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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Strategic CSR - Electric cars (II)

In contrast to the Newsletter sent earlier this week, today's Newsletter presents some good news about electric cars. The article in the first url below, for example, reports that, in Denmark:
"Electric car owners are earning as much as $1,530 a year just by parking their vehicle and feeding excess power back into the grid."
In other words, the excess energy created while the car is running is stored in the battery and fed back into the grid when the car is parked. While the article highlights the challenges for utilities in integrating energy from renewable sources into a country's energy network, it also reveals the creativity that can result from new challenges. This is especially important as electric car sales are predicted to overtake combustion engine sales by 2038:
"While the Tokyo-based automaker has trials with more than 100 cars across Europe, only those in Denmark are able to earn money by feeding power back into the grid. There, fleet operators collected about 1,300 euros ($1,530) a year using the two-way charge points."
The article in the second url below from The Economist expands on these benefits, running a special report on the death of the internal combustion engine and the rise of electric battery cars, which are rapidly becoming more efficient:
"The Chevy Bolt has a range of 383km; Tesla fans recently drove a Model S more than 1,000km on a single charge. UBS, a bank, reckons the 'total cost of ownership' of an electric car will reach parity with a petrol one next year. … It optimistically predicts electric vehicles will make up 14% of global car sales by 2025, up from 1% today. Others have more modest forecasts, but are hurriedly revising them upwards as batteries get cheaper and better – the cost per kilowatt hour has fallen from $1,000 in 2010 to $130-200 today. Regulations are tightening, too. Last month Britain joined a lengthening list of electric-only countries, saying that all new cars must be zero-emission by 2050."
While there are concerns about the jobs that will be displaced as a result of the shift to electric cars (which are easier to build and maintain), the article argues that the benefits to society as a whole far outweigh any costs:
"Lots of shared, self-driving electric cars would let cities replace car parks (up to 24% of the area in some places) with new housing, and let people commute from far away as they sleep. … [The shift] will offer enormous environmental and health benefits. Charging car batteries from central power stations is more efficient than burning fuel in separate engines. Existing electric cars reduce carbon emissions by 54% compared with petrol-powered ones. … The World Health Organization says that [air pollution] is the single largest environmental health risk, with outdoor air pollution contribution to 3.7m deaths a year. One study found that car emissions kill 53,000 Americans each year, against 34,000 who die in traffic accidents."
In short, the future is electric … . Or not, depending on which source you read, how you weight the relative pros and cons (of electric and other options), and what assumptions you make about future prices/growth/innovation. Other than that, it is easy … ! Like many innovations, progress is bumpy and some sort of middling-course is probably more likely than the most optimistic or most pessimistic forecasts.
Take care
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Parked Electric Cars Earn $1,530 From Europe's Power Grids
By Jess Shankleman
August 10, 2017
Bloomberg Businessweek
August 12, 2017
The Economist