NYTimes: TDIs Are Hot Commodity

Nuje

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...if the industry went gangbusters and grew by 1000% from their current that would only be 20% of new cars sales. But I'll go all in and say adoption is 50% in the near short term.... or 9 Million cars per year that would mean to replace all the cars in the US alone with electrics would take 32 years...
I often wonder, if this were somehow to happen...is there enough cobalt and whatever other minerals needed to produce that many lithium batteries? As it is, battery supply often seems to be the talked-about bottleneck in EV production, if not in actual physical supply, then certainly in a cost-efficient sense.
 

Daemon64

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Nuje,

This is also a concern of mine. Many of the EV manufacturers have talked about battery supply issues. I would think that's more on the manufacturing side rather than the material supply. But that might also be why Tesla and GM are specifically stating that they are reducing cobalt... not just for price but a shrinking supply. But I agree that the raw materials for batteries will be a huge supply issue, especially if there is a spike in production.
 

Daemon64

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Turbo,

Yes there are a few experimental carbon capture operations, and there are those that are to the point of commercialization and entering the free market. Whether you or I think that energy is better used anywhere is whatever. People who use statements like that frustrate me as it seems to be a narrow view of things. So I will restate it as follows:

1. I do believe that EVs can be part of a bigger solution but to say that they are THE solution is narrow and missing a ton of external factors. Yes in an ideal world The fossil fuel industry would be vilified to the point of literally being shutdown, and tomorrow every single car would be electric as one pollutes more than the other.

2. We are not running on some narrow band of researches, scientists and etc... that can only research one thing at a time. People who research gasoline, diesel, and etc... drivetrains, are not necessarily the same people who would research electric drivetrains, transmission lines, anything electrical. Because many of them are experts in 1 type that doesn't have much if any crossover.

3. Grid energy is so vast and ridiculously huge that doing stuff for gas cars, doesn't necessarily take away from electrics. We have tons of untapped solar & wind because its location isn't always ideal for where it is being sent to.

4. Do not underestimate consumer demand, trends, and what "feels comfortable" to someone. EVs are at such a low demand, not because there are not enough in the market. They do not just fly off the shelfs so to speak unless you live on the west coast. Simple humanity is why...

A. People who live in cold climates don't want to take the range hit.
B. 37% of the US rents in apartments - Therefore it is far less convinient to use a charging station( IF there is one nearby ), then it is to fill your tank.
C. Some people need to tow - Electrics can handle the weight, but not the range.
D. Some people are either blind, don't care about the environment, are car enthusiasts and this group you will not likely capture.

I am not advocating that EVs are not an interesting, upcoming, or decent technology. I am just saying the problem is very complicated, and sure you can produce it... doesn't mean people will buy it... in huge mass.

Ways to get people to buy more EVs
1. Increase the battery ranges to around 600 miles. This will stop the vast majority for range anxiety.... but more so think cold weather area, and towing. Its not that people need this range, its more so a psychological thing. People only have 300 mileish ranges in many of their gas cars. ( unless you tow, or live in a cold weather climate ofcourse ) My other half gets around 3.5 - 4 miles / kwh in cold weather, when its really cold read that as 20 and below is closer to 3. But so far on 70 degree days 5 - 5.5... This is in a fairly small car. ( E-Golf )
2. Reduce the charging time for the pack to 5 minutes. I know this seems ridiculously quick but think of what users do now. They roll into a gas station, pull up, get out put the pump in, either hold it or let it do its thing. Around 3 - 4 minute trip. Get this to this speed and you have a winner on your hands.
3. Raise the price of Gasoline and diesel north of $4 - 5 / gallon across the US.
4. Wait. As boomers exit the market en mass, more younger tech savy people will adopt. But you will still have older millenial hold outs, as well as Gen X.
 
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kjclow

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I wouldn't underestimate the industrial might of this country/continent when we really focus our energy. We could be producing 100% EV's in just a few years if we felt the need urgently enough.
While I agree that we should never underestimate the might of the North American work force, the urgency is not there. With the Saudis and Russians fighting to see who can sell their oil the cheapest today, gas and diesel pump prices are going to continue to fall. That means that anyone on the fence about which car to buy today will go with an ICE. Unless we are willing to shift all resources to the producing e-cars and the infrasturcture necessary to support them, much like the WWII effort, we won't see a dramatic shift away from ICE. It will be very gradual until someone comes up with a decent Corolla-Accord sized alternative that is no more than 5% higher to purchase.

I often wonder, if this were somehow to happen...is there enough cobalt and whatever other minerals needed to produce that many lithium batteries? As it is, battery supply often seems to be the talked-about bottleneck in EV production, if not in actual physical supply, then certainly in a cost-efficient sense.
I don't think it's the amount of cobalt available in the earth, more about where it's coming from and how it's mined.
 

turbobrick240

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I applaud the carbon capture research. I just see it as very dangerous to over hype the tech as has been done recently. It is not a panacea to our carbon emission problems. If you look at who is looking to commercialize the tech, it's the big oil companies like Occidental etc. They want to use the recovered gas in enhanced oil recovery operations.

We don't have some wonderful endless supply of clean grid power to fuel these sorts of endeavors yet. If we did, it would make sense to first construct whatever grid infrastructure (and storage) is needed to bring that power to population centers.

This business with the Russians and Saudi's manipulating the markets is yet another reason why we need to wean our economy off fossil fuels asap.
I'm optimistic that the next 4 years will bring new leadership and much improved policy.
 

turbobrick240

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I see Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), like the Velocys project, as having much greater near term potential. Though I'm not crazy about pumping carbon into the ground in order to extract more carbon from the ground.
 

Rob Mayercik

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We don't have some wonderful endless supply of clean grid power to fuel these sorts of endeavors yet. If we did, it would make sense to first construct whatever grid infrastructure (and storage) is needed to bring that power to population centers.

There are just some places in this world where you're simply not going to be able to put the grid infrastructure to support EVs (such as national parks/wilderness, the vast reaches of desert/tundra/jungle/etc.). Do you honestly think anyone's going to want to start building charging stations all over our national parks/wildlife refuges to allow EVs unlimited access, for example?

Things like overland-style offroading aren't likely to move off ICE right now - bigger fuel tanks and spare fuel cans are a LOT easier to retrofit into a Jeep/Land Cruiser/Scout than a bigger battery, and taking along a portable gasoline/diesel generator to recharge kind of negates the purpose of going electric, doesn't it?

And then there's the military - with all the crazy places they have to take their vehicles, converting them to EV would be suicidal, stupid, or both - odds are they'll be the very last to give up ICE in surface vehicles, and for darn good reason. I know I wouldn't want my tanks constrained to be within range of a recharging station when trying to fight a battle (the term "sitting ducks" comes to mind).

We need stuff like the carbon capture fuels - if we don't at least TRY to develop stuff like that, we'll never really know just how much we can get out of that sort of thing.

As said above, today's EVs are just the first steps - ICE is probably the closest we're likely to come to a "one size(more or less) fits all problems" means of powering transportation, at least until someone actually comes up with a safe version of "Mr. Fusion" that runs on garbage or some such.
 

turbobrick240

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We need stuff like the carbon capture fuels - if we don't at least TRY to develop stuff like that, we'll never really know just how much we can get out of that sort of thing.
I agree. The biofuels with carbon capture make far more sense than the incredibly energy intensive direct air capture and fuel synthesis, imo. There a couple biofuel projects nearing completion in the US using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis to make renewable diesel/kerosene/jet fuel from cellulosic feedstock. That is important for transport sectors like aviation that are difficult to electrify.
 

El Dobro

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tikal

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turbobrick240

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Cobalt is also becoming less and less critical in the newer battery chemistries. It will probably be eliminated entirely over the next several years.
 

nwdiver

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Thanks for the link El Dobro.

It all comes down to "mining the oceans" carefully to not make things worse with water pollution and so forth. You definitively do not want a "Deepwater Horizon" accident or accidents 'battery style' :eek::(
..... describe how you see picking up rocks off the sea floor evolving into a 'deepwater horizon' accident....
 

El Dobro

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Cobalt is also becoming less and less critical in the newer battery chemistries. It will probably be eliminated entirely over the next several years.
From an article on the GM Ultium battery.

"To scale up to deliver 1 million EVs annually, the supply chain for batteries, including both the minerals and cell production, are critical. GM will be heavily focused on transitioning to an NMCA (nickel, manganese, cobalt, aluminum) chemistry from NMC, with a goal to reduce the use of cobalt by 70%. A greater use of aluminum is the key to reducing the reliance on cobalt. With a 10-fold increase in demand for batteries, GM is looking to source as many minerals, such as nickel and lithium, as possible from North America.".
 

kjclow

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..... describe how you see picking up rocks off the sea floor evolving into a 'deepwater horizon' accident....
That might have been going a little too far but I do have to wonder what kind of environmental nightmare we are starting by disturbing the ocean floor. Might even wake Godzilla!!!!
 

tikal

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..... describe how you see picking up rocks off the sea floor evolving into a 'deepwater horizon' accident....
Anytime you are talking about mining there are environmental risks involved with it. And if we become greedy in making money out of making rechargeable batteries for EVs then the environmental risk can increase proportionally if left unchecked. Companies might want to also find loopholes by mining in "international waters" and so forth.

My statement above is my opinion of a 'warning' sign and not a 'STOP' sign.
 

nwdiver

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Anytime you are talking about mining there are environmental risks involved with it. And if we become greedy in making money out of making rechargeable batteries for EVs then the environmental risk can increase proportionally if left unchecked. Companies might want to also find loopholes by mining in "international waters" and so forth.

My statement above is my opinion of a 'warning' sign and not a 'STOP' sign.
There's 'mining' and MINING. When you're just collecting stuff off the surface like lithium salts or deep sea nodules the potential for a mishap is vanishingly small. A bit more when you're after 1% of the content or need to remove a surface layer to get to the deposit like with strip mining. Deep sea hydrocarbon extraction dials the probability of a mishap to 11.

Comparing collecting loose rocks from the sea floor to deep water horizon is like comparing a game of twister to wing suit base jumping.
 

kjclow

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There's 'mining' and MINING. When you're just collecting stuff off the surface like lithium salts or deep sea nodules the potential for a mishap is vanishingly small. A bit more when you're after 1% of the content or need to remove a surface layer to get to the deposit like with strip mining. Deep sea hydrocarbon extraction dials the probability of a mishap to 11.
Comparing collecting loose rocks from the sea floor to deep water horizon is like comparing a game of twister to wing suit base jumping.
But it's also not like bending over to pick pebbles out of the stream bottom. You've got those mammoth sized machines you drop miles into the ocean and monitor it from an umbilical cord. Then suck rocks and whatever else is in the area into a giant vacuum to send it to the surface. What happens to the unwanted debris?
 
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nwdiver

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But it's also not like bending over to pick pebbles out of the stream bottom.
It's pretty close to that. It's not like mining copper or rare earths where you have to collect tons of dirt chemically or mechanically bound, >95% of which you don't want. Have read about deep sea nodules? You couldn't design a more convenient metal reserve aside from the fact they're sitting on the sea floor.

Manganese Nodule
 

johnsTDI

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We already pump more oil from the ground in the US then we import.
As long as there's plenty of oil & gas it's not going away anytime soon...
I don't see the infrastructure for electric charging stations for ev's like I see for Gas/diesel sure there are other methods like charging it at home but until cost on buying ev's and better quicker charge times and battery life span gets better I don't see ev's making any big impact on the market just yet.
 

kjclow

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It's pretty close to that. It's not like mining copper or rare earths where you have to collect tons of dirt chemically or mechanically bound, >95% of which you don't want. Have read about deep sea nodules? You couldn't design a more convenient metal reserve aside from the fact they're sitting on the sea floor.
Manganese Nodule
Unless you have a method for picking up each individual nodule without distrubing the surrounding soil/silt/deposits, you are creating an opportunity for some type of environmental impact. Just dropping the machine onto the ocean floor will disturb the floorbed. No one had any idea what type of long term impact that will have. Heck, 200+ years ago, no one had any idea the environmental impact strip mining would have. It wasn't until the 1980s that Iowa outlawed burning their own coal becasue of high sulfur content.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I wonder how our new reality (changes to the economy and plummeting oil prices) will affect demand for buyback cars and used TDIs in general. I could argue that people won't be buying anything, or that fuel economy will fall to a distant second as gas prices fall, reducing demand for TDIs. Or that people will be buying buyback cars instead of new to save money. Not sure.
 

Daemon64

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Indigo,

I am right there with you. With Gas prices / oil falling hard it is unlikely that anything short of Gas & Diesel vehicles will lead the way. There is a huge market of use diesel & gas vehicles, they tend to be less expensive, and if the fuel is cheap as dirt, it will be incredibly difficult to convince Average Joe they need anything more than a simple vehicle. And Nevermind Covid-19.... the Saudi's are in an outright war currently to tank the price. I read an article the other day that US Frackers need oil to be around $23 / barrel to make money, that the russians need it around $20, but the Saudi's can operate with it as low as $9 / barrel and make a profit. They are purposely increasing supply to crash the price, and force the other two out of the game. They also have 500 billion in reserve money to weather the storm otherwise. So sounds like the price of oil is going to be crazy low for a while. Especially since they are ramping up supply, as demand literally falls off the mountain. Another article was mentioning that w/ the current happening oil might actually go negative.... It closed at $19.84 per barrel yesterday, down from 50's..... crazy times...
 

Lightflyer1

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Good thing Trump said they were going to buy and fill the Strategic Reserve. Good time to do it. I have always said if you had oodles of money you should buy when it is down like now and put it back into the ground and resell when the price rises. Don't know if that is even possible. Long range investment.
 

atc98002

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Wish this drop in gas cost would reach Seattle. My usual Shell was still at $3.15 for RUG. Of course, I save $1 per gallon with my Fred Meyer (Kroger) fuel points, but even the "cheap" stations are only just barely under $3.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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RUG is still $2.35 or so here in MA. Diesel is $2.89 or so. No real reductions yet. And we just went under a stay at home order so I doubt stations will be exhausting their existing, higher cost, supply quickly.
 

turbobrick240

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The Saudi's are playing with fire by initiating this oil price war, imo. Their fiscal break even price point on oil is about $85/barrel vs. about $42/barrel for the Russians. The Saudi economy is a one trick pony with basically no diversification outside of oil production. I expect the Saudi's will blink first.
 
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