By Dave Brown — Exclusive to Lithium Investing News

Electric Vehicle Programs Growing in the United States

Last Friday, the California Air Resources Board voted to support an Advanced Clean Cars regulatory program for vehicles produced from 2018 through to 2025. The program, which was launched three years ago, is designed to help build the future market for lithium battery electric vehicles.

Among the most interesting implications for the lithium industry are the new standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved through existing and new technologies and more efficient use of lighter and stronger materials. A modified “Zero Emission Vehicle” regulation requires a minimum number of lithium battery electric vehicles to be sold within California.

Ambitious goals set

The objective target  for the program is to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road by 2025 to 15.4 percent. The increase would equate to more than 1.4 million vehicles in California that will emit little or no pollutants. The expectation is that transitional hybrid models will play a role over the next 20 years; however, by the middle of the century, 87 percent of Californian cars are expected to be full zero emission lithium battery electric vehicles to achieve climate goals.

Hawaii extending its program

On Monday, Hawaii’s EV Ready program was extended in order to promote the use and adoption of electric vehicles and lithium battery technology supported by the Energy Department’s State Energy Program and the Recovery Act. With the United States being the most dependent nation in the world on oil, Hawaii is the most oil dependent state within the union.

The future optimal energy mix includes lithium battery technology 

Hawaii introduced its first public charging station last July in the state capitol’s underground parking garage. The state funded six organizations to install 220 charging stations at 120 sites, introducing electric vehicles to public and private fleets, promoted the benefits to the hospitality industry. Ground transportation fuel is responsible for 30 percent of liquid fuel demand. Objectives of the EV Ready program expect to reduce Hawaii’s ground transportation fuel use by 70 percent by 2030.

Electric truck study promises good results

Research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Transportation and Logistics, indicates that electric commercial vehicles may cost from 9 to 12 percent less than diesel engine trucks powered in urban centers when V2G (vehicle-to-grid) revenue is incorporated. The research was modeled on costs for a fleet of 250 delivery trucks, and examined alternate scenarios in which the whole fleet used one of three kinds of motors: purely electric engines, hybrid gas-electric engines and conventional diesel engines.

Multiple lithium battery sources

The MIT study across several American cities utilized all-electric trucks, manufactured by Missouri-based Smith Electric Vehicles. The proprietary lithium battery system features a unique capability of managing power using an integration scheme permitting the use of lithium batteries of varying sizes from different manufacturers. The current strategic partners are A123 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE) and Valence (NASDAQ:VLNC).

Relative costs and efficiency

The research was based on the data collected assuming the fleet of trucks was operated for 70 miles a day during a year of 253 working days, with diesel gasoline costing $4.00 per gallon. Trucks with internal-combustion engines averaged 10.14 miles per gallon, compared to 11.56 miles per gallon for hybrid trucks, while the electric only trucks averaged 0.8 kilowatt-hours per mile.  The study additionally modeled what could happen if the fleets of trucks were part of a vehicle to grid electricity system in which lithium batteries would be plugged into the electricity grid for 12 hours overnight, as an additional source for residential electricity. Under this format the vehicle owners would be paid by utility firms for the power resource.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Dave Brown, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.