Scientist expects breakthrough for EVs soon - demand for ICEs might collapse massively already by 2016

Scientist expects breakthrough for EVs soon - demand for ICEs might collapse massively already by 2016

Here is a recent article in the highly recommended German newspaper DIE ZEIT, for those who can read German, here is the link:

And for those who can not understand German, here is my translation:

Future scientist expects breakthrough for EVs soon
The demand for ICEs will collapse massively by 2016, saqys future sicientist Lars Thomsen. He compares the triumph of e-mobility with preparing popcorn

According to Lars Thomsen automotive industry is like a heated pan full of popcorn. Several minutes nothing happens – but when the oil comes to a temperature of 163 degrees (Celsius) the change comes very fast, and the corn changes tompopcorn within seconds. Something similar is just happening to the carindustry - from ICEs to EVs.
And the first corn has already changed. The success of Teslamarks the begin of a change that will be irreversible. "The car industry nowadays experinces more change than in the 50 years before", said Thomsen recently at a meeting for e-mobility. Thomsen ha specialized in prognosting so-called Tipping Points, i.e. points where whole industries undergo extreme changes. Big companies can collapse if they miss them.
Examples can be found, when lloking at the market for moblie phones: just recently the former market leader had to sell his mobile phone business for small money to Microsoft. Another example are the German TV manufacturers, they missed the trend going to flat screens. or take the fate of Kodak: digital foto technology killed the analogue Kodak technology.
Thomsen: "May industries in the past made themselves believe, that a new technology will not succeed, that the consumers do want to have it and that their position is invincible, But their sceptical view from today might be their collapse tomorrow. Right at this point the car industry is today.
Companies as Nissan, BMW and Tesla are researching e-technology for cars and develop completely new cars only driven by electricity, while Mercedes, Volkswagen and especially Toyota still stick to the ICE (sometimes as hybrid). This might show as a big mistake. "Already in 2016 the demand for ICEs will decrease massively", Thomsen prophecies.
Two essential problems of EVs - price and range - are, according to Thomsen, solved, due to fast technological progress and falling prices. A battery would then cost only 120 Dollar per KWh. Right now Tesla still has a price of about 200 Dollar. Furtheron, in 2016 there will be much more charging stations in Germany – in the next weeks Tesla will open the first superchargers in Germany. BMW will also start witth charging points.
ICEs - so Thomsen - willl then no longer have advantages. Like analogue photography, CRT displays and mobile phones with push buttons the ICE technology would be outrun.
Such prognostic projections are of course not scientfically calculated. But there are signs enough to see. In Northern America Tesla is selling more high-priced cars than their competitors. 10,100 Tesla cars have been sold there Autos in the first six months of 2013, compared to about 6,000 Mercedes S-class or 3,600 Audi A8. In Norway Tesla is on top of all new cars, even in front of the Volkswagen Rabbit (Golf), but also due to massive tax advantages for EVs.
This success will even accelerate in the next years, Thomsen beleives. The market might then become so attractive, that three or four car manufacturersmight step in, that nobody can see in the present. Elektronic companies like LG and Samsung might start in this business field. They have no knowledge of complex ICEs, but have enough know-how when it comes to batteries and electonics.
Already in 2015 EVs might achieve a market share of five percent. And 2016 in the demand for ICEs might decrease massively - and, by the way, also for hybrids, Thomsen sees the end for them in 2018.
The discussion for lower CO2-limits in the European community might - retrospectively - then be obsolet. ICEs with bad exhaust data will not have a future at all, according to Thomsen's prognoses.

suchtforscher | 20 oktober 2013

Another funny thing: in the article the expert expects hybrids to disappear from the market at about 2018, but Porsche is advertising the Hybrid-Panamera on the top of the site all the time. LOL!!

negarholger | 20 oktober 2013

I have the same expectation, just not that aggressive time wise (my guess would be 2020-2025), but it could happen. Once the battery price is in the $100 per kWh range, then the ICE is not price competitive any longer.
I am not sure if I agree with the list of ICE companies who is prepared or not, but the notion that companies like Samsung or LG could enter the market and become car manufacturers is a good one - I haven't thought about that.

bent | 20 oktober 2013

Switching over from ICE to BEV production takes so much engineering complexity out of making cars we could be seeing a real renaissance with small to medium sized car manufacturers popping up all over the place. Buying drive trains from Tesla and licensing their supercharger tech/access could make it even easier.

Another few decades down the line and you'll be mail ordering the drive train from Tesla, printing out the glider parts (with or without a personal retouch) on your 3D printer, then having it all assembled in the back yard. :-)

Dramsey | 20 oktober 2013

By 2016, huh? Snort.

Well, let's see: for one thing, battery production is already pretty much at the limit of capacity supplying the existing market (which is why we read about Tesla exploring the funding of new battery production facilities).

And that's with electrics and hybrids at under 5% of new vehicle registrations.

Then of course there's the charging infrastructure. Condos, apartments, etc. don't provide any, and if you live in a house that's more than 20 years old you may well only have 100 amps total incoming, which will put a crimp in your Mod S charging on sunny days with the A/C running.

I wouldn't venture to guess when BEVs will outsell ICEs. However, I would bet rather a lot of money it won't be by 2016.

grega | 20 oktober 2013

I think a very fast mental shift, a paradigm shift, will start, but agree with Dramsey that our limitations are in the battery technology. There'll be an opportunity for EV but when the demand triples the battery prices will increase as demand outstrips supply.

The question is whether the increase price (as the industry starts a big shift) will take away that tipping point, and replace it with a much slower switch. That's my main reason for expecting range-extended EVs to become prominent, with a focus on handling 95% of our needs using EV - perhaps a 20kwh battery.

negarholger | 20 oktober 2013

Grega - the mental shift is already happening. For two years we had two Leafs in my company and folks were not taking it serious. That changed the day I showed up with the MS, all of a sudden even the biggest gas heads asked interested questions. Soon after we got two more Leafs and one Fiat 500e - no joking anymore.
There is enough battery capacity for at least 100k MS. But for sure by 2018 we will not 80M EVs build and zero ICEs worldwide. What will/could happen is that e.g. the redesigned 2014 Mercedes S class will be the last redesigned S class with an ICE engine. ICEs become undesirable and have to be sold at a low price while EVs command the premium pricing.

grega | 20 oktober 2013

Kleist, that's what I mean though. As ICEs become undesirable, their price drops. Second hand ICEs will drop significantly (I told my father to sell his Lexus now, before the price falls off a cliff). Increased interest in EVs will decrease their availability, increase their price, and increase interest in ICEs.

Which is all to say, it can't be a fast switch.

carlgo | 21 oktober 2013

Everyone is focusing on exciting new battery technology, magically giving use 1000 mile ranges on the cheap. I don't think that is necessary to supplant ICE cars. An honest 300 mile range and low cost fillups at Swapping kiosks located damned near everywhere would probably ICE the deal (heh, heh).

It seems reasonable to assume that modern new battery plants and the expected improvements in existing battery technology would allow for this scenario.

Dramsey is right about the charging infrastructure. Tesla isn't going to fully realize its potential until there are Swappers everywhere.

Timo | 21 oktober 2013

Swapping requires robotics. Future batteries probably have 50+C charging capabilities, so charging fully can be achieved in about one minute. Use that robotics to charge instead of swap.

I have doubts how well swapping works in below freezing when car underneath is anything but clean.

Olof | 22 oktober 2013

Agree with Timo, that fast charging will make swapping obsolete in most cases. Elon said yesterday at his speech in Munich that the German Superchargers being built right now will be 135 kW. Slowly getting close to very convenient fill ups...

Webcrawler | 22 oktober 2013

I think the fast charging is going to improve. Right now most Li batteries can be charged at 5+C with no ill affect IF (BIG IF here) you do not try to charge them up past about 80%.

This is why the Supercharger begin to pull back current as the car start to reach a full charge....

The best analogy for this is a Night club. Early in the evening you can just walk right in with little obstruction or resistance. As the night progresses and the club start to reach capacity it gets more and more difficult to pack more people in the door. It gets to the point where everyone has to move over to let someone in creating more friction and heat...

My point is that once you have a little higher capacity (say 100KWhr) you will have about 300-350 mile range. When you fast charge you do not have to completely fill up because of the extra range and it can be done much faster and you are not stressing the pack as much.

So I think we are not talking about needing 50% or 100% more capacity, but more like 20-25% to make charging these things as quick as an ICE...

Jolinar | 23 oktober 2013

I think 6C charging (~10min), 300 mile realworld range and similarly priced is enough to persuade 99% people (including my petrolhead friends) to dump ICE and consider EV.

However such future is long way off... 6C and 300 mile (100kWh) means 600kW charging :-(

Jolinar | 23 oktober 2013

Hmm, but if you want to persuade only 80% people 3C and 300 mile would be enough I guess. Car has to be similarly priced as ICE of course.

Bubba2000 | 23 oktober 2013

Model S is just version 1.0, and it is great car that has won multiple awards. I own a 85P/Pano loaded and it is very impressive. Yes, there are a few things that could be improved, but the primarily limiting factor is the supercharger network as well as charging at destination sites like hotels. That is just a matter of time.

Elon has and his team have the technical skills, and resources to improve on the Model S. Excluding the battery, they can optimize the design and structure to reduce weight by at least 500-1000 lbs using stronger alloys, design elect. Aerodynamics, especially the flow of air under the car can be improved over time to reduce drag. The electrical system including the cabling, power control, inverter as well as the induction motor can optimized to reduce losses and improve efficiency. The wheel aerodynamics can be streamlined - while still looking attractive - to reduce turbulence, drag, etc... the turbine wheels are certainly not efficient. External mirrors can be substituted by low drag CCD cameras. Increased use of low friction bearings. Smart cruise control, with autopilot can optimize the speed, regen,and minimize braking in traffic. LED beams. HVAC light weight thermal insulation. All these incremental improvements could increase range 10-20% or more.

Elon already indicated that within a few years, a 500 mile battery will be offered. Meanwhile, the cost/KW-hr will drop significantly once Samsung and LG enter the business. LG Chem is developing batteries that could >double the energy density. Costs of the battery pack as well as the rest of the car will fall over time with economies of scale and tech.

Yes, Elon and Tesla have the financial strength to succeed. At worse, Tesa can raise $2B to scale production as well as Model E. With the stock at over 160, the market is sending the message that capital is available if Tesla wants it.

Timo | 23 oktober 2013

@Jolinar; 600kW is not that much. It only needs battery to battery charging to make it happen. Grid can "slow" charge those batteries in charging station. If we assume 600V charging voltage it's 1000A, which obviously requires too thick cable for human to handle, but piece of cake for robotics. If you can align systems accurately enough to swap batteries you can do that same for couple of very heavy duty charging cables (positioned under the car, like swap-systems). Technically should be way easier to do actually. You can even wash that part of the car bottom before attaching the cables without much equipment.