EV forecasts are even more promising if the world used the bicycle and bus

Bloomberg — Last week, my team at BloombergNEF released our great annual report on the electric vehicle (EV). The report looks at how all the different segments of road transport could evolve in the coming decades and charts the impact on markets for oil, electricity demand, batteries, metals and materials, charging infrastructure and emissions.

There are many different angles in a report like this. Among the many interesting arguments, I would highlight the following:

Sales of combustion vehicles have peaked and are now in terminal decline.

Auto sales continue to recover from a combination of Covid-19, semiconductor shortages and many other factors. The market in general should recover in the next few years, but sales of electric vehicles are increasing fast enough to prevent combustion vehicles from returning to their previous peak.

By 2025, BNEF estimates that sales of internal combustion passenger vehicles will be 19% below their 2017 peak. Although the transition is not yet fast enough for road transport to reach zero in 2050, it is This is a remarkable advance after more than 100 years of growth of the internal combustion engine. My colleague Nat Bullard wrote more about it here.

Electrification has spread to all segments of road transport.

There are fascinating cases of electric mobility in both rich and emerging economies. China, for example, has 685,000 electric buses on the road and 195 million electric two-wheelers. In South Korea, 17% of light commercial vehicle sales were electric last year. In India, almost 40% of the fleet of three-wheelers is already electric.

Each country has a very different mix of mobility needs, and very different starting points in their vehicle fleet. But if something is moving and moving on a road, someone is working on trying to electrify it. There will probably be more amazing success stories in the years to come.

The battle between hydrogen fuel cells and batteries in heavy trucks is heating up, isn’t it?

Ten years ago there was intense debate over whether batteries or fuel cells would power the next generation of passenger cars. The issue has largely been resolved, with some 20 million electric passenger vehicles on the road and fewer than 50,000 fuel-cell ones. Even Toyota, an avid proponent of hydrogen, has fallen far short of its relatively modest goal of selling 30,000 fuel-cell vehicles a year, and just 5,930 by 2021.

The debate has now moved to heavy trucks, where fuel cells could still play a role. But the data from this sector suggest that the result may be similar. A global tally in this year’s outlook report found 68 electric heavy-duty trucks currently available and only two fuel-cell models.

Number of currently available heavy truck modelsdfd

It is still early days, and decarbonizing long-distance transport will be especially difficult. But there are plenty of miles traveled by heavy trucks on shorter duty cycles, or on routes where volume, not weight, is the limiting factor. Work is also underway on “trucking” lithium-ion batteries, adjusting their chemistry to reflect the usage cycles of trucks rather than using the same cells used in passenger cars. Many fleet operators are looking forward to making the switch soon, so having real models on the market is a big plus.

Driving range of heavy truck models available in the marketdfd

Predicted cobalt demand for electric vehicles is declining.

The history of cobalt in electric vehicle batteries is fascinating. Most high-density lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles belong to the nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) family, with different numbers indicating different proportions of these three ingredients in the cathode (for example , NMC 622 or NMC 811). Cobalt demand seemed poised to skyrocket a few years ago as it seemed to be the chemical of choice as electric vehicles ramped up.

Cobalt demand will continue to increase, but much less than expected. High cobalt prices and supply chain concerns hastened the switch to other chemicals, such as lithium iron phosphate, which do not use cobalt or nickel. BNEF expects LFP batteries to account for 42% of EV battery demand next year.

  The outlook for cobalt demand from electric vehicle batteries has changed dramaticallydfd

This highlights an essential feature of how markets work: high prices not only drive investment in new supply, but also induce demand substitution. Vast amounts of new investment are needed in all areas of the battery supply chain, but there are good reasons to be skeptical about warnings of endless shortages. Battery commodities are likely to experience the same cyclical fluctuations as long-term commodity markets. The remedy for high prices remains high prices.

Net zero requires more than just a transmission change.

Changing the powertrain alone is not the most efficient way to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This year’s outlook report includes a demand reduction scenario that looks at how governments can combat dependency of the car.

Even a modest 10% reduction in car kilometers traveled worldwide by 2050 brings big benefits and paves the way towards neutrality. This can be achieved with modal shifts, mainly towards active transport (cycling and walking) and public transport.

In this scenario, the global car fleet decreases by 145 million cars in 2050, reducing cumulative CO2 emissions by 2.25 gigatons and decreasing annual battery demand by 433 gigawatt hours, reducing stress on supply chains. of supply. A global approach is needed to reach the goal of zero emissions.

This note does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

This article was translated by Estefanía Salinas Concha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.