Guest Blog by S. A. Shelley: For almost all of human history, trade has been facilitated by water borne craft. Mesopotamia? They had boats on the rivers and in the gulf. Egypt? Boats on the river. Rome? Boats hauling grain from Egypt to Rome. China? The Chinese were sailing and trading along East Asia for thousands of years. By the time of the Clipper ships, naval architects had mastered wind power such that a clipper ship could make a transatlantic voyage in about 12 days . A modern fossil-fueled container ship can make the same voyage in about 8 days. By 2018 goods carried on ships amounted to nearly 11 billion tonnes with some economists estimating that between 80% to 90% of all goods produced globally travel by ships across some water at some stage of production.
Ships today tend to be powered by fossil fuels, and when looking at the amount of CO2 emitted per tonne of cargo moved per kilometer, ships are by far the most efficient way to move goods (Fig. 1).
It’s a new year and a new decade and time to make a bold prediction regarding developments in the energy industry and associated transportation industry. The last few years have been a wild ride for electrical vehicles (EVs) with Tesla continuously in the headlines. Will Tesla go bankrupt? Will Tesla change the way the world views automobiles? Is Tesla stock a good buy at $250/share (2019) or $550 (2020)? But other automakers have made their own headlines: Jaguar began sales of its iPace EV, Volkswagen began sales of its eTron, and Ford introduced its Mustang Mach-E. A prediction concerning EVs is warranted, but OWOE is going to go beyond EVs and make a prediction concerning the broader automobile industry: Within this next decade one of the three US legacy car makers will cease to exist.
By W. H. Luyties, editor OWOE. It seems that bashing Tesla is the favorite topic for the financial news media. Whether it’s a story about Tesla’s profitability, production woes, product quality, lack of a real market, impending competition from “real” automakers like Volkswagen, or the behavior of Elon Musk, the message is clear – Tesla is all hype with no substance and destined to fail. Apparently, the only question is when. In the present world of “fake news”, social media “bots”, and a news climate that only values the bad, how does a normal person wade through all the BS and make a good decision on what car to buy? Well, I have the answer…just go drive a Tesla Model 3. Until you have the experience of driving a Tesla, you won’t truly understand how it has changed the concept of an automobile.
Guest blog by S. A. Shelley Are we on the cusp of mass adaptation of Electric Vehicles (EVs) for transportation? Probably not for at least a while longer. When doing the financial analysis comparing EVs to Internal Combustion (IC) Vehicles at the personal or family level, the comparison usually yields these results: Continue reading EVs are Evil→
Almost a year and a half ago OWOE blogged “What about transportation?” in which we took a brief look at the challenges facing a renewable energy transformation of the transportation industry, which accounts for approximately 30% of US energy use. In what has been a relatively short period, the answer to that question has become much clearer. Let’s take a look at what’s happened since then.
Guest blog by S. A. Shelley Imagine a future where your choices for purchasing a new car include numerous options for electric vehicles (EV’s) and internal combustion vehicles (ICV’s). But competing with the typical federal or state subsidies for the EV’s are hefty rebate checks from OPEC or Russia for purchasing a fossil fuel burning ICV. That may sound crazy, but in today’s age of large supplies of easily produced shale oil, inexpensive renewable energy options, and changing societal demographics, it’s only a matter of time before the current oil glut results (see EIA figure below) in stranded oil resources that are too expensive to produce for many of the suppliers, drastically reduced supply-side control from oil producers, and a critical need for oil suppliers such as OPEC to find creative ways to stimulate demand.
Over the past several months there’s been interesting activity related to a number of key issues that we’ve been following at OWOE. We’d like to share activity related to two of those issues in this blog.
As a follow-up to the previous OWOE blog “What about transportation?”, OWOE visited a Tesla showroom the other day and viewed the Tesla Model P90S. It is a spectacular car and an impressive piece of engineering, but comes with a price tag of $144,000. There aren’t many people who can afford that. In addition it advertises a 253 mile range and 12 hours for a full recharge using a 240V charger. So, while we applaud Tesla for its groundbreaking efforts and it’s obvious success in creating excitement in the electric vehicle (EV) market, these numbers emphasize the hurdles EVs and the entire transportation industry need to overcome to move to a renewables future. Continue reading Transportation Update – The EV Revolution→
With all the recent news around the Paris climate agreement and the US Clean Power Plan, one key component of the renewable energy puzzle that hasn’t been addressed is the transportation sector. Transportation accounts for approximately 30% of the total energy consumed in the United States and, correspondingly, about 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions (see figure for 2013 greenhouse gas emission data from EPA). Yet very little has been said about how the country and world will transition from a fossil fuel based transportation system to renewables. Continue reading What about transportation?→
Today, Toyota started taking orders for the new Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) with delivery estimated in late 2015 at an MSRP of $57,500. Toyota has been developing their FCV technology over the past 20 years and believes that the Mirai will be a game changer in the transportation industry, much as the Prius hybrid vehicle was a decade ago. The Mirai uses no gasoline; rather, it converts hydrogen to electricity using a fuel cell battery with the only emission being water vapor. It will be the only zero emission electric vehicle on the market that tops the 300 mile range milestone (an EPA estimated driving range rating of 312 miles) and offers an EPA estimated 67 mpge city/highway/combined. As part of the announcement, Toyota also identified the current and planned refueling stations (all in California) over the next 2 years. There are 4 stations currently available, with an additional 7 scheduled to open by the end of 2015 and 31 more in 2016.