Three Ways EVs Are Changing the World

By Bridget Brown; Posted Jan 23, 2018

Electric vehicles (EVs) are a game changer in the automotive industry, but more organizations outside the car business are realizing EVs will change their futures as well.

 

1. Emissions

 

Regardless of your position on the world’s petroleum dependence, it’s impossible to deny that personal use passenger cars drive the oil industry. The Financial Times has reported that passenger vehicles take up about a quarter of the world’s demand for oil. According to the International Energy Agency, that’s more than aviation, shipping and non-fuel petroleum distillates combined.

 

In that same IEA report, the organization’s executive director says, “There is no single story about the future of global energy: in practice, government policies will determine where we go from here.”

 

Those policies, predominantly designed around attempts to reduce emissions and stem climate change, are already having an impact on the shift to EVs.

 

Britain and France are among those countries who intend to ban the sale of new petroleum-fuelled vehicles by 2040. The UK is looking at additional fines for cars that do not meet emissions standards. Regulators in China are cracking down on emissions, and that country’s demand for electric vehicles is expected define their progress globally.

 

Automobile makers are taking notice of the shift and its potential effects on their ability to sell their products. At the Automotive News World conference this past week, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told Bloomberg News that carmakers must start shifting toward EVs, or risk being left behind.

 

Ford echoed these feelings, in its announcement to pump $11 billion USD into EV innovation, and bring 40 electrified models to market in the next 4 years.

 

Oil producers note that electric vehicles will not have near the effect on global oil production as say, improving fuel efficiency of internal combustion engine vehicles, which is also underway. BP also points out that demand for gas and diesel vehicles is increasing in emerging economies, where household wealth is on the rise, but electricity infrastructure is lacking.

 

 

However, even the world’s largest oil companies are in agreement that the move toward EVs is a factor that is here to stay, with sales increasing from 1.2 million in 2015 to 100 million by 2035.

 

2. Mass Transit

 

Tesla Motors recently delivered its more moderately priced Model 3, which the company says represents an EV for the masses. However, the real electric vehicle for the average person is already rolling down the streets of some cities: electric motor buses.

 

EV buses have been in use for several years now, but they’re far from widespread because of the price for the vehicle, the range limitations of the battery, and the lack of charging infrastructure. Prices are starting to drop because of improvements in battery production, but a battery-powered bus still costs about $700 thousand USD compared to $400 thousand USD for a diesel model.

 

However, the conversion to EV is happening faster with buses than with passenger cars. Seven percent of new buses will be battery powered, compared to just 1% of new passenger vehicles. Part of this shift is because governments are offering many municipalities funding for their fleet if they choose low emission vehicles. Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York have all committed to zero-emissions fleets in the near future.

 

The future is now in Milton Keynes. The UK town has a route entirely serviced by electric buses that are charged wirelessly. The buses get recharged when they hover over a charging pad at each end of their route. The front end cost was enormous, $130,000 USD for each charging pad, not to mention the cost of the vehicles. However, the town expects they will pay for themselves over the long run, as they cost 50 cents/km less to run than a combustion engine bus.

 

3. Fleets

 

Businesses that purchase fleets are seriously looking at that same concept; savings over the life of the vehicle. The cost to run and maintain a fleet of battery-powered vehicles is considerably lower than a fleet with combustion engines.

 

A gas-powered engine has hundreds of parts, each offering a potential point of failure. An electric motor has less than 10 parts. When you pop the hood on an EV, all you find is more storage space. The difference in complexity means gas cars are harder and more expensive to maintain.

 

While the improvement in fuel costs varies, depending on the mileage of the gas vehicle you’re comparing to an EV, the electric vehicle is at least as efficient to operate, across the board. In many cases, they are much more efficient to operate.

 

That means replenishing a fleet with EVs offers cost savings in the long run. While these savings may take significant time to realize, based on the initial cost output of purchasing the more expensive electric vehicles, there is another valuable factor to consider, the view of the company in the eyes of its customers.

 

 

“The image of a brand can be bolstered if people can see that the business is working toward an environmentally friendly fleet composition,” says Martin Quail, chief commercial officer at EV leading company Alphabet.

 

We’re still a number of years away from widespread adoption of personal EVs, and there are many questions surrounding some of their limitations. How quickly will companies be able to roll out improved batteries with better range? Will wireless charging be available for commuters? When will EVs reach cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles? All of these issues influence the speed and enthusiasm of conversion to EVs, but it remains clear that the continuous improvements already emerging make electric vehicles a consideration for all businesses, now or in the very near future.

 

 

If you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint by travelling via EV, InOrbis Intercity would be pleased to help. We offer luxury, sustainable door-to-door transportation between Calgary and Edmonton. Visit InOrbis.ca to book your trip today!

 

 

About the author: 

 

Bridget Brown

 

Bridget Brown is a Calgary-based writer. She runs Create That Communications, a marketing agency specializing in compelling storytelling. Bridget is an award-winning former broadcaster; she spent 15 years reporting and producing for stations across Canada.

 

 

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