fuel transportation problem: it goes too slowly. Which means somewhere far from an American highway, sometime in the next 300 years, more brown people than necessary will die.

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    • Over the course of my life, time and time again, I have watched as industries and leaders were given information privy to an emerging major trend and failed to respond adequately. The issue of sunk physical and intellectual capital have often weighed heavily on these organizations. But the deciding factor has been a failure of leadership. If you want to see where the auto industry is heading, just listen to what their CEOs happen to say. And from my point of view, there appears to be a lot of blindness at the top.

      So it’s not a question of could the automakers actually make a big transition. If they had the imagination and leadership, they could. But waiting to jump at this time will result in a high opportunity cost. The fish, in other words, aren’t really fighting each other. They’re pretending to fight as big autos ICE market gets nibbled away at. 1.5 percent of the market is an order of magnitude larger than it was five years ago. And in another five years that could be easily 5 to 15 percent. Those who wait now will be the small fish.

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  11. Jeremy in Wales

     /  March 18, 2018

    Is geo-engineering acceptable to slow the baked in sea-level rise or will it just be used as an excuse to continue burning fossil fuels?
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-03036-4
    basically barms to stop the ingress of “warm” water melting or artifical islands to anchor ice sheets.
    Seems to me that this suggestion has fewer potential side affects than other ideas.

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    • It seems workable but our solutions need to use as little energy as possible. I’m thinking technologies like the Alaska oil pipeline radiators which use liquid ammonia in an energy free loop to keep the piles cold. What we’re going to need more is a culture – almost a religion – to keep this sort of activity going for 500 years and, unlike a religion, to modify and improve on and learn from our actions as we (hopefully) progress.

      I can imagine people in current hot regions retreating entire cultures and ways of being to canyon systems to get away from the heat. It all seems to point to the worlds population not rising much further…

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    • If we keep burning fossil fuels, all these various attempts ultimately fail. Many will not see the light of day simply due to the high sunk capital costs or long time frames needed to sustain them. That said, these kinds of adaptations become more practical in scenarios where fossil fuel burning is halted and warming is limited to 1.5 to 3 C or less this Century. Would also say that the potential for negative consequences is much less than that from solar radiation management.

      From my point of view, I don’t see much, if anything, in the way of potential moral conflict from pursuing this course. But from a practical standpoint, we should be clear that if you move heat energy away from glaciers in one metric, you’ll ultimately get heat hitting glaciers in another if you keep burning fossil fuels. I’d also caution that claims of ‘buying us a few centuries’ may well be overstated. Nor does it appear that all the various costs realized at present.

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  12. And for another concept from one of the big boys, it may never make production, but certainly thinking outside the square
    https://www.slashgear.com/goodyear-oxygene-concept-tire-is-filled-with-moss-not-air-13523038/
    Goodyear has unveiled a new concept tire called Oxygene that has a very odd structure. The tire has living moss growing in the sidewall of the tire. Goodyear says that the open structure of the tire and its smart tread design absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road and allow photosynthesis to occur and oxygen to be released.
    Goodyear says that the concept tire is part of a “smarter, greener infrastructure” and that this sort of thing is critical to addressing challenges of urban mobility in the future as cities grow ever larger. The moss will take in CO2 from the air and expel oxygen just as all living, green plants do.

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    • The site also covers EV cars, some interesting ones there

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    • So I actually think these kinds of systems will be needed in the future. The fact that this kind of application is manufacturing based and scalable increases its net potential impact. In my view, liveable systems and atmospheric carbon capture integration into existing building and transport platforms is part of the big step 2 that’s needed following the halting of fossil fuel burning.

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    • This mossy concept tire, of course, will never be manufactured. It is a PR prank, a greenwashed marketing ploy, and we should see it more as a kooky paean to environmental propaganda than as any kind of inspiration whatsoever.

      Perhaps one could use these mossy tires (which will never be built) on the seven hundredth VW concept EV (which will never be built) driving on a Solar Roadway (which will never be built).

      These are the feel-good spawn of our Facebook culture – unserious ideas begging for a “Like” shared moment, created with the wasted time, energy, and money of people from the B Ark. Sigh.

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      • entropicman

         /  March 19, 2018

        A green tyre announced on St Patrick’s Day. I think you’ve been suckered.

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      • Yes, it’s a concept tire. But there are a number of engineering breakthroughs and synergies that were developed with this tire that have potential applications going forward.

        I like to encourage this avenue of thinking because the pay-off long term RE sustainability is quite high.

        In any case, yes solar roads are high cost due to materials issues at present. But remember when solar panels cost x100 what they do today. And, no, it’s not a pipe dream that will never be build. There are solar roads today:

        https://qz.com/1166975/a-new-solar-highway-in-china-perfectly-captures-its-clean-energy-ambitions/

        The issue is less that roads can be solar, it’s an issue that it’s getting easier and easier to coat practically anything with solar electricity generating materials. Buildings, windows, sidewalks, car ports, parking lots, grocery stores, roads, you name it.

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        • They have been working on those honeycombed non pneumatic tires for quite a while. They may be the future – I don’t know, but it sure would be nice not to have to worry about getting a flat because of a nail from, say, a logging truck anymore.

          But the idea that growing a few tons more moss inside those tires is going to accomplish any true or meaningful carbon capture is, umm,..how can I be nice here … not realistic. And it trivializes the enormity of the problem of AGW and the gigantic, if not insurmountable, challenges of carbon sequestration. You cheer the incremental progress it represents and I can not do anything but admire that sentiment. Me, I’m too cynical I guess to do much more than kvetch. 🙂

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        • Fair enough. I guess I’m interested in processes that are capable of crawling, walking, and then running. The crawling part is always kvetch worthy in that it’s difficult to imagine running. And the issue of false promises and vapor ware are very real objects. It’s just that I think it’s important to look at potential learning curves of small but mass scalable processes — if that makes any sense.

          If living systems can be integrated into human systems at scale then what at first is a minor amount of atmospheric carbon captured ends up becoming a notable mark on the ledger. There’s a similar issue with regards to use of solar coating for materials. So what I’m cheering is the processes that are capable of being produced and having an impact through scaling.

          In the larger picture, negative carbon integration and atmospheric carbon capture techniques of various kinds will need to scale following a transition away from fossil fuel burning. And we may as well be seeding those processes now. We should be aiming for net human systems carbon reductions and draw downs in the range of 1 billion tons of carbon per year as a start and in total. IMO, multiple concordant methods will bear the best results. But integrating living systems into human systems is one avenue that I believe shows promise.

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  13. kassy

     /  March 19, 2018

    Ban new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, not 2040, says thinktank
    Green Alliance says ending UK sales earlier would close climate target gap and halve oil imports

    Ministers have been urged to bring forward their 2040 ban on new diesel and petrol car sales by a decade, a move which an environmental thinktank said would almost halve oil imports and largely close the gap in the UK’s climate targets.

    The Green Alliance said a more ambitious deadline of 2030 is also needed to avoid the UK squandering its leadership on electric cars.

    More on:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/18/uk-should-bring-2040-petrol-and-diesel-car-ban-forward-2030-green-alliance

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    • Wise countries will aggressively pursue pro-EV policy. This is an emerging industry that will aid in local, regional, and global resiliency one that will represent a massive market going forward.

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  14. kassy

     /  March 19, 2018

    India’s seas are gasping for oxygen – causing marine life to shrink

    In March 2017, an area in the western Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman – equivalent to the size of Mexico – was blanketed with green swirls extending down to India. It was a striking scene, visible from space. The slimy green mass in this outbreak was Noctiluca scintillans, a single-celled dinoflallegate, which “short-circuited” the marine food chain.

    What’s concerning is that only jellyfish, salps, and turtles prefer to eat Noctiluca but larger organisms do not have a taste for these, reducing their food availability. This may harm fisheries affecting 120 million people living on the coasts of the Arabian Sea.

    https://scroll.in/article/871887/indias-seas-are-gasping-for-oxygen-causing-marine-life-to-shrink

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    • Andy_in_SD

       /  March 19, 2018

      Food chains are collapsing. This makes me think of the blob off of the west coast of US/Canada.

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    • The low oxygen dead zones continue to grow concordant with warming, increasingly heavy rainfall events flushing nutrients into the oceans, and nitrogen/nutrient seeding by fossil fuel burning and related industrial farming. The hit to oceans is probably historically harder than past warming events due to the industrialization of nutrient outflows. If we have major ice sheet and related ocean circulation system collapses, the events will become even more widespread and damaging than they are today.

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