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Plug In Car Adoption (expect updates)

I'm going to be taking my daughter to gymnastics in about a half hour, but I want to at least get a stub in -- expect updates.

I ordered my i3 about a year and a half ago, and got it a year and a few months ago. After I bought it, of course, oil plunged to incredibly low levels and the price of gas eventually dropped as well, while Cushing filled up to the point where people started actively worrying about whether that presented some risks or not (seismic, terrorist target, etc.) and we're now apparently at a point where there is more oil stockpiled than any time since 1930 and people are renting tankers and parking them off the coast in various places, waiting for oil prices to rise so they can sell it and make a bunch of money. Of course, this will probably work (eventually, for someone), but that process means that EVEN MORE oil will come onto the market, keeping markets depressed for some time to come.

There are a variety of political factors which have prevented supply capitulation, however, the pain has become great enough that a deal was apparently reached between a couple of the biggest producers: cap production at January levels (I know, right? How does this _help_? Only after demand grows enough to soak up the continuing overproduction), and quota it out in a way that allows Iran to increase sales now that they are finally allowed to sell, or otherwise they won't respect any agreement.

I had a question, tho. We're near the end of the Northern heating season. From now until summer driving season, consumption drops. What happens if summer driving season comes, and people drive ... and consumption still doesn't increase? Factors which could result in this include: better fuel efficiency, hybrids, electric cars. (Factors such as use of public or shared transportation do NOT contribute to net more miles driven and thus aren't contemplated here.) Can that happen? A few years ago, consensus was clear. There was no way that plug ins would be adopted at a rate that was going to influence ... anything, really, if you took the predictors seriously. Here is a sample prediction:


ON THE OTHER HAND, a quick look at the initial curves (the later curves predict even lower and slower adoption of plug ins and similar) suggests that as of the end of 2015, we've blown out the prediction by between a factor of two and three.

How did that happen (I feel like there's a dirty, dirty Dan Savage joke here, but I will refrain)?

My husband says: Tesla. Tesla basically took over all luxury car sales (an exaggeration -- but less of one that you might think). Nobody saw that coming! (<-- Also not true!) (Digression here about the impact of the Apple Watch on Swiss Watches. Poor Swiss Watch makers!)

I say: the Leaf. Nissan's commitment to moving the Leaf was quite incredible and very effective. In the middle, which we would prefer not to talk about, is the Volt. It is a plug in. You can -- if your trips are short enough -- drive it electric really quite a lot, and its overall gas mileage is very, very respectable. It sold in job lots. Enough said.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to see commentary -- and this is how I started thinking about this -- comparing the total ICE cars sold in the US vs total plug in cars sold. The thinking goes, look how teeny tiny the electric number is! That's so small! It can't influence anything! But when I saw it, it jolted me right out of my complacent yeah, this is gonna take years mentality, because that number was easily twice what I expected it to be.

There are now enough i3s on the road around here that it is still fun, but not unexpected to pass an i3 driver and see her (there's at least one other woman!!!) waving at me as we pass each other. We don't know each other -- we are just doing what everyone does when they drive a somewhat unusual vehicle and are happy to see someone Just Like Them. And i3s are _way_ down the list in terms of sales.

Where are the curves exploring the implications of CAFE regulations and car sharing and ride sharing and living closer to ones destinations and electric cars and wtf, where are the curves exploring the dampening effect on increasing demand for fuel? The increasing demand that is desperately needed right now (to destroy our climate! End life as we know it! Wait, that's sarcasm. Sorry!) to siphon up all that oil parked out in tankers off the coast, and sitting in tanks in Oklahoma, looking like a disaster waiting to happen (my prediction: it won't be seismic and it won't be violent: it'll be a bunch of leaks. Because that's what petrochemicals do. They leak.).


An interesting look at how many households could adopt BEVs or PHEVs or wtf; from 2011 or thereabouts.


2015 look at the state of electric vehicles in Hawaii:


Hawaii was expected to adopt electric vehicles at significant rates:


"Hawaii will have the highest number of plug-ins as a percentage of overall vehicle sales.

I was a little skeptical of this. Sure, the weather is great (cold weather reduces range. A lot.). But Hawaiian electricity is legendarily expensive.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 20th, 2016 04:44 pm (UTC)
33 cents per kWh is more than I expected. Thanks for making me look.
Their gas is a relative bargain at $2.70 when I paid $1.79 here yesterday. I wonder if some islands have different prices for electricity and gas.

I should look...

Now I see in the pdf how it does vary. I also see that they make a lot of power using oil. That's like Puerto Rico. 4% wind is interesting. 0% solar seems stupidly low. And http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/business/energy-environment/solar-power-battle-puts-hawaii-at-forefront-of-worldwide-changes.html?_r=0 shows how that 0 is wrong - wrong - wrong. They are going to have to figure out smart grid there sooner than later. Once they do, they'll have batteries everywhere. And Hobbs may want to sell his Hawaii Electric Company stock...

And the "tourists will rent electric cars" is interesting. I'm not quite sure what I think about that.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )