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Issue #46 - $174B for US EVs, Mini to go full electric, massless energy batteries, and open charging platforms.

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #46 - $174B for US EVs, Mini to go full electric, massless energy batteries, and open charging platforms.
By Gary Comerford • Issue #46 • View online
Something a little different on this week’s podcast.
In 2007 the iPhone was launched. It was fairly low spec, quite expensive, had no App store, and couldn’t even do copy and paste.
But now we run our lives in an ecosystem based on the back of the iPhone and the smartphone industry. From waking us up in the morning to selecting our music, the films and shows we stream, to getting food ordered and delivered, chatting with our friends and doing our banking. It all happens on a smartphone or tablet.
I believe a similar sort of ecosystem will build up around EVs and renewable energy. In this week’s episode that’s what I discuss. Do you agree? Let me know at evmusings at gmail.com

This Week's Podcast.
The EV Musings Podcast: 85 - The iPhone Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Biden Proposes $174 Billion Investment in Electric Vehicles
President Joe Biden has unveiled an outline of his infrastructure plan, and it includes a proposed $174 billion investment in electric vehicles. Without going into details, the investment will include funds to help automakers secure materials for electric vehicle production and converting factories. The summary also confirms that this incentive is only going to be for “American-made” electric vehicles.
This is something which is - quite rightly - at the top of the President’s agenda. It forms part of an ambitious climate change/infrastructure plan which has to be put in place if we are anywhere near meeting the climate change goals we need.
What’s interesting, specifically, about this is that it shows exactly how important Biden thinks electric cars are as a part of the overall infrastructure.
EVPassport Launches Open EV Charging Platform
EVPassport has launched the first open EV charging platform to lower the barriers to EV adoption and allow brands to strengthen customer engagement.
Consisting of brandable hardware and API oriented software, EVPassport allows organizations to integrate the EV charging experience directly into their existing consumer-facing applications and services – providing customers with a branded EV charging experience that is compatible with any vehicle
Anything which can increase the uptake of EVs is good.
The number one claim that people make when hesitating about buying an electric car is that they don’t know where or how to charge them.
Something like this - which can make it easier for charge point operators to link their chargers to things that EV owners already use (apps, web sites etc.) - will always alleviate that fear and is welcome.
MINI Will Switch to Fully-Electric Vehicles by the Early 2030s
The BMW-owned brand announcing its goal to launch its last-ever internal combustion-engined vehicle in 2025, and to not have any more of them for sale by the early 2030s.
MINI plans to launch more EVs after 2023 when it expects to complete work on a new electric car platform which it is jointly developing with China’s Great Wall Motors. The first model to be underpinned by this new platform is believed to be the next-gen MINI Countryman, which will be sold both with ICE power, as well as a fully electric powertrain
Good news: EV models only from Mini from 2025.
Bad news: Still selling older model ICE cars after that date. Why manufacture them at all? And why isn’t the parent company BMW following suit?
The Race to Zero: Can America Reach Net-Zero Emissions by 2050?
Joe Biden wants zero emissions by 2050, but time is ticking. So how will the country have to change over the next 30 years?
If America finally weans itself off planet-heating emissions, the country will look and feel very different.
It’s an appealing vision, according to Eric Larson, a senior research engineer at Princeton University. “In general, it will be a more pleasant place to be living in when we get to net-zero emissions,” he said. “We will have cleaner air and will have done our part to avoid disastrous climate change. That’s a good thing for us and the rest of the world.”
Many people decry the cost of going to zero carbon (or net-zero, whichever they wish to pursue). They seem to think that this money is too much for a country to deal with. Alternate arguments are that the money could be used in a much better way (Universal basic income is mentioned, or paying off student debt). Whilst these points are valid, they are all fallacious arguments. This is for one very simple reason. The price of NOT doing these things is an order of magnitude higher than doing then.
It is literally a case of ‘pay me now or pay me much more later’.
Sure, there are details and final figures that can be finagled - do we really need to spend $25B per decade for new charger sockets? - but as a whole, the money is something that needs to be provided. Opponents can argue and debate about the timing of some of these things - will we need to focus on wind ahead of solar, or solar ahead of wind? What is the timeline for scaling back on gas and oil for things such as heating? - but at the end of the day, these are, more or less, immoveable goals. They have to be done.
The greenwashing taking place by some oil and gas corporations is contributing to this feeling that the problem is being overblown, the timelines are overly aggressive and the money is too much.
This has to stop.
The Battery That Will Finally Unlock Massless Energy Storage
In groundbreaking new research, scientists have made a structural battery 10 times better than in any previous experiment. The main use case is for electric cars, where a literally massive amount of batteries take up a ton of room and don’t contribute to the actual structure of the car. In fact, these cars must be specially designed to carry the mass of the batteries. But what if the frame of the car could hold energy?
This is, of course, still something in the lab stage and there is a long way to go until it gets to the stage of being incorporated in vehicles.
Fundamentally using the battery as part of the structure makes sense. It reduces the overall weight of the vehicle.
My question is what happens in an accident? Obviously, there’s the risk of a short circuit and the battery catching fire (although this risk is very much overblown). But secondly, there’s the cost issue. Batteries are still expensive (even at $100 per kWh which is where they’re heading). So if there’s an accident with structural damage to the ‘chassis’ of the car this will - by definition - be damage to the battery. How will these replacements happen? Can we just take a few cells that are damaged and replace them? What about if the damage is quite extensive? Would a write off be more likely on a car like this because of the embedded cost of the batteries in the structure?
This will certainly have an impact on insurance rates.
A cool EV or renewable thing
I don’t know how many of you remember the lunar rover that landed on the moon back when the world was still black and white. The tyres on that thing were made of a flexible metal material that couldn’t puncture, and gripped on the dusty lunar surface.
Well, the Smart Tire company has taken NASA’s airless tires and commercialised them for bicycles.
The main driver behind doing this is to reduce both tyre wear and tyre loss due to punctured tyres being thrown away. By one estimate, riders in San Francisco alone throw out more than 100,000 tubes every year, enough to wrap the Golden Gate bridge 33 times
In order to grip onto the ground, the tires have a tread around the alloy made from Polyurethanium, SMART’s “code name” for a proprietary, rubber-like material. Though riding may cause some of that tread to wear away, SMART says it will produce less total waste—and need to be disposed of less frequently—than all the rubber that goes into regular bike tubes and tires.
Tyres for bikes then scooters then cars. Watch this space!
Something To Think About.
Finally...
Next week on the podcast we speak to a company that’s doing something really exciting in the electric vehicle world.
Flying electric cars!
Stay tuned for more.
Here’s this week’s Mystery box link (Go on. Click it. You know you want to.)
Did you enjoy this issue?
Gary Comerford

Topical stories about renewables, EVs and things that are interesting to EV drivers.

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