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U.S. Electrical Vehicle Sales Hit 24,560 in May as Tesla Dominates

The rampant rate at which fossil fuel based industry is pumping heat trapping gasses into the atmosphere is a serious and growing problem. A problem that is best answered by a transition to clean energy. Anyone telling you something different is lying or selling the energy equivalent of snake oil.

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With atmospheric CO2 equivalents hitting 493 parts per million during 2017 (and likely ramping to 496 ppm this year), the call for a clean energy transition couldn’t be louder. 550 parts per million is enough to warm the Earth by 3 C over one Century time scales. And, over the longer term such high levels of heat trapping gasses would melt most of the land ice on Earth, raise seas by 200 feet, and cause additional warming in the range of up to 6 C.

(Tesla’s record EV production rate for the Model 3 is enabling the all-clean-energy company to dominate U.S. sales.)

With most of the world’s carbon emissions produced by fossil fuel burning in transportation, electricity generation, and industry, transitioning to non-carbon emitting energy sources in these segments is crucial to addressing ramping climate harms. And, thankfully, clean transportation in the U.S. in the form of electrical vehicles is presently making rapid gains.

During May of 2018, according to reports from Inside EVs, 24,560 electrical vehicles sold in the U.S. representing about a 50 percent growth year-on-year over 2017 and setting a new May record for EV sales. This surge in EV sales was led by the Tesla Model 3 which hit 6,250 sold during May. Adding in Model S and Model X, Tesla moved more than 9,200 electrical cars — representing nearly 40 percent of the May market.

Chevy Bolt, on the other hand, eeked out just 1,125 sales even as Chevy Volt sold 1,675. Both behind second place Toyota Prius Prime at 2,924. Chevy has talked a good game RE electrical vehicles — recently marketing the Bolt as a so-called ‘Tesla killer.’ However, Chevy’s sales force has consistently failed to deliver in volumes that are high enough to match the talk. Chevy’s Volt, a plug in electric hybrid with 52 miles of all-electric range, is likely a superior value and overall more attractive vehicle than the Prius Prime (with just 25 miles of electric range). But the new energy Prius frequently outsells the Volt by a large margin.

Other major EVs of note during May include Nissan’s Leaf — which sold 1,576 in the U.S., but is a major seller on the international market. Earlier this year, we thought the Leaf might present the Model 3 with a bit of a challenge in the U.S. But that competition did not emerge as the Model 3 rapidly hit higher and higher sales volumes.

(According to Inside EVs, U.S. plug in sales hit 24,560 during. This is nearly 50 percent growth year on year.)

Another PHEV to watch is the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Pacifica recently secured a 62,000 vehicle order from Waymo. At 620 U.S. sales during May, the Pacifica also had a rather decent showing for a new PHEV. Although we’re pretty confident that it could sell well north of 2,000 if Chrysler decided to get serious.

Overall, the story is presently one of Tesla dominance. And over the coming months Tesla’s lead is likely to only lengthen as it reaches and exceeds 5,000 per month production capability.

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36 Comments

  1. wili

     /  June 4, 2018

    Wildfires Erupt in the Southwest U.S.
    https://weatheroptics.net/wildfires-erupt-in-the-southwest/

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  2. kassy

     /  June 4, 2018

    Better tech might prevail after all. It unintentionally did so before:

    Hopeful news for us from the Horse Manure Crisis of 1894
    In 1880, New York City had over 150,000 horses, a number which would rise in the next few decades. A horse produces 20+ pounds of manure and ~2 pints of urine per day. The manure flooded the market, so that farmers were paid to take it. Piles of manure were 50+ feet high. Dead and rotting horses littered the streets. All this attracted massive numbers of flies which spread typhoid fever and other diseases. Horse-drawn vehicles killed people at far higher rates than today’s vehicles. The first International Urban Planning Conference convened in New York in 1898 to solve this problem. Scheduled for 10 days, they gave up on the third day and went home

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    • It doesn’t surprise me that Fabius Maximus would write about horse manure. A broken clock may be right twice a day, as the case may be. Doesn’t mean I have to support his nonsense with a link from this site.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. kassy

     /  June 4, 2018

    Sorry, keyboard troubles.

    link:

    (link removed by moderator — Fabius Maximus is a promoter of [usually right-wing] misinformation)

    I never thought about the health aspect of horses much and while it was acknowledged at the time the succes of modern transport was due to other factors. Same with renewables. Sure many are adopting them first did so with idealistic motives but soon it will be the better deal in dollars/euros and that really helps.

    Governments could still be a lot more proactive (we only have tax advantages for electric cars driven for work in the netherlands) which is stupid for 2018 then again you can see that as a possible near future easy win.

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  4. Erik Frederiksen

     /  June 4, 2018

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jun/04/the-latest-weak-attacks-on-evs-and-solar-panels

    These people who are attacking renewables in support of 19th century technology have no vision for our future which is not dystopic.

    In search of energy we burned through our forests and our whales. Now we’re hunting the last bits of fossil fuels, burning them up a million times faster than nature replenishes them which is heating the planet dangerously fast.

    The asteroid which killed the dinosaurs initially threw up enough dust to chill the planet enough in a short period of time to kill off a lot of life.

    But it also started a lot of fires and created a pulse of CO2 not unlike what we’ve done.

    Temperatures rose around 5 degrees C and stayed there for 100,000 years because it takes a long time for CO2 to cycle through Earth’s systems.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/24/614105843/asteroid-impact-that-wiped-out-the-dinosaurs-also-caused-abrupt-global-warming

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. Abel Adamski

     /  June 5, 2018

    I understand Nissan has an issues with batteries, they have sold their battery plant and the chemistry and implementation is second rate (No thermal control so batteries die fairly quickly compared with Tesla and their very advanced thermal control), note how many of the EV’s have radiators for battery cooling. It was the inside shots of the E Type that brought it to my attention, there was a radiator connected.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Robert McLachlan

       /  June 5, 2018

      Yes, the 2017 and 2018 (30 & 40 kWh) Leafs have battery degradation issues, and Nissan isn’t talking because they sold the AESC battery manufacturer – my guess is that Nissan and AESC are arguing about it in private. But (surprisingly?) this hasn’t stopped Leafs flying off the shelves in Japan & Europe, about 11,000 in each market in the past couple of months. The 2019 60kWh Leaf will have different, LG Chem, batteries, and battery thermal management.
      https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201803.0122/v1

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 5, 2018

      I think the 60kwh battery coming next year in the Leaf has thermal management, so they are responding, even if they have been surprisingly slow to make the change. They must have a pretty decent database on battery performance by now, so it is all a bit of a mystery to me.

      I have also read of problems with batteries on Leafs (or is it Leaves?), but not so much on the Renault Zoe (some of which do have active management), so it would be interesting to look at the differences (or not), between these stablemates.

      I’m sure I read recently that future Zoe’s and Leaf’s will be built on the same running gear, so maybe that group of companies have realised that they need to focus hard on one platform, if they want to get closer to the front.

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    • Yep. Nissan uses air cooling presently, which is very hard on the battery. It does, however, have good replacement options. In addition, Nissan is one of the only vehicles that fully supports V2G and V2H.

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    • No battery degradation here…

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  6. Mike Keith

     /  June 5, 2018

    This article suggests Tesla’s future, and Musk’s, is a bit rocky: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/04/elon-musk-visionary-space-travel-fell-back-down-to-earth

    And it’s from a newspaper I trust to do good journalism (most of the time).

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 5, 2018

      Much as I generally like the Guardian, comparing Musk to Trump is pushing it a bit, imho.

      Of course, some of Musk’s act is smoke and mirrors and Tesla are under pressure (it was ever thus), but the technical achievements are real, and the disruptive effect on huge industries is real.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      • I think the only rocky thing about Tesla’s meteoric rise has been what amounts to terrible press coverage. Some of it comes from the millions being spent by those like the Kochs on trying to kill the EV all over again. But some of it, like this ad hominem piece from the Guardian is inexplicable.

        To be clear, Tesla Model 3 costs for the long range at scale are 28,000 per vehicle. The costs for the short range, when it does come, will be at least 3,000 less. The car still has more than 400,000 reservations and will hit around 5,000 per week production this month. This is a clean transport achievement without parallel. Seeing Tesla’s treatment in the media, it is no wonder we haven’t had actual climate change solutions gain more traction. There apparently is no good deed that goes unpunished.

        Liked by 1 person

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        • Kiwi Griff

           /  June 5, 2018

          5000 sale per week and Tesla are already the number one player in the small to mid size luxury car segment in the USA. Beating Mercedes, Audi and BWM in their small midsize luxury segment dominance in less than a year is unprecedented.
          Not bad for a start up with only three models on the market.
          Tesla’s only real competition so far is the jaguar I pace still only seen in small numbers in the wild.
          Legacy ICE manufactures have 6 years and 250,000 units on the road worth of experience, a fast charging network and advanced proprietary battery technology to catch up to . By the time the big Germans get going Tesla will be releasing the generation 2 S and X along with having the Y and pickup on the market. That’s one hell of a lead in the biggest market change in the car industry since the model T Ford.

          Liked by 1 person

        • As long as US electricity is mainly generated by fossil fuels these EVs are even worse for the climate.

          Electricity generation:
          fossil fuels (coal, gas, petroleum) 60%
          nuclear 23%
          renewables (hydro, wind, biomass, solar, geothermal) 17%

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        • Kiwi Griff

           /  June 5, 2018

          I much prefer to quote a reliable source based on science Sir Charles .
          https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions#.WxZIyIqxX3g

          Since we first published our State of Charge report in 2012, the environmental benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) have continued to grow. Two-thirds of all Americans now live in areas where driving an EV produces fewer climate emissions than almost all comparable gasoline and gasoline hybrid cars—a fact attributable to more efficient EVs and an increasingly clean electricity grid.

          But what are the global warming emissions of electric cars on a life cycle basis—from the manufacturing of the vehicle’s body and battery to its ultimate disposal and reuse? To answer this, the Union of Concerned Scientists undertook a comprehensive, two-year review of the climate emissions from vehicle production, operation, and disposal. We found that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for.

          I think the important point is an electric car will continue to get cleaner as the grid shifts away from hydro carbons .
          A ICE car will only get dirtier from the day its produced on.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Yet not all scientists agree with that approach, Kiwi Griff.

          => Why electric cars are only as clean as their power supply

          Don’t get me wrong. I’m absolutely pro EVs. But the electricity generation needs a massive renewable boost therefore. Look at the graph I posted. 17% renewable energy for electricity generation are ridiculously low. And the 0.03% at the bottom right (that includes train services!) are nothing but a joke.

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      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 6, 2018

        Musk’s “Pravda” idea, in which the public can rate the truthfulness of the news media, is a good one, I think:

        “Musk followed up by calling journalists sanctimonious twisters of facts beholden to advertisers – and proposed a remedy.

        “Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda.””

        This idea might not work. Russian trolls or right wing trolls or unpaid trolls from ultimately fossil fuel funded interests might be able to sabotage the idea.

        It’s a difficult problem, but Musk’s idea is worth a try, I think. The Guardian article condemning Musk for this idea seems like a bad reaction to this good idea.

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    • This is obviously a hit piece. One of the reasons I said no to writing for the Guardian a few years back. There does appear to be this occasional conflict of interest/click bait that comes from an otherwise good pub.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  June 6, 2018

        Not forgetting the compounding effect of Oil – to produce 1 Gallon of petrol or diesel consumes 6KWh of ELECTRICITY. So add that component onto the Carbon from combustion per mile traveled, plus energy to actually transport that fuel into the tank from the oil well

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  7. Robert McLachlan

     /  June 5, 2018

    Please excuse the self-link: New Zealand’s productivity commission charts course to low-emission future: –
    https://theconversation.com/new-zealands-productivity-commission-charts-course-to-low-emission-future-96281
    In other New Zealand news, consultation on the Zero Carbon Act opens this Thursday.

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  June 5, 2018

      Many thanks for including the link and drawing attention to the report, as a Kiwi I am very pleased to see that N.Z is beginning to accept and progress action on the rapid climate change and the need to account for and curtail carbon emissions.

      NIWA also offering advice to the agricultural section.

      NIWA urges farmers to prepare for climate change

      NIWA is encouraging farmers to plan for climate change so they can maximise their abilities to adapt and thrive as significant change begins to take place.

      Dr Sam Dean, NIWA’s chief scientist of climate, says while farmers are known for their resilience and ability to adapt to changing conditions, climate change will almost certainly go beyond any previous experience.

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1806/S00048/niwa-urges-farmers-to-prepare-for-climate-change.htm

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  8. kassy

     /  June 5, 2018

    Fossil Fuel Stockpiles Could Cause Economic ‘Carbon Bubble’ Worth Trillions Of Dollars

    Economists and policy experts from Cambridge and the Open universities in the United Kingdom, Radboud University in the Netherlands, Macau University, and Cambridge Econometrics ran detailed simulations that showed technological changes in the energy and transport industries would lead to a significant decline in the global demand for fossil fuels in the coming years. This change in the near future would occur even if major nations did not adopt climate-friendly energy policies, leading to a slump in fossil fuel prices and stocks of associated companies.

    “Until now, observers mostly paid attention to the likely effectiveness of climate policies, but not to the ongoing and effectively irreversible technological transition,” Jean-François Mercure, study lead author from Cambridge University’s Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG) and Radboud University, said in a statement Monday.

    Since the International Energy Agency said in a 2016 report that fossil fuel prices were set to rise till at least 2040, a number of long-term investments have been made in the sector. But a sharp drop before 2035, as projected by the researchers’ simulations, would lead to between one and four trillion dollars being wiped off the global economy. If that were to happen, it could lead to a financial meltdown the likes of which the world hasn’t seen (the 2008 financial crisis was triggered by a loss of $250 billion).

    Some big economies — like China, Japan and many countries in the European Union — which currently rely on costly fossil fuel imports, would benefit in the scenario of the prices collapsing. Additionally, if they were to invest in a timely way in low-carbon technologies, they would both boost their gross domestic product as well as create jobs.

    On the other hand, the domestic fossil fuel industries in major carbon exporters with relatively high costs of production — like Canada, Russia and the United States — would completely collapse. The ensuing losses would be worse if their governments failed to invest in renewable energy resources, the researchers said.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/fossil-fuel-stockpiles-could-cause-economic-carbon-bubble-worth-trillions-dollars-2687356

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. kassy

     /  June 5, 2018

    Carbon brief has a cool map of global coal power:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-coal-power-plants

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  10. wharf rat

     /  June 5, 2018

    This technology could fundamentally change our relationship to electricity
    An “operating system” for power could double the efficiency of the grid.
    By David Roberts

    A great deal of the electricity in the United States goes to waste.

    Much is lost in the initial generation of electricity. And much is lost through the use of inefficient devices, like incandescent light bulbs that heat up a filament to produce light.

    But power is also lost in between, on the grid, as it is carried along hundreds of miles of wires, repeatedly shifted between different voltages, and converted from AC to DC and back, all in the split second between the time it enters the grid and the time it powers your computer.

    How much power is lost on the grid?

    The consensus among experts in the field is that most electricity is lost on the two ends, in generation and use, and not that much in between. The Department of Energy estimates that, of 37.7 quads (quadrillion BTUs) of “energy consumed to generate electricity,” 23.24 quads (about 62 percent) is wasted as “conversion losses.” After that, only 0.84 quads (roughly 2.2 percent) is lost or “unaccounted for” in transmission and distribution (T&D).

    Now a research and development lab-cum-start-up out of North Carolina’s research triangle has begun commercializing a technology it says can measure and manage electricity with a level of accuracy and precision far beyond any existing technology, using a cutting-edge application of real-time computing.

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/6/5/17373314/electricity-technology-efficiency-software-waste-3dfs

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  11. Greg

     /  June 6, 2018


    This just out from shareholder meeting. The model 3 is the leader. An important take home is that ICE vehicles are taking a hit in the mid sized luxury segment to an electric which now dominates and will only dominate more going forward.

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  12. wili

     /  June 6, 2018

    “Electric cars can now charge on sunlight day and night with Tesla Powerpacks at new ‘Smart Solar Charging’ station”

    https://electrek.co/2018/06/05/electric-cars-charge-on-sunlight-tesla-powerpacks-smart-solar-charging-station/

    “Tesla has been slowly deploying its solar products and energy storage systems on its own charging network in order to have their fleet drive on solar power, but the same products can also benefit all other electric vehicles.

    With that mindset, a company in the Netherlands just added Tesla Powerpacks to a universal charging station with solar arrays in order to allow local EV owners to drive on sunlight day or night.

    The new charging station is part of the ‘Smart Solar Charging’ project by LomboXnet and several other local partners in Utrecht.

    It is equipped with 20 charging points connected to a 200-panel solar array and a 400kW/800kWh Tesla Powerpack battery system.

    During the day, electric vehicles can charge on sunlight and the excess solar power is stored in Tesla’s battery packs, which is also connected to the grid, if there aren’t enough EVs charging.

    After the sun goes down, the Powerpack can feed the solar power back to the charging station.”

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  13. Andy_in_SD

     /  June 6, 2018

    CAIRO, June 5 (Reuters) – Egypt will begin importing rice, a
    crop it has typically had in surplus, to increase stocks and
    “control the market,” Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on
    Tuesday, months after a campaign to cut local production.

    Egypt slashed cultivation of rice, a water-intensive crop,
    this year to conserve vital Nile river resources as Ethiopia
    prepares to fill the reservoir behind a colossal $4 billion dam
    it is building upstream and which Cairo worries could threaten
    its water stocks.

    https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/update-2-egypt-to-begin-importing-rice-after-slashing-its-own-cultivation

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    • bostonblorp

       /  June 6, 2018

      Similar worries with Turkey building dams that feed Iraq. Water wars are coming.

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  14. Jeremy in Wales

     /  June 6, 2018

    In the UK hybrid and electric sales continue to grow;
    “Sales of hybrid cars soar as diesels plunge by nearly a quarter
    Drivers continue to shun diesel in the face of environmental and tax concerns”
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/05/sales-hybrid-cars-diesels-environment-tax
    Went to a talk in Hay-on-Wye at the Hay Festival with Robert Llewellyn (Kryten in Red Dwarf and You Tube Channel Fully Charged), Jesse Norman, Fiona Howarth, Mike Hawes and Tony Whitehorn, Electric Vehicles: How Low Can We Go?
    https://www.hayfestival.com/p-14161-robert-llewellyn-jesse-norman-fiona-howarth-mike-hawes-and-tony-whitehorn.aspx?skinid=16
    (video behind paywall !!!)
    What did I learn – well battery shortages and heavy subsides (eg Norway where Tesla Model 6 was top seller!) are currently distorting and holding the market back for the moment. That Hyundai are still pressing on with Hydrogen Fuel Cells – car launching in UK this year but where can you get the hydrogen? That the government minister seemed genuinely keen especially over e-cargo bikes (who would have known) and Fiona Howarth is the CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles discussed the grid balancing capabilities of electric cars which they are piloting. Very positive.
    Weather still fine so another beer in the garden.

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  15. bobinspain

     /  June 10, 2018

    AMOC looks like slowing down, Jet Stream’s gone awry. Are we gonners?
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04086-4

    Like

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