Posted: September 15, 2017 |  AUTHOR: KEN FOX | CONTACT ME

 

A Nissan Leaf being Charged by a Driving School Teacher in Oslo, Norway

Tesla may come to mind. However, the Chinese government wants to be the leader in electric vehicles (EV). On September 10, 2017 the Chinese vice-minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, announced his government is working on a plan for phasing out the sale and production of all fossil fuel autos. No date has been set but 2040 might be the year.

Various Bloomberg analysts do not think the sole reason for China’s announcement is driven by reducing pollution. Instead, they and others believe China is seeking long term leadership in electric car manufacturing and electric battery technology and production. Clearly, the Chinese government believes the current high cost of  EVs will be reduced drastically due to future lower battery costs.

China is the world’s largest car market. Multiple foreign based car manufacturers and some countries recently announced plans to offer all future model cars with an electric version:

Honda announced at the Frankfurt Auto show that it will offer electric vehicle options on all future models introduced in Europe. Honda wants electrified vehicle options to account for two thirds of its new car sales by 2030,

with the same in Europe by 2025. 

Mercedes Benz announced in early September 2017 all their cars will offer an electric version by 2022.

France and the UK want to ban sales of fossil fusel cars by 2040.

Volvo (which is owned by Chinese Geely Motors) announced it will only produce electric or electric-hybrid vehicles by 2019.

-Jaguar and Landover plan to go all electric by 2020.

The oil industry and electric battery manufacturers are also pushing for electric car sales.

 Royal Dutch Shell announced it wants to target 20% of its sales from fuel stations worldwide to come from recharging electric vehicles and low carbon fuels by 2025. This  includes fuels offering low carbon intensity, biofuels, battery recharging and liquefied natural gas (LNG) which can be used to power trucks. Shell has started pilot projects for electric car recharging stations in Great Britain, the Netherlands and in California (USA). The company is also involved in a project to develop hydrogen fuel stations in Germany.

Currently, Shell has 43,000 fuel stations in 80 countries, and plans to expand in China, India and Mexico. Electric and hybrid engine vehicles now only represent a fraction of the world’s one billion car fleet. Shell forecasts the electric/hybrid vehicle market will account for 25% of the entire car market by 2040.

The electric auto battery industry is booming. It is estimated to become a $240 billion industry in 20 years (by 2037). Warren Buffet has invested in one leading Chinese electric car manufacturer, BYD, which also produces batteries for the same. Other leading electric car battery producing companies include Japan’s Panasonic, and South Korea’s Samsung and LG Chem. There are over 140 EV battery manufacturers in China building capacity for the future.

U.S. based Tesla and Panasonic announced in 2014 a joint effort to build a “Gigafactory” in the U.S. for EV battery production. The 5.8 million square feet factory will be located in Nevada. Tesla will be able to produce its own batteries instead of importing them. The company’s goal is to build 500,000 cars a year. Panasonic also opened its latest battery manufacturing facility in China on April 27, 2017. This $400 million plant is projected to support future production of about 200,000 electric vehicles.

All efforts to increase electric vehicles will push demand for metals used to build them, including: lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, manganese and aluminum. Bloomberg suggests the EV battery manufacturers will need more mines to produce the metals, which is in good supply, buried in the ground. The largest lithium manufacturers include:

-Tiamqi Lithium, Chengdu, China

-SQM, Santiago, Chile

-Albermarle, USA

-FMC,USA

About one half of the world’s Lithium reserves are in Chile.

The Tesla Model S includes more than 7,000 individual lithium ion batteries which are similar in size to AA batteries. These are incorporated into battery packs or modules in the Tesla Model S auto. Each Tesla S car uses 16 battery modules, with each holding 444 batteries for a total of 7,104 lithium ion batteries, weighing 1,200 pounds.

Mining companies say they will increase the current 16 lithium producing mines by 20 new mines. However, the EV players are concerned these may not be ready in time for the expected increased number for electric motor powered cars.

Furthermore, Bloomberg Energy Finance reports:

  • Electric vehicles will be as inexpensive as gasoline vehicles in eight years
  • There is about 90 gigawatts* of EV lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity on line now, but this is expected to rise by 270 gigawatt hours by 2021.
  • The charging infrastructure will continue to be an issue in key Chinese cities, the U.S. and European markets in the mid 2030’s.

*a unit of power equal to one billion watts

Will there be Enough Electric Vehicle Charging Stations?

Tesla has made expanding charging and Supercharger stations a priority. The company has always encouraged EV owners to charge their cars at home. However, EV owners have complained about long lines and wait times at public charging stations. It currently takes about 30 minutes to charge a Tesla battery to 80% of its capacity, which depending on the battery size, provides 170 miles of driving. Tesla’s current goals for charging stations include:

-Doubling the number of U.S. supercharge stations from 5,000 to 10,000 by the end of 2017.

-Increase the number of global “destination” chargers at hotels and resorts to 15,000 from the current 9,000.

China plans to have 800,000 charging stations nationwide by the end of 2017. This includes 100,000 charging smi-public charging station sin workplaces and for taxis and commercial vehicles.

Commentary

The combined efforts by the Chinese government and global car and oil companies  will help to increase the availability, usage and sales of electric vehicles worldwide. However, getting people to buy a first time electric vehicle still represents a challenge. Various incentives by any government, taxing authorities and dealers may help increase first time EV purchases (trial). This EV buying experience represents a paradigm shift relating to human senses (feel, sound), not visiting your usual gas station to fill up a car and placing limits on distance driving, due to an electric charge. Further technology advancements will increase battery and charge life, translate to greater driving distances and help enhance EV acceptance.

The springboard to more EV usage will be cost reductions from today’s electric car prices. Tesla, with its vast resources will help facilitate owning and driving an EV.

China, unlike a car company, can demand EV vehicles only be available for sale or restricted in certain cities or roads. China will likely lead in faster and future EV adoption and penetration. These changes have global implications for auto parts manufacturers, auto repair and mechanic training. Longer term, it obviously will reduce any country’s dependence on importing foreign oil.

Resources

  1. Shell Eyes Asia, Aims t Expand Electric Vehicle Recharging at Fuel Stations, Ron Bousso and Dimitry Zhdannikov, Reuters, September 12, 2017.
  2. China is Planning to Ban all Fossil Fuel Cars, Stefan Kostarelis, Techly, September 11, 2017.
  3. China s Planning to Implement a Ban on Fossil Fuel Cars, The Verge, Andrew Liptak, September 10, 2017.
  4. We’re Going to Need More Lithium, Jessica Shankleman, Tom Biesheuvel, Joe Ryan and Dave Merrill, Bloomberg/Business Week, September 7, 2017
  5. Honda will Offer Electrified Option of all New Vehicle Models in Europe, Darrell Etherington, TC, September 11, 2017.
  6. China Mulls Timetable to Ban Fosseil Fuel Vehicles, China Daily, September 11, 2017
  7. EV Batteries: A $240 Billion Industry in The Making That China Wants to Take Charge of, Jack Perkowski, Forbes Asia, August 3. 2017.
  8. Tesla and Panasonic Agree to Build Factory in the U.S., Aaron Kessler, The New York Times, July 31, 2017.
  9. This is the Enormous Gigafactory, Where Tesla Will build its Future, Wired, July 27, 2017.
  10. The Electric Car Revolution is Accelerating, Jess Shankelman, BloombergBusiness Week, July 7, 2017.
  11. Panasonic Inaugurates Electric Vehicle Battery Factory in China, Frederic Lambert, electrek, April 27, 2017.
  12. Tesla Will Double Number of Supercharger Stations in 2017, Robert Ferris, CNBC.com,

April 24, 2017.

      13. Charge of the Battery Brigade, The Economist, p. 65, September 9-15, 2017.

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©2017, The Global Galaxy blog is produced by The Soundings Group, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, www.thesoundingsgroup.com. The company is an international business consulting firm, specializing in new market assessments, market entry strategies and marketing guidance. The scope of Global Galaxy is to cover timely international trends, issues and business building ideas. Its purpose is to educate, inform and stimulate thinking for business opportunity analyses.

 

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