Category: electric vehicles

Visualized: Battery Vs. Hydrogen Fuel Cell


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


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Battery Electric Vs. Hydrogen Fuel Cell

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Since the introduction of the Nissan Leaf (2010) and Tesla Model S (2012), battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) have become the primary focus of the automotive industry.

This structural shift is moving at an incredible rate—in China, 3 million BEVs were sold in 2021, up from 1 million the previous year. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the number of models available for sale is expected to double by 2024.

In order to meet global climate targets, however, the International Energy Agency claims that the auto industry will require 30 times more minerals per year. Many fear that this could put a strain on supply.

“The data shows a looming mismatch between the world’s strengthened climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals.”
– Fatih Birol, IEA

Thankfully, BEVs are not the only solution for decarbonizing transportation. In this infographic, we explain how the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) works.

How Does Hydrogen Fuel Cell Work?

FCEVs are a type of electric vehicle that produces no emissions (aside from the environmental cost of production). The main difference is that BEVs contain a large battery to store electricity, while FCEVs create their own electricity by using a hydrogen fuel cell.

Major BEV ComponentsMajor FCEV Components
BatteryBattery
Onboard chargerHydrogen fuel tank
Electric motorFuel cell stack
Electric motor
Exhaust

Let’s go over the functions of the major FCEV components.

Battery

First is the lithium-ion battery, which stores electricity to power the electric motor. In an FCEV, the battery is smaller because it’s not the primary power source. For general context, the Model S Plaid contains 7,920 lithium-ion cells, while the Toyota Mirai FCEV contains 330.

Hydrogen Fuel Tank

FCEVs have a fuel tank that stores hydrogen in its gas form. Liquid hydrogen can’t be used because it requires cryogenic temperatures (−150°C or −238°F). Hydrogen gas, along with oxygen, are the two inputs for the hydrogen fuel cell.

Fuel Cell Stack and Motor

The fuel cell uses hydrogen gas to generate electricity. To explain the process in layman’s terms, hydrogen gas passes through the cell and is split into protons (H+) and electrons (e-).

Protons pass through the electrolyte, which is a liquid or gel material. Electrons are unable to pass through the electrolyte, so they take an external path instead. This creates an electrical current to power the motor.

Exhaust

At the end of the fuel cell’s process, the electrons and protons meet together and combine with oxygen. This causes a chemical reaction that produces water (H2O), which is then emitted out of the exhaust pipe.

Which Technology is Winning?

As you can see from the table below, most automakers have shifted their focus towards BEVs. Notably missing from the BEV group is Toyota, the world’s largest automaker.

FCEVs struggling to build momentum

Hydrogen fuel cells have drawn criticism from notable figures in the industry, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

Green hydrogen is needed for steel, chemical, aero,… and should not end up in cars. Far too expensive, inefficient, slow and difficult to rollout and transport.
– Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group

Toyota and Hyundai are on the opposing side, as both companies continue to invest in fuel cell development. The difference between them, however, is that Hyundai (and sister brand Kia) has still released several BEVs.

This is a surprising blunder for Toyota, which pioneered hybrid vehicles like the Prius. It’s reasonable to think that after this success, BEVs would be a natural next step. As Wired reports, Toyota placed all of its chips on hydrogen development, ignoring the fact that most of the industry was moving a different way. Realizing its mistake, and needing to buy time, the company has resorted to lobbying against the adoption of EVs.

Confronted with a losing hand, Toyota is doing what most large corporations do when they find themselves playing the wrong game—it’s fighting to change the game.
– Wired

Toyota is expected to release its first BEV, the bZ4X crossover, for the 2023 model year—over a decade since Tesla launched the Model S.

Challenges to Fuel Cell Adoption

Several challenges are standing in the way of widespread FCEV adoption.

One is performance, though the difference is minor. In terms of maximum range, the best FCEV (Toyota Mirai) was EPA-rated for 402 miles, while the best BEV (Lucid Air) received 505 miles.

Two greater issues are 1) hydrogen’s efficiency problem, and 2) a very limited number of refueling stations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are just 48 hydrogen stations across the entire country. 47 are located in California, and 1 is located in Hawaii.

On the contrary, BEVs have 49,210 charging stations nationwide, and can also be charged at home. This number is sure to grow, as the Biden administration has allocated $5 billion for states to expand their charging networks.

The post Visualized: Battery Vs. Hydrogen Fuel Cell appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Timeline: The Rise, Fall, and Return of the Hummer


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


View the full-resolution version of this infographic

Return of the Hummer

Timeline: The Rise, Fall, and Return of the Hummer

The Hummer brand has a relatively short history, but its trucks are some of America’s biggest automotive icons (both figuratively and literally). Originally designed for the military, Hummers are famous for their size, off-road capability, and of course, fuel consumption.

The latter proved to be the Hummer’s Achilles’ heel. By 2007, a recession was coming, and the appetite for oversized gas guzzlers had shrunk. The Hummer brand was discontinued, and its last truck rolled off the production line in 2010.

Over a decade later, GM is reviving the Hummer as a fully-electric off-road vehicle. Preorders have surpassed 65,000 units, but how does this compare to the brand’s heyday in the 2000s?

The Origins

The Hummer traces its roots to 1983, when AM General, a heavy vehicle manufacturer, received $1 billion from the Pentagon to build the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee).

The Humvee became a staple of the U.S. military, and by 1991, 72,000 had been produced. The truck was especially useful in Middle Eastern conflict zones due to its ability to transport troops and cargo over rough terrain.

If you’re wondering how this military vehicle ended up on public roads, you can thank none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While filming the 1990 action-comedy, Kindergarten Cop, Arnold reportedly fell in love with a Humvee used on set. He later persuaded AM General to produce a consumer version of the truck, (Read more...)

Understanding Zinc’s Role in a Low-Carbon Economy



The following content is sponsored by Teck

Understanding Zinc’s Role in a Low-Carbon Economy

Understanding Zinc’s Role in a Low-Carbon Economy

When asked to describe how the metal zinc is used, people often mention vitamins, sunscreen, or metal coating.

But few are aware of zinc’s applications in transportation, infrastructure, electronics, food security, and renewable energy.

This graphic by Teck shows how zinc is playing a key role in the low carbon economy.

Zinc, the Versatile Metal

Zinc is one of the most versatile and essential materials known to mankind. It is the fourth most used metal in the world behind iron, aluminum, and copper.

The primary use of zinc is in the galvanizing process, which protects iron and steel from rusting. Zinc coatings play a key role in public transportation and infrastructure by extending the life of steel used in bridge rails and support beams, railway tracks, and public transportation hubs and terminals.

Additionally, zinc can be alloyed with other metals and used for die-casting into shapes such as door handles, alloyed with copper to make brass, and alloyed with copper and sometimes other metals to make some types of bronze, like architectural bronze or commercial bronze.

Zinc in the Low Carbon Economy

Furthermore, zinc also has applications in energy storage. Zinc-carbon batteries were the first commercial dry batteries, providing a higher energy density at a lower cost than previously available cells.

Due to its growing role in energy storage and its superior ability to protect metals against corrosion, zinc remains an essential material for the future.

Zinc in the Energy Transition

(Read more...)

Putting EV Valuations Into Perspective


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


EV Valuations

Putting EV Valuations Into Perspective

The global push for lower emissions has created a mania around pure-electric automakers. While Tesla leads the charge, institutional investors have also piled into many of its younger rivals.

For example, in 2019, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $1.3 billion into Lucid Motors. One year later, it was revealed that Amazon had a 20% stake (worth $3.8B) in Rivian.

To see how quickly EV valuations have ballooned, we’ve visualized the historical market capitalizations (market caps) of 10 prominent automakers.

Legacy vs Pure-Electric

The legacy group includes five top traditional automakers, while the EV group includes the five most valuable pure-electric automakers that are listed on an American exchange.

The following table lists the market caps of these companies at various dates. While XPeng and NIO are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, they do not currently sell cars in the U.S.

AutomakerType20102015202102/22/2022
?? TeslaEV$3B$31B$1,061B$849B
?? ToyotaLegacy$124B$191B$255B$256B
?? Volkswagen GroupLegacy$59B$79B$129B$128B
?? Mercedes-BenzLegacy$61B$94B$83B$89B
?? FordLegacy$63B$57B$83B$69B
?? General MotorsLegacy$55B$51B$85B$68B
?? RivianEVN/AN/A$93B$55B
?? LucidEVN/AN/A$63B$42B
?? NIOEVN/AN/A$50B$35B
?? XpengEVN/AN/A$41B$30B

Source: Companies Market Cap

At the end of 2021, Tesla and its four EV rivals were worth a combined $1.3 trillion. This was more than double of the legacy group, which (Read more...)

Putting EV Valuations Into Perspective


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


EV Valuations

Putting EV Valuations Into Perspective

The global push for lower emissions has created a mania around pure-electric automakers. While Tesla leads the charge, institutional investors have also piled into many of its younger rivals.

For example, in 2019, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $1.3 billion into Lucid Motors. One year later, it was revealed that Amazon had a 20% stake (worth $3.8B) in Rivian.

To see how quickly EV valuations have ballooned, we’ve visualized the historical market capitalizations (market caps) of 10 prominent automakers.

Legacy vs Pure-Electric

The legacy group includes five top traditional automakers, while the EV group includes the five most valuable pure-electric automakers that are listed on an American exchange.

The following table lists the market caps of these companies at various dates. While XPeng and NIO are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, they do not currently sell cars in the U.S.

AutomakerType20102015202102/22/2022
?? TeslaEV$3B$31B$1,061B$849B
?? ToyotaLegacy$124B$191B$255B$256B
?? Volkswagen GroupLegacy$59B$79B$129B$128B
?? Mercedes-BenzLegacy$61B$94B$83B$89B
?? FordLegacy$63B$57B$83B$69B
?? General MotorsLegacy$55B$51B$85B$68B
?? RivianEVN/AN/A$93B$55B
?? LucidEVN/AN/A$63B$42B
?? NIOEVN/AN/A$50B$35B
?? XpengEVN/AN/A$41B$30B

Source: Companies Market Cap

At the end of 2021, Tesla and its four EV rivals were worth a combined $1.3 trillion. This was more than double of the legacy group, which (Read more...)

Mapped: EV Battery Manufacturing Capacity, by Region



The following content is sponsored by Scotch Creek Ventures.

Mapped: EV Battery Manufacturing Capacity, by Region

The demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) is rising rapidly—it’s set to reach 9,300 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by 2030—up by over 1,600% from 2020 levels.

For that reason, developing domestic battery supply chains, including battery manufacturing capacity, is becoming increasingly important as countries strive to shift away from gasoline vehicles to EVs.

Which countries are leading the race for batteries? The above infographic from Scotch Creek Ventures highlights the top 10 nations for EV battery manufacturing.

The Top 10 Countries by Capacity

The biggest battery manufacturers are located in regions that have high demand for EVs, and that have wide access to raw materials:

RankCountry2021 Li-ion manufacturing capacity (GWh)% of World Total
#1China ??55879.0%
#2U.S. ??446.2%
#3Hungary ??284.0%
#4Poland ??223.1%
#5South Korea ??182.5%
#6Japan ??172.4%
#7Germany ??111.6%
#8Sweden ??40.6%
#9UK ??20.3%
#10Australia ??10.1%
N/ARest of the World ?10.1%
N/ATotal706100.0%

Data as of February 1, 2021.
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

China is by far the leader in the battery race with nearly 80% of global Li-ion manufacturing capacity. The country also dominates other parts of the battery supply chain, including the mining and refining of battery minerals like lithium and graphite.

The U.S. is following China from afar, with around 6% or 44 GWh (Read more...)

Comparing the Carbon Footprint of Transportation Options


This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist


Carbon footprint of transportation

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The Briefing

  • Flying domestically and driving alone are the most carbon-intensive travel methods
  • Taking a train instead of a short flight could reduce your emissions by 84%

The Carbon Footprint of Transportation

As concern about climate change has grown, individuals are becoming increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment.

Transportation emissions often make up the largest portion of our individual carbon footprints. For that reason, evaluating transport options is a natural place to start, whether it is for a daily commute or a leisure trip abroad.

So, what’s the most eco-friendly way to go from one place to another?

The above infographic charts the carbon footprint of transportation per passenger-kilometer for different vehicles based on data from the UK Government’s methodology paper for greenhouse gas reporting.

Editor’s note: Because the original labels in the study are very UK-specific, we have changed the copy of some of the labels to better suit an international audience.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: How Carbon Footprints Compare

The carbon footprint of transportation is measured in grams of carbon dioxide (CO (Read more...)

The Number of EV Models Will Double by 2024


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


EV Models by 2024

The Briefing

  • The number of electric vehicle (EV) models available in the U.S. will double by 2024, in comparison to what was available at the beginning of 2022
  • Legacy automakers are set to release a wave of fully electric vehicles

The Number of EV Models Will Double by 2024

Buyers in the market for an EV will have plenty of options to choose from over the next few years. It’s expected that there will be 134 models on sale in the U.S. by 2024—more than double of what’s available today.

YearNumber of EV models available
20102
201521
202048
2024 (projection)134

Note: These figures may include variations of the same model. Example: The Tesla Model 3 comes in Base, Long Range, and Performance trims.

This wave of new electric models is being primarily driven by legacy automakers, many of whom are entering the EV market for the first time. For industry leader Tesla, it means that there is greater competition on the way.

This greater variety of vehicles comes at a time when interest in owning an electric vehicle is rising. In a recent survey from Morning Consult, the majority of American adults (51%) now report being very or somewhat likely to purchase a fully electric vehicle over the next decade.

Millennials are the most likely to be considering an EV as their next vehicle (70%).

The Latest EV Push: Trucks

Truck buyers have been waiting for their turn to experience electric power, and legacy (Read more...)

Charted: Lithium Production by Country (1995-2020)



The following content is sponsored by Scotch Creek Ventures.

Global lithium production by country

Charted: Lithium Production by Country

Lithium is often dubbed as “white gold” for the development of electric vehicles.

With several countries committed to phasing out new gasoline and diesel engine vehicles by 2040, the recent growth in electric vehicle (EV) adoption has fueled a global boom in lithium production.

For that reason, lithium production more than doubled between 2016 and 2020, up from 40,000 tonnes to 86,300 tonnes.

The above infographic from our sponsor Scotch Creek Ventures charts 25 years of lithium production by country from 1995 to 2020.

A Brief History of Lithium Mining

Countries began producing significant amounts of lithium after World War II, with annual production averaging 5,000 tonnes between 1955 and 1980.

The U.S. was by far the largest lithium producer until 1995, followed by Zimbabwe and Australia. From 1995 to 2010, Chile took over as the dominant producer with a lithium mining boom in the Salar de Atacama, the country’s largest salt flat.

Lithium production grew steadily between 1995 and 2010, up from 9,500 tonnes to 28,000 tonnes. But the advent of rechargeable batteries and electric vehicles brought in a new wave of demand, fueling an exponential production surge.

The Largest Lithium Producing Countries

Today, three countries—Australia, Chile, and China—mine roughly 86% of the world’s lithium.

Country2020 Lithium Production* (tonnes)% of World Total
Australia ??40,00046.3%
Chile ??20,60023.9%
China ??14,00016.2%
Argentina ??6,2007.2%
Brazil ??1,9002.2%
Zimbabwe ??1,2001.4%
(Read more...)

Visualizing America’s Electric Vehicle Future



The following content is sponsored by Talon Metals and Li-Cycle

Visualizing America’s Electric Vehicle Future

The U.S. is accelerating its transition to electric vehicles (EV) to address climate change. However, obtaining the minerals and metals required for EV batteries remains a challenge.

In this infographic from Talon Metals and Li-Cycle, we explore the country’s strategy to have vehicles, batteries, and key parts be made in the United States.

Then, we look at how this strategy could be fueled by domestic mining and battery recycling.

The All-Electric America

Gasoline-powered cars are one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution driving the climate crisis. As a result, the Biden Administration has set a target for EVs to make up 50% of all new car sales in the U.S. by 2030. Today, fewer than 1% of the country’s 250 million vehicles are electric.

In November 2021, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which includes:

  • Replacing the government’s 650,000 vehicle motor pool with EVs.
  • Electrifying 20% of the country’s 500,000 school buses.
  • Investing $7.5 billion to build out a network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers across the country.

The idea also has popular support. According to a poll, 55% of voters in the U.S. support requiring all new cars sold in their state to be electric starting in 2030.

However, rising EV sales are already driving demand for battery metals such as nickel, lithium, and copper, threatening to trigger a shortage of these key raw materials. So, does the U.S. have the (Read more...)