All posts by Roger Straw

Editor, owner, publisher of The Benicia Independent

Plummeting battery prices to make electric cars cheaper than gas cars in 3 years

Repost from Think Progress

A Bloomberg bombshell.

By JOE ROMM, APR 16, 2019, 1:03 PM
NISSAN LEAF ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING ON A LONDON STREET. (PHOTO CREDIT: MILES WILLIS VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Batteries have been getting smaller and cheaper so much faster than expected that the experts at Bloomberg NEF (BNEF) have had to revise their own projections for electric vehicles every year.

BNEF projected in 2017 that “the crossover point when electric vehicles will be cheaper upfront than a combustion vehicle” would be 2026 (nine years), BNEF energy analyst Nathaniel Bullard tweeted last week.

But things have changed quickly since then and the timeframe has narrowed significantly: in 2018, it was 2024 (six years), and now, in 2019, BNEF projects the crossover point will be 2022 — just three years away.

Achieving parity for upfront, initial cost means that the buying decision for electric vehicles (EVs) is about to become a no-brainer. And that means decarbonizing much of the transportation sector is also becoming a no-brainer.

That’s because EVs are already superior to gasoline cars in many key respects: they have faster acceleration, much lower maintenance costs, zero tail-pipe emissions, and a much lower per-mile fueling cost than petrol cars , even when running on carbon-free fuel.

Bullard explains in a Bloomberg article that this crossover will start in 2022 for large vehicles in Europe, but quickly spread to smaller vehicles and other parts of the world as battery prices continue to plummet.

Indeed, he notes that as recently as 2015, batteries were 57% of the cost of a U.S. medium-sized car. Today that is down to 33%, and by 2025, batteries will be a mere 20% of total EV cost (see chart).

THE BATTERIES’ SHARE OF AN EV COST. (Click to enlarge.) CREDIT: BNEF.

Moreover, BNEF notes that other key parts of EVs — such as the electric powertrain — are also starting to see price drops, since “large-volume manufacturing is only now beginning for such parts.” Over the next decade, key components like motors and power electronics could become as much as 30% cheaper than they are today.

As battery performance and price improve, EVs are getting longer and longer ranges — some as much as 500 miles — and the charging time is dropping rapidly. Already, superfast chargers can charge an EV in as little as 20 minutes, and new chargers can cut that time in half. Next-generation batteries may be chargeable in three to five minutes.

As Wall Street Journal auto columnist Dan Neil explained in late December, dirty, inefficient internal-combustion (IC) engine vehicles are becoming a very risky bet.

“During the reasonable service life of any vehicle I buy today, I expect the demand for IC-powered vehicles will drop to practically zero, equivalent to the current market penetration of flip phones,” Neil wrote. And so, “a gas-powered vehicle would be too expensive.”

For all these reasons, expect the EV revolution to keep its foot on the accelerator.

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    Benicia City Council to consider updated Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) on April 16

    April 10, 2019

    Council receives report and recommendation from staff, will discuss and vote on Tues April 16

    The agenda for the Benicia City Council meeting of Tuesday, April 16 was distributed to the public today.

    A very important issue will be under consideration: the much-needed update to the City’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), complete with an emergency evacuation plan and plans for mass care and shelter.

    The staff report gives a very brief overview and details the process by which the update was developed.  At the end of the report are these very important links to the heart of the EOP:

    1. Resolution [this is just the wheras’s and therefores…]
    2. EOP Volume I – Basic Plan – https://tinyurl.com/y5o85k8b
    3. EOP Volume II – Emergency Operations Center Guidance – https://tinyurl.com/y4fhyk3l
    4. Annexes
    a. Dam Failure – https://tinyurl.com/yyuauq2e
    b. Evacuation – https://tinyurl.com/yxfg3gwv
    c. Mass Care & Shelter – https://tinyurl.com/y69axyqt
    d. Public Information – https://tinyurl.com/yxqyuayd

    All of these documents are searchable.  You might find it interesting, for instance, to search each of them on the word “refinery” or “smoke.”

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      Scientists’ Climate Accountability Scorecard – Insufficient Progress from Major Fossil Fuel Companies

      Repost from Union of Concerned Scientists
      [Editor: This detailed 24-page Union of Concerned Scientists report should be required reading for every oil executive, refinery employee and oil industry supporter.  It would have been VERY interesting to see Valero included in the industry sample.  Our neighbors in Richmond (Chevron) and Rodeo/Hercules (Phillips66) will be especially interested in this report.  – R.S.]

      The 2018 Climate Accountability Scorecard – Insufficient Progress from Major Fossil Fuel Companies

       

      An in-depth analysis of eight major fossil fuel companies finds they continue to spread climate disinformation and have failed to adequately plan their businesses for a low-carbon world.

       

      Fossil fuel companies are facing increasing shareholder, legal and political pressure to stop spreading climate disinformation and to fix their business plans to achieve dramatic reductions in global warming emissions. While some companies are responding to this pressure, overall their efforts remain insufficient to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

      In 2016, when we first analyzed the actions of 8 major oil, gas, and coal companies, we found that none had made a clean break with disinformation on climate science and policy or planned adequately for a world free from carbon pollution.

      In 2018, although some companies have publicly supported the Paris climate agreement to limit harmful warming, none of these companies has set company-wide emissions reduction targets consistent with this goal. Many continue to downplay or misrepresent climate science and the dangers of carbon emissions, and all continue to support trade groups that spread climate disinformation and work to stymie needed climate policies.

      We evaluated eight companies on 28 metrics, organized in four broad areas:

      • Disinformation: Have these companies stopped spreading disinformation about climate science and policies?
      • Business Planning:  Do these companies’ business plans align with a world free from carbon pollution?
      • Policies:  Do these companies support fair and effective climate policies?
      • Disclosure:  Are these companies fully disclosing the financial and physical risks of climate change to their business operations?

      Findings

      While every company improved its score on at least one metric and saw a score decline on one or more other metrics, there was no across-the-board improvement on any specific metric, and no single company improved in every area.

      Explore each company’s score per metric in the table below. Colors indicate scores. Arrows indicate changes in each company’s performance compared to the 2016 Climate Accountability Scorecard. 

      Methodology > 

      Highlights

      • Following engagement with Barnard College over its divestment evaluation and with UCS over our 2018 scorecard findings, BP removes from the company’s website a statement that misrepresented climate science and backslid from its 2016 position.
      • Arch Coal, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil include subtle “hedging” words on their websites and/or in SEC filings, falsely suggesting the (scientific) jury is still out on the connections between global warming gases and climate change and between the burning of fossil fuels and climate impacts such as sea level rise.
      • Facing growing pressure from major shareholders, ExxonMobil and Chevron release climate risk disclosure reports. However, the reports lack commitments to reduce global warming emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement’s goal of keeping global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius and striving to limit it to 1.5°C.
      • BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil fail to mention climate liability litigation explicitly in their financial filings. More than a dozen U.S. communities have filed lawsuits to hold these fossil fuel companies, and others, accountable for climate damages and preparedness. Company shareholders need to be informed about this risk to their investments.
      • In July 2018, ExxonMobil becomes the latest oil and gas company to leave the corporate lobbying group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after successfully pressuring the group to drop a resolution against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 finding that global warming gases are endangering the planet. ALEC has notoriously fought climate policies and drafted sample legislation that sought to hamper the development and use of low-carbon energy. Chevron and Peabody Energy maintain leadership positions in the group.
      • Shareholder pressure leads ConocoPhillips in 2018 to expand its disclosures of lobbying and other public policy advocacy. 

      Recommendations

      Major fossil fuel companies—including those studied in this 2018 scorecard—are substantial contributors to climate change, and therefore must take responsibility for their actions. Science now makes it possible to calculate that the eight companies in this study have contributed about 14 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide and methane emissions driving disruptive climate change.

      These eight leading fossil fuel companies have failed to fix their business models to reduce global warming emissions from their operations and the use of their products.  At the same time, many of them have deliberately sowed public confusion about climate science and the dangers of climate change, while lobbying against needed climate policies that would help us transition to a low-carbon energy system.

      These fossil fuel companies should:

      • Renounce disinformation on climate science and policy
      • Plan for a world free from carbon pollution, developing business models that are consistent with keeping global warming well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, as agreed by world leaders
      • Support sensible climate policies to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases
      • Fully disclose climate-related risks to their business
      • Pay their fair share of the costs of climate-related damages and climate change adaptation

      As a first step toward meeting emerging societal expectations, each company in this study should:

      • If it is not yet doing so, consistently acknowledge the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change and affirm the consequent need for swift and deep reductions in emissions from the burning of fossil fuels
      • Set company-wide, net-zero emissions targets consistent with the Paris climate agreement’s global temperature goal
      • Disavow positions and actions taken by affiliated third parties—including trade associations and lobby groups—that are inconsistent with companies’ stated positions on climate science and policy
      • Publicly and consistently advocate for specific policies and/or regulations to implement the Paris climate agreement
      • Fully disclose climate-related risks they face and how they are managing them—including physical risks to their operations and financial risks related to climate liability lawsuits

      UCS and our experts, partners, and supporters are watching. We will continue to keep a close eye on major fossil fuel companies to assess their actions and words, recognize progress where it occurs, and turn up the heat on companies lagging behind.

      Appendices:

      Appendix A: Methodology > 

      Appendix B: Renouncing Disinformation on Climate Science and Policy > 

      Appendix C: Planning for a World Free of Carbon Pollution > 

      Appendix D: Supporting Fair and Effective Climate Policies > 

      Appendix E: Fully Disclosing Climate Risks > 

       

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