Skip to comments.Electric Cars & Solar: Will They Make Gasoline & Utilities Obsolete?
Posted on 01/23/2014 8:24:46 PM PST by ckilmer
These are interesting times in the automotive and electric-utility businesses.
(Excerpt) Read more at autos.yahoo.com ...
It's been quietly discussed among electric utilities that increasing amounts of distributed solar power and other renewable energy may destroy their business model.
The worry is that if consumers can generate much or all of their own electricity, the utilities lose the revenue from selling them power--while continuing to shoulder the substantial costs of maintaining the electric distribution network as a backup.
Meanwhile, while plug-in electric cars on U.S. roads number less than 200,000 today--out of about 250 million vehicles--the miles they travel on grid energy stored in their batteries eliminate the demand for gasoline.
And many electric-car owners turn out to have solar panels on their homes.
Buying an electric car may even increase interest in clean energy, as owners start to think about "free travel" using electricity from solar panels (aside from the substantial costs of the panels themselves, of course).
Now Tony Seba, an entrepreneur and Stanford University lecturer in continuing studies, is working on a new book in which he predicts that the cost of distributed solar energy will fall so low by around 2030 that it will make electricity from fossil fuels essentially redundant.
Equally radically, he says, plug-in electric cars will do the same to the oil industry--on roughly the same schedule.
Seba argues that the cost of both photovoltaic solar panels and large-scale batteries for energy storage in electric cars will continue to fall, to the point where using them for both energy generation and transportation is significantly cheaper than extracting and transportation carbon-based fuels to be burned.
MORE: How Much And How Fast Will Electric-Car Battery Costs Fall?
Demand for oil as a feedstock for chemical industries is likely to continue, of course, so eliminating the extraction, refining, and transportation of oil and natural gas altogether is unlikely to happen on anything like that schedule.
Still, it's an appealing vision, and the prospect of carbon-free energy and transportation for even some fraction of global demand is likely to be welcomed by anyone who accepts the scientific consensus around climate change caused by man-made carbon emissions.
The working title of Seba's upcoming book is "Disrupting Energy: How Silicon Valley is making coal, nuclear, oil and gas obsolete." It's not yet available for pre-order, but you have to admit it sounds intriguing.
What do you think? Will we see the decline of hydrocarbon-based transportation and the legacy electric-utility industry within your lifetime?
Only if you like a driving range of 10 miles without the heater on in winter...
Ford says no.
Yes, it’s heating and cooling that limits electric car utility.
I think we are about 10-15 years away from batteries that can store enough energy to go long distances with heating/cooling on.
I’d say we are no more than 10 years from having solar power that is cheaper than fossil fuel power.
The oil kingdoms of the ME better hurry and diversify or they will be back to living in tents with their goats and camels.
Possibly.. give it another 100 to 150 years.
Bureaucrats Befuddled By America’s Auto Market
Sanity returned at a Ford Motor Co. press conference nearby. And it came from Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who channeled his inner F.A. Hayek during a question and answer session with reporters and bloggers.
“Well always make the cars and trucks that people want,” he said. “I think the automobile industry is always going to be driven by economics.”
I leaned over to the guy sitting next to me to confirm what I just heard. After all, most of the press conferences and even the question and answer sessions with executives are closely scripted and lack any depth.
He went on: “The most important thing we can do is to continuously improve the internal combustion engine” because it’s going to be around “for a long time.”
The Future of the Internal-Combustion Engine
Despite the green hype, internal-combustion engines will keep powering vehicles for the foreseeable future.
I’m sure they were asking that question in the 1900s, when electric cars were outselling internal- and external-combustion cars.
Not with today’s technology. Battery capacity, recharge time, and capacity to keep recharges over its lifetime are issues.
Oh hell Seba has been trying this push for all too long. The simple answer to the question is NO
As long as 95% of people are not allowed to own a vehicle maybe
Anything is possible, but based on the reality of what would have to happen, the chances of that happening are slim and none.
Sorry, not happening even within 50 years without some kind of major break through in storage. The break throughs in fracking and drilling are so astounding, solar doesn't stand a chance.
I'd advise you to not take bets, nor invest in any of their research companies, oh, and be a little more realistic please......
“Seba argues that the cost of both photovoltaic solar panels and large-scale batteries for energy storage in electric cars will continue to fall, to the point where using them for both energy generation and transportation is significantly cheaper than extracting and transportation carbon-based fuels to be burned.”
If it does, cool. But I bet the “cost” he is using includes subsidies.
Solar power will never be adequate to displace fossil fuels because of the basic physics involved. At noon on a sunny day in mid-summer the sun delivers 1300 watts per square metre and the best available solar panels only deliver 18% of that. That may be fine for residential use, but not industrial.
It might happen. But not in my lifetime and probably not in my kids lifetime.
I read a report the other night on the global supply of lithium to make LiIon batteries. If Tesla makes 100,000 cars per year, they pretty much exhaust the world’s production capacity of lithium. The richest lithium resources are in an ecologically sensitive area in south America which will be completely destroyed if production ramps up.
The dirty little secret of EVs.
Chemical fuels that burn oxygen beat any kind of battery all hollow right now. I wish engineers well in developing better batteries, but they are probably going to be finicky.
There is some potential market for hybrids, combo-cars that use electrical components together with generator-driving engines which are carefully tuned to do well driving the generator rather than being the prime mover of a mechanical transmission. That could squeeze a few more MPG out of gasoline and diesel fuels. Robustness is the key to widespread acceptability. Costing a king’s ransom to fix is not a way to sell cars in the long run.
When the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine, wind and solar power can’t make hay ...
Never happen !!!
At least currently that’s where we get lithium. More serious demand will pull in additional sources.