Even More Evidence That Electric Cars Could Save the Planet

Everyone’s saying it: The future of driving is electric. The big-name car companies have plans to start devoting Tesla some tough competition. Jaguar’s I-Pace electric SUV will be on sale soon, and Porsche is taunting a new conception Mission E Cross Turismo, which looks like an SUV’d Panamera( in a good way ). And normal cars for regular people are going the same way. Blended, Ford and GM plan to offer 34 full electric models in the next five years.

Add to that cities or even whole countries talking about banning sales of cars powered by internal combustion engines: Norway( by 2025 ), India( by 2030 ), France and the UK( 2040 ). China, the world’s largest car market, has considered the idea, and in the meantime has imposed some of the planet’s most stringent environmental standards.

All this change comes in the name of environmental protection, eliminating the pollutants that stimulate cities gross and unhealthy and the CO 2 that contributes to global climate change. Instead, have the people drive battery-powered electric cars, the kind without exhaust pipes and that run emissions free. But the energy to charge the things has to come from somewhere. And if that place starts with burning coal, for example, then how green is your electric car, truly?

The Union of Concerned Scientists has just crunched the latest numbers to find the answer. The outcomes depend on where in the US you live and drive, but in general battery boosters can breathe easy.

“For the US overall, an electric vehicle is much cleaner than a gasoline vehicle, even when you take into account the emissions from natural gas, coal, or however else you’re generating the electricity, ” says Dave Reichmuth, a senior technologist in the nonprofit’s clean vehicles program. And as the electric grid moves away from dirty fuel sources, the gap is widen. The UCS study appears beyond driving-related emissions to consider the entire supply chain that goes into stimulating vehicles run. For the gas guys, that means all the emissions links with extracting crude oil are included. For electrics, the UCS employs power plant emissions data regarding the EPA, and includes the environmental cost of mining coal, for example. Because different chunks of the country build power in different ways, research results vary by region.

To put everything on the same scale, the researchers turned their computations into a familiar format: miles per gallon. An electric car driver in renewable-happy California is doing as much damage to the environment as a gas automobile that gets 109 miles per gallon. In Texas, that number drops to 60 mpg. In the center of the country, around Illinois and Missouri, it’s only 39 mpg. Nationwide, under this system, electric cars make the same emissions as automobiles that get 80 mpg–making them several times cleaner than the average economy of regular automobiles, which hovers around 28 mpg.

The impact of electric vehicles depends on how that energy is generated, which varies by region.

Union of Concerned Scientists

In 2009, when the UCS started running these figures, an electric car in California would get only 78 mpg. In Kansas and Colorado, they’d be luck to make 35 — now those areas have jumped to 46 mpg. Credit the increase to the country’s shift away from coal, which in 2009 induced half the nation’s electricity, and now makes about a third, and toward renewables, which now account for 10 percentage of electricity generation. “Even use EVs that are out there are getting cleanser over period, and that doesn’t happen with a gas car, ” Reichmuth says.

The engineer stresses that his figures are based on the average electric car, but all EVs are not created equal. A big, heavy electric SUV won’t get as many miles from its electrons as a small, aerodynamic auto. Reichmuth says the most efficient automobiles are currently the Hyundai Ioniq EV, the Tesla Model 3, and the Toyota Prius Prime( when it’s in electric-only mode ). Driving one of those vehicles would equate to getting 147 mpg in California.

The global scene isn’t quite so clear, but the same principles is only applicable. If the bulk of your energy production comes from coal( looking at you, India, Russia, and China ), then driving an electric car won’t bringing the same benefits. Norway, on the other hand, with 98 percent renewable energy generation, builds California look like a smog-covered dump.

If you live in a coal country but want your electric habit to make a bigger change, consider pairing your auto with rooftop solar panel. Tesla sells fancy solar roof tiles and home battery storage solutions; Mercedes also offers a home battery. And so America’s driving habit gets ever cleaner, from generation to acceleration.

Charge Accounts

If you’re thinking of buying an electric car, you’re about to get a lot more choices. 2018 is the year conceptions start hitting the market as real vehicles.

There are still issues around power supply. EVs could destroy the grid, or fix it.

But don’t rule out gas engines just yet–engineers are determined to attain them more and more efficient.

Jaguar reveals the new all-electric I-PACE SUV

Jaguar has finally fully revealed the official I-PACE all-electric SUV, a vehicle with just under 240 miles of range and a 0 to 60 mph time of under five seconds. The car can also charge to 80 percent from empty in 40 minutes using special quick charger hardware, and a 15-minute top-up is good for around 62 miles of additional range.

The I-PACE looks like Jaguar’s best attempt to do a Tesla impression in more ways than the electric powertrain, however: The automaker is also promising over-the-air updates for the car, and connected controls that tie in to a mobile app for your phone, including charging status information. OTA is a first for Jaguar with this new EV offering.

In the cabin, there are touchscreens for infotainment readout, along with standard physical controls for additional cabin control options. The vehicle has the silhouette and physical footprint of a crossover or compact SUV, but it’s also designed to make the most of its interior and luggage space, with fold-flat rear seats and nearly 400 gallons of total interior volume with that configuration.

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The car’s battery is located centrally in the base of the car, which provides a 50/50 weight distribution split between the back and front of the vehicle according to Jaguar. Those batteries power front and back axle motors, which means it’s also an all-wheel drive vehicle, and of course emits zero emissions.

Pre-orders for the car start today, and the SUV will begin being delivered to buyers in the second half of 2018. We’ll find out about U.S. pricing, and get a closer look at the car, next week at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.

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Faraday Future might be in even bigger difficulty than we supposed

Can the automaker deliver in the midst of disagreement ?
Image: Lance Ulanoff/ mashable

At CES 2017, Faraday Futurewas one of the biggest draws.

The upstart automaker devoted the first buzzy( if not a bit nauseating) presentation of the demonstrate when it unveiled the FF 91, complete with a record violating 0 to 60 mph acceleration down a test track.

It was an exciting moment up until the event, the public had never seen anything close to a working production vehicle. While the autonomous system reached a few snags during its own demo, this was the first proof the automaker might be able to fulfill its initial promise to challenge Tesla’s reign as the preeminent name in the all-electric car space.

But if a report published today by Business Insider must therefore be believed, it was all a charade “ve been meaning to” distract from the company’s impending implosion. Representatives for Faraday Future and its partner/ backer LeEco, the Chinese electronics company, called the report “speculation” and dedicated no further comment.

According to the report, which quotes eight “executives” said to have intimate knowledge of Faraday Future’s business, the company is apparently “in shamblings, ” being abandoned by executive-level the workers and facing a shortage of cash in the face of mounting debts.

Faraday’s executive and fiscal woes aren’t exactly news but the scope of the company’s problems, especially after the FF91 debut, could be.

BI claims that many of Faraday’s issues stem from the disconnect between Chinese investor Jia Yueting’s LeEco team and its US-based executives. According to one of the sources, the style the automaker is being treated by Yueting induces it more of “a subsidiary” than a standalone priority.

The one surefire route the company could stay afloat “wouldve been” success of the its FF91 car.

“If they can’t figure out a route to get the money out of China in the next 60 days, the suppliers would basically force them into bankruptcy, ” one of the sources told BI .

The one surefire way the company could stay afloat “wouldve been” success of the its FF91 car. However, the company says it won’t ship until 2018.

One source told BI even that timeline was highly unlikely, calling the demo of the car “a bunch of bulls-.”

Still, the FF91 turned a lot of heads at CES, so and things seemed even better when Faraday announced it received more than 64, 000 preoders for the car following the show.

But the company didn’t disclose the breakdown of those reservations anyone preordering could do so without putting any fund down, although Faraday offered a “priority” sign-up that required a $5,000 deposit. Faraday has not disclosed how many priority orders it received, but research reports claims that real number is comically low: Merely 60 people submitted a paid reservation.

When reached for comment by Mashable about the reservation numbers and BI ‘s other claims, a Faraday Future rep had nothing to share. “We are unable to provide specific details with regards to reservation type, ” he said via email. “The specific number mentioned in the BI article came from an anonymous source and therefore we cannot comment onspeculation.”

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How Electric Cars Can Create the Biggest Disruption Since the iPhone

It’s been 10 years since Apple Inc . unleashed a surge of innovation that upended the mobile phone industry. Electric vehicles, with a little assistance from ride-hailing and self-driving technology, could be about to pull the same trick on Big Oil.

The rise of Tesla Inc.and its challengers could be turbo charged by complementary services from Uber Technology Inc. and Alphabet Inc .‘s Waymo division, just as the iPhone rode the app economy and fast mobile internet to decimate mobile phone giants like Nokia Oyj.

The culmination of these technologies — autonomous electric cars available on demand — could transform how people travel and confound predictions that battery-powered vehicles will have a limited impact on petroleum demand in the coming decades.

” Electric vehicles on their own may not add up to much ,” David Eyton, head of technology at London-based petroleum giant BP Plc, said in an interview.” But when you add in automobile sharing, ride pooling, the numbers can get significantly greater .”

Most forecasters watch the shifting away from petroleum in transport as an incremental process provide guidance to slow improvements in the cost and capacity of batteries and progressive tighten of emissions standards. But big economic shifts are rarely that straightforward, said Tim Harford, the economist behind a book and BBC radio series on historic innovations that disrupted the economy.

Systemic Change

” These things are a lot more complicated ,” he said. Rather than electric motors gradually replacing internal combustion engines within the existing model, there’s probably going to be” some degree of systemic change .”

That’s what happened 10 years ago. The iPhone didn’t just offer people a new way to construct telephone call; it generated an entirely new economy for multibillion-dollar companies like Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment Oy or WhatsApp Inc. The fundamental nature of the mobile phone business changed and incumbents like Nokia and BlackBerry Ltd. were replaced by Apple and makers of Android handsets like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

Today, as Elon Musk’s Tesla and established automakers like General Motors Co . are striving to making such a electric cars desirable consumer products, companies like Uberand Lyft Inc. are turning transport into an on-demand service and Waymo is testing fully autonomous vehicles travelling along the streets of California and Arizona.

Combine all three, for example through an Alphabet investment in Lyft, and you have a new model of transport as a service that would be a inexpensive compelling alternative to traditional vehicle ownership, according to RethinkX, a think tank that investigates technology-driven disruption.

One key advantage of electric cars is the lack of mechanical complexity, which builds them more suitable for the heavy employ allowed by driverless technology, Francesco Starace, chief executive officer of Enel SpA, Italy’s largest utility, said in an interview.” I don’t see driverless being pushed into internal combustion engine” vehicles, he said.

After disassembling General Motors’s Chevrolet Bolt, UBS Group AG concluded there needs to be almost no upkeep, with the electric motor having only three moving portions compared with 133 in a four-cylinder internal combustion engine.

” Competitiveness very much depends on the utilization of the car ,” Laszlo Varro, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said in an interview. The average Uber vehicle encompasses a third more distance than the typical middle-class family automobile in Europe, amplifying the benefit of lower operating costs to the point that” the oil price at which it stimulates sense to switch to electric is $30 per barrel lower ,” he said.

Uber on Steroids

The total cost of ownership of electrical and oil-fueled vehicles will reach parity in 2020 for shared-mobility fleets, five years earlier than for individually-owned vehicles, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Already in London, Uber plans for its UberX service to be hybrid or fully electric by the end of 2019. Its rival Lyft aims to provide at least 1 billion rides a year in autonomous electric vehicles by 2025, saying they can be used much more efficiently than gasoline-powered cars.

This combination would be” the Uber model on steroids ,” Steven Martin, chief digital officer and vice president of General Electric Co .‘s Energy Connections unit, said in an interview.” Once you have complete autonomous operation of a vehicle, then my desire to own one is going to go down and I’ll be more willing to sign up to a subscription service .”

Autonomous Hurdles

The transition to fully autonomous fleets may not match the speed of the smartphone revolution because of the many regulatory, legal, ethical and behavioral impediments. Self-driving technology should become available in the 2020 s, but won’t be widely adopted until 2030, BNEF says.

Even so, the shifting to electric cars could displace about 8 million barrels a day of petroleum demand by 2040, more than the 7 million barrels a day Saudi Arabia exports today, the London-based researcher says. That could have a significant impact on oil prices–a drop-off of 1.7 million barrels a day in global intake during the 2008 -2 009 financial crisis caused prices to slump from $146 a barrel to $36.

That doesn’t mean petroleum giants like BP or Exxon Mobil Corp . are heading for an inevitable Nokia-style downfall. While transport gasolines account for the majority of their sales, they also have huge industries turning crude into chemicals used for everything from plastics to fertilizer. They also pump large volumes of natural gas and produce renewable energy, both of which could benefit from increased energy demand.

Even if electric vehicles do grow as rapidly as BNEF forecasts, the world currently devours 95 million barrels a day and other sources of demand will keep grow, said Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist. The London-based energy giant expects battery-powered automobiles to reduce petroleum demand by simply 1 million barrels a day by 2035, while also acknowledging possibilities for a much larger impact if the industry has an iPhone moment.

The sheer breadth of the health risks disruption makes it hard to predict what will happen. When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, few people anticipated that it entailed difficulty for makers of everything from cameras to chewing gum.

” The smartphone and its apps constructed new business models possible ,” said Tony Seba, a Stanford University economist and one of the founders of RethinkX.” The mix of sharing, electric and driverless cars could disrupt everything from parking to insurance, petroleum demand and retail .”

Volkswagen I.D. electric car to have a 373 -mile range when it arrives in 2020

After it was discovered in September 2015 that Volkswagen doctored its cars’ diesel engines to give false reads in emissions tests a costly mistake known as the Dieselgate scandal the company had no choice but to thoroughly change its strategy.

And change it it did: The company simply unveiled its an all-new, fully electric car, the Volkswagen I.D.

The car was teased with a few promo pictures a few weeks ago, and the company presented a prototype at the Paris Motor Show on Wednesday and exposed a few key facts. It’s a roughly Golf-sized hatchback with a 125 kW electric motor with zero emissions. It’s Volkswagen’s first automobile to be based on the company’s Modular Electric Drive( MEB) architecture, which should make better employ of space than the company’s current hybrid models. It will have an impressive, but currently quite vague range; Volkswagen says it’ll be “up to 600 kilometers”( 373 miles ).

It’s no wonder, however, that Volkswagen doesn’t are extremely exact numbers at this phase, as the I.D. is slated to hit the roads in 2020. Volkswagen has plans for the I.D. even further down the road: the company claims the car will be fully autonomous in “I.D. Pilot” mode in 2025.

As for the cost, Volkswagen says it will have a price on the level of today’s Golf Diesel with comparable power. That’s less than $30,000 in the U.S ., though we don’t know whether that’s before or after tax credit.

Although 2020 seems far away, there aren’t that many affordable electric cars with a 200+ mile scope around. In fact, I can only think of one, the recently announced Chevy Bolt, which expenses $37,450( before tax credit) and will arrive at Chevy dealership later this year. Tesla’s Model 3, which is expected to have a 215 -mile range and a $35,000 cost( before tax credit ), should start shipping in late 2017. Whether Volkswagen is able to back up its bold asserts about pricing and range is another matter; it certainly has time to work on the I.D ., but by then, it’s likely that Tesla, Chevrolet and others will already be depicting second or third iterations of their fully electric, affordable household cars.

In its press release from the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen also mentioned a automobile that’s far closer to production, a new generation of its e-Golf. It will have a 300 km( 186 miles) zero-emission range and gesture control when it launchings in November.

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Henrik Fisker’s Back (Again) With a Tesla Rival (Again)

Fisker Inc.

Automotive designer Henrik Fisker has an ambitious plan to make electric vehicles cool. It starts with a jaw-dropping sedan for the rich and ends a few years later with an affordable sedan for the masses.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Fisker first sang this tune in 2008 when he launched Fisker Automotive. Thecompany went bust in 2013 after sellinga few hundred copies of the bug-ridden Karma sedan to the likes of Leonardo DeCaprio and Colin Powell. Well, Fisker is back with a new company, called, appropriately, Fisker Inc., and a plan that he swears is gonna work this time. (Hey, it’s working for Elon Musk.)

Fisker the man has kept busy since Fisker the company tanked. He customized a Ford Mustang, giving it extra fierceness and outrage. He designed a motorcycle for the heir to the Lego fortune and a yacht for Italian shipmaker Benetti. And he teamed up with industry rabble-rouser Bob Lutz to stuffhuge engines into lovely cars. Cool projects, but nothing that will change the world.

And so, Fisker—who has no role whatsoever withthe born-again Karma Revero—is back with another electric vehicle that he pledgeswill rival Tesla for electric cool.

Today, hisstartup released some slickrenderings of the EMotion, a sporty luxury sedan with some pretty outlandish claims: 161 mph top speed and a range of 400 miles using top-secret graphene battery tech from UCLA-backed startup Nanotech Energy Inc.

The EMotion, which looks like someone weldedthe Karma’s nose to Tesla’s Model 3, will boast “butterfly” doors. Why? Because fancy futuristiccars can’t have conventionaldoors, obvi. It will carry hardware to allow for fully autonomous driving. Made by who? “A soon-to-be-announced partnered supplier,” per the press release. And Fisker will follow this luxury car with an affordable version, so the unwashed masses can forget all about gasoline. When? Sometime after the EMotion debuts in mid-2017.

It’s pure Fisker: great looks, big promises. Maybe this time he’ll deliver.

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This Electric Truck Will Probably Beat Teslas to Market

On the evening of Nov. 16, Elon Musk unveiled the most recent prop in his Tony Stark cosplay. Tesla Inc .‘s all-electric semi rig met all the classic Musk product launch criteria: It appeared stunning, had unprecedented performance numbers, included features straight out of science fiction, and would arrive at some unknown date at a too-good-to-be-true price from a still-to-be-built assembly line.

Ten miles from the cramped Los Angeles airport hangar where thousands of Muskovites were swooning, a 25 -year-old named Dakota Semler watched the performance on his telephone, flung a piece of sushi into his mouth, and shrugged. Semler, you ensure, has an all-electric semi of his own, a matte-black curvaceous truck known for now as the ET1. It’s the first vehicle from his startup, Thor Trucks, which hopes to grab a tiny slice of the 940,000 -unit-a-year market for semis and go after short-haul trucks, delivery vans, and work vehicles. Like Tesla’s rig, the ET1 is meant to bring cleaner-running transportation to heavy industry without sacrificing performance. And like Tesla’s, it’s a head-turner.” Everyone thinks we’ve built a Transformer ,” says Semler, Thor’s chief executive officer.

Semler and his 17 employees must contend with extremely long odds, but dramatic advances in battery technology, electric motors, and control software have attained electric trucks more practical. While electric trucks will cost more upfront than diesel guzzlers, Tesla, Thor, and a handful of others suddenly have the range and horsepower to argue that customers will come out ahead in the long term, thanks to lower gasoline and upkeep expenses. Electric vehicles, of course, also pollute less, a serious consideration as cities and states prepare legislation aimed at phasing out dirtier diesel.

Working at his family’s businesses, a military-electronics supplier and a vineyard, helped result Semler to electric trucks.

Photographer: Angie Smith for Bloomberg Businessweek

As Semler drives the ET1 around Hollywood, gawkers whip out their telephones to take photos. The heavy-duty semi, which has a 22 -inch touchscreen on its dashboard and a winged black logo splashed across its grille, uses a beach-ball-size electric motor and a couple of big battery packs to carry as much as 80,000 pounds of shipment, the industry standard for the highest class of truck. When it starts shipping in 2019, the ET1 will have a $150,000 starting price tag and a 300 -mile range, meaning it’ll compete with medium-duty delivery trucks.

With a looking straight out of spoiled-Malibu-kid central casting, Semler doesn’t scream trucking magnate. He grew up in the family business: one, a supplier of military electronics; the other, the Malibu Wines vineyard.” When I was 7, I’d work in shipping and pack boxes at the electronics factory, and then over the summers I’d shovel manure at the vineyard ,” he says. By the time he was a teen, he’d overseen the development of a line of decorative wine barrels and converted the vineyard’s diesel trucks to run on garbage vegetable oil. At 21, Semler began operating safari tours at Malibu Wines, offering people a chance to sip wine while driving next to zebras, giraffes, and water buffaloes obtained from sanctuaries and private collections.

Managing the dozens of vehicles at the vineyard resulted Semler to electric trucks. He’d dealt with California’s exacting regulations for diesel emissions and could see more kerbs coming, earlier today last year he started retrofitting a diesel semi rig in the back of his family’s 30,000 -square-foot North Hollywood warehouse for electronics equipment. Not far away from pilings of Vietnam War-era radios and antennae, there’s now a large open space where the Thor team works.

The small team is working to customize clients’ fleets according to their specifications.

Photographer: Angie Smith for Bloomberg Businessweek

For the moment, the startup is more of a vehicle customizer than a true manufacturer. It rends the diesel motor and pertained innards out of an existing vehicle and replaces them with an electric motor and batteries. Thor has focused on doing its own battery-pack the investigations and manufacturing to cram hundreds of small lithium ion batteries into a tight, safe receptacle, and its software engineers write applications that maximize the packs’ charging abilities and life spans. Look around the Thor warehouse, and you’ll assure UPS-style trucks and extended-body pickups awaiting adjustment. The goal, according to Semler, is to work on a one-off basis, customizing clients’ fleets per their specifications.

Semler’s enthusiasm is infectious. He’s funded Thor with his own fund( he won’t say how much) and hired technologists from places such as Boeing Co ., electric-car maker Faraday& Future Inc ., and Chinese electrics leader BYD Auto Co . But Thor is trying to become a bespoke electric-vehicle maker at a time when the biggest names and fattest billfolds in trucking are pouring fund into the market. And bearing in mind the fact that neither Semler nor his co-founder, Giordano Sordoni, has an engineering background, it seems less like a company than a dreaming.” There’s a propensity to simplify the truck market and think there will be one winner here ,” Semler says.” The reality is that there are all kinds of run trucks, and we’re designing a type of transportation lab be adapted to all of these .”

A small team working speedily stands a decent opportunity of carving out a niche, says Mike Britt, who expended 30 years at United Parcel Service Inc . handling the maintenance of its trucking fleets and working on alternative-fuel vehicles.” The big trucking companies only aren’t quite as nimble ,” says Britt, who now operates MG Britt Consulting Inc.” UPS utilized many small startups to construct 200 to 2,000 alternative-fuel vehicles. It’s when you start to ramp above those numbers, and need real production expertise and facilities, that things could get trickier for Thor .”

What Tesla’s new Gigafactory means for electric vehicles

Teslas newGigafactoryopened at the end of July in Nevada, with much excitement from both the media and the general public. Only 14 percent of the massive structure has been built, with the rest of the $5 billion project to be concluded by 2020. According to Tesla, battery cell production will start in 2017; by 2018, the Gigafactory should be cranking out cars to the tune of 500,000 Model 3s per year.A big part of Teslas need to build the Gigafactory lies in the reduced expenses for lithium-ion battery production it provides.

The Gigafactory is a marvel of modern production technology, a machine that builds machines, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk puts it. In addition to being cool, it offers unprecedented economies of scale for lithium-ion battery production, lowering the pricefrom $190 per kWh in April 2016 to an estimated $130 per kWhonce complete. The huge scale of the production, coupled with reduction of waste and a vastly reduced supply chain, provide significant savings and ultimately a 30 percent reduction in battery production costs.

The Gigafactory is a big statement from Musk, and a clear sign that Tesla believes the world is ready for full electrics. But does the world agree?Are lithium-ion batteries the way to go? The total number ofcars sold in 2015 was around72.37 million. Electric vehicles accounted for around 0.8 percent, or540,000, of that number, a significant step up from about 376,000 EVs sold in 2014, but still less than 1 percent of cars sold worldwide.

As far as Tesla goes, thecompanysold 50,580 vehicles in 2015, 0.07 percent of all cars sold globally, less than 10 percent of all electric vehicle sales. So, Tesla is winning the publicity battle, but so far its the big, traditional car manufacturers such as Renault-Nissan that are winning the zero emissions war. Nissan-Renault, the manufacturer of Nissan LEAF, the most-sold EV in the world, and a slew of other electric vehicles, sold 100,000 EVs between August 2015 and August 2016.

So for now, Tesla has gone all-in for lithium-ion batteries. What other options are there? Brands such as Ford, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Toyota essentially all the big players on the market are working mostly on hybrids in addition to their traditional lines of cars. To understand the benefits and downsides of each type of car, lets first take a closer look at the electric and hybrid vehicles on the market today.

From Prius to Model X

Electric and hybrid cars can be divided into four main groups: Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) and Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles. Each have their advantages and disadvantages, but whats certain is that each type is a more environmentally friendly choice than a conventional, fossil fuel-powered combustion engine vehicle.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEVs)

Battery electric cars rely only on the battery pack to power the engine, which means the range is generally fairly limited. The one exception currently is Tesla; their Model S has reached a range of around 270 miles or 430 kilometers although the numbers Tesla provides must be taken with a grain of salt, because the range depends largely on the size of battery pack you choose, how fast you drive, how cold or warm the weather is, whether you are using air conditioning or not, etc.

As mentioned, no other car manufacturers build only BEVs, but many companies are offering them in addition to their plug-in hybrids and traditional gas- or diesel-powered cars. In addition to Tesla, the best-known examples are the i3 from BMW, the Chevrolet Spark EV, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Nissan LEAF.

The Gigafactory is a big statement from Musk, and a clear sign that Tesla believes the world is ready for full electrics.

The biggest problem BEVs have is the lack of charging stations, and the time it takes to fully charge the battery pack. Tesla is working on building their Supercharger network to solve the issue, but other car brands are currently not able to use the Supercharger network.Of course, the lack of range only becomes an issue when you need to travel longer distances than a typical daily commute to work and back.

Another hurdle that BEVs need to cross is the high price of purchase. Once again, this is something Tesla is looking to remedy, and a large number of potential buyers are eagerly awaiting the launch of Model 3. However, the Model 3, Teslas lowest-priced EV starting at $35 000, is still not an inexpensive car by any means.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Plug-in hybrids have a conventional gas- or diesel-powered engine in addition to a battery pack. Hybrids are popular because they combine long range and low fuel consumption. PHEVs can be recharged from an outlet and the battery pack can be used for short distances. Once the power runs out, they can be recharged, or the driver can rely on the engine to keep driving. PHEVs are, of course, not as environmentally friendly as full EVs or fuel-cell EVs, but pollute significantly less than traditional cars.BMW i8, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are some well-known examples of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the market today.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles(HEVs)

Conventional hybrids with gas-powered engines and electric motors are actually not considered electric vehicles and cannot be recharged from the power grid. They are powered entirely by a gasoline engine and regenerative braking. The best-known examples of HEVs are Toyota Prius, the first truly successful hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid.

Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)

The last option for the green-thinking consumer is the fuel-cell powered FCEV class. Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles usually operate by converting hydrogen gas into electricity to power an electric motor. The conversion process of hydrogen gas to electricity produces only water and heat, which means the FCEV class is the only class of EVs together with BEVs that can be classified as zero-emissions vehicles.

Theres one major difference between FCEV and BEV vehicles, though, and that is the Achilles heel ofBEVs: lack of range. FCEVs rival modern gas engines in range and fueling is just as easy, with about five minutes needed to fill the fuel cell.

So why are there not more FCEVs on the road today? The technology is relative new, which means the biggest problem is lack of fueling infrastructure and, of course, as vehicle production numbers are currently low, the price per unit is high. Of the few FCEVs currently on the market, the Hyundai Tucson FCEV is only available for lease, and prices for the most-sold FCEV to date, Toyota Mirai, start at around $58,000. There are also many problems associated with the production and storage of hydrogen, which well dig into a bit later.

Whats holding back electric vehicles?

To give you an idea of the timescales in which the car industry works, consider this: Toyota started development on its FCEV technology in 1992 and started selling the Toyota Mirai in 2015. Thats 23 years. Its very common for car models to reach an age of 7-8 years before getting a facelift, which might just mean minor changes to the design of the car and possibly some upgrades under the hood.

Now lets compare that to Tesla. Founded in 2003, Tesla brought its first car, the Roadster, on the market in 2008. Musk has later admitted that the Roadsterwas completely unsafe, it broke down all the time, and it didnt really work.Nonetheless, to bring a new car model to the market five years after the company was founded is impressive. Eight years removed from the launch of the Roadster, Tesla has the Model S and the Model X, with Model 3 a few years away.

In the time most car manufacturers make mostly cosmetic changes to existing models that are based on old, proven technology, Tesla brought to market completely new car models with highly complicated, often unproven technology. Without Tesla lighting a fire under the backsides of the more traditional car companies, its very likely that electric cars would experience a slower introduction to the market.

Fossil fuels possess energy density capabilities far beyond what batteries can achieve.

But the Tesla engineers cant solve all the problems of the electric car industry by themselves.

Lets turn our attention to energy storage, an undervalued industry. There is a lot of talk about renewable energy production, but energy storage is sort of an afterthought to many. If you have ever wondered why renewable energy is not more prevalent despite us possessing the technology to power the world with it, the reason is energy storage.

Wind and sunlight are inherently unstable sources of energy, because the sun doesnt shine 24 hours a day, nor does the wind howl away at an endless, steady pace. Energy storage devices are needed to balance the times of highs and lows. The small, incremental improvements in battery technology over the last 267 years since Benjamin Franklin first coined the term battery to describe a set of linked capacitors he was using have not been enough to keep up with the ever-growing global need for energy storage.

The same logic that applies to our homes, factories and shopping centers applies to our cars. Fossil fuels possess energy density capabilities far beyond what batteries can achieve, which means that despite their well-documented drawbacks concerning the environment, gasoline-powered cars will not disappear until energy storage catches up.

For a typical consumer, the jump from a combustion engine to a full electric, or even a hybrid, is a big leap. Even with constant upgrades and advancements in battery technology, lithium-ion batteries are heavy and suffer from capacity deterioration, leading to EV owners having to change the battery packs in their Teslas, or other electric vehicles, within 5-10 years. By Teslas own admission, the battery pack capacity starts deteriorating latest at 4-5 years of use, andby the 8th year, the battery pack capacity is expected to have decreased by 30 percent. With range being the top concern for most buyers, thats cause for worry, especially with the price of a battery pack replacement hovering currently at a minimum of$12,000, according to Tesla, although the talk on theTesla Motors Club forums circles at much higher numbers: from$25,000-$45,000.

The prices for EVs will decrease as the technologies involved become mainstream and economies of scale come into play with higher production numbers, so the problem we are left with is range. Extending the range requires one of two things: adding more batteries, which makes the car much heavier, or a rapid acceleration in the energy storage capability of lithium-ion batteries.

Adding more batteries is hardly an ideal solution, but can we expect big increases in lithium-ion battery capacity? Current lithium-ion batteries hold more than twice the amount of energy compared to the first Sony-manufactured lithium-ion batteries introduced to the market in 1991. If a doubled capacity in 25 years of constant research is the best the smartest people on the planet can achieve, its not realistic to expect huge increases. In fact, the consensus among the research community is thatat most a 30 percent increase in energy by weight is possible for lithium-ion batteries. What that means is that lithium-ion batteries will never be the solution electric vehicles need to dethrone the internal combustion engine.

Without Tesla lighting a fire under the backsides of the more traditional car companies, its very likely that electric cars would experience a slower introduction to the market.

Knowing that, why in the world would Tesla put all its figurative eggs in the lithium-ion basket? Because lithium-ion batteries are currently the most cost-effective solution to furthering Elon MusksMaster Plan, Part Deux, the key word being currently.

Therefore,Teslas gung-ho approach to lithium-ion batteries should not be taken as a statement on the future of electric vehicle energy storage. Tesla is an early adopter, and even more often the inventor of new technologies, and will surely adopt any advantage in energy storage they deem viable enough to improve on the current designs, regardless of the investment made into lithium-ion batteries.Musk himself haspredictedthatultracapacitors, not batteries, will be the breakthrough for electric vehicles.

Whats preventing Tesla from using ultracapacitors?Ultracapacitors, or supercapacitors as they are also known, have several advantages over batteries, the incumbent energy storage technology. Ultracapacitors charge and discharge in seconds, have a lifetime up to 500 times that of lithium-ion batteries and are highly reliable. Sounds perfect, right? Well, not quite. Energy density, theone crack in theultracapacitor armor, is keeping them off car manufacturers short list of potential replacements for lithium-ion batteries. Theyre perfect for powering start-stop and Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, but alone theyre not the answer.

The future of electric vehicles

Sooner or later, the reign of lithium-ion batteries will come to an end, because the inherent limitations of lithium-ion batteries mean that better alternatives must emerge.If we circle back to the four types of electric vehicles discussed earlier, only one does not rely on battery technology: the Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle.

Hydrogen, the fuel used in FCEVs, is an extremely plentiful element, and when pure hydrogen is derived from renewable energy sources, the entire chain of energy production and consumption is free from carbon emissions. There is a group of devoted FCEV believers within the automotive industry; Toyota is perhaps the most enthusiasticamong them.Toyota and Honda have been feverishly working on their FCEV models, with the Toyota Mirai and the Honda Clarity both already on the market, to get a head start on other manufacturers, but the competition is getting its act together. Lexus and Audi both debuted their hydrogen concept cars, theLF-LCand theh-tron quattrorespectively, at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

At the outset, hydrogen looks like a promising alternative to fuel the future of transportation, but what does Elon Musk think? When asked to comment on FCEVs while visiting the Automotive World News Congress in Detroit in 2015, Musk was, true to his nature, quite direct in his appraisal,calling FCEVs incredibly dumb.Musk is not alone in his scathing criticism. Robert Zubrin, the author of Energy Victory, was quoted in the Economist as saying hydrogen isjust about the worst possible vehicle fuel.

The disdain is easier to understand if we look at the two biggest problems FCEVs face: the production and delivery of large quantities of hydrogen. Its currently very costly to produce hydrogen, especially carbon-free, and transferring it is equally expensive. Not to mention that the electricity needed to produce hydrogen could be directly used to power electric vehicles already on the market.Its looking increasingly likely that FCEVs, despite not relying on batteries, are not the answer.

Where are we headed, then? We can already produce theutopian dream of an electric car enthusiast: a zero-emissions electric vehicle that uses acombination of ultracapacitors and batteries. Batteries provide the range, ultracaps the power and regenerative energy itsa perfect marriage of slow and fast energy storage. Is it perfect as a car? Not even close. Its pricey, and either extremely heavy with longish range, or just heavier than an average car, but with a very limited range. In some years, lithium-ion batteries will hit a wall, and well need an alternative energy storage technology. Whether its ultracapacitors, hydrogen, methanol, a combination of existing technologies or something completely different, it remains to be seen.

The sad thing is that Tesla is currently the only car manufacturer with the courage (take note Apple) to push the boundaries and make things happen, while other manufacturers seem to be content at developing hybrids and conducting small-scale tests hoping for a miracle.And what makes that even more baffling is that even though Tesla is the one manufacturer makinghuge investments on the Gigafactory and lithium-ion battery production, if and when the times comes for another technology to overtake batteries, Elon Musk will be there, ready to pounce. Until then, were stuck with Tesla. I can live with that for now.

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Watch an Electric Corvette Obliterate Its Own Speed Record

Sometimes being the best isnt enough. You have to keep pushing, and trying to beat yourself. Its a mindset that works for Olympic athletes, gearing up for Rio, and also for a small Maryland company that modifies Corvettes.

Genovation takes the iconic muscle vehicles, rips out the drivetrain, and replaces it with twin electric motors, and 44 kWh of batteries down the old transmission passageway, and where the fuel tanks used to be.

The team was puttering about with its Genovation GXE in February, when it set the speed record for an all-electric, road legal vehicle at 186.8 mph, taking them almost by surprise.

They wanted another go, this time turning it up to 11, to see if they could set the record even higher. This is the result.

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Elon Musks Most-Liked Instagram Post Touches a Nerve in Turkey

U.S. tech billionaire Elon Musk has made high-performance electric vehicles, created rockets that they are able land on ships and planned life on Mars — chronicling it all on social media. But his personal record for Instagram ” likes” comes from a post the coming week about Turkey.

The chief executive officer of companies including Tesla Inc . and SpaceX visited the country to discuss the launch of rockets by Turkey’s national spacecraft firm. On Wednesday, he fulfilled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at his presidential palace in the capital city of Ankara. They talked about a wide variety of issues and exchanged presents. That could have been the end of it.

A post shared by Elon Musk (@ elonmusk ) on Nov 8, 2017 at 9:45 am PST

Then, as the sunshine set over Ankara, Musk posted a photo to Instagram. Arms crossed, wearing a suit and no affiliation, he stood in partial illumination at the mausoleum of Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.” Ataturk Anitkabir ,” he wrote, deploying the proper Turkish characters.

The photo had gotten more than 930,000 “likes” as of Friday, hundreds of thousands more than any previous post by Musk, who has 3.5 million followers.

To many Turks, Ataturk represents values Erdogan has been bent on disrupting, namely: secular, European and progressive. Erdogan has pushed to replace the European orientation of Ataturk’s republic with, in his terms,” a more pious generation” — one assertive about its Islamic identity and its independence from Western influence.

Read more about Erdogan’s grip on Turkey: QuickTake

Since a takeover attempt last year, Erdogan has embarked on a purging of the bureaucracy, imposed a state of emergency and passed a constitutional referendum eliminating the prime minister’s chore and empowering the president. More than 100,000 academics, officials, police officer and judges were fired and tens of thousands incarcerated in the year that followed. Also among them are dozens of prominent journalists, opponent politicians and scientists, including a Turkish-American NASA physicist who was working on a manned mission to Mars.

The clampdown has led to tensions with the European union and the U.S. and stimulated Turkey one of the world’s leaders in censorship. It accounts for about 95 percent of the world’s requests to censor informed on Twitter. One of the first companies Musk co-founded, PayPal Holdings Inc ., is banned, as are hundreds of other websites, including Wikipedia.

Rocket Talk

So Musk’s social-media Ataturk frenzy interrupted what appeared to be a rare international public-relations victory for Erdogan. He and Musk had discussed issues including rockets, renewable energy, Turkey’s drive to build its own” national car ,” technologies to alleviate traffic and excavate passageways, and possible cooperation between Turkish companies and Musk’s, according to Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin.

Musk presented Erdogan with three replica of SpaceX rockets, and Erdogan dedicated Musk a framed copy of his book:” The Vision of New Turkey – The World is Bigger Than Five .” It was a reference to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. And the two men posed for pictures together.

” Elon Musk is someone who got up from Trump’s table and is sitting down at @RT_Erdogan’ s !” tweeted Bulent Gedikli, an informal adviser to Erdogan, referring to Musk’s decision to drop out of President Donald Trump‘s business councils.” AN ERA IN WHICH VISIONARIES COME TOGETHER HAS BEGUN !”

Erdogan’s press office didn’t respond to requests for comment on Thursday. The projects Musk and Erdogan discussed could benefit Turkey, according to a person very well known the matter, who asked not to be named as the session was private. Musk has thought highly of Ataturk since high school and was surprised by the level of attention his social media posts on the trip-up garnered, the person said.

Attack Reaction

” The attention Mr. Musk’s remarks praising Ataturk is get from Turks is a reaction to the increased assaults against the republic’s founder ,” said Gonul Tol, the director of the Center for Turkish Analyses at the Middle East Institute in Washington.” There has always been a fault line between defenders of Ataturk-style secularism and Islam .”

While secularists ensure Ataturk’s legacy as under assault in the Erdogan era — showed most recently by vandalism of his statues in Turkey — Erdogan’s ruling party may be changing course and seeking to reestablish a connection to the founder’s admirers, she said.

In a speech marking the 79 th anniversary of Ataturk’s death on Friday, Erdogan praised him as a national independence hero, while criticizing other interpretings of his legacy.