Don Walker, CEO of auto parts manufacturer Magna International, takes issue with all the projections for a rapidly evolving electric car world over the next decade. Some forecast that EVs could grow to as much as 25% of the global market by 2025. He warned that the number will be dramatically lower. EVs, he predicted, will account for just 3% to 6% of the global new-vehicle market by 2025. Recently he stated:

“Quite frankly, auto companies can’t tell publicly what they really believe. They know what’s going to happen, but they have to say what is going to be popular to be perceived as a progressive company. We’ve got a lot of feedback from many of the car companies, and they actually believe my prediction to be right.”

In a related post see The economic black hole at the heart of the shift to electric vehicles.

…the shift from petrochemicals to electric vehicles will be disruptive and extremely expensive…what will be the most significant transport, infrastructure, electricity generation and tax revolution since the arrival of personal computing and the internet.

Toyota will be providing hydrogen trucks to Japanese convenience store operator Seven Eleven. The fuel cell vehicles will be used to transport products from Seven-Eleven delivery centers to the company’s stores. Toyota will be basing its new fuel cell trucks on an existing unit that is developed by its subsidiary Hino Motors. Testing will begin in 2019.

Mobileye, a subsidiary of computer chip-maker Intel, said that it will build a fleet of 100 level 4 self-driving vehicles which will be tested across the US, Europe and Israel. The vehicles will be fitted with the technology developed by Mobileye including computer vision, sensing, fusion, mapping and driving policy along with its parent company, Intel’s computing platform. The idea is to develop autonomous vehicles with cloud capabilities, or as Intel calls it, a complete ‘car-to-cloud’ system. These vehicles will include cars from different brands and vehicle types and will be tested in diverse geographic regions. Mobileye’s Amnon Shashua said:

“Geographic diversity is very important as different regions have very diverse driving styles as well as different road conditions and signage. Our goal is to develop autonomous vehicle technology that can be deployed anywhere, which means we need to test and train the vehicles in varying locations.”

Wind farm operators are betting on a new generation of colossal turbines, which will dwarf many skyscrapers. The world’s three leading offshore wind operators – DONG Energy, EnBW and Vattenfall – have admitted they are looking to these megaturbines to help adapt to the upcoming reality with dwindling government subsidies. At least one manufacturer – Siemens Gamesa – will have built a prototype megaturbine by next year and the first wind farms could be up and running in the first half of the next decade. Across Europe, politicians are moving to remove subsides to the renewable energy industry and make it more commercially viable and able to compete with other energy sources. Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain are looking to gradually phase out the handouts over the next decade. As recently as 2014, these subsidies accounted for around half of European wind projects’ income.

 

 

These megaturbines, by sweeping a far bigger area and harnessing more wind,  are projected to significantly reduce costs per megawatt. They will each generate between 10 and 15 megawatts (MW) of electric power. A 10 MW turbine could provide electric power to about 9,000 homes. They will stand 300 meters tall – almost as high as London’s Shard, western Europe’s tallest building – with 200-metre rotor spans that will stretch the length of two football or soccer fields. This compares with the largest turbines currently in operation which are 195 meters tall and generate 8 MW. While there are technical and financial challenges to building these turbines, experts believe the wind companies have little choice. Michael Guldbrandtsen, offshore wind consultant at MAKE, says operators have to invest in a technology needed to make zero-subsidy projects viable. “Without a significant increase in the size of turbines it would not be possible to ensure a reasonable rate of return.” See Wind power’s big bet: turbines taller than skyscrapers.

Starting in 2018 all airports in the Netherlands will be powered by renewable energy. After 2020, all of the electricity will be supplied by Dutch wind farms. This includes Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport and Lelystad Airport and will amount to 220 gigawatt-hours annually for the next 15 years.

The United States has been a net natural gas exporter for three of the past four months and is expected to continue to export more natural gas than it imports for the rest of 2017 and throughout 2018.

 

 

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