The market for electric mobility has grown rapidly, with around 2,1 million cars sold in 2018.What are the drivers and how green are e-cars really?
Porsche Taycan, insights into the Porsche production 4.0. Source: Porsche
The market for electric cars has grown by 2018% in 70. Where does the rapid increase come from?
In 2018, the milestone of 4 million electric cars sold was broken. The interval at which one million cars were sold has dropped drastically from what used to be 60 months (2015) to just six months (2018). The 5 million limit is to be achieved according to BloombergNEF in the first quarter of 2019. With the arrival of regional driving bans in major European cities and a forthcoming quota for electric vehicles in China, a strengthening of the current momentum in the near future is to be regarded as secured.
China is one of the biggest drivers of rapid growth in alternative drive technologies. With the ambitious goal of bringing 2020 millions of new electric vehicles to the streets every year from 2, the Chinese government hopes above all to reduce the climate-damaging greenhouse gas CO2 and improve air quality in major cities. In addition, there are more stringent CO2 limits for newly registered vehicles worldwide. For car manufacturers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve their fleet consumption through more efficient drives. Therefore, an attempt is increasingly being made to compensate for the CO2 balance sheet of the entire fleet by means of fully electric vehicle models and thereby avoid possible penalties.
Electromobility in an international comparison
Source: Center of Automotive Management (CAM). New registrations 2017 vs. 2018. Figures for China rounded, including commercial vehicles; China, USA and Norway incl. FCEVs; Manufacturers in the USA partially appreciated; Note: "Passenger Vehicles" in China 579.000 (2017) and 1.0.53.000.
According to the Center of Automotive Management (CAM), new registrations of e-cars in Germany have risen to around 68.000, which corresponds to an increase of 26%. The market share climbed from 1,6% to 2,0%, with the share of pure e-cars and plug-in hybrids almost evenly balanced (53:47 percent). This means that Germany ranks fourth with its e-fleet worldwide for new registrations and is one of the pioneers in Europe alongside Norway. Subsidies for the purchase of electric models as well as funding programs for innovation and technology should bring the fleet to 4 million in 1 and 2022 million in 6, according to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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Among the producers, Tesla is the top seller in 245.000 with copies of its S, 3 and X models sold around 2018. Scarcely followed by Chinese producer BAIC, which has brought over a dozen new EV models to market in recent years. Other manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi have begun slowly with the mass production of their luxury EVs from 2018. In addition to its i3 to 2020, BMW will not launch another model for mass production on the market. The reason for this is that, due to the cost-intensive production, low profitability of modern electric cars. Many producers are currently recording proven losses with their electric models and it is expected that it will take several more years for the current investments to bear fruit.
Electric vs. Gasoline, the cost must be further halved
The production costs as well as the natural resources used play an important role in the implementation of mass production. In the year 1995 was first introduced by Nissan with the model Joy a battery-powered car on the market. The cost of the battery at that time was $ 3.000 per kWh. With technological advances, these have been reduced to $ 209 per kWh today and are set to halve, according to JP Morgan, to 2025, which could bring cost-effectiveness in line with gasoline.
The production of batteries takes place mostly in Asia. Tesla-based Japanese manufacturer Panasonic Sanyo is the market leader (40% market share), followed by Chinese producers.
Many European manufacturers, such as Bosch, have discontinued the project due to the high investment costs despite a clear request from Angela Merkel to advance the European development of battery cells. According to Bosch, a possible market share of 20% is offset by around € 20 billion in research and development costs.
Lithium-ion batteries are facing challenges
At present, manufacturers purchase the lithium needed for the production of the batteries from the countries with the highest raw material deposits - Chile, China, Argentina and Australia. How long the current lithium reserves will last will depend on the number of electric cars produced in the future. Furthermore, the raw material cobalt could turn out to be the Achilles heel of electric mobility. The scarce resource needed for production is sourced to 60% under controversial conditions from the Republic of Congo.
Contrary to the hype surrounding electric mobility, the CO2-intensive production of lithium-ion batteries in particular is questioned. According to life cycle analyzes by the ICCT, a CO2-neutral balance between a gasoline engine and an electric car would be achieved after 2-3 years. This value could be more than halved if the electricity used to produce and charge the battery comes exclusively from renewable energies. This illustrates the importance of the energy transition for the climate advantage of electric cars. In addition, increased mass production could enable more efficient production processes and further reduce emissions.
Green Mobility relies on alternative technologies and raw materials
Automobile manufacturers are already working on alternative solutions to promote green mobility. The key trends are towards lithium-free solid-state batteries and hydrogen-powered automobiles. Samsung is currently using recycled lithium from old cell phones. Also, other chemical substances such as sodium, zinc and calcium come as a substitute for the required cobalt in question. for electric cars
The forecast for new registrations with electric drive is currently estimated by JP Morgan at around 60% worldwide in 2030, 40% of which are hybrid EVs and 20% pure BEVs. As long as the charging infrastructure has not yet been expanded, bridge technologies such as hybrid drives can prevent impending driving bans in large cities and guarantee locally pollution-free locomotion. Likewise, great efforts are being made in the areas of autonomous driving and the networking of vehicles with one another in order to improve the flow of traffic and safety on the roads.