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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

MIT study: higher octane standard fuel in US could lower fleet fuel consumption & GHG an extra 4.5-6% by 2040

April 24, 2014

Offering a higher-octane gasoline to the consumer market in the US as the standard grade could deliver an incremental 4.5% to 6% reduction in fleet fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, on top of a projected 26.8% reduction by then in the baseline case (i.e., without higher octane fuel, but with other projected vehicle and powertrain technology improvements), according to a new analysis by a team at MIT. For their paper, the team proposed a 98 RON gasoline—currently the US premium grade—as the new standard fuel. In other words, they proposed making the current premium fuel the new standard grade.

The analysis by Eric Chow, John Heywood and Raymond Speth, presented as a paper at the recent SAE 2014 World Congress, seeks to quantify the reductions in consumption and GHG if new vehicles designed to use the higher-octane fuel were deployed. Raising octane reduces engine knock constraints, enabling the design of new spark-ignition engines with higher compression ratios and boost levels. This leads to improved engine efficiencies and the sought reductions. (Earlier post.)

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Navigant: US to remain largest national plug-in vehicle market over next 10 years; Tokyo to take metro market lead spot from LA

Navigant Research forecasts that the United States will remain the largest national market for light-duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) during the next 10 years, with LD PEV sales exceeding 514,000 in 2023. Currently, North America is the strongest market for light duty PEVs with nearly 100,000 sold in 2013, according to the market research firm. Japan is a distant second, with just under 30,000 sales, followed by the Netherlands (more than 23,000) and China (more than 17,000).

Navigant Research forecasts that the global LD PEV market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.6% while the global market for LD vehicles will grow at a CAGR of only 2.6% during that period. Navigant Research estimates the US PEV market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3% between 2014 and 2023. Canada, which is about 1 year behind the United States in terms of vehicle availability, is expected to have a CAGR of 25.4%, reaching more than 66,000 vehicles in 2023.

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IHS forecasts 11% rise in China automotive semiconductor market in 2014 due to safety and navigation features

February 26, 2014

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Click to enlarge.

The fast-growing semiconductor market for China’s automotive industry is set for double-digit expansion in revenue this year, propelled by an increasing desire among Chinese car buyers for added vehicle safety features and helpful infotainment applications such as car navigation, according to a new report from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS).

Chip consumption in 2014 by the country’s automotive industry will amount to $4.6 billion, up a solid 11% from $4.1 billion last year. This year’s projected revenue growth improves on the already strong 10% rise of the China automotive chip market in 2013, and three more years of similar notable increases will take place. By 2017, revenue will reach $6.2 billion.

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Navigant Research forecasts 58% growth in global biofuels consumption by 2022; biodiesel and drop-in fuels gain market share

February 05, 2014

In a new report, “Biofuels for Transportation Markets”, Navigant Research forecasts that global demand for biofuels in the road transportation sector will grow from representing almost 6% of the liquid fuels market in 2013 to roughly 8% by 2022. Of that 8%, 8% will consist of advanced drop-in fuels, according to the research firm. Navigant forecasts that global biofuels consumption in the road transportation sector will grow from more than 32.4 billion gallons per year (BGPY) in 2013 to more than 51.1 BGPY in 2022—an increase of 58%.

Overall, Navigant forecasts that global retail sales of all liquid fuels for the road transportation sector will grow from more than $2.6 trillion in 2013 to more than $4.5 trillion in 2022 (73% growth).

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IHS Automotive forecasts global production of plug-in vehicles to rise by 67% this year

February 04, 2014

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Global electric vehicle production forecast for 2014. Source: IHS Automotive. Click to enlarge.

Driven by tighter emission standards in Europe, worldwide production of plug-in electric vehicles(PEVs)—including both battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models—will increase by 67% this year, according to IHS Automotive, driven by Polk. The jump in the PEV market this year contrasts with an expected 3.6% rise in global manufacturing of all motor vehicles expected in 2014.

Total production of PEVs is projected to rise to more than 403,000 this year, up from slightly more than 242,000 in 2013. Growth will accelerate sharply from the 44% increase in 2013, based on data from the new IHS Automotive Hybrid-EV Portal. In December 2013, IHS projected total global automotive sales in 2014 of 85 million, roughly resulting in an expected approximate 0.5% share for PEVs in the global market this year.

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Navigant Research forecasts new EV global sales of > 346,000 units in 2014; 10 predictions for the year

January 08, 2014

During 2014, the global plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) industry is poised to grow by 86% and will surpass more than 346,000 new vehicles sold, according to a new white paper—“Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2014”—published by Navigant Research. This would bring the global total of PEVs on the road to more than 700,000 by the end of the year, according to the firm’s calculations.

Broadly, Navigant expects expansion in both the higher end of the market (thereby putting competitive pressure on Tesla Motors), as Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes, Saab, and Volvo introduce their first plug-in cars. More mainstream models will come from Kia, Mahindra, Škoda, and Volkswagen. North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific will continue to drive PEV sales, as the technology will have only limited availability in the emerging markets of Latin America and Africa.

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EIA: light duty vehicle energy consumption to drop 25% by 2040; increased oil production, vehicle efficiency reduce US oil and liquid imports

December 16, 2013

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Energy consumption by light-duty vehicles in the United States, AEO2013 and AEO2014, 1995-2040 (quadrillion Btu). LDV energy consumption declines in AEO2014 Reference case from 16.0 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 12.1 quadrillion Btu in 2040, compared with 13.0 quadrillion Btu in 2040 in the AEO2013 Reference case. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.

Reflecting slow growth in travel and accelerated vehicle efficiency improvements, US light-duty vehicle (LDV, cars and light trucks) energy use will decline sharply between 2012 and 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case released today.

AEO2014 includes a new, detailed demographic profile of driving behavior by age and gender as well as new lower population growth rates based on updated Census projections. As a result, annual increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in LDVs average 0.9% from 2012 to 2040, compared to 1.2% per year over the same period in AEO2013. The rising fuel economy of LDVs more than offsets the modest growth in VMT, resulting in a 25% decline in LDV energy consumption decline between 2012 and 2040 in the AEO2014 Reference case.

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ExxonMobil Outlook: 35% growth in energy demand by 2040; hybrids to account for ~50% of new vehicle sales

December 15, 2013

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By 2040, hybrids are expected to account for about 35% of the global light-duty vehicle fleet, up from less than 1% in 2010. Hybrids are expected to account for about half of global new-car sales by 2040. Source: ExxonMobil. Click to enlarge.

Driven by increasing population, urbanization and rising living standards, the world will require some 35% more energy in 2040, according to ExxonMobil’s annual forecast report: Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040. Anticipated population growth will reach nearly 9 billion in 2040 from about 7 billion today, and the global economy is projected to double—at an annual growth rate of nearly 3%—largely in the developing world.

Demand for energy in non-OECD nations will grow by about two-thirds, accounting for essentially all of the increase in global energy use. ExxonMobil projects that meeting future energy demand will be supported by more efficient energy-saving practices and technologies; increased use of less-carbon-intensive fuels such as natural gas, nuclear and renewables; as well as the continued development of technology advances to develop new energy sources. Without the projected gains in efficiency, global energy demand could have risen by more than 100%.

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Anderman report sees strongest growth for full-hybrid systems; Li-ion batteries for hybrids may be in short supply

November 22, 2013

Low-cost 14V micro hybrid systems and full (strong) hybrid (i.e., systems with limited electric drive) architectures at 140-300V are entering strong growth phases, while the future of intermediate systems—those falling between the high-voltage full hybrids and the low-voltage stop-start systems—is less clear, according to “Assessing the Future of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: The 2014 xEV Industry Insider Report” by Dr. Menahem Anderman of Advanced Automotive Batteries (AAB), to be released next week.

The 170-page report also finds that while the combined global EV and plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) market share is expected to grow to about 1.5% of total vehicle sales by 2020, the more significant story is the rapid expansion of strong-hybrid vehicles led by Toyota, Ford, and Honda, followed by Hyundai, Nissan and others. The current market share in Japan already exceeds 20%, and the world market share is estimated to exceed 5% by 2020.

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IEA World Energy Outlook 2013 sees CO2 emissions rising by 20% to 2035; oil use on upward trend

November 13, 2013

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Energy demand growth moves to Asia. Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.

The newly released 2013 edition of the IEA World Energy Outlook (WEO) depicts a world in which some long-held tenets of the energy sector are being rewritten; importers are becoming exporters, while exporters are among the major sources of growing demand. However, the report advises, long-term solutions to global challenges remain scarce; as one example, the report sees global CO2 emissions rising by 20% to 37.2 Gt by 2035.

WEO-2013 presents a central scenario (“New Policies”) in which global energy demand rises by one-third in the period to 2035, although energy demand in OECD countries barely rises and by 2035 is less than half that of non-OECD countries. China is about to become the largest oil-importing country and India becomes the largest importer of coal by the early 2020s. The US moves steadily towards meeting all of its energy needs from domestic resources by 2035. Together, these changes represent a re-orientation of energy trade from the Atlantic basin to the Asia-Pacific region, according to the report’s scenario.

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CMU study finds limited dedicated residential parking and charging a significant barrier to mainstream EV adoption

November 12, 2013

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Selected forecasts of US PEV sales with barriers to fleet penetration from limited residential charging infrastructure. Traut et al. Click to enlarge.

An analysis by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University of parking and charging availability for electric vehicles in the US has concluded that limited availability of dedicated residential parking—and hence charging opportunities—is a significant barrier to mainstream electric vehicle adoption. The study, which was funded in part by grants from the National Science Foundation, CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, General Motors, Ford and Toyota, is to appear in the journal Transportation Research (Part D).

The team, led by Professor Jeremy Michalek, assessed existing and potential charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles in US households using data from the American Housing Survey and the Residential Energy Consumption Survey. The team found that while approximately 79% households have off-street parking for at least some of their vehicles, only an estimated 56% of vehicles have a dedicated off-street parking space—and only 47% at an owned residence. Only approximately 22% vehicles currently have access to a dedicated home parking space within reach of an outlet sufficient to recharge a small plug-in vehicle battery pack overnight.

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Berkeley Lab modeling study finds California will not meet 2050 GHG targets without additional policy measures

November 05, 2013

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Comparison of GHG emissions by study scenario, along with historical and “straight-line” connections between 2020 and 2050 policy targets. 85 MtCO2/yr (red square) is the 2050 target. Greenblatt 2013. Click to enlarge.

California will attain its 2020 statewide greenhouse gas reduction targets, according to a new modeling study by Jeffery Greenblatt at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

However, while all of the three scenarios developed for the study achieved the 2020 target, none were able to achieve the 2050 GHG target of 85 MtCO2/yr, instead yielding emissions ranging from 188 to 444 MtCO2/yr. Therefore, Greenblatt concluded, additional policies will need to be developed for California to meet this stringent future target.

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PwC’s Autofacts forecasts global light vehicle assembly to reach 81.8M units in 2013, up 3.3% from 2012

October 30, 2013

Global light vehicle assembly will reach 81.8 million units in 2013, representing a 3.3% year-over-year gain, according to Autofacts, PwC’s automotive analyst group. While there has been speculation around the long-awaited recovery of the European Union (EU), 2013 is poised to mark a turning point, setting the stage for recovery in 2014. This will bring the region in sync with the recent recoveries in North America and Eastern Europe and the continued growth in developing Asia-Pacific and South America, according to the consultancy.

Consumer demands and regulatory requirements are motivating the global automotive industry to push ahead with technological breakthroughs on a larger scale,” said Rick Hanna, PwC’s global automotive leader. “Innovation ranging from new investments in lightweight materials, advanced drivetrains and infotainment systems to fresh approaches in engaging customers, will continue to shape the industry. The automakers that effectively leverage high-tech advancements in vehicles, mobile devices and data analytics will likely gain a competitive advantage in this dynamic market.

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Navigant Research forecasts rapid growth in V2G for ancillary services to 2022; $190.7M in frequency regulation revenue by then

October 18, 2013

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that global vehicle-to-grid (V2G)-enabled plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) servicing the ancillary services market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 64.3% from 2013 to 2022.

In North America—which Navigant sees as the strongest initial market opportunity—Navigant sees frequency regulation revenue for PEVs growing from just more than $500,000 in 2013 to just less than $50 million in 2022. Globally, Navigant Research forecasts that frequency regulation revenue will reach $190.7 million by 2022. Navigant Research has not developed revenue forecasts for PEVs participating in demand response (DR) programs, as it is currently unclear how PEV owners will be compensated.

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Navigant Research tags Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle Company as leader in e-scooter market

October 15, 2013

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Navigant ranks Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle Company as the top e-scooter company. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.

According to a new Leaderboard report from Navigant Research, Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle Company is the best positioned company in the global e-scooter market in terms of strategy and execution.

Although still a nascent market in most regions of the world, electric scooters sell in significant numbers in Asia Pacific today, according to Navigant Research. Sales of e-scooters in China alone are expected to reach 9.4 million in 2013, compared to 2.6 million in all other countries combined. Sales in regions outside of Asia Pacific are estimated at 31,338 vehicles in 2013, Navigant said.

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Navigant Research projects global market for plug-in charging equipment to grow to 4.3M units and $5.8B in revenue in 2022

October 02, 2013

The market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has expanded in recent years in parallel with the deployment of publicly accessible charging stations, mainly funded by government programs. According to a new report from Navigant Research, there are now almost 64,000 public charging stations installed globally. Overall, Navigant Research expects global sales of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to grow from around 442,000 units in 2013 to 4.3 million in 2022, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.8%. The company expects revenue from the sales of EVSE to grow from $567 million in 2013 to $5.8 billion in 2022 at a CAGR of 29.4%.

Residential EVSE sales are directly driven by the increase in PEV sales, as many drivers purchase a charger for exclusive use at home. Commercial charging, which includes workplace, public and private chargers, is more indirectly tied to PEV growth and is still driven to a great degree by government support, the market research firm observed. However, this dynamic is changing, as government programs in some regions are coming to a close.

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Navigant forecasts 18.6% CAGR for plug-ins in North America to 2022; 2.4% new vehicle share in US

September 10, 2013

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Annual light duty PEV Sales, top 5 states, 2013-2022. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.

In an update to its 2012 geographic breakdown of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales in North America, Navigant Research now forecasts that overall sales of will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.6% between 2013 and 2022. Navigant Research forecasts that PEVs will reach 416,153 annual sales in the United States and 230,479 in Canada by 2022.

The model for North American PEV sales by US state, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), Canadian province, Canadian city, and selected US utility service area has been updated to better align with actual sales data from the first full year of wide availability of PEVs.

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Navigant Research projects autonomous vehicles to represent 75% of all LDV sales by 2035

August 20, 2013

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Autonomous Vehicle Sales by Region, World Markets: 2015-2035. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that vehicles with autonomous driving modes will gradually gain traction in the market over the coming two decades, from about 4% of the global light-duty vehicle market in 2025, rising to roughly 41% in 2030 and 75% by 2035—about 95.4 million units annually by then.

Navigant projects that the first fully autonomous functions will go into production in 2020, though the projected numbers will extremely low. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the three largest markets (North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific) from 2020 to 2035 is expected to average approximately 85%.

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EIA: world energy consumption to grow 56% 2010-2040, CO2 up 46%; use of liquid fuels in transportation up 38%

July 25, 2013

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World energy consumption by fuel type, 2010-2040. Source: IEO2013. Click to enlarge.

The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) projects that world energy consumption will grow by 56% between 2010 and 2040, from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) to 820 quadrillion Btu. Most of this growth will come from non-OECD (non-Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, where demand is driven by strong population and economic growth; energy intensity improvements moderate this trend

Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing 2.5% per year, according to the biennial report. However, fossil fuels continue to supply nearly 80% of world energy use through 2040. Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel, as global supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane increase. Given current policies and regulations limiting fossil fuel use, worldwide energy-related CO2 emissions rise from about 31 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020 and then to 45 billion metric tons in 2040, a 46% increase over the 30-year span.

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Stanford, UC Santa Cruz study explores ramifications of demand-driven peak to conventional oil

July 02, 2013

In contrast to arguments that peak conventional oil production is imminent due to physical resource scarcity, a team from Stanford University and UC Santa Cruz has examined the alternative possibility of reduced oil use due to improved efficiency and oil substitution.

In their a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, Dr. Adam Brandt and his colleagues used historical relationships to project future demand for (a) transport services; (b) all liquid fuels; and (c) substitution with alternative energy carriers, including electricity. Their results showed great increases in passenger and freight transport activity, but less reliance on oil.

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Navigant forecasts global natural gas fleet of 34.9M by 2020

June 20, 2013

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Cumulative natural gas vehicles in use by segment, world markets: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that the number of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) on roads worldwide will reach 34.9 million by 2020. The increase is largely driven due to a combination of low-cost natural gas and sustained higher prices for gasoline and diesel in many countries, Navigant suggests.

Natural gas is about 41% the cost of gasoline, Navigant says, noting that compressed natural gas (CNG) equipment adds between 10% to 40% to the cost of the vehicle due to the CNG cylinders and engine equipment, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) adds 60% to 80% due to the more expensive storage tanks. The differential in the cost of the fuels determines the payback on this additional equipment (currently between 2.5 and 6 years, depending on the vehicle).

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ICF report finds California Low Carbon Fuel Standard can be achieved with modest changes in diversity of fuels

June 13, 2013

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Annual balance of LCFS credits and deficits for Scenario 1. Each colored stacked bar represents credits generated via low carbon fuels; the red line represents the deficits from forecasted CARBOB and ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) consumption. Click to enlarge.

The requirements of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) can be achieved through modest changes in the diversity of transportation fuels supplied to California, according to a report of the first phase of a two-phase, year-long project assessing the economic and environmental impacts of compliance with California’s LCFS out to 2020. This first phase focused on the development of compliance scenarios based on market research, consultation with stakeholders, and market forecasts based on best estimates of fuel availability.

The LCFS requires a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity (in gCO2e/MJ) of transportation fuels by 2020, as measured on a lifecycle basis. The report, “California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Compliance Outlook for 2020” was prepared by consultancy ICF International for CalETC (California Electric Transportation Coalition), in partnership with the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA), Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), and Ceres.

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Navigant forecasts hybrids to account for almost 4% of global LDV sales by 2020, plug-ins 3%

June 11, 2013

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Annual light duty electric vehicle sales by drivetrain, world markets: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.

In its latest forecast for hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle sales, Navigant Research expects that hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which today account for about 2% of global light duty vehicle sales, will grow to almost 4% of global LDV sales by 2020.

The company also expects, despite the challenges of new technology, that plug-in electric vehicles will grow rapidly in many regions as a result of rising fuel prices, falling PEV prices, and increasing availability of PEV models. The result is a PEV market that will reach 3 million vehicles sold in 2020, representing 3% of the global light-duty vehicle market.

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Navigant forecasts global light-duty fuel-cell-vehicle sales to surpass 2M annually by 2030

May 27, 2013

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Annual light-duty fuel cell vehicle sales through 2030. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.

In a newly published research report (“Fuel Cell Vehicles”), Navigant Research forecasts that worldwide sales of light-duty fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) will reach the 1,000 mark in 2015 and then begin a period of strong growth, surpassing 2 million vehicles annually by 2030.

The light-duty FCV market will be in a long period of supply constraints until around 2020, the report notes, breaking out only if the infrastructure is in place to meet customers’ fueling requirements. This will require a large investment from government and industry, Navigant concludes. If the infrastructure is built out, automakers will increase their production levels, which will result in major cost reductions—a “virtuous cycle” that will lead to a demand-driven market in the period after 2025.

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Roland Berger E-Mobility Index finds government subsidies for and projected sales of xEVs declining worldwide

May 22, 2013

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The Q1 2013 index (top) shows that the 7 top automotive nations have seen their competitive positions shift since 2012 (bottom). Source: Roland Berger. Click to enlarge.

Despite maturing technology and better cost structures, worldwide production forecasts for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are in decline, posing a threat to national targets to raise the share of xEVs in vehicle fleets, according to the latest E-mobility Index by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) for Q1 2013.

The index compares the development of e-mobility in seven leading car-manufacturing nations (Germany, France, Italy, US, Japan, China and South Korea) on the basis of three parameters: technology, manufacturing, and market.

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Roskill forecasts increasing dependence of Li market on batteries; switch from portable electronics to hybrids

May 20, 2013

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Consumption of lithium in rechargeable batteries by end use, 2012-2017, kt LCE. Source: Roskill. Click to enlarge.

In a forecast of the Lithium market through 2017, Roskill Information Services estimates that rechargeable batteries will, in the base-case growth scenario, contribute 75% of the growth in forecast lithium demand to 2017, when total demand for lithium is expected to reach slightly more than 238,000t lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). Roskill is an international metals and minerals market research firm.

Batteries accounted for 27% of global lithium consumption in 2012, up from 15% in 2007 and 8% in 2002. This end-use was responsible for 44% of the net increase in lithium consumption over the last ten years, and 70% over the last five years.

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California ARB 2013 research project to characterize ZEV market; assessing future market potential

May 18, 2013

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) 2013 research plan includes a project that will comprehensively characterize the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) market, with the ultimate goal of increasing consumer purchases of ZEVs.

The proposed project will investigate the factors that influence sales of ZEVs in California (e.g., price, vehicle range, infrastructure). The project is intended to support the planned upcoming mid-term review of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program (earlier post), coordinated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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