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May 11, 2021



Did somebody say electric cars?



That is FUNNY. Thanks MBGA.


Some economic insight from the WSJ:

Despite a commodity boom that is boosting profits, miners aren’t throwing cash at new projects, raising concerns about future shortages of some metals.

So-called technology metals, such as cobalt, copper and lithium, are set for particularly large deficits, analysts say, amid rising demand from makers of batteries, electric cars and wind turbines. Supply constraints threaten to slow countries’ plans to reduce emissions and make them more expensive, they say.

For instance, the price of copper—used in construction and to conduct electricity—has almost doubled over the past 12 months to a record of $10,762 a metric ton earlier this month. Meanwhile, the total demand for copper is forecast to increase 40% by 2030—with so-called green demand jumping by as much as 900%—according to Goldman Sachs Group, leaving a supply shortfall of 8.2 million metric tons.

To achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, there needs to be a quadrupling of the supply of minerals needed for clean-energy technologies by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. For instance, the Paris-based energy watchdog says expected supply from existing mines and projects under construction is estimated to meet only half of projected lithium and cobalt requirements by 2030. Both metals are key components of batteries for electric cars and energy storage.

“This will likely mean that decarbonization could cost more than is currently estimated and will be a structurally inflationary force for some time,” says Tyler Broda, an analyst at Royal Bank of Canada.


Now we have "electric cars, so so fast". From today's WSJ:

The redesign of the Model S is the latest sign that Tesla has evolved from a sprightly startup challenging incumbents with new vehicles, to an established manufacturer that also has to upgrade legacy models to keep potential buyers interested.

The Silicon Valley company late Thursday marked the delivery of a souped-up version of its luxury sedan. Mr. Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, has billed it as the quickest production car on the market. The vehicle, dubbed Model S Plaid, can accelerate from zero to 60 miles an hour in less than two seconds.
I trust my driving skills to accommodate 0-60 in 2 seconds, but I'm definitely not comfortable with the rest of you having that acceleration :-)


I don't know about that electric motor they put in those things, but getting 0 to 60 in 2 seconds means elan's got some serious tire technology.

I'll stick to my ol Prius. Just looked it up: 10.3 secs. I just did the anti-theft cat convertor modification last month. (thanks you demshoviks for letting criminals go free).


DJ reports today that San Mateo will offer rebates for electric leaf blowers with a focus on commercial operators.

Come on, Burlingame: Help the environment, enjoyment of hearth and home, and healthy air!

Give a time limit for the rebates and then an end date for gasoline powered blowers.


Don't park it in the garage:

On Friday the company announced that two Bolts had caught fire without impact recently and that at least one of the two was related to the battery and happened despite the owner getting a fix from a previous recall, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The recall includes all Bolt EVs from 2017 to 2019, encompassing 68,000 vehicles. 50,925 of those vehicles were located in the U.S. and they have batteries that are produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, South Korea, facility, the report notes.


LOL...pump more gas...in the Middle East

Statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the Need for Reliable and Stable Global Energy Markets
AUGUST 11, 2021

Higher gasoline costs, if left unchecked, risk harming the ongoing global recovery. The price of crude oil has been higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic.

While OPEC+ recently agreed to production increases, these increases will not fully offset previous production cuts that OPEC+ imposed during the pandemic until well into 2022. At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.

President Biden has made clear that he wants Americans to have access to affordable and reliable energy, including at the pump. Although we are not a party to OPEC, the United States will always speak to international partners regarding issues of significance that affect our national economic and security affairs, in public and private. We are engaging with relevant OPEC+ members on the importance of competitive markets in setting prices. Competitive energy markets will ensure reliable and stable energy supplies, and OPEC+ must do more to support the recovery.



From today's WSJ reporting on the big COP26 conference in Gasglow, Scotland:

Rivian Pops, but EVs Flop at Glasgow Climate Summit

Failure of COP26 to deliver a widely supported EV pledge may be early sign that debate around autos is getting more sophisticated

The U.K. government, host of the event, had been trying to corral support for a global declaration of intent to phase out combustion engines in cars and vans by 2040. But the world’s top car-making nations, such as China, Japan, the U.S., Germany, France and South Korea, all declined to sign. Among big car makers, only Ford, GM and Mercedes-Benz put their names to the document, which was made public on Wednesday.

Still, the lack of interest in a global pledge in favor of what it called “zero emission” vehicles might also signal a shift in the debate. EV technology has already mostly won acceptance among policy makers and car manufacturers as the most straightforward way to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. That means they will likely start paying more attention to important wrinkles in the case for EVs, such as their reliance on power generation that may not be all that clean and carbon-intensive batteries.

The Glasgow pledge made a tacit reference to these issues in a footnote: “Within the context of this declaration a zero emission car and van is one that produces zero greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe.”

BMW, which didn’t sign it, estimates that the shift to EVs would, without the countermeasures it is undertaking, increase carbon emissions from its supply chain by about 40% by 2030 relative to 2019 levels.


If you were watching the news over the weekend you saw someone important suggest that rural drivers should switch to electric vehicles now. I'm guessing if you are out in a rural area you probably would want a hybrid instead of a pure EV. Someone who knows much more about this than the Important Person is Dan Neil, automotive reviewer for the Wall Street Journal. He did some math on two versions of the Lexus crossover this week--Plug-in Hyrbrid vs. gas and came up with this:

For consumers, PHEVs are primarily a financial choice. So the first logic gate is whether buyers could ever recoup the plug-in premium in fuel savings?

They’d better eat their Wheaties. Please consider these round numbers: Over an annual 15,000 miles driven, the difference between averaging 84 and 39 mpg comes to 206 gallons. At the national average $3.41, that’s a saving of $702.46, which means you could make up the PHEV premium in a mere 249 months. Advantage, NX 350h.

Now let’s consider the plug-ins’ ideal use-case—overnight charging and EV-only daily miles in such a way as to zero a buyer’s use of gasoline and local emissions. If one is stepping out of a vehicle that gets 39 mpg combined, like the NX 350h AWD, the PHEV’s annual savings could be as much as $1,311.54. Such buyers could recover the $14,600 PHEV premium after only 11.1 years.

But don’t forget the cost of electricity. Estimating 4 miles/kWh efficiency in EV-only mode, it would require 3,750 kWh a year to displace 15,000 miles of petrol power. The national average residential rate is about 14 cents/kWh, so figure $525 in annual electrons. That means the PHEV’s fuel savings compared to the NX 350h+ would net out at $786.54 for a payback period of 18.6 years.
We Californians are paying way more for both gas and electricity than the national average, so our mileage may vary, but probably end up with similar really long payback periods.

Peter Garrison

Even with the high gas prices it cost $50 to drive our hybrid to Santa Barbara. With four people. Less expensive than a non-existent HSR could ever be and we had a car when we got to where we wanted to go.

Yay cars.

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