Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will do well to take more than 10% of global light duty vehicle market share by mid-century, writes research scientist Schalk Cloete. This is because BEVs with the large battery pack needed for broad consumer acceptance will remain more expensive than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. According to Cloete, this price premium is unlikely to be accepted by the mass market even under optimistic future BEV integration scenarios. He adds that currently emerging data is starting to support this argument.
Electric drive has numerous advantages over the internal combustion engine such as high efficiency over a wide range of power output, regenerative breaking and no tailpipe emissions. These advantages make electric drive very attractive, particularly when it comes to stop/go city driving. This promise combined with rapid cost declines has led to great optimism about the future of BEVs, spearheaded by the great success of Tesla motors.
However, BEVs will always have to deal with a large competitive disadvantage: the battery pack. Even under optimistic assumptions of future technological developments, a sufficiently large battery pack will make a BEV substantially more expensive and heavier than a similar ICE or hybrid vehicle.
Much of the cost saving hype surrounding electric vehicles is based on oil exceeding $100/barrel with some heavy gasoline taxes added on top
Ultimately, pure electric drive should be about 2.5x more efficient than an ICE vehicle. As will be illustrated below, this efficiency advantage does not bring significant savings when accounting for real energy provision costs, whereas a sufficiently large battery pack will continue to put BEVs at a cost disadvantage. For this reason, BEVs do not offer a large scale solution to the global sustainability problems we must (very rapidly) overcome during the 21st century.
BEVs will have to achieve a range exceeding 200 miles as standard before broad consumer acceptance can be achieved. Another less often stated requirement is that this range will have to be maintained after at least 10 years of driving and through all seasons. Modern ICE vehicles can operate smoothly for 20 years without bringing any range anxiety issues with age or temperature.
As a result, future BEVs will have to come equipped with a battery pack of about 80 kWh which will cost a hefty $8000 even assuming optimistic future Li-ion battery pack costs of $100/kWh (figure below). This $8000 is a good proxy of the expected price difference between an ICE vehicle and a BEV which will be accepted by the mass market.
An argument can be made that the BEV drivetrain (motor, simple transmission, inverter, step-down converter and charger) will be cheaper than an ICE drivetrain (engine, transmission, stop & go system and exhaust). According to numbers in this paper, the total 2013 costs of a 70 kW electric drivetrain is about €2640 while a gasoline drivetrain will cost about €2950. However, the electric drivetrain costs could decline to €1600 with future technological advances. The potential future BEV could therefore enjoy roughly $1500 price advantage over an ICE vehicle due to the simple drivetrain. For most people, however, this advantage will be cancelled out by the fully installed costs of a home charging station, so we will consider the $8000 cost difference in this article.
Just imagine the queues during rush hour at filling stations taking 6x longer to give cars a 3x shorter range than conventional filling stations
A high-BEV future will also feature a large number of additional chargers to further reduce range anxiety and enable longer travels. Many parking spots will include public 10 kW level 2 chargers (giving about 30 miles of range per hour) for about $5000/charger. Highways will also require regular 100 kW level 3 chargers (giving about 300 miles per hour) for about $60000/charger. (Costs from this link.) Let’s say that we need 1 public level 2 charger for every 5 BEVs and 1 level 3 charger for every 100 BEVs. This will add another $1600 per vehicle (without charging station maintenance costs).
On the positive side, conventional wisdom states that a BEV should have lower fuel costs than an ICE vehicle because it is so much more efficient. However, ICE vehicles still have a lot of headroom for efficiency improvement and are projected to exceed 50 miles per gallon by 2025 (see below). Further improvements yield steadily diminishing returns (as will be shown in the calculations below).
In addition, much of the cost saving hype surrounding electric vehicles is based on oil exceeding $100/barrel with some heavy gasoline taxes added on top. When looking at real energy production and distribution costs (which must be done when considering the disruptive potential of a technology), gasoline is actually surprisingly cheap. As discussed in this article, the actual production cost of oil is about $35/barrel and we can still extract substantially more oil than the human race has extracted to date below this price point. When assuming a rather high value of $1/gallon for refinement and distribution costs, the actual production and distribution cost of gasoline amounts to only $1.83/gallon. Electricity, on the other hand, costs about $0.13/kWh (US residential electricity prices – tax free), about half of which is transmission and distribution costs. When accounting for 10% charging losses, this amounts to $4.83/e-gallon.
It therefore becomes clear that, when accounting for total direct costs carried by the overall economy, BEVs need to be about 2.6 times more efficient than ICEs to break even – almost exactly the projected situation in 2025 (figure above).
Wireless charging roads and parking spaces sound very cool, but also rather expensive
Real fuel cost savings from the BEV of the future are therefore negligible, but the up-front cost difference will remain. In other costs of ownership, lower maintenance costs are cancelled out by higher insurance costs. Furthermore, BEVs may well depreciate significantly faster than ICE vehicles because the battery pack will degrade faster over time than the ICE drivetrain.
The figure below shows the ownership costs (insurance and maintenance excluded) of future ICE, hybrid and BEV technologies (with fuel efficiencies as projected for 2025 in the figure above). Costs assumed were $25000 for the ICE, $27000 for the hybrid and $33000 for the BEV. Capital costs were calculated over a 5 year ownership period (with a 5% discount rate) during which the car depreciates by the percentage indicated in the graph (60-80%). Fuel costs were calculated for 15000 miles driving per year.
The graph shows that the yearly ownership costs of a BEV acceptable for the mass market (>200 mile range in all seasons even after 10 years) would cost $1140/year more than an equivalent ICE vehicle under similar depreciation assumptions and as much as $2660/year more if it depreciates faster. The law of diminishing returns with regard to fuel efficiency is also clearly illustrated by the small contribution of fuel costs relative to capital costs.
This price premium should be acceptable to a significant percentage of consumers in developed nations, but this will not be the case in the developing world which will increasingly dominate the global car market over coming years. For example, even after decades of incredible growth, average Chinese wages are still under $10000/year, making a $1000-3000/year price premium unacceptable. It is not surprizing that the most popular car in China starts at $7000 – a price that will be doubled by a battery pack large enough for broad consumer acceptance.
In case the self-driving car ideal becomes a reality, ICE vehicles are likely to benefit more than BEVs
Lastly, a carbon price will also not have a sustained positive impact on BEV sales. The largest current and future car markets (US, China, India) have electricity mixes where a carbon price will make EV charging more expensive than ICE refuelling, especially if ICE efficiency moves towards 50 MPG. See the map below. It is true that the carbon intensity of electricity will gradually reduce in the future, but this will increase the electricity price faster than the inevitable steady increase in the real extraction cost of oil. The possibility of carbon-neutral synfuels for ICEs should also be kept in mind for the long-term future.
Justifying a BEV price premium
For BEVs to disrupt ICE vehicles, people will have to be willing to pay this substantial price premium. Tesla has shown what can be achieved with electric drive in terms of performance and driving experience and this is something that customers may be willing to pay extra for. Wireless charging also offers a potential BEV future where you never need to think about refuelling or charging (e.g. wireless charging roads).
However, even though the EV driving experience may fetch a price premium, it is doubtful that this will count for much outside of the small luxury/performance vehicle segment. Wireless charging roads and parking spaces sound very cool, but also rather expensive and, if you think about it, it does not offer such a meaningful improvement over two visits to the filling station every month.
In the absence of a very fast and convenient charging solution at almost no additional cost, ICE vehicles will maintain a price premium over BEVs. Even Tesla’s supercharging stations will need to become much faster before they can offer a real solution to this challenge. Just imagine the queues during rush hour at filling stations taking 6x longer to give cars a 3x shorter range than conventional filling stations. Yes, home/public charging can substantially reduce this burden, but this adds the costs of home and public level 2 charging stations to the costs of a vast supercharger network.
BEVs may also be able to fetch lower fuel prices by charging only during off-peak hours, but, as shown in the above graph, even a substantial reduction in fuel costs for BEVs will not really alter this situation. In addition, a baseload-dominated power system is the only really practical way in which this can be implemented. Smart charging with politically popular, but variable solar/wind will most likely be impractically complex and expensive.
Even though this article paints a bleak picture for the future of BEVs, I’m actually fairly optimistic about this technology. I just think that the greatest potential for disruption comes not from cars, but from smaller vehicles
Lastly, in case the self-driving car ideal becomes a reality, ICE vehicles are likely to benefit more than BEVs. As discussed above, actual fuel costs are similar between BEVs and ICEs, thus offering no increasing value with increased use. In fact, much more free-flowing traffic resulting from a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles will significantly boost the efficiency and longevity of ICEs relative to BEVs. Smooth traffic flow combined with an optimized computerized driving style may well allow ICEs to exceed highway economy in town and rack up half a million miles before being scrapped. Furthermore, ICE vehicles will be able to refuel much faster, thus giving them more time on the road and lower refuelling infrastructure costs.
Evidence to date
The US probably offers the best example of the attractiveness of BEVs in the real world. Gasoline is not taxed at such high levels as most other developed nations and electricity is not taxed, thus providing a fairly good fuel cost comparison. The federal and state incentive programs also combine to cut more than the aforementioned $8000 price disadvantage from the cost of new BEVs (most sales are in states with additional incentives such as California). BEV sales as a percentage of the total are given below (data available here). The black line is a 12 month moving average.
As shown above, even though sales are increasing, the current market penetration is low, even with generous incentives. It should also be noted that only about half of BEV sales come from models in a price range targeting the mass market. The other half are up-market offerings from Tesla and BMW which cannot cause significant disruption in the overall auto industry.
The data therefore shows that, when incentives eventually fall away, sub-100 mile BEVs will have to drop $10000 in cost to achieve a fraction of a percentage point of market share. In addition, they will have to contend with much more efficient ICEs finally entering the notoriously inefficient US vehicle fleet. Higher-priced BEVs with a longer range might be able to secure larger market share, but it is difficult to see market penetration exceeding 10% in the affluent US market – let alone the developing world where per-capita GDP is an order of magnitude lower.
Disruption of a different kind
Even though this article paints a bleak picture for the future of BEVs, I’m actually fairly optimistic about this technology. I just think that the greatest potential for disruption comes not from cars, but from smaller vehicles where the advantages of battery electric drive over the internal combustion engine really come to the fore. These vehicles are fully compatible with a future where the global middle-class quadruples in size while environmental and space constraints force society to do away with blatant inefficiencies like short-distance-single-person-in-car travel. More about this line of thought in part 2 of this article, which will follow soon.
This article is a slightly modified version from the original version published earlier on The Energy Collective. Modifications include:
- Assuming future fully installed battery pack costs of $100/kWh instead of $125/kWh.
- Discussion about consumer price sensitivity in developed vs. developing nations.
- Mentioning of carbon-neutral synfuels in a low-carbon future based on ICEs.
- More discussion on the advantages of ICEs in smooth autonomous vehicle flow.
Schallk Cloete describes himself as “a research scientist searching for the objective reality about the longer-term sustainability of industrialized human civilization on planet Earth. Issues surrounding energy and climate are of central importance in this sustainability picture and I seek to contribute a consistently pragmatic viewpoint to the ongoing debate. My formal research focus is on second generation CO2 capture processes because these systems will be ideally suited to the likely future scenario of a much belated scramble for deep and rapid decarbonization of the global energy system.”
Mike Fletcher says
I’m not sure about some numbers here. My experience with a Ford C-max Energi
– 100 km on gas costs C$ 6.20 with gas at $1 per litre vs. C$ 2.40 on electricity (I live in Ottawa, Canada)
– My home level 2 charger cost C$2,000 installed, without subsidy including a new breaker in my panel.
Also, I don’t agree that $8,000 for a battery pack equates to an $8,000 differential for an electric car. The battery, displaces the engine, tranny, fuel system and battery in an ICE vehicle – lots of stuff.
Finally, I question the requirements of the number of chargers. As EV’s get to have more range, I believe that a larger percentage of the fueling will happen at home, as the instances where people run low on charge away from home will decrease. Also, level 2 chargers are more a source of “jump charge” for EV’s with small batteries – I think we’ll see its less critical as batteries get bigger.
Schalk Cloete says
So, your C-max consumes 6.2 l per 100 km (38 MPG)? That is pretty poor for a hybrid. The new Prius gets north of 55 MPG. What is the electricity price used in the C$2.40 per 100 km calculation?
I don’t know much about Canadian energy pricing, but I guess gasoline is also taxed more than electricity. The actual cost of gasoline is about $1.83/gal with most of the remainder being taxes. These taxes are important for things like maintaining road infrastructure, limiting congestion and incentivising efficiency. If EVs become much more common, some mechanism will have to be found to levy these taxes on EVs as well.
Anyway, my calculations used tax-free gasoline and electricity prices. It was also carried out for a future scenario when battery pack costs might be only $100/kWh. By that time, average ICE efficiency will be about 52 MPG (EIA projections in the article). If you had such a car, your cost per 100 km would reduce to C$4.50, probably about C$1.50 of which is paid to the government to maintain the roads you drive on (and other uses).
Your home charging station cost is in line with the costs I mention ($1500). I agree that the electric power train should be cheaper than an ICE power train, hence the paragraph about this cost advantage (about $1500 for 70 kW power) being cancelled out by the cost of a home charging station and many other public charging stations.
The question of the number of public charging stations needed is an interesting one to which any reliable answers exist at the moment. However, I think my estimate of 1 public charger for every 5 BEVs and 1 supercharger for every 100 is at least reasonable. What would you say are reasonable estimates?
Mike Fletcher says
I’m using C$ 0.12 for electricity (my overnight and weekend rate). I’m considering non – winter driving. Gas and electric efficiency is way worse in a cold snap. The highway mileage is poor for a hybrid; six months after I got the car Ford sent me a cheque for $1,000 to compensate for the difference between what they promised and what the car actually does while on gas. City driving panned out as advertised, but again highway not at all.
As for the number of charging stations, I agree this is a tough question. With regards to level 2 chargers I think a charger for every 5 EV’s or PHEV’s is reasonable where EV’s congregate (such as workplaces) and when people install infrastructure. But these are two conditions that typically don’t apply.
Quebec is the most developed EV market in Canada with about 8,000 cars (and a few school busses). There are roughly 700 level 2 chargers and 32 DC fast. The organization installing most chargers (part of the provincial electric utility) has some valuable knowledge:
– they are not seeing great financial returns with level 2 chargers as the value proposition of such a charger is not much greater that what someone can do at their home (provided home includes access to power for a car). Their thinking is evolving and even inner City chargers (intended for condo owners with minimal charging at home) are better as DC fast.
– At 1 DC for every 250 EV’s only one location is currently suffering from periodic line ups. It’s notable that some of the first DC fast chargers were put in remote areas the get rid of range anxiety and as such have very low utilization. The utility estimates that when a DC fast charger hits 15 percent utilization (based on every hour of every day), periodic waits for use are starting to be an issue.
If we keep in mind that the best deal anyone can get on electricity is at home, it becomes clear that the degree to which EV’s will be powered by public chargers will be small. Especially as range increases, level 2 chargers will be increasingly used as loss leaders at retail, a green attribute on LEED buildings and perks for employees and public transit riders. DC fast will be critical as intercity energy sources to make EV’s feasible as something other than a town car. But again as EV range improves, they’ll provide a smaller proportion of the EV fleet’s total power, meaning that might not need so many of them. Also, I occasionally see discussion of faster DC charging (150 kW +). If the vehicles top up faster, then we’ll need fewer chargers.
All of these items suggest to me that you should have you give your charger requirements a 50 percent haircut. Also, you should give the EV fleet a credit for reducing the amount of petroleum infrastructure required. Filling stations and everything upstream. Maybe one day the US sixth fleet in the Persian Gulf?
Schalk Cloete says
It seems like you have some good knowledge on the subject, so I agree with the 50% haircut. This brings public charging infrastructure capital costs down to $800/car.
About the displacement of petroleum infrastructure, I’m not so sure though. It strikes me that the net effect might be more of a capacity under-utilization penalty (like wind/solar with thermal plants).
Mike Fletcher says
I hear you on displacement of petroleum infrastructure. Certainly true now, but at some point this will start to have tangible impacts. My first candidates will be filling stations in cities where EV penetration is high and land is valuable. I wonder if Oslo has any experiences yet?
Schalk Cloete says
Good point about the closure of filling stations on valuable land. I quickly checked Norwegian news if there is anything about a filling station being closed because of EVs, but I could not yet find anything. Only about 3% of the current Norwegian vehicle fleet is electric at this time, but this is increasing at about 1% per year, so we should learn more about these kinds of effects soon.
Mike Fletcher says
Here’s a little more info. This first link from Hydro Quebec, underscores that Level 2 charging is less heavily used than DC Fast. Schalk, I agree with the rough haircut that you gave the required charging infrastructure, but this data may me something to watch. My gut tells me that that the public level two infrastructure might eventually deserve a further haircut, but we’ll see. http://news.hydroquebec.com/en/press-releases/989/the-electric-circuit-an-essential-part-of-the-shift-to-electric-transportation/
The other article of note states that Quebec will start mandating 240V outlet in garages of new homes (I have also heard of Paulo Alto CA doing this). This will lower the marginal cost of putting in a home level 2 charger to ~ C$1000 http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2016/04/20/prises-electriques-obligatoires
Jenny Sommer says
The important metric in comparing cars is €/km (€$£¢₱¥/km or mile) over holding time.
Range does matter but will be weighted against cost just like acceptable battery degradation in used cars.
Average cost in Europe is 46€ct/km.
A Tesla Model III would run under 19€ct compared to a 25k ICE after 15yrs/200.000km. Depreciation to 2k€ for both (though the ICE would be essentially worthless then).
Phasing out of ICE cars will be policy driven on top of that.
New ICE cars will also fail emission standards much faster than they have. As the technology involved in curbing emissions gets more complicated the engines get more expensive and failure prone. We see a lot of cars today with under 200k km that are not worth repairs.
EVs eliminate that uncertainty.
The low price segment around 10k€ might has to do with 60-120km of range till the mid 2020ties but will enjoy lower lifetime cost also.
I also challenge your assumption on autonomous vehicles. Fuel cost is the most expensive part of taxi driving just after the driver.
We will have to see how reliable EVs will be. My guess – very reliable in comparison to ICE cars. The benchmark are Priuses running over 1.000.000 km in Taxi duty without major repair cost.
The 4l/100km Audi is a fun story but I rather prefere more realistic data (from Spritmonitor.de)
Average 2010-2016 Audi consumption by fuel/100km
Autogas (LPG) 9,98(kg)
And that data is from “aware” drivers not the average Autobahn pundit. Real fuel consumption and cost is higher.
Another point. Don’t expect the highest efficiency engines in lower market segments. Again real world data.
Dacia 2014-2016 averages over 8l/100km.
Cost of ownership will go up with higher emission standards.
The cost of a used EV will be determined by the market. A used EV might sell for more than a used ICE but will be cheaper in the long run even for the used car buyer.
20 year old ICE cars? The cheapest cars in lifetime cost for my driving have been cars around 8years old, ~140k km, repairs done tax-free. Those are usually dead beyond repair before 250k km.
The exception was a Toyota Avensis Verso that did over 400.000km…13l/100km though. 0.39€/km.
That’s 156.000€ over 10years complete cost of ownership (The car was in the family from new to finish).
My point is that you can’t just compare car prices, you have to asses the user case to get the complete cost.
I don’t know if you have owned cars before or if you have done a complete cost analysis but that would be a point to start.
Schalk Cloete says
The calculation is done based on a future scenario where battery pack costs are $100/kWh and new ICE efficiency is over 50 MPG (EIA estimates). I appreciate that the average real-world performance of ICEs today is around 30 MPG, but the average battery cost is around $350/kWh. Also note that I used tax-free energy costs. This will have an especially large impact on calculations done for Europe where gasoline taxes are very high.
About car age, the average car in Europe is aging even faster than the average European (http://www.acea.be/statistics/tag/category/average-vehicle-age). If vehicles were getting increasingly unreliable as you seem to suggest, this is a rather strange trend.
I don’t really get the reference to the Prius. I don’t know of any Priuses without internal combustion engines. The good longevity of the Prius just shows how many miles you can get out of an internal combustion engine operated more uniformly (as should be the case in fully autonomous vehicle flow).
Jenny Sommer says
Growing average age does not necessarily correlate with more reliable cars, rather higher maintainance cost over the cars lifetime. You would also need to look at the average use. Do people drive more or are older cars just bought by people that don’t drive much and would have bought a new car back the for any given reason. My grandmother bought a new car but drove 3km a day only.
We need to look if a 2016 car is cheaper per km over it’s lifetime compared to a 2000 car.
The Prius is a very reliable car and therefore very cheap per km over lifetime. The 1.000.000km are the benchmark for the cars life and I believe will be easily beaten by EVs.
You can deduct tax from fuel prices but that doesn’t make any sense for the consumer. I pay taxes. If the taxes are lower somewhere you could just compare those on a separate sheet.
The 1.000.000km Prius would cost 56650€ in gas (1.10€/l and real world average 5.15l/100km).
That’s even above 50mpg but I really doubt that will be archiveable in a pure ICE, both reliability and mpg.
That’s gas only. No oil, no brakes (lasting much shorter in pure ICE without recuperation), no belts, seals, car batteries or any other maintainance only associated with IC engines.
Would you buy a car above 300.000km? I would only if it was an EV, we had some more stats about reliability excluding the batteries but you would know that these could be changed and you would know in advance what you would have to pay.
Other than that you would know what range the used batteries are able to provide.
In the end I simply want to know which car is cheaper per km now, including taxes.
At which point does the EV pay? Aftet 200k km, 500k km or never?
If I buy that 40.000€ Tesla and charge 1.000.000km for free Toyota would need to pay me 10.000€ or more for driving their Prius to match that lifetime cost of am I mistaken here?
Schalk Cloete says
As far as I can see, (rapidly) growing European vehicle age simply shows that it is much cheaper to keep old cars for longer than to buy a new ones. Everyone likes a new car, so if costs were comparable, we’d see many more new cars, drawing down the average car age.
If EVs displace ICEs at scale all those fuel taxes will have to come from somewhere to maintain the roads, limit congestion, etc. As discussed in other comments, EVs will therefore also need to be taxed as they scale up. When considering the disruptive potential of BEVs, it is therefore important to work with pure energy costs (taxes excluded). Also, totally free charging for EVs is not a viable solution at scale, so assuming 1000000 km of free fuel for a Tesla is not relevant when considering the disruptive potential of EVs.
I don’t know if you have seen Part 2 of this article (https://energypost.eu/can-battery-electrics-disrupt-internal-combustion-engine-part-2-kind/). As discussed there, I see potential for small EVs (not highway-worthy) to displace a lot of ICEs for city use. These low speed vehicles will hopefully drive more and more ICEs out of the city onto the highways where they are naturally much more efficient (both in terms of fuel consumption and longevity). This will make Prius-like efficiency and longevity achievable for standard ICE cars.
Jenny Sommer says
There are other proven concepts of raising tax revenue for road maintenance. Road tolls and km tax. Those apply to alle vehicles again. They have the added benefit of moving heavy vehicles from road to rail making road maintainance even cheaper.
Building back roads and lanes helps also with cost.
I can’t see a scenario where new taxes will only apply to EVs/NEVs to protect ICE cars.
Now if we account for tax free electricity in your system that doesn’t change anything. There is more money to be made from business opportunities at charging spots than on selling electricity anyways. I doubt that there will be relevant cost associated with charging your EV.
Your last assumption also includes another serious caveat for future ICE car owners. They won’t be allowed to drive into most cities and probably some other regions.
The Prius like consumption on highway driving alone is not enough. Longitivity will lock you into the costly fuel habbit. You won’t be able to recoup the value of the car by selling it on because people won’t buy ICE any more.
Like you say people like new cars. How do you imagine them buying 3-4l cars when they can own an EV with much better performance?
Especially in autonomous fleet driving the EV will beat the comparable ICE in TCO anytime.
I also doubt that pure ICE drivetrains can archive the longitivity of a pure electric drivetrain. The middle, a plugin Hybrid (ICE-EV bastard), will also be weighted down by the extra cost of fuel, the ICE power train and ICE associated maintainance cost.
If they really have to pay you 10.000$ for driving that Prius, fuel prices would have to be raised to compensate Toyota for their loss. But then again they would have to pay you even more to drive that Prius…
I haven’t found the time yet to read the second part but it is open in some of these uncountable tabs on my phone…
Aloysius Fekete says
“future BEVs will have to come equipped with a battery pack of about 80 kWh” Why? Nissan Leaf does over 100 miles with 24 kWh and the Model S does 255 miles with 70 kWh. These are real cars on the market today. Seems to me 50 kWh is a more appropriate number for a light-duty car to achieve a 200-mile range.
Regarding home charger costs, again you assume the most high-end scenario. If you want fast charging that will cost you a premium, but for overnight charging a standard high power plug is sufficient and that does not cost $1500.
This article goes a long way around to arrive at a questionable result. I did a much simpler calculation a while back:
Average miles driven per year in U.S. – 13,476.00
Average fuel economy mi/gal – 30.00
Gasoline price USD/gal – 2.00
Annual fuel cost – 898.40
EV based on Leaf
EV range miles – 100.00
Battery capacity kWh – 24.00
EV fuel economy mi/kWh – 4.17
Annual energy requirement kWh – 3,234.24
Electricity price USD/kWh – 0.13
Annual electricity cost – 420.45
A car is on average owned for 7 years so the overall fuel savings will be over $3000. This fuel savings isn’t enough to absorb the purchase premium, but I don’t think it’s far off. That’s assuming that gas stays a $2 which it’s unlikely to do, so there is a futureproofing element to EV ownership. I think this is the kind of kitchen table calculation a typical car owner will do.
BNEF have projected EV cost parity within 10 years: http://about.bnef.com/content/uploads/sites/4/2016/04/BNEF-Summit-Keynote-2016.pdf
Schalk Cloete says
As I state in the article, my estimate is at least 200 miles range after 10 years and in all seasons. Battery capacity reduces over time and can reduce a lot during winter. Supercharging is also often only done to around 80% capacity. I therefore estimate that, for BEVs to approach the level of freedom given by an ICE car, a Tesla-size battery pack will be required.
Charging a 80 kWh battery pack at home will definitely require a level 2 charger. I agree that fully installed costs of such chargers might be below $1500, but not much.
As stated in my comment above, this article is for a future scenario where both battery technology and ICE efficiency have improved substantially. ICE efficiency of 52 MPG (EIA estimates) is therefore assumed.
The official Leaf fuel economy is 114 MPG (297 Wh/mile). Adding 10% charging losses, you will be able to go 3.06 miles per kWh charged to your utility bill, not 4.17 as you assume.
About the future oil price, I see several reasons why it should hover closer to current normal levels for the foreseeable future. Increasing sales of electric vehicles is one of these reasons (note that I don’t say EVs will not grow, I just think that they will not totally revolutionize/disrupt the car industry as many people think). Other more important reasons for lower oil prices are changing car usage habits, tightening fuel efficiency standards and fracking technology.
It is also important to look at the real world data. Only about 0.2% of mass market car buyers (Tesla excluded) are currently swayed by the kitchen table calculation you presented despite ~$10000 of incentives.
I have been looking for a full report of the BNEF report for some time to get some more info about the details behind their graphs. Even so, they also don’t really predict a BEV disruption (about 30% by mid century with a flattening trend). Their low oil price scenario (one which I think is more likely especially if EVs reduce oil demand as in their projections) only estimates about 20% BEVs. My 10% estimate is therefore not so far from theirs as far as multi-decade estimates go.
Mike Parr says
The author makes some good rationale arguments against EV takeoff.
Some observations: the best selling luxury car in the USA – Tesla, the best selling BMW series 3 equivalent – looks to be Tesla. This is where rationale argument runs up against marketing – & loses every time (think of 4x4s – zero reason to purchase them -plenty do – mostly for spurious marketing reasons – ditto EVs). Also: in Europe cities have a specific pollution problem so I see EVs playing a role there. If the author wants a knock-out argument he need only cite – power to gas.
Schalk Cloete says
I think BEVs will do very well at the high end where the EV driving experience is highly valued and battery costs are a rather small fraction of the total car price. The closer you get to mass market, the harder it will become for BEVs since the battery pack will be a substantial fraction of the total cost and people will value practicality over driving pleasure (especially in the rapidly growing developing world market where the median car price is about half that of the developed world). We’ll have to wait and see how the Model 3 performs, but I doubt that it will dominate low end luxury like the Model S dominates high end luxury, especially after incentives expire.
I agree with power-to-gas potential in the long term. Carbon neutral synfuels are mentioned in the article.
Mike Parr says
“I agree with power-to-gas potential in the long term” I think that is where we would have to disagree – since my work suggests a “right now” potential – not “long term” – these comments being applied to Europe and possibly Japan. I cann’t comment about the USA in that respect..
Schalk Cloete says
I’m interested to hear more about this. Do you have some credible economic analyses suggesting that power-to-gas is a near-term possibility? If so, please provide me with some links.
Mike Parr says
I have lots and lots of detail, spreadsheets, etc etc – all generated by myself and my business partners. I & my business partners are very very interested in doing business. If you want to do business i.e. projects – very happy to talk. We can bring, funding, tech, etc etc. You know how to contact me.
I feel like this article operates with fantasy numbers, namely the official fuel efficieny of ICE cars (which are an utter joke and have nothing to do with real world values), pessimistic guesses for the longevity and performance of EV car batteries (which so far have outperformed previous negative guesstimates), no residual value for battery packs (which can be used in stationary storage applications after their EV life), no consideration of the the higher ICE maintenance cost and the far greater life of the EV drivetrain, no consideration of the totally new car architecture in EV cars that are designed from the ground up with the inherent safety benefits, no consideration of the health cost associated with the exhaust fumes, especially diesel that won’t be tolerated much longer and that will add further costs for fume treatments to ICE cars beyond the cost to improve MpG, no consideration of the convenience of EV charging at home, no consideration of further charging improvement which current goals eyeing 300 kW until 2020, no consideration of the ever falling electricity prices from your own PV on your own roof and finally with the current exceptionally low oil and gas prices.
I agree, if you do all that ICE cars seem to stand a chance. In the real world, noone outside maybe the the poorest in the developing countries will still buy an ICE after 2030.
Schalk Cloete says
“In the real world, noone outside maybe the the poorest in the developing countries will still buy an ICE after 2030.”
Wow, impressive statement. Hopefully then you have done the smart thing and put your entire life savings in Tesla stock 🙂
True, US official MPG figures are often inaccurate and real world performance is better: http://www.autoblog.com/2015/06/17/aaa-study-real-world-fuel-economy/. Personally, I normally achieve even European fuel efficiency numbers in the real world. The Audi A3 I normally rent generally costs me less than 4 l per 100 km (59 MPG).
There is plenty of evidence for fast depreciation of EVs. E.g.: http://www.autoremarketing.com/trends/rapid-ev-depreciation-poses-dilemma-for-industry-dealers.
Like solar PV, soft costs will also be an important factor in stationary batteries which will really have to become dirt cheap to become economically viable (see my prior analysis here: http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/421716/seeking-consensus-internalized-costs-energy-storage-batteries). Soft costs related to getting used batteries out of the car and installing them correctly in some stationary storage application (where they will last significantly shorter than new batteries) will probably not make financial sense.
The article states that lower maintenance costs are cancelled out by higher insurance costs. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/car-insurance-quotes-electric-cars/
Tesla scores high on safety, but it is hard to see a consistent difference in safety ratings of budget EVs and ICEs.
Local emissions is a valid point (depending on where EV electricity comes from). IMF estimates (https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2015/wp15105.pdf) value oil external costs from local air pollution at about 20c/gallon. This includes lots of old cars on the road today. New cars are far below this level and will be lower still in the long-term view of this article.
Charging vs refuelling convenience is discussed in the article.
300 kW. Not bad. A simple gasoline fuel pump dispenses fuel at about 20 MW.
About distributed generation, please see my analyses here: http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/512691/what-potential-distributed-generation & http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/1827511/what-potential-distributed-generation-storage-and-demand-response
Please see my response to Aloysius above for my views on the oil price.
Mike Fletcher says
The comment that battery performance declines in winter is not true. Li ion is fine with the cold, the issues are increased load with air density, cabin heating and rolling resistance of snow and winter tires. These items, with the exception of cabin heating impact ICE performance as well, it’s just that with their longer range, these issues are noticed less. Also, poorer winter mileage gets blamed on winter gas (not sure if this is true).
“Winter performance” and “degradation” are heavily carried over from lead acid batteries
Schalk Cloete says
Correct, sorry for the statement that battery capacity declines during winter. I meant that range reduces, requiring larger batteries to achieve the 200 mile target. Here is a nice infographic about the performance of EVs and ICEs during winter: http://www.fleetcarma.com/cold-weather-fuel-efficiency/. It shows that ICE range reduction is about 60% that of EVs. Here in Norway, average EV range reductions in winter are substantially more (42%): http://www.tu.no/artikler/derfor-far-elbilen-kortere-rekkevidde-om-vinteren/276419
JJ McCoy says
Greetings. Your cost per eGallon is quite far off. As calculated by the Dept. of Energy, the eGallon cost is half the gas cost national average, even with our current low gas prices. http://energy.gov/maps/egallon There’s no reasonable way you got $4.83 with $0.13 / kWh.
Fuel cost savings help push the total cost of ownership toward parity, but you’ve got it exactly backward here.
Schalk Cloete says
Greetings. The eGallon is the equivalent price of fuel if an EV had the same efficiency as a typical American car (probably around 30 MPG) to make it easier for the average car user to understand.
My calculation is very simple: 0.13($/kWh)*33.21(kWh/gallon)/0.9(charging efficiency) = $4.83/gal.
Electricity is much more expensive per unit energy than gasoline, but EVs are much more efficient than ICEs. These two factors cancel each other out.
JJ McCoy says
Your method is fundamentally misapplied. You’re equating the energy content of gas and electricity without giving EVs one bit of credit for their much greater efficiency.
It takes 1 gallon to take a typical ICE car 25 or 30 miles. The equivalent energy (including charging losses) can take a Nissan Leaf 114 miles. The EPA method is a “wall to wheels” method that captures all round trip efficiency losses into and out of the battery. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34918
Said another way, it would cost a 25 mpg gas car about $1000 to gas up for 12,000 annual miles at $2.08 / gallon.
It would cost a Nissan Leaf $468 to do those same miles at $0.13 / kWh.
Any method that doesn’t show around $500 / year in fueling savings on ICE vs. EV is fundamentally wrong.
Schalk Cloete says
JJ, as specified in the article, the calculations are for a future scenario when batteries cost only $100/kWh (optimistic scenario in the Nature Climate Change paper cited) and ICEs achieve 52 MPG (EIA projections). I use the tax-free gasoline cost of $1.83 since US electricity is tax-free. If EVs become more commonplace, methods will need to be found to levy taxes on them as well in order to pay for road maintenance, limit congestion, etc.
12,000 annual miles under these assumptions cost: 12000(miles)/52(miles/gal)*1.83($/gal) = $422.3.
A future BEV achieving 130 MPGe (again EIA projections) would cost the following if we assume $0.13/kWh and 10% charging losses giving $4.83/gal as calculated above and in the article:
12000(miles)/130(miles/gal)*4.83($/gal) = $445.8.
Thus the fuel costs are essentially the same. Of course if you assume 30 MPG (due to Americans’ love for large trucks with large engines) ICEs cost more to fuel. The rest of the world is quite different though and CAFE standards are now also pushing the US in the right direction, hence the EIA projections.
Mike Fletcher says
One comment about the cost of batteries. If they remain expensive then it seems to me that an EV at end of life has a substantially higher value than an ICE
Schalk Cloete says
It depends on whether anyone would want to buy expensive, reduced-capacity batteries. But even so, if batteries do not come down in cost as the optimists assume, we don’t really need to have this conversation since the up-front cost of EVs with sufficiently large batteries will simply be too high.
Mike Fletcher says
Reduced capacity end of vehicle batteries could have a use in stationary electricity storage. Even is they could fetch $50 per kWh that’s $4000 at end of life – worth more way more than most cars at end of life where I live.
Schalk Cloete says
I’m a bit worried about the soft costs related to getting old batteries out of a car, repackaging and fully installing them for some stationary storage application (especially small scale distributed storage). As rooftop solar PV has shown, soft costs are quite important. Batteries really have to be dirt cheap to make sense for stationary storage and such increased soft costs on a battery with an already reduced lifetime will likely not make sense relative to a new specialized stationary storage battery with a longer lifetime. I did a prior analysis on this here: http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/421716/seeking-consensus-internalized-costs-energy-storage-batteries.
Used batteries could have some recycle value, but this depends whether raw materials can be more economically extracted from old batteries than mined. Otherwise, there may well be some added costs related to safe disposal at end of life.
James Rust says
Gas taxes are used for road maintenance and road construction. BEVs don’t us gas; so they pay no gas taxes. Gas taxes average over $0.50 a gallon and this money is essential and fair for road maintenance. Average car today gets 24 mpg and travels about 12,000 miles per year. The use is about 500 gallons per year and a gas tax of $250 per year.
As BEVs become more common; we will have problems maintaining roads. Georgia instituted a $200 annual fee for BEVs to go for road maintenance. This fee has to be included in calculation costs of BEVs.
Schalk Cloete says
Correct. That is why I worked with tax-free gasoline prices in this article. In this way BEV and ICE fuel costs can be compared directly.
It is interesting to hear that some road use taxation on BEVs is already levied in Georgia. I can imagine that it will be very complex to charge a tax on the electricity used by the BEV (like gasoline taxes) since you would need a separate meter for charging an EV. The flat yearly rate sounds like a nice and simple alternative.
However, fuel taxes are also levied to limit car use to reduce congestion (especially in more densely populated regions like Europe and Japan). This aim would not be achieved by the flat yearly rate you mention, implying that traffic could become quite bad in a high BEV future. I guess in that case, you would also need the additional expense of electronic toll systems installed at regular intervals to charge a fee for using the busiest roads during rush hour.
Mike Fletcher says
One suggestion I’ve heard is more road tax on tires. It’s basically a charge based on distance driven although more open to evasion I suppose.
Schalk Cloete says
Not a bad idea. It may make people drive longer than specified on a set of tires, bringing some safety concerns, but if this issue is tightly monitored, it should work fine.
Paul Martin says
Too pessimistic in a few areas, but more accurate than some of the hype-driven rubbish that has been spewed on the subject recently.
A few quick points:
– a substantial fraction of taxes on gasoline and diesel are road taxes, which will inevitably move to EV drivers one way or another. Roads do need to be maintained, and the likelihood that the vehicles which do the most road damage (heavy trucks) will actually have to pay their “full freight” one day is regrettably small
– an EV doesn’t need a 200 mile range to become a viable 2nd vehicle intended for commuting. That changes the math- a lot. In a decade, when I predict you’ll be able to buy a 100 mile range 2 seater commuter BEV for $10k and realizes that they need virtually no maintenance and essentially last longer than you’d ever want to own one, the small ICE/hybrid commuter EV will be dead in the water. That isn’t 100% of the ICE vehicle market, but it’s more than 10% in the next 35 years
– you might be able to own an ICE vehicle and drive it without “range anxiety” for 20 years, but virtually nobody actually does- people get bored and move on before they need to replace an engine or something else major. The lifecycle is closer to 10 years, and even existing BEV technology is good enough for 10 yrs without substantial capacity loss. Figuring in battery replacement cost as an O&M cost is therefore not something that should be considered for a BEV, any more than an engine replacement should be figured into the O&M cost of an ICE vehicle
My converted EV recharged from Ontario’s green electrical grid uses 80% less energy from source and emits 3% of the CO2 it did pre-conversion- that’s based on accurate calcs, using the GM/Argonne well to wheels study as the basis for the gasoline well to tank efficiency. Break even on the fixed cost of my battery pack versus the “fuels” cost differential over 3,000 charge/discharge cycles is possible even now, but only on off-peak recharges. With a $150/tonne carbon tax in the equation, BEVs in Ontario win hands-down. Ontario is unusual in the world, but the world is moving in our direction more and more. In ten years, energy generation is going to look very different than it does now.
Schalk Cloete says
Agreed on the taxes. This has also been discussed in a few of the other comments.
Part 2 of this article (hopefully published next week) looks at the much larger potential of Small Electric Vehicles (SEVs) such as the small 2 seater commuter you mention. On that point I also agree with you. However, I don’t include these vehicles in the 10% estimation at the top of this article. This estimation is for electric cars which are capable of longer distance highway travel (like a standard gasoline car).
About the lifetime of cars, I should point out that the average age of the US vehicle fleet is now 11.5 years and climbing steadily (http://press.ihs.com/press-release/automotive/average-age-light-vehicles-us-rises-slightly-2015-115-years-ihs-reports). This implies that 20 is quite a reasonable estimate of car lifetime. The used car market is almost triple the size of the new car market and this is where EVs could run into problems due to steady battery degradation.
” This estimation is for electric cars which are capable of longer distance highway travel (like a standard gasoline car). ”
All this talk for a less than 10%. You are trying to fool people.
Oil can’t be obtained from your roof. Electricity can! How many times do you use your fully fuelled tank, in a year?
Don’t tell me you drive 700 km to work everyday?
What about maintenance costs? How much does it cost to maintain a ICE over a 10 year period.
Tom Hiorns says
Its good to be critical on this and obviously backlash is expected but also I don’t want to repeat what has already been said. One thing about pessimism as mentioned before though, you make a pessimistic vague statement about charging from variable solar and wind being to expensive and complex but you make an optimistic vague statement about increase in traffic fluidity from autonomous driving. I see both as similarly complex and challenging, with many nodes and variables. So to disregard one and not the other shows a slight bias towards ICE’s.
For me, I would prefer cost comparison between electricity and gasoline in $/kWh instead of $/eGallon, then less assumptions are made from how electricity is produced.
In the analysis have you used international driving cycles such as the WLTP or NEDC? From efficiency curves and reasonable assumptions you can get a more comprehensive look at efficiency and thus fuel costs.
Assumptions on EV fleet efficiency is much more trivial than ICE fleets as efficiency variation with vehicle performance varies hugely with ICE’s (i.e. a 5 litre ICE consumes more fuel at idle than a 1 litre ICE). How have you taken this into account?
Schalk Cloete says
The reference to autonomous driving was not trying to state that this will be easy. Personally, I think it will take quite a bit longer to be realized than most of the optimists think. I just tried to address the perception that autonomous vehicles are tightly linked to EVs by pointing out the advantages that ICEs will bring to a fully autonomous vehicle fleet.
The electricity price I used is $0.13/kWh – the average US residential price.
I agree on the large impact of various factors on ICE efficiency, including the driving cycle. The EIA projections used in the article are probably based on the EPA cycle which generally returns MPG estimates on the low side. Luckily the EIA projections included estimates for both BEVs and ICEs, so both could be evaluated based on efficiency estimates from the same source.
SILVIA BURGOS says
I respect your points, but it is not all about the money, but also about the health, environment and people.
Sustainability = People + Planet + Profit
Profit of course, but also People and Planet.
I will not discuss economic questions (already discussed), although I recommend the article from Bloomberg (http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/electric-vehicles-to-be-35-of-global-new-car-sales-by-2040/) and the video about the fuel station of the future by Nissan and Foster ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLs7YOjC2mE#t=156 ).
My comments regard only one aspect of Sustainability (People – the most important):
• Air pollution is a huge problem in some cities. Most of population will live in cities in the coming years. According to the WHO the economic cost of deaths from air pollution is extremely high (http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/276956/PR_Economics-Annex_en.pdf?ua=1)
• In many cities in Europe, you will not be able to enter into the city with a pollutant car.
Once you drive an electric car and you see all those cars polluting our air, you feel like if you are putting the rubbish into the bin and your neighbours are throwing away the rubbish on the street… you feel like if you do not even think about smoking and your neighbours are smoking in a close area… Why smoking is banning and driving a pollutant car into a city is not yet??? Tobacco produce cancer and pollutant cars too…
Schalk Cloete says
Agreed about the importance of health, environment and people. I think you should like part 2 of this article which hopefully appears this week. It basically discusses how electric drive can achieve all three outcomes (people, planet and profit) using small electric vehicles (SEVs).
I discuss the BNEF report in the latter half of my reply to Aloysius above. My views are not so far from the BNEF conclusions. Regarding the Nissan video, all the things they are saying in that nice advertisement have been talked about for many years. Unfortunately, the techno-economic challenges to making that happen at any significant scale are huge even in the affluent developed world. Personally, I would like to see that video with much fewer cars (electric or otherwise), but obviously Nissan will not make such an advertisement.
About the deaths from air pollution, note that, even though such numbers often assign unrealistically large monetary sums to one death, cars are not the main contributor. This is best illustrated by noting that the Scandinavian nations with clean electricity have very low air pollution costs even though essentially all their cars are fossil fuelled.
Silvia Burgos says
Recently I attended a Conference about Urban Air Quality: Problems and possible solutions. You can see all the presentations in http://airuse.eu/en/event/calidad-del-aire-urbano-problemas-y-posibles-soluciones/ (Sorry some of them are in Spanish…)
Main conclusions were:
In cities like Madrid:
• Road transport is responsible of the 64.5% of the NOx emissions
• Road transport is responsible of the 76.9 of the PM 10 (particulate matter less than 10 micro).
• Road transport is responsible of the 78.6 of the PM 2.5 emissions (the most dangerous for human health).
All graphics and data here: http://airuse.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/3a_ACristobal_PCA-MAdrid-Jornada-Valencia-febrero-2016.pdf
When there are high pollution episodes, Madrid town hall will not allow pollutant cars come into the city, so many citizens are already thinking about getting an electric car… Some companies like Nissan are selling electric cars with the option of giving you one ICE car for 14 days/year for your annual long distance trips. This measure will remove many cars in Spain where normally families have two cars. You could use the electric car every day for going to work (small distances) and change it for a ICE car for your holidays (until the electric vehicle market gives you the sufficient autonomy to arrive to the beach ).
This initiative and others, like Car2Go, could removed many cars in our cities.
Also in Europe, Dutch politicians have voted through a motion calling on the country to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars starting in 2025 (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/18/netherlands-parliament-electric-car-petrol-diesel-ban-by-2025)
I still remember the 2006 smoking ban… One year before nobody believed that smoking in restaurants, bars, offices… could be ban … One year later everybody respected the law…
Probably electric car is not a market for the United States, a country with oil and gas reserves and long distances. In Europe, with scarce oil or gas reserves, we have to import those fuels from other “unstable countries”, the electric car could be a better solution if we use renewable and autochthonous energy (wind, solar, hydro) avoiding external taxes and improving our Gross Domestic Product.
After four years of steady growth, U.S. plug-in electric car sales were essentially flat last year. However, in other parts of the world, it was a different story (http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2016/0417/Global-electric-car-sales-on-the-rise?cmpid=TW&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue:%202016-04-18%20Utility%20Dive%20Newsletter%20%5Bissue:5600%5D&utm_term=Utility%20Dive>).
Regarding the unrealistically monetary sums to one death, in Europe (where an important sum of our taxes go to the Social Security/Health Department), I think those figures from the World Health Organisation should be correct.
In relation to the future electricity prices, I just find today this interesting article:
Moreover, another interesting one:
A record $286 billion invested in renewables in 2015, sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world. http://www.irena.org/News/Description.aspx?NType=A&mnu=cat&PriMenuID=16&CatID=84&News_ID=1446
I hope some of this information could be useful for your next article.
Schalk Cloete says
Thanks for the data Sylvia. I would believe the numbers you gave for Spain, given its relatively clean electricity mix and generally service-oriented economy. It is also quite low on the WHO air pollution list you linked previously.
Yes, Europe will be a good indicator of future transportation trends, but care should be taken to not create any more economic headwinds. GDP per capita has been flat in this century and problems related to aging populations are only just starting. It is important to note that smoking has no economic function, so banning it had no meaningful economic impact. Affordable cars giving complete freedom of mobility is a very different story though.
Valuing solar/wind electricity is beyond the scope of this discussion, but you may find two previous articles I wrote on the topic interesting: levelized costs of energy http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/2221441/internalized-costs-results-seeking-consensus-study and effects of intermittency: http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/333521/optimal-share-intermittent-renewables
Richard Corley says
I agree with many of the above criticisms and will add a few observations about your assumptions based on my experience as the owner and driver of an EV for the past three and a half years in Canada.
1. The statement that: “pure electric drive should be about 2.5x more efficient than an ICE vehicle” understates by at least a factor of two the actual efficiency advantage of electric cars over gas cars. The efficiency of energy usage in electric cars is typically about six times greater than in gasoline cars. I have averaged more than 5.25 km per kWh in year-round driving of a 2012 P85 Tesla (including road trips as far as to Florida) for the past 78,000 km. The more recent four wheel drive Teslas with 19 inch wheels are approximately 10% more efficient. I will use 5 km per kWh as the reasonable average figure. The fuel consumption of generally comparable (size and performance) gasoline cars ranges from around 11 l/100km to 15 l/100km (for example, Dodge Charger Srt (Mds), Porsche Panamera Turbo S Executive, Dodge Charger (Mds), Maserati Quattroporte Sq4, Mercedes-Benz Amg S 63, Jaguar Xjr Lwb, Jaguar Xjr, Hyundai Equus, Kia K900, Dodge Charger Awd (Mds), Dodge Charger Ffv, Chrysler 300 Ffv, Maserati Quattroporte Gts, Hyundai Genesis Awd, Audi A8l Quattro) from http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/fcr-rcf/public/index-e.cfm?submitted=true&sort=annual_fuel_use_metric+asc&searchbox=&year=2016&class=L&make=all&model=all&trans=all&FT=all&cylinders=all&unit=0&kmPerYear=&cityRating=&fuelGas=&fuelPremium=&fuelDiesel=&onSearchLink=%231&pageSize=100&btnSearch=Search#aSearch
I will use 13 l/100 km as a reasonable figure. The calculation showing 6.3 times greater efficiency for electric cars follows:
35,000,000.0 Joules per litre of gasoline
0.130 litre / km comparable gasoline car
4,550,000.0 Joules / km gasoline car
3,600,000 Joules per kWh of electricity
0.2 kWh / km comparable electric car
720,000.0 joule / km electric car
6.3 Multiple of efficiency of electric over gasoline car
2. The assumption that an EV must have a 200 mile range and an 80 kWh to be acceptable is also incorrect. Based on our experience with our first electric car, we realized that 25 kWh of battery storage would more than suffice for our second car. Since most North American families have more than one car, the market for second or third cars with a dramatically lower range is massive and could in fact comprise a majority of vehicles in North America. See: http://www.autospies.com/news/Study-Finds-Americans-Own-2-28-Vehicles-Per-Household-26437/
3. The assumption that the cost of batteries will not fall below $100 per kWh flies in the face of our experience with exponential growth and the continually falling costs of manufactured products as volumes increase. Our experience with computers, solar power, wind power and other similar technologies demonstrate the operation of the virtuous cycle where increasing volumes drive learning, resulting in lower prices and higher performance which in turn drives yet greater volumes, and so on. The ability of research and process improvements to improve the cost effectiveness of battery technologies is immense, and that industry is now only in its infancy. The experience with computers, where Moore’s Law has exceeded all expectations in its continuing, relentless driving down of costs and increasing capacity. The same is true of solar. A few years ago solar PV was $10 a Watt installed, and $1 per Watt for solar panels was viewed as an unachievable goal. Today the cost of panels is approaching $0.40 per Watt and $1 per Watt installed price is viewed as a realistic short term target. See: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/First-Solar-CEO-By-2017-Well-be-Under-1.00-Per-Watt-Fully-Installed
4. The rapidly falling costs and growing penetration of wind and solar also invalidate your assumption that: “a carbon price will also not have a sustained positive impact on BEV sales”. A growing majority of new electrical power generation is renewable. Unlike gasoline cars, which cannot improve their output of GHG emissions over time, electric cars will continue to get cleaner over time as more and more renewable energy is added to the grid. In addition, many electric car owners also purchase solar panels. Where we live, in Southern Ontario, a 10 kW residential PV system produces enough energy to power four EVs with effectively zero GHG emissions. At $200 a Tonne for CO2, a typical gas car would incur an additional cost of $20,000 over its 20 year life, which will make gas cars completely uneconomic relative to electric cars. Finally, a recent study has found “that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for.” See: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions#.VxuNROT2bTs
5. Government recognition of the substantial climate change benefits of EVs are leading to government programs to promote EVs which are driving up adoption (and driving down costs and prices as volumes increase. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_incentives_for_plug-in_electric_vehicles
6. Electric vehicles also provide substantial benefits to the electric grid, initially through rate and demand management, and ultimately by providing dispatchable energy demand and supply. We currently purchase electricity at $0.049 per kWh under a program with high peak power prices where our energy consumption is managed based on information from the utility about upcoming prices. “Progressive electric utilities are realizing that increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to help deliver reliable, balanced, and cost effective electricity distribution for their customers through a number of direct and indirect grid services.” See: http://www.fleetcarma.com/supporting-electric-vehicle-adoption-as-electric-utility/
7. The assumptions about the costs of installing chargers and the need for public charging stations in order for EVs to achieve penetration are also flawed. In many cases owners can charge at home using existing 120 V 15 Amp outlets where they are driving only modest distances with no additional cost for infrastructure. It may also be possible to convert a 120 Volt outlet to 240 Volt (thereby doubling the charging rate) without running new wires by changing the breaker and plug at minimal cost. As volumes increase, the cost of charging stations is now well below $500 and will continue to fall. The cost of connecting these low cost charging stations is typically a few hundred, rather than thousands of dollars. See: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Automotive-Electric-Vehicle-Charging-Stations/zgbs/automotive/7427415011
Schalk Cloete says
1. The quoted sentence was for a future scenario based on the EIA projects (cited in the article) when new ICEs achieve 52 MPG and BEVs achieve 130 MPG. Today, the 2.5 ratio is only achievable in terms of highway efficiency, but substantial headroom for improvement still exists. In addition, my projection is that small EVs (not highway-worthy) will increasingly displace ICEs in cities (see part 2 of this article: https://energypost.eu/can-battery-electrics-disrupt-internal-combustion-engine-part-2-kind/), shifting ICE traffic more towards highways. This will substantially increase average ICE efficiency.
2. I agree. However, as I argue in the second part of this article referenced above, I think this second car will be an SEV in most cases. America could be an exception to this due to urban sprawl, but the vast majority of the world is built with much less sprawl, allowing for convenient use of SEVs.
3. Your guess is as good as mine here. The best I can do is to take the word of peer reviewed papers in prestigious journals like the Nature paper cited in the article. For a recent study of electricity prices based on the latest reputable sources, see my prior analysis here with links to all the individual energy cost estimates: http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/2221441/internalized-costs-results-seeking-consensus-study
4. The above linked article is useful here together with this article about the cost of intermittency: http://www.theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/333521/optimal-share-intermittent-renewables
5. Sure, this article assumes very large EV cost reductions.
6. As mentioned in the article, I agree that this is an advantage, but I think large scale realization of this advantage is limited to a baseload power system. Future power systems with high penetration of intermittent renewables will require smart charging which I think will be more complex and expensive than it is worth. This is especially true for solar power which will require most EVs to be charged during the day. In addition to the complexity of smart charging, this will become quite expensive in terms of the required build-out of public charging stations and additional electricity distribution capacity.
7. The hardware costs in the link I used for my charging station cost estimates (http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2014_04_29_pulling_back_the_veil_on_ev_charging_station_costs) is not so different from those in your link. Note that I am looking at 32A and above. a 32A 240 V charger will need 12 hours to charge a Tesla. BEVs will need Tesla-size batteries to truly disrupt the ICE.
Richard Corley says
Thanks for your response. I have great difficulty reconciling your statement that:
“Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will do well to take more than 10% of global light duty vehicle market share by mid-century”
with your acknowledgement and agreement that:
“Since most North American families have more than one car, the market for second or third cars with a dramatically lower range is massive and could in fact comprise a majority of vehicles in North America” (where these cars are clearly less expensive on a life cycle basis than gas cars).
The public’s growing understanding of the massive performance, as well as environmental, advantages of electric vehicles (reflected in 400,000 reservations for an electric car which won’t be built for at least two years) combined with the growing economic advantages of electricity for short range vehicles, seem destined to take electric vehicles to much higher market shares.
Your article seems to have underestimated the impacts of the following mutually reinforcing and synergistic economic, psychological and policy factors, and market trends:
1. Exponential growth and declining costs of technology products. 50 years ago, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, predicted that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double every year (the period for doubling, was subsequently revised to 18 months) and Moore’s Law has held true for five decades. The inability of experts to predict the technological advances that would enable the continued operation of Moore’s Law has had no impact on its successful and uninterrupted operation for five decades. Your prediction of the limited penetration of electric cars seems likely to fall victim to the same fate as AT&T’s 1980 prediction that the total market for cell phones for the year 2000 would be only 900,000 subscribers (which was wrong by more than a factor of 100). Electric cars are today where cell phones were in 1980.
2. Networks effects, which apply to technology markets and which make the value of a technology increasingly valuable to all users, as the level of adoption increases. Positive network effects, together with exponential technology improvement, drive exponential growth which drives yet further technological and price improvements, and network effects. More electric cars drive construction of more charging stations, drive more purchases of electric cars, and so on.
3. Bandwagon effects. The fact that the Tesla Model S, without any advertising, outsells all directly competitive luxury cars (see: Can You Guess 2015’s Top-Selling Large Luxury Car in … ) demonstrates a widespread recognition of the compelling advantages of electric vehicles (confirmed by the reservations of the Model 3, and the fact that electric vehicles, namely the Volt and Tesla, have captured the highest level of customer satisfaction, as measured by Consumer Reports, for each of the past five years). See: http://www.consumerreports.org/cars/car-owner-satisfaction-2015/?rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.consumerreports.org%2Fcars%2Fcar-owner-satisfaction-2015%2F http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1095745_tesla-model-s-tops-consumer-reports-customer-satisfaction-index-again http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/owner-satisfaction/index.htm http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1090615_heres-why-electric-cars-will-succeed-owners-just-adore-them http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1070076_chevy-volt-electric-car-owners-most-satisfied-consumer-reports-says This “cool” factor, coupled with increasing concerns about the environment and climate change, and rapidly falling prices, are creating a bandwagon effect in favour of electric vehicles.
4. The ongoing development of autonomous driving. Electric power systems and autonomous driving technology will work synergistically together to enable automated ridesharing services which make better use of renewable energy, battery storage, parking, road and human resources. The economic benefits will be so compelling that the technology is expected to completely transform the automotive and transportation industry over the coming decades.
5. Car manufacturers’ investments in and commitments to electric cars. The major car manufacturers are making massive investments in electric cars. Their actions appear to reflect an understanding that electric cars are the future, that the market is going to “tip” in favour of electric vehicles, and that they need to make the transition or be supplanted by new entrants form Silicon Valley (such as Apple, Google and Tesla) or new entrants from China or other new manufacturing locations. The plans of Google and Apple have recently been discussed at: http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/apple/will-apple-make-icar-project-titan-rumour-roundup-ford-tesla-3425394/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_electric_car_project http://www.businessinsider.com.au/everything-we-know-about-apples-electric-car-2016-4#/#teslas-elon-musk-has-even-commented-on-how-many-employees-have-gone-to-work-at-apple-17 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_self-driving_car https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-16/google-said-to-make-driverless-cars-an-alphabet-company-in-2016 The long-term focus of Chinese automakers on dominating global automotive markets with electric vehicles is reflected in: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/photo-essays/2016-04-26/beijing-auto-show-chinese-upstarts-take-on-the-electric-car-market http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-tech-firms-charge-into-electric-cars-1461924588 http://chinaautoweb.com/electric-cars/ Mainstream car manufacturers’ focus on and commitment to electric and self-driving cars are reflected in the following. Last week the President of General Motors wrote: “At General Motors, we see the future of the automobile and vehicle ownership being far different than it is today. Vehicles will be electric, connected, self-driving and shared.” http://media.gm.com/media/ca/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/ca/en/2016/Apr/0426_SteveCarlisleOPED.html See also: http://fortune.com/2015/12/10/ford-electric-vehicles-investment/ http://electrek.co/2016/04/13/vw-electric-vehicles-transparent-factory/ http://gas2.org/2016/03/13/cars-will-be-our-personal-companions-says-bmw-chief/ http://insideevs.com/hyundai-commits-2016-launch-midsize-electric-car-powered-next-generation-lg-chem-batteries/ http://www.electric-vehiclenews.com/ http://fortune.com/2016/04/24/toyota-hybrids-china/
6. Government support for electric vehicles. Over its twenty year life span the average car (using the North American fleet as the reference) will emit approximately 100 Tons of CO2. These emissions principally result from the consumption of fossil fuels. In order to avoid locking in further automotive emissions, many jurisdictions are offering substantial economic incentives for purchasers of electric vehicles. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_incentives_for_plug-in_electric_vehicles
7. Government restrictions on GHG emissions and fossil fuelled cars. An increasing number of countries are planning to ban fossil fuelled vehicles at various points in the not too distant future. See: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-april-21-2016-1.3546280/dutch-politicians-push-to-ban-sale-of-fuel-burning-cars-by-2025-1.3546555 http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1103507_netherlands-joins-norway-in-plans-to-end-new-gas-diesel-car-sales-by-2025 http://www.businessinsider.com/gas-powered-cars-banned-2015-12 http://www.treehugger.com/cars/diesel-probably-dying-will-gasoline-powered-cars-follow.html http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/27/austria-may-ban-sales-new-gas-diesel-cars-2020/ http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/india-joins-norway-and-netherlands-in-wanting-100-electric-vehicles-72869 In the interim, increasingly strict fuel economy standards and zero emission vehicle mandates are pushing manufacturers to ramp up the development of plug-in and plug-in hybrid vehicles. See: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=23572 http://www.theicct.org/info-tools/global-passenger-vehicle-standards
I am concerned that your note and responses suffer from a lack of real world experience with electric cars and consequently fail to accurately reflect the actual requirements or market conditions. For example, in point 7, you state:
“Note that I am looking at 32A and above. A 32A 240 V charger will need 12 hours to charge a Tesla. BEVs will need Tesla-size batteries to truly disrupt the ICE.”
While your calculations are mathematically correct, the assumption that a user will need to charge a Tesla-sized battery pack from empty to full is flawed. In practice, if I go 100 km in any direction (north, south, east or west) I will be passing a Supercharger (either outgoing and/or incoming). Consequently, I don’t need to have the car fully-charged when I leave, nor will I ever arrive home with a fully discharged battery.
My daily range requirements are approximately 100 km (which are substantially above North American averages). This range requires that daily charging provide roughly 20 kWh of power (not 80 kWh) within a reasonable period of time. At 15 Amps and 240 Volts (which is the charging rate we use), 20 kWh is delivered in five and half hours. In practice, each day when I arrive home from work, even though I still have approximately 300 km of range remaining, I plug in the car. At midnight, it begins automatically to charge and by 5:30 am it reaches the set charge limit, around 80% or 400 km, and stops charging. This level of charge is far more than that required for daily driving (or to get to a Supercharger, for purposes of a longer trip).
I am aware of other owners who are using the standard North American wiring (for a 15 Amp service) to deliver 12 Amps at 240 Volts (which delivers 20 kWh in under seven hours). Consequently 12 or 15 Amps, at 240 Volts, will suffice for the vast majority of users. This means that most European users require only access to a standard 16 Amp, 230 Volt outlet, and that charging infrastructure is much less of an impediment than your article would suggest.
Similarly your assumptions about the need for workplace chargers or other public chargers is inconsistent with the assumption that electric cars will have larger batteries (which would mean that they would never have to be charged anywhere other than at home or along the road at “Supercharger” type chargers).
In closing, for all of the foregoing reasons it seems unlikely that electric cars will not achieve a more rapid rate of adoption than that predicted by your article.
Helmut Frik says
To add some informations from germany to this point: most people here already have, or have no problem, to add 16 A 230V three phase or 32A 230V 3 Phase outlets in their garages. (Houses for one family are – depending on region- usually connected with 3×63, sometimes 3x100A/230V, old houses (>60years) sometimes 3x35A/230V. So overnight charging with 20kW is possible when a new cable to the location of the car is built.
Second topic would be synchronity of loading (-> smart grid), and another topic charging at work. (legal issues especially)
Matt Bohlsen says
Schalk – Excellent work, even I don’t agree with your conclusions and some of your assumptions, but I admire your efforts to get to a result.
In particular I would never believe EIA estimates. “ICE efficiency is over 50 MPG”. Seems very unrealistic. Also I agree with commentator Mike that the ICE engine and hundreds of associated parts would cost a lot more than the simple electric engine. I put that difference closer to USD 5,000.
Also most people will charge at home overnight, so very cheap.
According to Tony Seba, once battery prices get below $200kWh, EVs will be cheaper to own as a total package. Once at $100kWh, EVs will be cheaper to buy.
On a personal experience, I have had an electric motorbike that I use for city commuting. I have owned it 1 year now, and have spent next to nothing. No registration, no service, no gasoline…..charging costs 50 cents.
Schalk Cloete says
An important point of contention is the cost difference between ICE and EV drivetrains. I looked long and hard for a good peer reviewed reference on the topic, but the one cited in the article ($1500 price advantage for EVs) was the best I could find. Do you have good references for your assumption that the EV drivetrain will be $5000 cheaper than the ICE drivetrain?
About the EIA’s 50 MPG by 2025 number, I agree that this is unlikely with only increases in engine efficiency. However, the EIA includes mild hybridization (probably with regenerative braking) in this category. The new Prius gives a glimpse at what is possible in terms of engine efficiency. The new engine reportedly achieves a peak efficiency of 40%, versus 25% for most gasoline engines. The trick is then to get the engine working close to this number as much of the time as possible. Even a little bit of hybridization can help a lot in this regard. All the moving parts might sound complex, but maintenance costs of a Prius are about the same as that of a Leaf and there are reports of Priuses covering half a million miles and still going strong.
I’ll watch your Seeking Alpha prediction of a sustained 100% p.a. growth rate closely over the next 5 years. Are your numbers for pure battery electrics or all plug-ins? If it is for pure battery electrics, H2 2016 will need a pretty impressive spike to reach 1%, since sales remain stuck at 0.4% year to date.
On smaller electric vehicles, it appears that we are in agreement. If you have not yet done so, I urge you to read part 2 of this article. https://energypost.eu/can-battery-electrics-disrupt-internal-combustion-engine-part-2-kind/
Matt Bohlsen says
As a comparison – electric motorbikes with lead acid batteries can be purchased a lot cheaper than ICE motorbikes today. One can argue that the lithium battery can become the same price as the lead acid battery. We will see Li-ion battery prices under $50kWh before 2030. Tony Seba’s excellent video and book says it all…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxryv2XrnqM
You will see an ICE vehicle has over 2,000 moving parts and the Tesla Model S has only 18 moving parts…..over 100x less. So over 10x cheaper to maintain, and in time cheaper to buy.
Robert Lee says
Thinking of the relative costs between BEVs and ICEs as remaining static relative to each other can’t work for future calculations. Look at what happened to Kodak as they approached a tipping point with digital photography. The supply chain for film camera supplies collapsed, end of story.
Schalk Cloete says
I assumed low battery costs ($100/kWh for the fully installed battery pack with all the required electronics, temperature control and charging equipment) in order to get a reasonable future projection.
Self driving cars are the future, due to pure economics.
Electric Vehicles are the future due to pure economics.
Solar energy is the future due to pure economics and that’s without including the world finally demanding a cleaner, healthier planet !
The pace at which technology is advancing in producing the cheapest forms of the above will ensure all the above will be fully in place by no later then 2030. The global self driving car industry will save an enormous amount of money and also generate an enormous amount of money for the likes of real estate as cities will not require the parking space as the masses wont own a car, they will simply order one when required. We will not require the currently wasted amount of roads due to our poor use of it currently. What is so hard for people to understand is (a) the enormous changes coming and (b) the pace at which they are coming purely due to the huge leap technology is making over the next 5 to 10 years IE in that time frame technology will leap what would have previously taken 40 to 50 years because that’s how technology has advanced through out history, case in point it took not much more then 10 years to go from all horse transport to all combustion engine transport.
I can remember as a child, a grand father listening to the radio when humanity made it to the moon, saying I cant believe it happened, I used to read about it happening in comics.
Perhaps in our children’s children’s time cars will be like they are portrayed in the Jetsons. We don’t use roads at all.
Good bye oil !