Tag Archives: Sustainability

In Norway, 60% of Cars Sold are Electric

Norway’s electric car market is powering ahead, with most new cars registered in September either fully electric or hybrids.

Electric cars accounted for 61.5% of the 15,552 cars registered that month in the country. When hybrids are included, the total jumps up to 89%.

The new Volkswagen ID.3 was the bestselling car, with 12.8% of sales, followed by the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2.

Globally, too, we could be on track for an electric car breakthrough as battery technology gets less expensive. The cost of a lithium-ion battery pack for an electric car fell 87% from 2010 to 2019, according to research by BloombergNEF.

More here.

In the US, by contrast, only 2% of new car registrations are electric.

So why is Norway leading the world while the US, a major producer of electric vehicles, straggles far behind? Are Norwegians just a lot more environmentally conscious?

Well, not exactly. Norway currently has big tax incentives for buying an electric car as opposed to an internal combustion one. Those incentives are set to be pared back this year, but will still provide a tax advantage for electrics. US tax incentives are less generous, which is one major factor behind slower adoption.

Another factor: gas costs the equivalent of about $8 a gallon in Norway, compared to about $2.75 in my neighborhood in New Jersey.

High gas prices and huge tax incentives mean that Norwegians don’t have to be environmentalists to choose an electric car. They just have to be frugal.

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Photo: “IMG46347-2” by odd.bakken is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Elon Musk’s Secret Battery May Be the World’s Largest

Elon Musk’s Tesla, Inc. has connected a massive battery to the Texas power grid:

A Tesla subsidiary registered as Gambit Energy Storage LLC is quietly building a more than 100 megawatt energy storage project in Angleton, Texas, a town roughly 40 miles south of Houston. A battery that size could power about 20,000 homes on a hot summer day.

This megabattery may be the world’s largest, surpassing another Tesla project in Australia:

Tesla’s battery project in South Australia, launched in 2017, is adjacent to a wind farm and can store surplus electricity generated on gusty nights for daytime demand. At 100 megawatts, it was the largest battery project in the world at its launch.

Battery packs like these could make it easier to store renewable energy when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. And the energy market is so big, a major push in this area could help justify Tesla’s lofty valuation. From the Bloomberg report:

“I think long-term Tesla Energy will be roughly the same size as Tesla Automotive,” Musk said during an earnings call in July 2020. “The energy business is collectively bigger than the automotive business.”

Battery prices are falling precipitously, making such a future increasingly plausible. Prices have fallen from $668/kWh in 2013 to $137 last year, a decrease of nearly 80%.

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Photo: “Elon Musk” by dmoberhaus is licensed under CC BY 2.0