Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Deployment Miracle Puts Electric Vehicles on Track to Save Livable Climate - by Joe Romm

Tesla supercharging station in Oslo, Norway. (Credit: Shutterstock) Click to Enlarge
An almost two-century-old technology with virtually no market penetration just six years ago is now on track to become a cornerstone solution in the fight to avoid catastrophic climate change, the International Energy Agency (the IEA) reported this month.  If that isn’t an energy miracle, what is?

Driven by aggressive government deployment programs and one high-flying entrepreneur (Elon Musk), the world has seen stunning drops in the prices for the advanced batteries that electric vehicles (EVs) require.  The result is that of 19 key low-carbon technologies the IEA is tracking, only EVs have made sufficient progress in the market to be in the IEA’s highest category: “on track, but sustained deployment and policies required,” to keep total global warming below 2°C.

You may view this as a “glass is 18/19ths empty” story, but for me, it’s anything but.  First, no technology was in this category in their report last year, so EVs are a key example of how “almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated.”

Second, the EV story shows what smart government deployment programs can accomplish for both pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs, which also have a gasoline engine):

Third, this has been accomplished during a time when the world has barely gotten serious about this existential threat to humanity.  But as seriousness transitions to desperation over the next decade, we can expect vastly more aggressive deployment programs for clean tech across the board.

Fourth, EVs are the cornerstone technology for low-cost, low-carbon transport.  As the IEA’s “Energy Technology Perspectives 2016,” explains, “electric vehicles and public transport can lead to a low-carbon mobility system while reducing investment needs by USD 20 trillion compared with current development trends in cities.”

Fifth, EVs are a core enabling technology for deep penetration of renewable power into the electricity generating sector.

Read more at Deployment Miracle Puts Electric Vehicles on Track to Save Livable Climate

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