Daily Archives: April 8, 2010

Kate Mackenzie

Many major automakers are developing plug-in electric vehicles, but there are a myriad of challenges standing in the way of their widespread take-up: battery prices, performance, charging infrastructure and consumer acceptance, just to name a few.

Below are excerpts from an interview conducted with Oliver Hazimeh, director and head of global management consulting firm PRTM’s global e-mobility practice, which looks at electric vehicles.

Your forecasts for electric vehicle penetration are 10% by 2020, is that right?

I think right now we’re looking at 10 per cent adoption by 2020; there are plug in hybrid vehicles like the GM Volt which are primarily driven by the battery, and the engine is just a generator for the battery. The number rises to 20 per cent if you add full hybrids or HEVs, like the Toyota Prius. Toyota and Honda have found success with traditional HEVs that are powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE), with support from electricity.  Now, additional electricity-fueled cars are bering introduced. 

For example, GM is introducing PHEVs like the Chevy Volt, which is electric motor driven, with an ICE to charge the battery.  Pure EVs like the Nissan Leaf are also coming into the picture.   We believe that the worldwide electric vehicle value chain will grow to approximately $300bn by 2020, creating more than 1m related jobs across the value chain — including energy providers, smart grid technology firms, battery and component suppliers, vehicle OEMs and  service providers. 

What needs to happen in the intervening years?

For this whole market to take off there are a few things that need to come together. We’re at a tipping point; fundamentally it’s not if, but how fast and to what extent electrification will happen. Fundamentals are there: reduced oil dependency is needed, technology is available. We see that with the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] that are basically formalising their product plans, to incorporate electrification in the coming years.

Sheila McNulty

At a time when the Obama administration is talking about permitting drilling in several sites off the coastlines of Virginia and Florida for the first time in more than 20 years, the oil industry should be on its best behavior. After all, it must prove to the US public that it is environmentally responsible enough to drill in areas that have long been protected. That is why this week’s oil spill in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana is a much bigger deal than the environmental damage being caused.

The US Coast Guard says that 18,000 gallons of crude oil was released when a barge conducting dredging operations for ExxonMobil was attempting to anchor in place, leading to suspicions that one of the long pipes being used must have hit the Cypress Pipe Line, which is owned by Chevron and BP. An area of 160 square miles has been affected, the Coast Guard says, explaining that is 16 square miles of marsh and 120 square miles offshore.

Fiona Harvey

The automotive X-prize is one of the coolest technology competitions around.

The aim is to produce a low-emissions car that does not sacrifice performance, and can be mass-produced. The prize is $10m, to be awarded in September this year.

Fiona Harvey

Are the carbon markets showing unexpected signs of maturity?

Last week, the European Union released preliminary data on carbon emissions for 2009 under the EU emissions trading scheme (EUETS).

The information showed a huge slump in emissions compared with the previous year. Verified emissions from industry were down just over 11 per cent in 2009, at about 1.89bn tonnes of carbon compared with 2.12bn tonnes.

James Fontanella-Khan

Carbon trading survives key tests (FT)

Female minister over Nigeria oil overhaul (FT)

Drought turns southern China into arid plain (Guardian)

Russian oil company may cut Iran supply (FT)

Shareholders call for ‘no’ vote on BP pay (Times)

Lex: Macarthur/Noble (FT)

Comment: Cheap energy addiction must end (FT)

Concerns over Iraq asset weigh on Heritage (FT)

Dragon Oil drops Bermuda plans (FT)

Chloride benefits from record orders (FT)

BP restarts Texas City units (Reuters)

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