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  • From our October 2020 newsletter: Electric Vehicles are coming

    Currently electric vehicles comprise 2% of autos on the road, but all major manufacturers of automobiles and trucks are investing billions of dollars to include electric vehicles in their new lineup of vehicle offerings. Over the next five years at least, they expect electric vehicles sales to increase by 50% a year globally. 

    The problem for electric cars has been their limited range and long battery charging times. Charging the battery at home at 120 volts in your garage can take 50 hours to get a full charge and at 220 volts it takes 10 to 15 hours. So, if you plan to travel more than 220 miles, you will have to recharge your batteries and in many cases spend the night between destinations. This has been a major drawback to electric vehicle sales and will continue until the technology is improved or the infrastructure for EVs is expanded.

    Another problem, which California residents are currently experiencing with the warm weather, is electrical brownouts in areas of California due to increased demand for electricity for air conditioning. There has not been enough additional generating capacity made available to handle the increased demand. This could be a similiar problem for widespread use of electric vehicles. Imagine millions of people coming home and plugging in their electric vehicles every evening for the next day's use and the demands that would put on the electrical grid. The electrical grid would have to expand in some ratio to the expansion growth of electrical vehicle sales. Another problem with electric cars is the charging of the cars during the night when the supply of solar and wind to generate additional capacity is a problem. Electricity cannot be stored in large quanities, so much longer battery life and higher electrical generation capacity will be needed.

    In the past, new innovations such as automobiles, cell phones, personal computers and the like, have been welcomed by a number of competitors, each recognizing a market for the new product. In 1915 there were over 200 car manufacturers, today there's only four American companies. The same with personal computers. There were a number of manufacturers of personal computers during the 80's most of which have been absorbed or gone out of business, leaving only a few very large manufacturing companies. CB ratios were the predecessor of cell phones; at one time there were over 100 companies manufacturing CB radios and now they're all but gone. The point is we can expect that all of the automobile companies globally will be offering a line of electric vehicles and over time that number of offerings will diminish and result in a smaller number of more efficient manufacturers. They are all just now ramping up.

    Electric vehicles will be beneficial for the climate because of the declining use of fossil fuels to power automobiles and trucks in the future. In 2020 there was a major decline in the price of oil which was accompanied by the closing of the economy due to COVID-19. The freeways and roadways of America were very lightly traveled and thus the demand for gasoline dropped significantly. The may be a look into the demand for gasoline-powered automobiles in the future. Recently the state of California announced that they would discontinue internal combustion usage for cars and trucks by 2035. So the demand for gasoline will decline and so will the price of crude oil and oil company profits.



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