Matt Blackman is a financial analyst, author, trader and green energy advocate and the founder of the Squamish Alternative Energy Group which promotes clean energy and technology on Canada’s West Coast.
In the last 12 months there has been a flurry of high-profile announcements from carmakers rushing to join the electric vehicle revolution. More than 70 new battery or plug-in electric light and passenger vehicles have been announced or rumoured to be on North America roads by 2025, from the single-seat Solo by Canadian EV manufacturer Electra Meccanica to fully electric Ford 150 and Chevrolet Silverado pickups.
As many internal combustion engine (ICE) and fossil fuel industry old guard shake their heads in disbelief, the logic of this revolution is as real as it is undeniable. Here are just a few reasons why most of you reading this will be driving an EV in the next five years.
Electric motors are approximately four times more efficient than ICEs. That is why an EV like the Chevy Bolt can travel 240 miles (400+ kilometers) on the equivalent energy of two US gallons of gas. According to a 2018 University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, electric vehicles cost less than half as much to operate as gas-powered cars. The average cost to operate an EV in the United States is $485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117.
“Compare the thousands of moving parts in an ICE and transmission versus just one moving part in an electric motor. A gas motor is exploding, an electric motor is spinning. It just makes common sense that the latter will be safer, more reliable, cheaper to operate and last longer,” says Jerry Kroll, CEO of Vancouver-based electric vehicle manufacturer Electra Meccanica Vehicle Corp.
Another benefit of a simpler, more efficient motor with fewer moving parts is that EVs are significantly quieter as well.
Plus most new EVs have regenerative braking which recharges the battery instead of generating heat lost through pads.
Electric motors are also more reliable than internal combustion, diesel or turbine engines due in large part to their simplicity and nowhere is this more obvious than in aviation. When an aircraft engine fails, you can’t just pull over and wait for assistance. For example, the average time between overhauls (TBO) for a gas general aviation aircraft engine is 1,200 – 2,000 hours. Because it is far simpler with fewer working parts than a piston engine, the TBO for a turbine jet or turboprop is 3,000 to 5,000 hours depending on aircraft type.
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Although no endurance testing has been conducted on electric aircraft motors, tests have been conducted on automobile motors.
“Tesla recently completed a one-million mile endurance test on the Model 3 electric motor. After running for the equivalent of one million miles (1.6 million kilometers) the motor and gears still looked new,” said Kroll, who is also licensed pilot.
A number of major aircraft and component manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Rolls Royce, Siemens and Raytheon are developing electric power plants for training, air racing, and short to medium range commercial flights. European aircraft maker Pipistrel now sells the single-engine dual seat Alpha Electro for flight training and the Taurus Electro powered glider that will reduce the hourly fuel costs from $70 to $90 per hour to $5 per hour.
Due to the fact that there is only 1 moving part in an electric motor and it uses no liquids like oil or antifreeze, an EV costs about 80 percent less to maintain. And thanks to regenerative braking, brake pads last significantly longer.
EVs offer many other advantages as well. Vehicle batteries can be used as backup to power your home in power outages as well as use power from solar panels to charge. Other than periodic checkups, the only regular maintenance to perform is change windshield wipers and tires on most models.
As anyone who has driven an electric vehicle can attest, EV performance is nothing short of inspiring. An electric motor produces 100% torque from zero to full speed compared to an ICE in which torque rises as revolutions per minute (RPM) increase. This means they will beat any comparably powered ICE vehicle off the line because the vast majority of the energy drives the vehicle forward instead of it being lost in heat and friction.
For many early adopters, the environment was the driving force behind their decision to buy an EV. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average vehicle produces 4.71 tons of CO2 emission for a total each year of 1,549 million metric tons per year produced by fossil fuel powered vehicles in the U.S. How much cleaner are electric vehicles in the U.S?
According to recent studies, electric vehicles emit 25 percent fewer emissions than diesel vehicles in Poland which uses coal to generate a high percentage of power and 85 percent fewer emissions in Sweden that has the cleanest grid in Europe. An internal combustion vehicle would need to get 80 miles per gallon to equal the emissions produced by the average EV on US roads today according to 2018 data from the EPA and this value continues to rise as EVs get more efficient and electricity generation gets cleaner.
There is little doubt that the green energy revolution is truly here to stay and electric vehicles are a big part of that trend. The only question is how long will it take before electric vehicles are the primary form of transport on our roads?
Disclosures: Neither Matt nor any of his affiliates owns SOLO stock nor a long-equity position. Although Electra Meccanica is a media client of Matt’s that pays him a fixed fee of $5000 per month, Matt maintains ultimate authority over statements made herein. Matt received no other compensation from Electra Meccanica and received no other compensation from any party discussed in this release. Matt is not a FINRA registered broker-dealer or investment advisor. All information contained herein was based solely on publicly available information regarding SOLO and is considered accurate and reliable by the author.