There were only 2m electric cars on the world’s roads last year, well below 1 per cent of the global total. But with annual sales soaring and most top carmakers planning new electric models, no one expects those numbers to stay still. The International Energy Agency thinks there could be up to 20m electric cars by 2020 and maybe 70m by 2025. That’s brilliant news for anyone worried about climate change and air pollution. But it does require more thought about matters such as safely mining raw ma terials for batteries and possibly extra power plants, though not the vast numbers electric-car critics like to cite. Climate change sceptics typically exaggerate these issues. They can also be fantastic hypocrites, coming over all tree-huggerish about toxic battery waste when no other environmental threat ever bothers them. Curiously, they don’t spend so much time on one of the great economic and political risks posed by the rise of the electric car: its potential to be a jobs killer. The auto industry is fond of saying that if it were a country, it would be one of the world’s largest economies. Its figures show it supports around 7m jobs in the US alone and close to 13m in Europe. Robots may have encroached on the assembly line already, but wait until the beguilingly deceptive electric car takes off. It might look like any other car from the outside but inside, it is more like a computer on wheels, a very different beast to the internal combustion engin e vehicles we drive today. You can get a sense of the disparity from a recent report by some enterprising UBS financial analysts, who tore apart one of GM’s $37,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric cars to see what it cost to make. They found it was $4,600 cheaper to produce than expected and concluded that, with further cost falls likely, electric cars would probably disrupt the industry faster than widely understood. The report did not dwell on jobs but for an auto worker, its findings are frightening. It said the Bolt had just 24 moving parts compared with 149 in a VW Golf, mainly because electric motors are so much simpler than combustion engines. That suggests the car industry of the future will need far fewer people to make not just vehicles, but the components that go into them. There is also the auto repair and service market. Combustion engines have spark plugs and oil that need changing. Electric motors do not require anything like the same amount of maintenance.
FT 28th July 2017 read more »
Scottish Government urged to ban petrol by 2030. Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “No-one should be in any doubt about the Scottish Government’s determination to improve air quality and fight climate change. “We want to achieve a dramatic increase in the percentage of ultra-low emission cars and vans on Scotland’s roads and it is encouraging to see the UK Government follow our lead. Our Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy sets out how we plan to ensure Scotland’s air quality is the best in Europe and work is already well underway to deliver Scotland’s first low emissions zone. “Officials are studying the detail of the UK Government’s plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars and, crucially, what they mean for Scotland.” WWF Scotland acting head of policy Gina Hanrahan called on Scottish ministers to commit to phase out such vehicles by 2030 in their forthcoming Climate Change bill. She said: “Ending the dominance of fossil-fuel vehicles will reduce emissions, clean up our polluted air and tackle a public health crisis.” Friends of the Earth Scotland also urged faster action.
Scotsman 27th July 2017 read more »