Popular and ‘Best-Of’ Posts

 

WIND:

aa CT GTM TEC RENEWIND INTERMITTENCY IS EXAGGERATED – NREL study shows US wind potential is larger and more stable than previously thought with capacity factors of 65% available, see details HERE.  Better even than Handleman Post predictions, that capacity factors of 50% can be achieved in large volume.

CleanTechnica logo-JoBEST US WIND SITES ARE BARELY TOUCHED –  HERE  – is a post showing where the best sites are why they are underutilized and how we can harvest much more wind at those sites.

WIND TURBINE STATE OF THE ART – New wind turbine technology is further reducing the cost and intermittency of wind power – HERE

RENEWABLES IN GENERAL

COST – The cost of Renewables Is Dropping Rapidly – HERE are some great graphs showing declining costs. Here is Lazards 2019 report showing that wind and solar are the least cost energy sources. HERE is Lazards 2018 report on the cost of generation showing solar and wind as the least cost sources.  You can always get the most up to date version of this annual report by searching on ‘Lazard’s Levelized Cost’.

GROWTH – The amount of renewable energy has been growing exponentially for decades.  Here are some good graphics illustrate that growth.

HERE is a link to videos of an entire course on renewable energy.  The presenter is engaging making it fun and interesting.

STORAGE

– Storage is vitally important for the future of renewable energy and many think that Lithium Ion batteries will play an important role if the cost can be brought down.   Elon Musk predicts breaking the important $100 / kwhr barrier by 2025.  This is in the same ballpark as predicted by Navigant and McKinsey  prior to the Tesla announcement of the Gigafactory.

aa Logo CleantechnicaGIGAFACTORY A conservative bet for Tesla – HERE .

LITHIUM AVAILABILITY – And not to worry, there is plenty of Lithium – HERE .

The Energy CollectiveThere has been much excitement over the Tesla Powerwall energy storage system.  It is important but not for the reasons described in the press.  My recent post post on the significance of Powerwall was picked up by The Energy Collective – HERE.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES INCLUDING ELON MUSK AND TESLA

EV EMISSIONS – Electric Vehicles pollute less even when you take into account emissions from the generation source HERE

TESLA IS REVOLUTIONARY – Tesla really is revolutionary. HERE

BATTERY COSTS PLUMMET – EV batteries are the cost driver and they are coming down FAST – HERE

aa CT-RENEEVs FOR LOAD SHIFTING – EVs combined with Load Shifting use market forces to increase the value of wind power while reducing the cost of driving. – HERE

EV RANGE IS A NONISSUE – HERE  CleanTechnica logo-Jo  .

The world according to Elon – Elon Musk on the Tesla road map from 2006.  And now more from Elon on the derogatory Larry Hirsh article.

SOLAR

aa CT-RENEGIGA SCALE AND EFFICIENCY INCREASES POINT TO GRID PARITY – Multiple entrants in the <20% Efficient PV module space points to impending solar grid parity.

SOLAR LAND AREA – The Land area required for solar is relatively small in comparison to the overall human footprint.

EFFICIENCY

EFFICIENT LIGHTING – Incandescent bulbs are being phased out in favor of high efficiency lights.  The most efficient is LED lighting which is dropping in price rapidly and is more efficient than CFLs – Here.

TRANSMISSION

Moving renewable energy from the best sites (eg Great Plains for wind, the Southwest for solar) to sites of highest demand such as the East Coast requires upgraded power transmission infrastructure

EFFICIENT INTRACONTINENTAL POWER TRANSMISSION – Clean Line Energy HERE is developing HVDC transmission lines – HERE to do just that.

LINKING THE THREE US GRIDS – The US is composed of three separate, independent electrical grids, by connecting the three grids Tres Amigas will make wider use of renewable energy possible.

aa Logo CT-TEC-RENEBENEFITS OF AGGREGATION, A CASE STUDY – Texas’ grid expansion demonstrates a path towards higher wind penetration HERE .  Completed transmission lines nearly eliminate curtailment.

TEACHER RESOURCES

These resources help you use renewable energy as a context to teach STEM.

Calculate the area required to power the earth with solar modules.  This post discusses this and includes a spread sheet with the calculations.

This site has lots of data from a fixed and a tracking array.  You can download the data or plot it on the site.  If it doesn’t plot data for today then select an earlier date a couple of years earlier.  It is an old site and the computers sometimes go down.

General Resources

BNEF report on the coming crash in oil.

Coffee House

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Giga Casting Ramifications

Giga Press Eliminates 300 Robots From The Total of 1000 Required Before

It is not an exaggeration to say that Tesla is revolutionizing the manufacture of automobiles. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than with the giga casting machine. It produces a diecast for the entire rear portion of the vehicle (2:44 – 3:05) eliminating, according to Elon Musk, 300 robots. (Start 17:16). Soon they will die cast the front eliminating another 300 robots. They soon will be casting the front portion of the Model Y. In total this will eliminate 600 of the 1000 robots from the production floor. The implications for space efficiency, increased production rate, and cost reduction are substantial. In addition, it appears to address the fit and finish issues that stand in the way of Tesla becoming the best cars by all measures (they already are in terms of performance, safety and customer satisfaction).

I have been struck by the fact that they have already installed one of these at Austin, well in advance of the building being completed. It is noteworthy that the Model 3’s being built in Freemont are not currently using the Giga castings. I have wondered if the Austin machine won’t start producing castings for the model 3’s and shipping them Freemont month’s before the Austin facility starts production. This would increase the rate of production in Freemont as well as improving the quality of the Model 3’s produced there.

PRODUCTION CAPACITY

The Giga presses can be used to estimate production throughput at the factories under construction. They also offer a starting point for estimating the energy consumption at the auto plants as they are likely, by far, the heaviest users of electricity. Data on the machines indicates a maximum throughput of 365,000 castings per year. Two machines are required to produce a car, one for the front casting and one for the rear casting. Given the high heat and pressure there surely will be a good bit of down time. So a reasonable throughput assumption is about 250,000 castings per machine. Giga Berlin will install 8 machines indicating a likely throughput of that factory, before expansion, of 1 million vehicles.

The Austin factory has foundations for 3 machines with space for at least 3 more in the building as currently constructed. This is sufficient for about 750,000 vehicles annually. It appears that there is room to add on to the building with sufficient space to add 8 more machines for a total of 1,750,000 vehicles annually at the Austin factory under construction. So a reasonable estimation for the Austin and Berlin factories currently under construction, is about 2,750,000 vehicles per year. This is higher than the estimates of 500,000 per factory that many analysts had been using.

Photo shows the die-casting area. The red is the existing building. Foundations have been poured in half of it and they appear sufficient to accommodate 3 casting machines. The building is symmetric so it is expected that the other half of it will get three machines. The unbuilt area circled in blue is conspicuously unbuilt on. It appears to be available for expansion of the casting area. If so it can accommodate 6 – 8 more machines. Photo Credit – Joe Tegmeyer

The giga presses went into service starting in 2020. So the original numbers for the factories probably did not account for the faster throughput enabled by the giga presses. It is also noteworthy that both the Berlin site and the Austin site have a considerable amount of additional land available for expansion. There is a great deal of clearing and preparation going on suggesting that expansions are already under way before the initial factories are completed.

ENERGY IMPLICATIONS

The castings are 180 lbs or 80 kg. The melt temperature is about 850 C. The casting material is a custom designed alloy of Aluminum but it likely has thermal characteristics similar to other Aluminum alloys. Taking into account the approximate specific heat and the latent heat of fusion of Al 1000 J/kg-K and 400 kJ/kg respectively the energy per casting for melting the Al is about 98 MJ. If we assume 660 castings per day that comes out to 64,680 MJ per day or about .75 MW per machine for melting the Al. Given the various other functions of the process, the power required per gigapress is about 1 MW. Since there are 2 per car that works out to about 2 MW per production line.

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The Rise of EVs, Insights for Community Planners

Electric Vehicles and A Community Climate Action Plan

To industry watchers it is clear Electric Vehicles (EVs) are here to stay and will dominate sales of autos by the end of 2025.  Communities that recognize this quickly will be able act proactively to reap the benefits, and avoid costly mistakes.  The EV will have its ‘iPhone moment’ in 2022.  In that year an enormous amount of new production capacity will come on-line and the cost of EVs will drop below that of their Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) competitors.   It is also expected that self-driving cars will be well into commercialization.  In order for communities to respond proactively it is helpful to understand the pace of change and the ramifications. 

A note to the reader.  This article references Tesla a lot.  This is not an advertisement for Tesla, it is simply that they are ahead of all other auto makers so they are a good proxy for what the industry will look like in 3 – 5 years.  And, for the time being, they pretty much ARE the EV industry with an 80% market share in the US. 

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT AN EV – – WON’T THE BATTERY RUN OUT AND DON’T THEY COST A LOT?

COST:  While the up front cost of a Tesla is higher, over  5 years, the Cost of ownership for a Tesla Model 3 is lower than that of a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord and it is a better car.  Battery costs continue to plummet and experts expect even the upfront cost of EVs to be at price parity with ICE vehicles soon. 

RANGE ANXIETY:  Today’s EVs have long range and are more convenient than ICE vehicles.  No more trips to the gas station, simple plug in at night and you have a ‘full tank’ in the morning.  Range anxiety made sense in the early days of EVs when they could travel less than 100 miles on a charge.  Today 200 miles of range is the new normal and that continues to rise.  The bestselling Tesla Model 3 and Model Y exceed 300 miles on a charge and the Chevy Bolt over 250 miles on a charge.  For more information this article looks at driving habits and typical distances travelled.

AREN’T EVs DANGEROUS?

In terms of injuries, Tesla makes the safest vehicles on the road today.  As far as fires go, Tesla fires make the news because they are rare, ICE vehicle fires don’t make the news because they are common. 

HOW SOON UNTIL MOST OF US ARE DRIVING AN EV?

There are varying views on how quickly EVs will dominate.  But over the last few years, the optimist’s projections have been closest to the mark.  And the optimists are saying that by the end of 2025, about 50% of new autos will be EVs.  And credible analysis suggests it could be even more.  As is so often the case, when a disruptive technology is introduced it takes hold faster than most of the experts can imagine.  This Video examines disruptive change and then makes projections regarding the auto industry.  It is fairly long but makes most of the key points in the first 10 minutes.    

Here are some helpful factoids:  GM is accelerating its plans for EVs.  Most recently GM increased their EV development budget by $7 Billion to a total of $27 billion to be spent between now and 2025.  Recently they announced that 2035 they will sell only Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs).  VW has committed $87 Billion by 2025 and Ford plans to equal GM matching their $27 Billion development budget.  And then there are well funded newcomers such as Rivan which Amazon invested heavily in.  And Amazon has committed to the purchase of 100,000 delivery vehicles from them.  And even Apple has been indicating that they plan to get in the EV game. 

Tesla currently has capacity to produce a million cars per year.  Later this year, 2 more Tesla auto plants will be completed, one in Germany and the other in Austin Texas.  Their initial capacity is reported to be about 500,000 cars each.  Making Tesla’s production capacity at the end of 2021 about 2 million cars.  They are expanding the Shanghai factory.  They also have already started clearing additional land at both their Austin and Berlin sites see videos in Appendix I.  Most expect substantial expansion at those sites.  A conservative estimate is that Tesla will build 4 million vehicles per year in 2025.  However, with expansions already begun and likelihood of additional plants being built some are estimating 8 million vehicles per year by the end of 2025 or 10% of the worlds 80 million car annual production.  The other auto manufacturers can be expected to come in with production capacity of over 50 million by 2025.

Tesla plants are reported to cost about $1 billion.  For the sake of discussion, lets say that the other auto makers require $2 billion per plant.  And lets say that only half of what they have committed to EVs goes to manufacture with the rest going to marketing, R&D etc.  Then VW, Ford and GM combined are allocating about $70 Billion to building manufacturing by 2025.  At $2 billion per plant that gets them production capacity of about 17 million vehicles.  And that doesn’t include Toyota or other major manufacturers.  If these companies spend at the reported pace, then, by the end of 2025 world production capacity of EVs will exceed 25 million or over 30% of all vehicles built!  At that point EVs will cost less than ICE vehicles while range will continue to improve. Adoption of EVs will continue to accelerate. Appendix I links to Drone video of Tesla factories under construction. 

HOW SOON UNTIL RIDE HAILING VIA AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES IS COMMONPLACE?

All of the major auto makers as well as major tech players like Google and Apple are developing smart, driverless (autonomous) cars.  This video provides a good sense of the level of activity and current state of the art.  Most are focused on level 4 autonomy.  This means that they can drive autonomously in restricted (geofenced) areas such as one street or one town that has been carefully mapped out.  And there are places where this is up and running such as Las Vegas and Phoenix AZ.   

Tesla has set it eyes on the prize, level 5 autonomy.  This is essentially like a person.  Plop the car on any road, anywhere in the world and it can drive itself just as is the case with a human driver.  And they are closing in on this faster than most had predicted.  The CEO of Tesla is noted for his failure to meet timelines.  However he is also known for meeting the goals, even if late.  For example landing a rocket on a floating platform .  In this video, Musk describes the goals and promise of the Tesla Autonomous vehicle program.  In this video a Tesla Beta tester demonstrates the Full Self Driving capability of the Tesla car.  And in this video, posted February 6, 2021 the current state of the Tesla autonomy is demonstrated by a beta tester showing challenging ‘edge’ cases.

WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF EVS ON ELECTRICAL DEMAND, WILL THEY BREAK THE GRID?

Some worry that wide adoption of EVs will strain the electrical grid.  While some grid upgrades may be needed, this concern is exaggerated.  Electricity usage drops at night.  Since most EV charging is done at night, it will enable higher utilization of infrastructure adding to utility profits.  The added profits will go a long way to providing funds for needed grid upgrades.  Ultimately, if well managed, this could make the grid more resilient, not less so as detractors claim.

Graph showing electricity demand and generation during the day of highest demand in 2020.  The demand drops off by 37% at night.  This represents the maximum stress test for the grid.  Even with high EV penetration on the grid, night charging would not break the grid.

personal experience provides a helpful case study.  My daily commute is about 50 miles.  My car is set to start charging at 11:00 PM when there is low demand on Hingham’s electrical resources.  I plug it in at night and it Is fully charged by morning.  The amount of electricity used is about 10 kWhrs.  This increases our daily use by about 30% but since we charge at night it does not tax utility resources.  Night charging is convenient and I receive a $10 monthly credit on my electric bill as a bonus for my efforts.  Will infrastructure upgrades be advisable?  Probably.  Will they be extreme, or add considerably to our electric bills, probably not.  There may be some increase but not enough to negate the savings from not buying gasoline.  And any upgrades to the transmission and distribution infrastructure will add resiliency which recent events in TX demonstrate are needed. 

While my anecdotal story is informative, more rigorous studies are needed to guide planning.  In the study cited below, Time Of Use (TOU) metering was shown to an effective way to motivate people to change their habits and charge at night.  The graph below shows how people shifted when they charged their cars in response to switching from flat rate electricity to TOU billing.  This article looks at how night charging could allow for greater use of renewable energy on the electric grid.

Source:  GTM Media

Study showing how Time of Use metering motivated people to charge at night.

WHAT ARE SOME IMPACTS TO TOWN PLANNING?

There are two areas for consideration.  The near term, 5 – 10 years, little will change other than adding dedicated EV parking and some gratuitous charging stations.  Longer term there are some important changes that need to be planned for now.  1st and foremost, including high capacity cabling for future addition of high speed charging stations serving emergency services.  The second is less obvious but far more impactful from the standpoint of our day to day lives.  Within the decade and probably within 3 years, autonomous (driverless) electric vehicles will begin to appear on our roads.  From reducing traffic to increasing accessibility to transportation they promise extraordinary benefits.  But there is much to think about in terms of how to guide their introduction and it is important for planners to become conversant in this technology as soon as possible.

The high performance of electric vehicles makes them well suited for fire, ambulance, and police vehicles.  For perspective, the most popular police cars have 0 – 60 acceleration of 7 seconds.  The most popular electric vehicles have 0 – 60 acceleration about half that, under 3.5 seconds.  The benefits of better acceleration are clear for ambulances and fire trucks where every second matters for getting to emergency sites. 

Autonomous corridors for geofenced autonomous taxi:  Main St., 53, downtown Hingham, Derby street shops, all of the commuter rail stations – this could be done in the very near future – – requires dedicated parking and strict enforcement (like a bus stop)

Longer term, traffic management considerations – – AND GOOD NEWS, less traffic overall.

In 2019 they had one plant in Freemont California with a second under construction in Shanghai.  They manufactured about 367,000 EVs in 2019.  Tesla manufactured about 500,000 cars in 2020 which, by the way, to the derision of most industry experts, Elon Musk projected 7 years prior.  Currently under construction is a plant in Berlin and another in Austin TX.  It is important to realize that these are among the largest auto manufacturing plants ever built.  Their manufacturing technology is the most advanced of any auto factories in the world.  Both Berlin and Austin will begin production in 2021.  There is ample land to expand both facilities.  They are expected to ramp to about 1 million cars in 2021.  While estimates vary widely, many expect to see another doubling from 2021 to 2022 and the introduction of the cyber truck.  Tesla is expected to continue to ramp aggressively.  Many expect them to be manufacturing over 5 million cars per year by 2025.  And that is just Tesla.  Ford and GM are planning to spend about $27 Billion adding new EV products and building production facilities.  And VW has committed about $87 billion between now and 2025.

In 2023 Tesla will introduce a $25,000 car.  This will make their cars available to lower income individuals.  Hingham is an upper income community and many can afford to be early adopters.  In the opinion of the author, at least half of Hingham households will own an EV by 2025 and most will by 2030. 

BATTERIES

Tesla is unable to get enough batteries from other sources.  So they are developing their own.  They anticipate lowering their cost for batteries by 57% in three years.  And the energy required for the new process is much lower than industry standard processes.  They already have a pilot production line running with sufficient volume that its output is contributing meaningfully to their total supply of batteries.  Publically they have stated they plan to be producing 100 GWhr of batteries by the end of 2022.  That is enough to power about 1.5 million cars.  And 200 GWhr by end of 2023.  But that is their plan for the Austin factory.  They have pulled permits to build another battery factory in Berlin which can reasonably be expected to produce similar quantities of batteries.  If you are counting that puts it at capacity sufficient for 6 million cars by end of 2023.  But wait, there is more, Musk has stated emphatically that other battery companies should not worry.  Tesla will purchase all they can produce for the foreseeable future. 

The additional capacity will no doubt be needed for things such as energy storage in the electric utility industry and the revolutionary Tesla Semi. Tesla Semi will rapidly electrify trucks and bring down the cost of shipping by truck to close to that of trains!  Not surprisingly, trucks require much larger batteries.    The Tesla Semi requires 10 – 20 times as much storage as a typical car.    

As a quick off topic aside, battery based energy storage already competitive with gas peaker power plants.  Later this decade cost reductions are expected to allow variable renewables to be combined with battery backup to displace base load combined cycle gas power plants.  In other words, all fossil fuel power will become obsolete this decade.

* Geofencing is restricting to a set area.  For example, a car could be programmed to only drive in one town or on one street. 

Appendix I   – – Tesla factories under construction:

Market Share US EVsMarket Share Total   – Tesla currently has 80% market share for EVs in the US market.  It is expected that their market share of EVs will drop as other auto makers develop credible alternatives.  However the ‘pie’ is expected to grow much faster as EVs displace ICE vehicles.  And their share of the total market is expected to grow rapidly for the foreseeable future. 

See for yourself!  The video links below show drone footage of factories under construction.  And Ford, GM and VW are just getting started.  They have committed to pour $27, $27, and $87 billion, respectively, into ramping their EV businesses between now and 2025. 

Giga Shanghai – Started in 2019, completed and in production the same year.  Another phase roughly doubling capacity went in 2020 and is now producing Model Y cars.  Current capacity is 450,000 cars annually.  Phase 3 is under construction.

Giga Austin – Construction began in July – Production is expected to start in Q3 – Sufficient information is available to confirm at least 750,000 cars annual production capacity when complete.  There is reason to believe it could be much higher.  Pace of construction HERE And here is a great timelapse from the Start date of July 6 through February 6 Here .

Giga Berlin – While some site prep started earlier, construction started around June 1.  Production expected to start Q2 or Q3.  Sufficient information is available to assess capacity of about 1 million cars annually.  That is before the expansions that ground is already being cleared for.

Freemont – This plant is the “mother ship” for Tesla.  It is their first production facility.  Its current production capacity is 600,000 per year.

Click the link below for a High Resolution Version. Image shows various Tesla factories to scale. The land outlines show the size of the parcel of property owned by Tesla. Green shows outline of operational factories, Yellow, factories under construction, and Red, planned expansions.https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50390329512_fe6340a573_o.jpg

Other Resources:

Great data on Tesla including comparison to other auto companies:

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Tesla Crushes EV Carbon Footprint

By Clayton Handleman

The Tesla Model 3 has per mile carbon footprint about 1/3rd that of a Nissan Leaf.  It is widely anticipated that Tesla will announce a Million mile battery at their September 22nd Battery investment day. This will advance the state of the art to 1/10th the carbon footprint of a Nissan Leaf.  Incredibly this is nearly 1/40th the carbon footprint of the typical Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle if the Tesla is charged from zero carbon sources such as solar, wind or nuclear power.  But why would a longer lifetime improve the carbon footprint?

Figure 1:  The graph shows the benefits of BEVs compared with typical and fuel efficient ICE vehicles. 

Emissions in electric vehicles arise from carbon emitted to provide the energy for locomotion and from the energy required to manufacture the vehicle.  The energy required for manufacture is called  embodied energy.  If a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is charged from zero carbon sources it’s emissions will be due only to embodied energy. The further a car can be driven before it and/or its battery need replacing, the less embodied energy there is per mile and therefore the less carbon emitted per mile.  So improvements in manufacturing efficiency or increases in battery lifetime will reduce the carbon footprint per mile.

Many analyses take into account the embodied energy in electric vehicles.  Unfortunately, few take the additional step to account for the impact on the carbon footprint due to vehicles that are capable of driving a longer distance before replacement.  As such, most estimates for per mile carbon footprint do not account for longer lasting batteries or cars whose drivetrains have million mile design lives.  This aspect of Tesla cars has been underappreciated to date.  How has this happened?

Most studies to date use a Nissan Leaf as a proxy vehicle.  It is a very popular BEV in Europe and was first to introduce a mass market production EV in the US.  The studies make the assumption that both the Leaf and the Tesla Model 3 have battery lives of about 100,000 miles.  In one of the most authoritative and rigorous articles published to date, Zeke Hausfather published, in Carbon Brief, Factcheck: How electric vehicles help to tackle climate change covers all the important issues, except, inexplicably, that of increased lifetime.  Fortunately, many Tesla owners have participated in providing data on their battery performance and have made it public.  They are finding that Tesla batteries are useable for 300,000 to 500,000 miles.  This is three to five times the assumed lifetime of the proxy Leaf.  When combined with the data in the Carbon Brief article, a complete picture emerges of the existing state of the art in Carbon Footprints for BEVs and for the expected improvements due to the 1 million mile batteries.  The findings are nothing short of stunning.  BEV’s outfitted with million mile batteries will reduce their carbon footprints by nearly 2 orders of magnitude when compared with ICE vehicles (see Figure 1 above) and over 1 order of magnitude when compared with the proxy Nissan Leaf (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2:  Comparisons of carbon footprints of different BEVs.  The flat curve is made with data that did not account for the longer lifetime of Tesla BEVs.  The second curve accounts for the longer life of current generation Tesla BEVs and for the anticipated Tesla BEVs expected to be formally announced at the September 22, 2020 Battery Investment day.

It is useful to compare these results to those that Tesla has published in their Environmental Impact Report. Their results for a Model 3 with million mile battery are nearly identical to those found here. For ICE ‘midsize premium sedans’ they utilized statistics from consumer reports to assess average fuel efficiency. Using that data they determined that the average ICE vehicle emits .92 lbs / Mile which is roughly within 1% of our results (using data from the Carbon Brief Article). For the million mile Model 3 with renewable generated electricity we found emissions to be .02 lbs / mile when charged with renewable sources. The Tesla report appears to have conflicting values of .02 lbs / mile (which is what we determined) and .074 lbs / mile which is about 3 times higher than we found but still quite good. My assumption is that that is a typo and the .074 number is for the current generation Model 3. It is reassuring that the Tesla data stands the test of an independent cross check.

If renewable energy is used in the manufacture and charging of Tesla BEVs and they successfully introduce the million-mile battery, CO2 emissions from ground transportation becomes a very small percentage of humankind’s carbon footprint.  Arguably it becomes small enough to be considered a solved problem. This is further supported by the trends which anticipate further reductions in embodied energy and longer lifetimes for batteries.

I offer a special note of recognition and commendation to the members of my 2019-2020 Stoughton High School Physics students who fully participated in the remote learning portion of our class.  They read and processed all of the source material and checked my calculations that were used for this article.

Disclosure: The author owns Tesla stock.

Copyright Clayton Handleman September 2020

Tools: This references this tool but be careful, you have to put in correct assumptions such as car lifetime etc. Otherwise it does not differentiate between makes and models.

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Climate Change Overview

Charts such as polar Ice, Temperature spirals, Extreme Weather in the news, Mythbusting

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Zero Carbon in 10 Years

Most carbon emissions are for energy production.  Nearly all of that can be transitioned to electricity.  Solar and wind produce electricity with zero carbon emissions.  Solar and Wind are now the least cost sources and therefore we can deploy them rapidly without economic hardship.

Energy intensive industries such as oil and gas will be dramatically reduced in size with the deployment of renewables and electrified transportation.  There are some such as the manufacture of concrete that emit carbon by virtue of the chemical processes required to manufacture them.  They are out of the scope of this series.  However, if we reduce carbon emissions by 90% it is reasonable to assume that the remaining 10% can be addressed by finding substitutes or developing carbon sequestration, such as reforestation and development of other natural carbon sinks.

I am ramping up the curve on Tesla.  Utterly amazing.  I have long been a fan of Elon Musk but now I just see it at a whole different level.  I believe he is on a level with da Vinci, Gauss and Newton.  Below is my repository of Tesla and Tesla relevant links.  They basically ARE the clean energy future:

All About RoboTaxis – April 22, 2019 – coming to a city near you 2020 – million mile model 3 in 2020

BATTERY DAY SUMMARY: September 23: Tesla Battery Day Summary – – Not much said about the million mile battery. However every other box was ticked. Most significantly, 50% cost reduction in 3 years! However they claim a 50% range increase which makes it possible to drive a car for a full day, recharging while sleeping at the hotel. End of discussion about charging being an inconvenient. Energy replenishment is easier with EVs now, except on trips. With the range extension people who want that convenience on trips will have it as well.

BATTERY DAY IMPLICATIONS: – September 24: Offers helpful insights into the expected scale and growth rate of Tesla. Tesla factories under construction will likely be the largest car/truck factories on the planet. Shanghai ==> 1 million vehicles per year, Berlin 2 Million, Austin at least 2 million. CA to ban sale of ICE by 2035.

About Million Mile Battery – Dec. 31 2019 – 1 TWhr annually – My second favorite Tesla Youtuber – go to his channel to see more.

Tony Seba on the next decade in transportation.  It is long and hard to believe, but worth the watch:  I think he is right – January 24, 2020 – 65 minutes. HERE is a shorter, similar video by one of his colleagues that focuses on renewable energy.

Tesla SemiMy favorite Tesla Youtuber.  Tesla Semi will revolutionize freight transportation!  –  Febuary 7, 2020 – 14:55  go to his channel to see much much more. This video does a nice job of further summarizing benefits of the Tesla Semi and itemizes some improvements that are expected in the production version.

Cyber TruckA good overview of Cyber Truck – November 2019 – 9:54 : Over 650,000 pre-orders.

The analyst who has nailed it WRT Tesla – Cathie Wood December 11, 2019 – 10:12

More Cathie Wood on Tesla – January 31, 2020 – 4:46 – “The other car companies are failing miserably, they are failing miserably” “To compete with Tesla they will have to sell every electric vehicle at a loss at the same time they are losing their internal combustion business”  “within the next 18 months, two years, the price of an electric vehicle, like for like categories, is going to drop below that for a gas powered vehicle.”

END TIMES:  Smart Money Is Divesting Here, Now is the Time (Actually Past Time) to Check 401k’s and 403b’s and Look for an Exit From These Industries.  Cut My Losses.

Cramer says “Oil is Done” : January 31, 2020 – – 11:14  Love how this guy makes fun of the people suggesting that Elon Musk is never going to succeed because there are some who say that he uses hallucinogenics.

Not Looking Good for Ford and GM:  13:02 – – Important Excerpts from VW CEO interview. 2020 / 2021 to be the break-out years for EVs. He says Tesla is the leader.

THE FUTURE IS BATTERIES AND BATTERIES ARE TESLA

While societal transformations used to be measured in millennia, in modern times transformation is so rapid that the shifts occur in about a decade. The 2nd decade of the 21st century will likely be remembered as the age of decarbonization. And while solar energy , wind energy and electric vehicles will be important contributors to this, the underlying technology that will tie it all together is the Li-Ion battery. And Tesla is leading that transformation.

This you-tuber The Limiting Factor has done a nice job of laying out the facts and details of how Tesla is leading and will continue to lead this positive societal disruption. Below are links to his 4 part series and another on Jeff Dahn, Tesla’s battery Guru :

Just the Numbers * Tesla Battery Investor Day Series

Technical Deep Dive * Tesla Battery Investor Day Series 3/3/2020

Partners and Scaling * Tesla Battery Investor Day Series

Terawatt Scaling Machine * Tesla Battery Investor Day Series

And This On Tesla’s Secret Weapon in Battery Development

Shirley Meng – Materials to Advance Li-Ion Batteries

The Secret Sauce – 10/14/2020 The first of several technical deep dives that offer understanding of the technology disclosed on battery day and the ramifications.

ADDITIONAL VIDEOS OF INTEREST TO INVESTORS

Great video with Elon Musk and Sandi Munro talking about the Model Y innovations. The least sexy aspect of all, metalurgy, may offer one of the most important technological breakthroughs.

Initial Results from Munro Model Y Tear Down – Paraphrasing ‘ Y is much better than 3’ Consider that Model 3 has been wildly successful. ‘Search on Munro Model Y’ for direct from Sandy Munro.

Final Results from Model 3 Tear Down – This car is profitable. While his initial work revealed that there were aspects of the Model 3 that weren’t so great, fit and finish details, when he dug deeper he liked what he say and the final result was very positive. His summarizing comment was “I’ll have to eat crow” i.e. my initial impressions were incorrect as to the overall value and profitability of the car.

Engineering comparison of Model 3, BMW i3 and Chevy Bolt – Model 3 is miles ahead.

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Policy for the New Decade

  • Primary Policy Recommendations
    • Require Real Time Metering and Price Signals For all Customers
    • Create a Legal Framework for Intrastate HVDC Power line Right-Of-Ways (ROW)
    • Require that All Sources (Including Storage) Be Permitted to Sell to the Grid on a Level Playing Field
  • Secondary
    • No Road Use Fees for EVs until they reach 10% market penetration
    • Fossil Fuel Companies begin paying into a clean-up fund immediately
    • Eliminate PTC for terrestrial Wind and:
      • For Double PTC for offshore fixed
        • double it for the first 20 GW deployed
        • half it after 20 GW
        • Eliminate after 40 GW is reached
      • For Triple PTC for offshore floating
        • Triple for the first 5 GW
        • Back off to double until 15 GW
        • Back of to 1X until 25 GW
        • Eliminate after 25 GW
      • Fund training for the new energy age.
        • EVs
          • Servicing
          • Infrastructure
          • Codes and standards enforcement (e.g. electrical inspectors)
        • Wind
          • Manufacture
          • System Design
          • Installation
          • Servicing
          • Codes and standards enforcement (e.g. electrical inspectors)
        • Solar
          • Manufacture
          • System Design
          • Installation
          • Servicing
          • Codes and standards enforcement (e.g. electrical inspectors)
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Renewables and Storage Cost Summary

Solar

Wind

Storage

EVs

 

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Climate Change Overview

  • Overview
  • Temperature Spirals
  • Ice Loss
  • Severe Weather
  • Mythbusting

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Electric Vehicles, Status and Timeline

Private Industry

This is already outdated and their numbers are turning out to be conservative so EV adoption rates are accelerating relative to mainstream forecasts – https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-ev-oil-crisis/

Policy: Countries Committing to Go All-In On Electric Vehicles

German Government Votes to Ban Internal Combustion Engines by 2030 https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/future-cars/news/a31097/german-government-votes-to-ban-internal-combustion-engines-by-2030/

France to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/06/france-ban-petrol-diesel-cars-2040-emmanuel-macron-volvo

Britain to ban new diesel and gas cars by 2040 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/26/world/europe/uk-diesel-petrol-emissions.html

Spain to Outlaw Diesel, Gasoline Car Sales in 2040 Under New Law https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-13/spain-to-outlaw-diesel-gasoline-car-sales-in-2040-under-new-law

Sweden to ban fossil-fuel cars by 2030 https://www.fleeteurope.com/en/safety/sweden/article/sweden-ban-fossil-fuel-cars-2030?a=FJA05&t%5B0%5D=&curl=1

Egypt, Israel Plan Bans on Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles https://www.cspdailynews.com/fuels/egypt-israel-plan-bans-gasoline-diesel-vehicles

Taiwan government sets timetable to ban sale of nonelectric vehicles by 2040 https://www.taiwantrade.com/news/taiwan-government-sets-timetable-to-ban-sale-of-nonelectric-vehicles-by-2040-1413698.html#

And how about this: a country flush with petroleum resources (18% of their GDP) announced this:

Norway to ‘completely ban petrol powered cars by 2025’ https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/norway-to-ban-the-sale-of-all-fossil-fuel-based-cars-by-2025-and-replace-with-electric-vehicles-a7065616.html

Car Companies That See The Writing On The Wall

GM Is Going All Electric, Will Ditch Gas- and Diesel-Powered Cars https://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/gm-going-all-electric-will-ditch-gas-diesel-powered-cars-n806806 https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/12/05/gm-building-billion-dollar-electric-vehicle-battery-factory-in-michigan/

Audi Puts Money Where Their Mouth Is, 12 Billion Euros in EV R&D – https://ww.electrek.co/2019/11/29/audi-accelerates-electric-vehicle-plans-12-billion-investment/

Volkswagen will stop making gas powered cars in 2026 https://fortune.com/2018/12/05/volkswagen-ending-gas-powered-cars/

Volvo to stop making gas-only cars in 2019 https://www.thedailybeast.com/volvo-to-go-all-electric-with-new-models-from-2019

Honda to stop producing gasoline-only vehicles by 2022 https://news.sky.com/story/honda-to-stop-producing-gasoline-only-vehicles-by-2022-11842268

Mercedes abandons petrol, diesel development https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/motoring-news/report-mercedes-abandons-petrol-diesel-development/news-story/5d8f7bca430bcc40e590c54f18f24c5b

Toyota Just Announced a Deadline for the Phasing out of Gas Engines https://futurism.com/toyota-just-announced-a-deadline-for-the-phasing-out-of-gas-engines

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Cyber Truck Genius or Insanity

With its brilliant design hidden in plain sight, this apparent Musk misstep will likely go down in history as his most masterful stroke of genius.  Here are a few ways that Cybertruck is super smart design, and no doubt there are many others that are not so easily seen.
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PLACEHOLDER:  I can find no public domain photos – Here is an article that has a photo.  I found it after I wrote this and it appears to echo many similar points.
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The truck finds synergies of design that improve its function while also reducing production fixed and variable costs.  By reducing the complexity of the factory it no doubt offers Tesla increased automation and lower complexity.  This means the manufacturing is highly scalable and can be replicated rapidly around the world.  The angular stainless steel appears to be a whimsical feature but it is the key to the design coming in at low cost for unit sales as well as manufacturability.
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– Stainless steel, no rust, no paint. Gets rid of a whole fleet of robots, paint rooms, and management of toxic waste. Frees up production space, increases how quickly factories can be set up.
– No curves. As one who has worked in production settings, no curves = far easier to maintain tolerances. Speed of creating tooling is dramatically increased, cost of tooling is reduced. Cost of production machinery is reduced.
– Truss structure = huge strength with less material.
– stainless steel, easier to handle, Probably has a plastic film during production so scratch and ding issues almost eliminated. Body parts can be stacked without spacers. Further reducing handling costs.
– Stainless is super strong, so probably fewer fasteners are required.
– Flat windshield, probably much less costly to manufacture and probably is a structural element reducing the amount of metal required further.
– Flat windshield is, no doubt easier and less costly to make, handle and install.
– Seals on flat surfaces are easier, it may even be gasket-less, less assembly labor and lower quality control costs.
– Maintenance for the owner is much lower than that for a typical ICE truck and the time required for maintenance is reduced (no oil changes, far less brake maintenance (due to regen braking) etc.
– And with folks finally figuring out that climate change is an issue, lots of folks will like its zero emissions.
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My initial reaction to this vehicle that was that Musk had lost his mind. After scrutinizing this, I am back to genius.   He and his team looked at and rethought an entire product category and they came up with a ‘better mousetrap’ which at $39k – $70k is right in there price-wise.  And as far as the product category goes and at first glance appears to be way ahead of the crowd in terms of utility:
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