The Future of Electric Vehicles & Current Missed Opportunities
Updated: Apr 21, 2019
Emobility is the development of electric-powered transportation designed to shift personal transportation away from the use of fossil fuels. With the recent IPCC report, State of the Climate, and Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), it’s an important step towards energy independence and ending damaging fossil fuel use that needs to be prioritized. However, despite the pros of EV mobility, many government incentives are discouraging the progress of clean transportation. Electric vehicles are a superior way to build and drive and I firmly believe the technology will win regardless in the long run- however, we have to demand cleaner technology so that our government will encourage this growth fast.
According to the WHO, the transport sector is the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions. Growth in energy use is higher for the transport sector than any other end-use sector. The main drivers of global transport energy growth are land transport, mostly light-duty vehicles, such as cars, as well as freight transport. Transport accounted for about 23% of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 and 27% of end-use energy emissions with urban transport accounting for about 40% of end-use energy consumption. It is hard to accept that in this day and age we accept harmful pollution by individuals while subsidizing the fossil fuel industry.
Despite all of this, the government continues with subsidies for fossil fuel use while cutting EV incentives. All of this is hurting Americans, our economy and environment, as well as affecting manufacturers. These days, fossil fuel subsidies reportedly total approximately $5 trillion globally each year. Despite tremendous health costs, climate costs, and countless premature deaths caused by pollution, these super rich and overly mature industries receive subsidies that serve no genuinely useful purpose for society. Furthermore, today the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of solar costs less than new fossil fuel power plants, even without subsidies – yet we keep subsidizing fossil fuel power plants.
Washington’s arbitrary limit on sold electric vehicle cars eligible for the tax credit by manufacturers is perversely hurting two American car manufacturers the most — Tesla and GM who were pioneers and now the federal government will subsidize foreign car makers versus helping those US car makers who are drivers of innovation and are providing thousands of jobs directed related to electric vehicles. The limit on sold cars eligible for tax credits has had a major impact on American car manufacturers. This limit occurs when a manufacturer sells 200,000 units - in this case, the full credit amount becomes available through the end of the current and following quarter. After that, vehicles from this manufacturer are eligible for only 50% of the credit per vehicle for two more quarters. The phase-out continues after this until the credit its eventually gone. While Tesla and GM were pioneers of environmentally friendly cars, the new federal government regulations put in place will hurt them as new subsidies will start applying to foreign car manufacturers. These two American companies now will have to face more competition while still suffering from the limit imposed by the federal government.
In the end, it makes not only environmental sense, but economic sense to support incentives that successfully transition us to this type of transportation. Whether it’s a smooth transition or difficult transition that brings more pollution beforehand is up to Washington and we MUST demand smarter choices from our elected officials. Thomas Enzendorfer has worked in the Solar Industry for over 10 years. He currently serves as CEO of American Home Energy—a California based pure-play white label EPC for the Solar industry--and personally mentors other solar-related companies. Prior to AHE, Thomas served as President of Soligent and was a member of the Management Board for Fronius USA. Consult with Thomas here…