Electric Cars and Trucks

Assume also that a steering committee sets the goal of achieving 10 percent electric vehicle sales out of the total volumes sold in the automotive sector by 2015. In such a case, this could partly be achieved through increased sales of hybrid vehicles, which could also be charged via the electricity grid at night or during stops. The development of more powerful batteries for hybrid vehicles is underway. Demand, however, is still low. Increased demand would rapidly contribute to the development of increasingly powerful batteries for electric cars and trucks. Depending on the usage patterns of cars and trucks, vehicles that are destined for delivery and short haul freight, shopping trips and other short trips, in the case of cars, could increasingly be fitted with only an electric engine.

A rapid growth of electric vehicles would require a more complex set of actions. First, development in the automotive sector will also need to focus on the development of hybrids and electric engines with the ability to charge from the electricity grid. Second, in order to focus on the adoption of the new technologies by companies with large vehicle fleets, to create a sufficiently large market in a brief space of time, a sufficient number of charging units would need to be installed. Initially such facilities could be rolled out in the facilities of a few large, strategic users. These strategic users could be transportation companies, distribution centers, car rental firms or large companies with large fleets of corporate vehicles (trucks or cars).

Without a large amount of analysis, it also seems to be a good idea to promote or partly finance the replacement by electric vehicles of existing vehicles in companies with large car fleets and a high turnover of vehicles. These initial large-scale users could be car rental companies or large corporations, where a large number of vehicles visit central parking lots on a daily basis, where charging facilities could be installed. It probably makes sense not to focus on single unit users in the first place, because of the cost of installation and the larger administrative resources that are needed in order to market new technologies, support users, and administrate possible financial incentives, in complex networks of small users. A focus on small users would also, probably, be more risky, because it would be difficult to get the commitment of a large number of single-unit users to make the investments in vehicles with a new technology, and a number of other cost and risk items, besides marketing, would increase, compared to a focus on large customers.

Box 18.1 Advantages of Electricity

A former manager of R&D at ABB, Professor Harry Frank, argues that, in the face of declining resources of petroleum, we should use electricity for more purposes than the present ones. Electricity is a highly efficient carrier of energy and it could be used, among other things, to power cars and trucks. With increasingly powerful batteries it is now possible to drive relatively long distances, also at high speed. The capacity of batteries and related technologies is now increasing very rapidly and the time for charging is decreasing. ABB has developed an electric sports car with a range of 300 km and a maximum speed of upward of 100 km/h. These developments make electric cars and trucks more promising than fuel cells, because of the energy loss of some 60 percent in the production of hydrogen. Electric cars will be less expensive than fuel cell cars and they will require less expansion of energy production.

In addition to the investment in the development of technology for the charging of electric vehicles and the investment in the charging stations, during negotiations with companies that are targeted for early investments in charging units, steering committees need to take into account the consequences of the need for the large-scale charging of vehicles on electricity production and distribution. This, in addition to other changes in the demand for electricity and changes in the usage patterns of electricity, would need to be taken care of within the stream of energy production and distribution, outlined below. All in all, the goal related to electricity use for vehicles may be slightly more

Electric cars and trucks

Value of energy use




Cost of reduction

High Low

Cost of reduction

Size of saving

5 Time to saving (in years)

M Complexity (High, medium, low)

Figure 18.4 Diagram illustrating the potential savings, time frame, cost and complexity of a large-scale transformation project based on electric cars and trucks challenging. In figure 18.4 above, the electricity challenge is roughly prioritized along the dimensions of the prioritization matrix. The prioritization in the matrix looks the same as in the case above, only that the complexity is medium instead of low.

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Hybrid Cars The Whole Truth Revealed

Hybrid Cars The Whole Truth Revealed

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