10 Years Of Solar And Electric Cars – What’s On Tap For The Next 10 Years?

AUG 29 2016 BY PEDER NORBY 46

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“10 Years of Solar and EV’s – The Next 10 Years on Tap” Top 10 Predictions from an EV & Energy Pioneer.

10 years is a good mile-marker to reflect on visions of the past, futile or fertile, and for a re-calibration towards the future.

We advance towards that better future, creating solutions driven by imagination, innovation, technology, service and a love for each other.  It is faith and optimism that lights the fire of every pioneer, pushing aside pessimism, fear and security.

The past 10 years.

Julie and I, are the owner builders of our 2006 Net Zero Energy award winning home “Herons’ House” in Carlsbad CA. We desired to partner with nature, and one of her greatest resources in California is of course the sun.  We designed our home in 2005 to “harvest” free sunshine to power our home and future cars & transports in lieu of fossil fuels.  We purchased our first neighborhood EV to drive on sunshine 10 years ago, the GEM E4.

Our efforts in 2005-06 were to pioneer living and driving on sunshine.

Then, solar PV was a newish and rare sight, electric vehicles were nowhere to be found following the demise of the first generation of modern electric cars in the 90’s.  Living and driving completely powered by sunshine was unheard of, our efforts derided by most as weird, why and crazy.

Today in California, a short 10 years later, over 500,000 households have Solar PV, over 100,000 EV’s are on the road, many if not most, powered by sunshine.  Living in a solar powered home and driving an electric vehicle powered by sunshine is now commonplace and adoption rates for both are accelerating dramatically.

A remarkable advancement really. 10 years later, Julie and I are now normal.

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The next 10 years.

Vision is identifying a better future and constructing a path towards it. With a vision and a recalibration towards that future, here is my “Top Ten List” of what will be viewed by most in 2016 as weird, why and crazy, and what will be viewed as normal in 2026.

1.) Transportation balance is greatly improved between the private automobile, shared transit options, public transit, walking and bicycling.Think of the difference transport options this way:  Taking a family of four to an NFL game or taking a family of four to the beach.  One is a private event and will cost $500 or more with a small percentage of our population being able to afford it. One is a great public commons, free, enjoyed and equitable to all. In 2026 we will see a much improved, more equitable balance between private, shared and public transportation, leading to healthier and more just neighborhoods and cities.

2.) Sprawl will fall, Relocalization will ramp-up.  The Interstate Highway System of 50s and 60s greatly altered the way we traveled and the generic identity thieving way our post 1960’s neighborhoods were constructed.  In 2026, relocalization will have an equally profound effect on our urban and suburban development patterns. The electrification of transportation, autonomous cars and last mile transit solutions will lead to the relocalization of our cities, this becoming the dominant urban design trend. Our citizens will have greater connections within their cities, more places for people to gather, each community with their own authentic identity.

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3. Everything will be delivered, autonomously and inexpensively.Retail will change greatly in 2026 to be a sensory experience and a recreational experience.  If it’s not fun, you won’t do it. This will greatly change the urban fabric and percentage of retail.

4. In California, 60% of all electricity will come from renewable sources, 30% of all new passenger cars will be plug in electric.Non hydro states in the US will lag in both areas due to a later start. By 2026 no new oil, gas, coal or nuclear power plant will ever be built in the US.  Replacing fossil fuel plants will be renewable energy plants and energy storage of many different configurations including our cars and public transit.

5. Buses will shrink to 10-20 passengers.The ubiquitous 40-passenger bus will began to go extinct.  The removal of a high priced driver, the ability to drive on sunshine at 10% the cost of gasoline and the ability to “Daisy-Train” will give rise to low cost and effective transit solutions.

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6. A new class of low cost, lightweight electric transport emerges.In 2026 three wheel and four wheel vehicles weighing 1000lbs or less will gain a large percentage of market share in our cities.  These vehicles are perfect for last mile transit solutions, commuters of all distances, reductions in land needed for parking and for open air recreational driving.  As cars become shared and autonomous in greater numbers, these vehicles will find a place in nearly every home.   Driving is still fun.  It’s not that we give up on cars, it’s that we’ll have fewer of them and generally, they will be lighter.

7. Batteries in 2026 increase energy density by 300% compared to 2016. Take the new BMW i3 with a range of 114 miles and triple it. Breakthroughs are happening faster with more investment and research (two years ago the same BMW i3 was released at 81 miles.) The dominant battery form factor becomes solid state and will last a lifetime.

8. Small craft aviation shifts to electric in 2026.3-hour flight times with 30 minute reserve are commonplace for 2-6 passenger small aircraft.   Batteries are recharged by solar on the wings and fuselage adding to the range, fast charging is available at most airports.  These aircraft operate at 1/10th the cost of traditional aircraft.  Airports begin phasing out landing rights for certain aircraft due to noise and emission concerns.  This phasing out will be a 30-year process resulting eventually in only electric aviation for the small aircraft segment.  You think a dual motor Tesla is fast?

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9. The Jetson’s age is upon us.In 2026, a 40 story high skyscraper called Skypad Apartments is planned in Los Angeles with each unit having a landing pad for a multi passenger quad copter. The commute to Space X Sprockets in Hawthorne CA will be automatic and take less than 5 minutes.  Astro becomes the most popular dog name in the US.  Multi passenger quad copters are the new must have. Read more here.

10. Space travel.In 2026 orbital space travel begins to  become attainable.  Prices drop to $50,000 (in 2016 dollars) for an orbital flight preceded by a four-day space themed cruise.  Sir Richard Branson launches Virgin Space Lines.  Space ports are as common as cruise ship ports.

I can’t wait to see how this all turns out,

What are your thoughts on the top ten electric transportation and energy breakthroughs in the next ten years?

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Peder’s blog. Check it out here.

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46 Comments on "10 Years Of Solar And Electric Cars – What’s On Tap For The Next 10 Years?"

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One important element not mentioned above:

Supercharger Network

True. By mid 2020s most electric vehicles should easily be able to travel nationwide with 150 kW fast charge networks, and possibly even 300 kW fast chargers beginning to be used by mass produced affordable EVs.

I also thing V2G Vehicle to GRID will take off.
Also LEAD will be banned in batteries since it is such a bad pollution.

Tesla’s execs (Musk and Straubel) disagree with you, but maybe that’s in the shorter term, like five years. They aren’t prioritizing it in any case and sell Powerwalls which render it unnecessary.

#2 is pretty delusional, if you’ve been to any suburb anywhere lately. While there is some degree of urban renewal, especially in downtown areas, the ‘burbs are not getting smaller. There is a desire in many planning districts to enforce higher density around mixed-use hubs, but it’s a half-hearted effort at best.

Rick (no, not that Rick)

I tend to agree with Jeff about #2, but for a different reason. Decentralized solar power generation will require low densities, and will be available only to the top 20%. Also, if #3 and #5 happen (and I think they will) that will also enable lower densities to be sustainable over the foreseeable future. I have to say I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the nuclear power industry either, since not everybody has the room or the means for a solar roof. Natural gas has some life left too, unless fracking is regulated out of existence. I agree that days are numbered for coal and oil (for power generation).

“I have to say I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the nuclear power industry either…”

I certainly hope we haven’t! Practical fusion keeps appearing to be at least 20 years away, just as it has been for the last 60 years. But we can always hope!

Yeah, there’s a lot of wishful thinking on that list, like #10. SpaceX is bringing down launch costs for rocketships, but basic physics and the rocket equation will mean that launching people into orbit by rocketship will always be expensive.

That’s not to say that we’ll never have a relatively cheap way to get to orbit. A space elevator is at least a theoretical possibility, altho with many practical difficulties. Launching with a very long, very high maglev ramp system might actually be more practical.

But in only 10 years? Not gonna happen.

Big Question on Space Launches: Are there no ways to launch from 5,000 feet above Sea Level (ASL)? What about 8,000 or 10,000 Feet ASL? Maybe even – 15,000′ ASL? Since half of the Atmosphere lies at about 18,000 feet an lower, hence – the Heaviest Air is at the Bottom Half, why not start the launch up about that level? Even Canaveral is largely a site chosen based on ability to launch over water, same as Vandenberg Air Force Base and Launch Site! What if Electric Rail could deliver Rockets to Erector, Transporters, that set up at about 15,000′ ASL – near the Ocean, to delay the amount of fuel burned to climb the first 15,000′ up from the rocket burn cycle, where they burn a very large part of the total burn time just to get to that altitude? Essentially – this Aircraft launch is a current idea to do a high altitude mobile launch – The plane will climb to 30,000 feet and launch a rocket at high altitude, avoiding the huge fuel costs of launching from Earth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaled_Composites_Stratolaunch or – http://aerospace.vulcan.com/#stratolaunch If they can do that with Air Launch, Why not the possibility to design Launch… Read more »

Top of Mont Chimborazo in Ecuador is the highest altitude near the equator. Any launch from there means 15 % less delta v to LEO. So, if you could pick a launch site anywhere on Earth with no other considerations, that would be the best spot. You could assemble the rocket in the valley and bring it up to the top with a Locker rack railroad where it would be erected for launch.

Musk poo-poos space elevators, you know. If he ever sees one merely one mile high, he’s open to changing his mind though.

“Poo-poos”… omglol.

What we need next is home batteries. The Capacity factor of solar PV is limited so we need to store it & use the stored electicity.

Home Energy Storage: Fridges are the things that – if out of power for 24 hours, start to cost us – in food spoilage, and less than desirable food storage conditions!

So – How much Energy does a home Fridge use over 24 hours? Over 48 Hours? Once logged with a Energy monitor like the Kill-A-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor, we can know just how much energy that is – then design a storage power package that works exactly for the Fridge itself, connects to a wall socket, and to which the Fridge then connects to, and has load monitoring, time of use energy management, grid power availability tracking, and time of day, and Temperature monitoring, so it can smartly manage fridge load power from the grid or from the battery, as well as recharging the battery at the most cost effective source, with a solar input, if possible!

It could be rated in different sizes – Like – 6 Hours Back up Power, 12 Hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, or 48 hours, etc., and priced accordingly according to the on board battery storage.

EVs + PV is the ultimate synergy. There is no other vehicle for which you can produce your own fuel and for that reason alone it is the future although there are plenty of other reasons for it to become widespread too.

Costs will continue to go down and performance will continue to climb on these technologies and penetration will reflect.

Totally agree. Vehicle to grid is the best and quickest way for the grid to be able to accept Gw of PV as well as eliminate any need or imported oil ever. Huge reductions in pollution. Compatible with wind and hydro. Given that PHEV drivers are EV 90% of the time, use PHEV to bridge the gap to all EV when high density storage becomes affordable. Most commutes are well within PHEV range. No new tech required!

It seems like autonomy could run counter to your #2…. If average Jane can “afford a chauffeur” to run all her errands and drive her to work and her kids to school … Maybe the suburbs will become even more desirable?

/ interesting post… Quite possible we are in for more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 30.

“Quite possible we are in for more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 30.”

I think more like more change in the next 5 yrs vs the last 50! Mary Barra agrees with me.

“Astro becomes the most popular dog name in the US.”

Tralfaz!

(Now there is some obscure trivia.)

Glad to see Peder is enthusiastic about battery density tripling within the next 10 years. Fifty years ago, there were not nearly as many pure battery researchers as there are today.

The next breakthrough as Norby suggested will most likely be solid state batteries, where a solid electrolyte will replace the liquid separators that have been used for decades.

Sakti technology is still Lithium-ion. While leaving the basic Lithium-ion tech intact, Sakti has redesigned the actual battery cell itself.

I hit the send button too early.

“Sakti technology is still Lithium-ion based. While leaving the basic Lithium-ion tech intact, Sakti has redesigned the actual battery cell itself.” The company claims a doubling of energy density over current paste electrolytes, for a 100%, or doubling of cell energy density.

If true, that would account for one half of Norby’s 300% (or tripling) of battery density within the next ten years. Considering the sizeable number of researchers currently at work and the increasing money that’s being thrown at the problem, a 300% battery density gain is certainly possible. On the other hand, please pass the Hookah.

Most important point is missing. It should be number #1, as it is requirement for the following points.

#1. Legalize weed and dream as high as the author :/

So says the anti-EV troll who is only here to spread FUD and shill for Big Oil’s Hydrogen stalling tactic!

In the year 2026….
Toyota will announce a 100 mile BEV for 2030.

Yes! And the Toyota Mirai FCEV will claim bragging rights with over 1,000 cumulative sales.

Post of the year!

As an EV advocate, I wish the Author’s ideas would happen. However, cut the author’s change rates in half, then he is not too far off.

Yay for the vision but this is emotional fluff, and I call false on someone living in Carlsbad getting by on an electric golf cart. Maybe they just ride five miles to the beach and take their Subaru (not pictured) into town, or to the airport.
When Elon Musk says “this is the future,” the man has something to point to, usually underneath a silk slipcover. The fact that preceding comments already pick this apart suggests there are factual concerns, something Elon doesn’t run into when he talks about the future.
I may not have the author’s green creds, or cash, but I have seen comments on this site with superior writing skills. Would you take an op-ed to this piece?

A bit too present Europe vision on public transport. At contrary, I think batteries and ev will become very cheap and people will have 3 or 4 different ev vehicles at home to choose from.

Otherwise I think telebots will spread globally with anyone able to use an Oculus device to operate at a distance an articulated robot. For pleasure or for work they will be all over the place thanks to improvements in robotic bipedy and the global satellite link internet. In the streets there will be a mix of humans, telebots operated by far away humans and also the first autonomous robots with a begining of AI.

Also expect one unexpected “present technology” as I call them. Something coming out of the blue a bit like magic as a total surprise but that we historically have witnessed appearing each other decade. Room temperature superconductivity could be one, or instant communication or an atom level definition 3D printer.

Why no nuclear plants? They’re low carbon.

Mainly because they are high cost from beginning to end, actually they are by far the highest cost.

The future will be moving towards distributed electricity production and storage which will be much cheaper, reliable, survivable and democratic.

> Space ports are as common as cruise ship ports.

In 2026? Are you taking bets?

Get Real,
Never looked at it this way. With my solar, I make my own fuel.
Makes my day! Thanks

Probably only abstractly / indirectly, but still good. More likely, what you make goes into the grid, where it helps “everyone” during the day. If/when you charge at night, most likely you are using regular coal or gas or nuclear-generated electricity to produce your ‘fuel’.

Solar can be misleading in that way, as well as when some other gross polluter buys the credits for *your* system, which can happen in some financing arrangements.

I have to admit, Peder, when I read the title and first paragraph, I had different expectations for this article.

You are very blessed with resources available to you – most families struggle to get by these days. I do applaud you for being a fine steward of your wealth. You are clearly putting it to good use in providing not only for yourself, but for humanity’s collective future.

So with that, what I was really hoping to read about was your own plans for the next 10 years. In what ways are you going to live “weird, why and crazy” in the next 10 years? You are at net zero with your home and cars, which is laudable. What’s next for the Norby clan?

Nicely done Peder! I’d like to add stationary energy storage systems in every home, powered mainly from 2nd life automotive battery packs! Combine one with solar and you’re mostly energy independent!

Also no mention of the hyperloop… By 2026, I sure hope to see dozens of them, for both freight and people, all around the world!

If engineers can “get the kinks out” and fulfill its promise, it would (if well-planned) play a major role in the move to sustainable transportation.