By Neil Briscoe, In the Irish Times, 3 May 2017
Germany’s environment agency is calling for a quote system to dramatically increase the sales of electric vehicles across the EU
“Germany has consciously set climate protection goals,” said Kreutzberger. “We have to achieve [them] because of global warming. A target of 12 million electric vehicles is an ambitious goal which we won’t reach if we rely solely on the car industry. That’s why we need to give carmakers a quota. I know this is controversial, but it’s been successful in California and they’re now introducing such quotas in China. Quotas give the makers security of planning. We’ve done the maths. If we want to hit the CO2 reduction target for traffic for 2030, we need 3-12 per cent of the fleet to be electric by 2020; 30-32 per cent by 2025, and 60-70 per cent by 2030.”
By then, it would seem, India will have already overtaken Germany and likely the rest of Europe too. The Indian government has set a dramatic timetable to ensure every new car sold there by 2030 is an electric vehicle.
Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry Annual Session 2017 in New Delhi, Indian coal and mines minister Piyush Goyal said “We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. We are going to make electric vehicles self-sufficient . . .The idea is that by 2030, not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country.”
Subsidies will initially be used to encourage the uptake of electric cars but New Dehli hopes that by 2020, with a dramatic increase in one-charge range and the variety of electric vehicles on offer, simple demand will take over. “The cost of electric vehicles will start to pay for itself for consumers. We would love to see the electric vehicle industry run on its own” said Goyal.
The plan is being driven in large part by India’s chronic urban pollution problems, which lead to an estimated three million deaths every year from respiratory disease. Indian new car sales reached 3,100,000 last year, with Maruti-Suzuki the top-selling brand, followed by Hyundai, Mahindra, Toyota and Renault.
In Europe, suppliers of vehicle electrification systems, including Siemens, Alstom and Tesla are calling for more to be done to expand Europe’s car-charging networks. The group claims that each electric car saves the burning of around 1,000 litres of fossil fuel and three tonnes of CO2 emissions. They say that accelerating the demand for electric cars could potentially save €500 million a day, create more high-tech jobs and significantly cut deaths from air pollution.
One issue remains – if we all start switching to electric cars, what becomes of their batteries? The battery stack of an electric car lasts for around a decade before its performance starts to drop below acceptable levels and while they can be recycled, it’s an expensive and currently difficult job. Tesla, though, looks to be investing in a potential solution. According to financial analysts SB Insight, Tesla is investing in a California-based tech company called Redwood Materials.
While there’s no direct link between the two companies, both JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer, and Andrew Stevenson, Tesla’s head of special projects are listed as executives of Redwood. It’s thought that Redwood is developing new systems to make battery reclamation speedier and more efficient, and Tesla has plans to start using recycled batteries in its home-based Powerwall product which can charge from solar energy or other renewables, and deliver extra current into your own house at peak usage times.