Volkswagen, Shell Put The Hit Out On Electric Vehicles In New “Study”

APR 29 2016 BY JAY COLE 132

Volkswagen: Publically Embracing EV Tech, Privately Dismissing It

Volkswagen: Publically Embracing EV Tech, Privately Dismissing It In Europe

A hit piece on alternative technology, like the one just released by Roland Berger, might have been an effective tool a decade ago, before the plug-in movement was fully entrenched.

Integrated Fuels and Vehicles Roadmap 2030+” is the kind of report that, in the past, would have stayed as backroom fodder, ignored by the common man, but used by government lobbyists to sway public policy…but it is 2016 now, and that horse has left the barn.

Guess Who Still Wants "Clean Diesel" And Nat Gas Cars

Guess Who Still Wants “Modern Diesel” And Nat Gas Cars To Dominate For The Foreseeable Future? (apparently the catch-words “clean diesel” are out for some reason at VW these days)

Commissioned by the EU Auto Fuel Coalition, a new 138 page “study” on why biofuels, and not plug-in technology, should be at the core of “future” green endeavors in Europe, while also recommending a easing up on EU emission standards has just been released.

So, who is the “EU Auto Fuel Coalition”?

It consists of such bastions of automotive and “green” integrity as Volkswagen and Shell; with assistance from OMV (an integrated, international oil and gas company), NEOT (North European Oil Trade), Toyota, Honda, Neste (oil refining) Daimler, and BMW.

Why does the study even exist?

After the Paris climate summit last year, the EU is currently in the process of setting up new efficiency targets for 2025 and 2030, one that will likely revolve around plug-in technology.  This study is a well-crafted retort.

At a meeting in Brussels this week, Volkswagen and Shell suggested another path, an easier path, more profitable path (for themselves) – at least as compared to corporate and governmental accountability…one that consists of C02 car labelling, more biofuels, and the expansion of the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS).

As for the “Integrated Fuels and Vehicles Roadmap 2030+ ” study, it is littered with every reason why plug-in technology is the wrong way to go (too expensive, no infrastructure, immature technology, etc., etc.), while giving biofuel technology the wings of a dove.

Check out this quote (and companion Figure 100 slide – below) from the study on why e-mobility’s day has yet to come:

“End customers perceive many hurdles when it comes to acceptance of and adoption of and adaptation to electric mobility.  The hurdles include the higher purchasing price and the perceived risk of use of the technologies (like burning batteries in early BEVs with Li-Ion batteries or lack of customer experience with battery lifetime), vehicle driving limitations, limitations in infrastructure availability, long charging times…”

Figure 100: hurdles Include Public Worry Over )via Roland Berger Study)

Figure 100: Hurdles To E-Mobility Include “Recent Accidents” and Public Fears of Flaming Tesla Model S Batteries.  Note infrastructure comparison of 2k EV stations vs 14k gas stations argument, that has recently been rendered useless by a new German EV incentive program that would see 15,000 new DCFC installs over the next 3 years. (via Roland Berger Study)

Or this further impediment to EV readiness via this handy graphic (below), illustrating that Europe needs 5,014,750 more public L2 charging stations, and 8,270 more DC fast charging stations (besides the billions of existing wall sockets already in place of course) to have a healthy infrastructure behind EVs – at a cost of some ~6.25 billion euros.

Assumed for the purposes of this study” is that public charging station are needed for one in every 73 “inhabitants” (not car drivers, or even licensed drivers) for EV adoption to take hold.

Figure 111 (via Berger Study)

Figure 116: But what if 5 million EV owners wanted to plug-in?  (via Roland Berger Study)

While at the same time,  the Auto Fuel Coalition says only 23,000 CNG stations, at a cost of 430 million euros, are needed for full EU coverage.  Better yet, just use E85 (and forgot those pesky future emission/efficiency regulations altogether) – apparently only 20,000 stations are needed, and at a discounted cost of just ~247 million euros.

The Guardian reports on comments made by Ulrich Eichhorn, VW’s new head of research and development, and Shell’s vice-president for for downstream strategy, Colin Crooks.:

“(Eichhorn said) that plug-in hybrids and more efficient vehicles were “building blocks”for the future, but that “higher shares” for biofuels would be needed in the meantime.

He told a meeting in Brussels: “Modern diesel and natural gas engines will absolutely be required to deliver CO2 targets until 2020 and they will also contribute to further reductions going on from there.”

In meeting the Paris goals, “societal costs need to be minimised to keep our industrial strength and competitiveness,” he said.”

C'mon More Clean Diesel Technology!

Volkswagen:”Modern diesel engine absolutely required”

Colin Crooks (Shell):

“Liquid fuels will remain essential during the (low-carbon) transition as internal combustion engines are expected to still continue powering most transport for many years to come.”

By 2021 in the EU, new cars will be limited to no more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, but to reach and push much past this level, only the electrification of the automobile can fit the bill…and everyone knows it.

Endless Lineup For The Model 3 At Tesla's Sunnyvale, CA Store Demonstrate Public(InsideEVs/Scott F)

Bravely Enduring Their Fears Of Tesla Lithium Battery Fires, ~118,000 People Line Up Worldwide To Reserve A Model 3 – Sight Unseen (InsideEVs/Scott F)

We are unsure of when this study was first commissioned, but you can be sure it was well before Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal was in full bloom.

And certainly long before the recent $1.2 billion dollar plug-in in vehicle and infrastructure announcement was made by Germany (the center of all-things regulatory in Europe)….to say nothing of the huge public shift embracing EVs as the future of transportation, especially noted by some 400,000 model 3 reservists willing to put down their hard earned money (~$1,000 USD) and then wait 2+ years for a new all-electric car.

Truth be told, we don’t need any fancy studies, or new theoretical solutions, especially not from the likes of self-serving corporations to tell us the reality of what can and can’t be achieved, and by whom.

Last year ~550,297 plug-in vehicles were sold worldwide (we know, we counted them), a 71% increase over the 320,713 put into service in 2014.   So, what do we need to do to hit the EU’s target of a 60% reduction in transport emissions by 2050?  Nothing at all…other than to not listen to you EU Auto Fuel Coalition (and those like you).

Fair disclosure:  So as not to commit the same sin as those who published this study, we should disclose our own self-interest.  InsideEVs mission is to promote electric vehicles (and only electric vehicles), and to see more and more fossil fuel displaced by cleaner, more affordable, plug-in technology each and every day.

Integrated Fuels and Vehicles Roadmap 2030+, The Guardian, hat tip to Chris W!

Categories: Audi, BMW, Daimler, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen


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132 Comments on "Volkswagen, Shell Put The Hit Out On Electric Vehicles In New “Study”"

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After reading that, nothing short of seeing these deceitful bastages bankrupt and completely out of business will be acceptable 😉

indeed, there is just nothing that could prevent Volkswagen, Toyota & co. from deep bankruptcy. The death of dinosaur burning industry is inevitable.

It is just more easier to establish new fresh electric car start-ups than to try to convert Toyota into electric car producing company. Too much stranded assets as a burden for Toyota.

Reminds me of…

LOL! Convertible two seater that’s slow and low range and “cute” made by some German gas car company. Gee, I wonder if there is such a car!

Unfortunately, EV being slow and boring is almost universal misunderstadning by the general public, especially when they see a subcompact econo car. Chevy had the chance to lead the revolution with SparkEV. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to wait for Tesla to carry it.

The spark is too fugly and too small to revolutionize anything. The only reason they move off lots at all are the dirt cheap leases. No one ever lined up by the thousands to buy a Spark.

We’re not talking about beauty contest. We’re talking about doing away with the myth that low cost EV has to be slow. In that, SparkEV does quite well.

Low cost lease is another factor in that. Another popular myth is that EV are expensive, but SparkEV lease is cheaper than most cell phone plans, especially in CA.

Chevy could’ve made SparkEV far more popular had they chosen to do so. People didn’t know that such low cost EV could be quick (I certainly didn’t). While lining up by the thousands isn’t likely, sales would be far more than they are now, which means SparkEV would’ve been eating into federal tax credit for Bolt/Volt.

Let’s not kid ourselves… the Sparky EV is nothing but a compliance car. The teeny tiny sales in exactly 3 of 50 US states will hardly make a dent in the 200,000 sales required to meet the $7500 federal tax credit threshold. The low-cost of Spark EV is simple to figure out. 1) They absolutely need to sell those Spark EV cars to meet CARB-ZEV requirements, which is why it is only sold and CARB states. After 2017, the traveling provisions expire (except hydrogen cars, which are exempt) and they will need to sell a zero emission vehicle in all the CARB states, hence the Bolt EV. 2) These cars are based on an old chassis made overseas, and even then the entire production is grossly subsidized by GM. They are able to lose money on every car to offset the cost of buying CARB-ZEV credits on the open market. Do you really think they make money at $69-$99 per month on the lease ? Of course not. My current estimate of the market value of a ZEV credit is $4000 each credit, so a Spark EV earns $12,000 each (3 credits per Spark EV). 3) It’s also part of… Read more »

Excellent comment Tony. Thanks for the ZEV credit information that explains some of the perverse incentives for automakers offering compliance vehicles.

“Right now, EVs are the cost-effective solution, even if they must be sold below cost.”

So, that also explains why EVs don’t make profit…

Every time, the same old tired argument: If SparkEV is nothing but a compliance car, why even sell it at Canada, Mexico, Korea, and sell it there at lower price than in US? They love losing more money and hate US? And why sell in those countries that get no CARB credits when it was sold out in CA much of last year? That makes no sense. Clearly, it’s bit more than just for compliance, unlike Fiat500e that’s strictly sold in compliance states. Why do you care so much that GM is losing money? Whether they make or lose money is immaterial. As a consumer, having a great car at low price is all that matters. In fact, if you don’t like companies making compliance cars that lose money, all the more reason to buy them and have them lose even more money! And so what that you think SparkEV is a compliance car? It’s a great car surpassing Tesla in many aspects in terms of bang for the buck (see my ev-ranking blog post). Compared to “true EV” like Leaf that lacks battery thermal management and frustration at DCFC and Tesla charge taper, I wish all EV are “compliance… Read more »
You are delusional if you think that Spark EV is not for regulatory compliance. I never addressed issues like how fast the cargoes or why they sell it to fleets in Canada or why they canceled their plans to sell it in Europe. None of those issues have anything to do with the simple fact that the car sold in the United States of America known as the Spark EV is sold in exactly 3 states each of which are CARB-ZEV states. By the way, it isn’t only California and the United States that have a emission regulations on planet earth. Places like Mexico City and London have quite draconian emission rules. While I was in Mexico City in the early 1990s, they already had schemes in place where cars couldn’t be driven on certain days, and taxi cabs were actually painted green if they had emission equipment on the car (over 20 years ago). Like Toyota, large auto companies like GM really only want to sell fossil fuel cars that make the highest profit margin. The roadmap for these profits isn’t based on adopting hydrogen or electric vehicles; quite the opposite. The roadmap is how does a large manufacturer… Read more »

You’re delusional if you think GM is losing even one cent by making SparkEV available in other countries to meet CARB compliance. Mexico has no mandate for ZEV credit to sell cars there, neither does Canada and Korea.

And so what that it’s used to meet compliance in US? How does that change the fact that it dispels EV myths, like EVs are slow like Prius, take hours to charge, very expensive? It doesn’t. SparkEV does best in refuting those myths, unlike “true EV” like Leaf (slow) and Tesla (expensive).

You may have some political bias against “compliance cars”, but most people don’t care that it’s compliance or not, losing money for GM or not, or whatever other political mumbo jumbo may be going on. They only want great car for lowest cost, and SparkEV meets that well, even if it’s gas powered.

If all EV are like SparkEV (low cost, quick, longish range via DCFC), the cartoon clip above would not even be made. That streotype simply would not exist.

One thing of no doubt SEV, you sure love your electric car.

Being in NYState, the only GM close to this one i’ll ever get near is the BOlt, which has a decent amount of size (classified as a ‘mid-sized wagon’), and 200 mile EPA. If it is anything like former GM ev’s I’ll be able to goose 300 miles out of it in good weather.

You will probably say the Spark EV is still the superior value, – and I have no idea as to the true cost of the vehicle, but as Mr. Williams states, there are other cost benefits to the SEV that allow them to underprice it in California at no harm to themselves.

Since the Bolt will be available nation wide, far more of us will be able to get advantage of GM’s first really practical BEV. The EV-1 discussion everyone has had for years now, so I’m leaving that out.

I’m not talking about what will come in the future. Obviously, better cars will come in the future, though I doubt many (any?) will be as cheap with SparkEV’s performance.

As for Tony’s accounting, every EV sold in compliance states would be eligible for ZEV credit. Going by his rant on cost reduction via ZEV credit equivalent, every EV sold in compliance states would be considered compliance cars. That’s ridiculous argument.

Consider Canada/Mexico where SparkEV is sold for about $24K USD while US is $26K. They get no ZEV, and going by his math, GM would be losing almost $15K to sell SparkEV in those countries and they get no ZEV benefit. Is GM insane or is Tony Williams delusional? Well, GM is sometimes insane going by flushing down billions in research by crushing EV1, but I don’t think so in this case.

Never the less Sparks where cheaper per mile then Tesla’s. In fact they where the only car to pull that off.

Spark EV while clearly complain ance car was made properly.

Or of the band playing their last song on the Titanic.

That were funny. What are the gay robots saying at the end?

“One of us, one of us”

Given what we already know about air pollution and how many people die a year as a result, we should all have small magnetic signs on our EV’s / Hybrids saying something like this:

Cancer !

That should at least sew a few seeds of doubt in minds to persuade people to move over to EV’s.

lets do it, who will make these stickers?

You can usually get them from car spares shops, Vistaprint does them also quite reasonably ?

OK but in all fairness, you should also add:

As per what I read in this report:

The average US car & light truck do emit 368 gr/miles of CO2 which happen to be exactly the double of CO2 qty emitted by a VW TDI 2L equipped with the infamous cheating device.

So let’s go all electric.

The VWs CO2 emissions have never been the issue. It’s the NOx that makes it illegal. So your comparison is flawed.

CO2 emissions are simply anoher way to state gas consumption. With hundreds of grams per mile there’s clearly no way it might be captured, as it would weigh down the car by thousands of pounds every year..!

Nobody ever suggested those who profit from the legacy system would go down without a fight.

It is up to those of us who are not enriched by Big Oil Big Business to stand firmly for a better way.

You nailed it and that’s why I leased a 2012 Leaf 3 years ago and now lease a 2016 Leaf… to be the change I want to see.



+1 Mark C


And not only should we choose EVs ourselves. We should demand that our environment gets the protection it needs. Today’s regulatory regime is a bad joke when we consider that our supposedly stated goal is to cut GHG emissions by 80-95%.

Fight for the good cause. Your grandchildren will ask you what the hell we were thinking – and you should have a better reply than “I minded my own business”.

Still traveling, but this really pushes all my buttons with my morning coffee, thanks, Jay! It is so full of nuggets and you know how I like EV fire mongering. I loved “a Tesla fire.” Really? One fire and it makes it to their graph. Like Jay said, that was effective in 2012. Only those in complete denial would bite now. OK, I’m awake now.

My favorite image of the week:


Interesting that there is no mention of Fool Cells. Still I agree with this study let’s crush all those EV1’s … Oh wait that was so 20 years ago.

And Philip Morris said that smoking didn’t cause cancer…

Ok, so that is why VW don’t seem to be able to produce more than concept cars. Well ok, they have the e-Golf but they could do a lot better than that if they wanted to.

The e-Golf is a perfect example of the half-hearted embrace of EV technology. The platform is optimised for an ICE drivetrain and they have somehow managed to squeeze in a battery to make it electric.

I am not expecting any miracles from Wolfsburg.

£6 billion for full charger cover of the whole EU? Well then, bring it on! The EU spends way more than that on all kinds of crap, £6 billion is nothing! My suggestion would then be for the EU to reserve £3 billion in a subsidy program where the EU pays 40% of the cost of installing EV chargers and the other party pays 60%. That should boost charger coverage and in the long term EV use and therefore significantly lower GHG emissions in the EU (from traffic at least, then you need other programs to fix industry and generation emissions).

It would cost *someone* $6 Billion. How many government-run gas stations do you see on the highways?

I’m certain that someone will find a way to make money on EV charging, even if it’s selling donuts and chocolate bars while you wait.

Sure, eventually there will be coverage anyway. A subsidy program would be used for speeding things up. If someone did invest in a EU wide charging network today it would take quite a long time to have it start paying for itself because there still are so few EVs on the road, with a subsidy program that pain could be eased.

when i read of people using the tesla supercharger network, the comparatively long recharge times are unappealing to me for long distance travel. when i am traveling on the highway, and especially when i am traveling at night, i like to fill up as quickly as possible and get gone. with gasoline you can fill up in 5 minutes.

i feel very uneasy the idea of sitting around at a tesla supercharging station for 30 minutes to an hour while waiting for a car to recharge, you never know what can happen while you’re waiting around at the side of the road for that long. i would be spending the time anxiously looking around.

I don’t know of any Tesla Supercharger stations that are alongside any road, but with your nervousness in general, maybe driving isn’t for you at all? Maybe fly?

With hydrogen currently selling in United States for $14-$17 per KG (let’s say $15) and a typical Toyota H2 car consuming one KG per 60 miles or 100 km, would you rather:

1) fuel up in five – ten minutes at a cost per mile of about $.25

2) battery swap a Tesla in 2-3 minutes at a cost per mile of about $.20

3) use a Tesla Supercharger for 30-45 minutes in a well lit, off-highway, safe environment for free

you have to look beyond the perspective of the U.S., but there are countries in which there are state owned enterprises, including gas stations.

as to the lack of profitability of private EV charging vendors, i would think that the cost of establishing a charging station and the lack of users make charging comparatively more expensive than gasoline. in addition, the long charging time relative to a fill up at a gas station would be another barrier to the non-EV enthusiast (which is most of the population).

to get recharge times to be comparable with fill up times would require: 1) high c-rate battery technology and 2) megawatt, high voltage, charging stations. think about how much more expensive it would be for an EV charging vendor to equip charging stations with such equipment.

Consumers eventually abandoned coal gas for household lighting and went to much superior electric lights. Edison’s invention of a long lasting light bulb filament finally made electric lighting possible on a commercial scale.

Battery recharge times are decreasing while EV range is increasing even as the up front purchase price for electric vehicles continues to decrease. As the purchase price of EVs to drops, the natural superiority of the electric drive-train will become increasingly obvious, to a point where the decision to go electric will be as obvious as was the decision to abandon gas lamps for electric light bulbs.


Hope EU tells VW to STFU.

Yeah. Didn’t take ’em long to go from PR EV Prototype Releases, to Hydrocarbon Propaganda “studies”.

There should now be no doubt about the quality and character of the humans running Shell and VW Group…

“Humans”? You’re being gracious. 😉

You know how to tell when VW execs are lying? … They’re breathing.

From above EU Auto Fuel Coalition:

“End customers perceive many hurdles when it comes to acceptance of and adoption of and adaptation to electric mobility. The hurdles include the higher purchasing price and the perceived risk of use of the technologies (like burning batteries in early BEVs with Li-Ion batteries or lack of customer experience with battery lifetime), vehicle driving limitations, limitations in infrastructure availability, long charging times…”

The above statement would today mostly be correct if above “End customers perceive” was instead stated “A majority of the public have a perception”.

The report is designed to perpetuate much of the existing public misperception of EV’s. Tesla is leading up the charge to change public perception of EVs but the traditional car makers do continue to often hurt EV perception by offering half-baked EV solutions such as failing to provide a supercharger solution for the EVs they sell.

I meant to include in my above comment:

Tesla is leading the charge for often negative public perception of EV’s to be changed to EVs being affordable, safe, reliable, convenient, high-performance cars.

stuff isn’t free out there: the fact that private enterprises that do attempt to offer EV charging don’t seem to make money doesn’t really give auto makers (for whom running a charging network is no more a core business than is running gas stations) much incentive to get into the charging infrastructure business.

if your suggestion is that auto makers must provide charging infrastructure to sell BEVs, then that would be to say that providing a charging infrastructure is part of the cost of doing business. that means that BEVs would have to be priced higher to cover the costs of the charging infrastructure.

That charger count makes sense with 200 miles range EV if everyone cannot charge at home, such as apartment dwellers who will plug in almost everywhere the go. It will depend on how the existing apartments allow home charging.

DCFC count also makes sense. Though they may not be used much, you need them to have for coverage. Given that rarely used would mean low profit, question is if they need to be subsidized in some other means, like Tesla’s pre-pay or eVgo’s membership model or worse, the government run.

Electric cars can fill up anywhere. At home. At work. At the mall. There is no need for a “gas station” or energy station specifically designed and dedicated to refueling electric vehicles. Electric vehicles can refuel anywhere there is electric service or even with solar power. Amazingly, we can also refuel EVs wirelessly. At first sight wireless charging may just seem like just a less efficient way to charge an EV. But, looking closer, shows wireless to have a number of other advantages, just as ET wireless and Bluetooth have. Inductive charging is basically just wireless for EVs. There has been much hand wringing over the fact that apartment dwellers have no place to plug in, and the EV haters just love to continually bring it up. But, in really this is a non-problem. As quick charge times speed up and public fast chargers increase, the necessity to charge at home (or apartments) will lessen. If you add inductive chargers at shopping malls, big box stores and other places, especially apartment dwellings, where people stop and park for extended periods, then you are not forced to make an emergency fast charge stop somewhere. A slow or medium charge rate will… Read more »

VW and Shell can kiss my arse.

What might grab some is how CEO Mueller, just this week apologized in person to Obama. Same time VW and Shell’s vignette comes out.

It would have been great, if the Prez could have had a little briefing beforehand.

I’m sorry, but this article is more of a “hit piece” than the Roland Berger study. The study never says that e-mobility “is the wrong way to go”. It says that it will not achieve the required penetration to achieve the stated CO2 emission goal in the targeted time frame. The “littany of reasons” is part of the “customer acceptance section”; the study doesn’t say whether or not the reasons are true, it just lists them as factors that influence customer acceptance of EVs. I don’t know what is there to argue; we have heard these concerns from potential customers again and again, and most of them (such as cost, current lack of infrastructure and charging times) are simply the truth. I’m also puzzled why the author neglects to quote passages like this one, which prominently includes BEVs as one of the only suitable technologies to reduce CO2 emissions: […] the study indicates that the only fuel and vehicle combinations technically suited to achieving “ultra-low carbon emission mobility” are: > Highly-efficient conventional powertrains (Mild- and full-Hybrid) fuelled with advanced and waste based biofuels/-gases (for passenger cars (PC) and commercial vehicles (CV)) > PHEVs fuelled with advanced biofuels and low carbon,… Read more »

No. Burning carbon for fuel is stupid and globally suicidal. Do you not understand what you’re doing everytime you run your hydrocarbon-powered clockwork?

We as a species, need to be laser focused at divesting from all carbon based transport fuels, ASAP. Quoting Obama does not justify foot dragging.

Bio fuels are carbon neutral, since they consume as much CO2 during production as they emit during consumption.

You could make that same argument about coal and gas, once being organic CO2-consuming matter. When you burn a “biofuel”, you release that CO2 back to the atmosphere. The only difference that gives biofuel/biomass a break is that some of it represents recently stored CO2 (like wood), rather than burning up what took millions of years to form, in just a couple hundred years.

Diesel is better than gas, on CO2, by virtue of efficiency, but like Jay said “everybody” in the industry knows 95gr/km CO2 will require plugs (equates to ~60mpg).

What makes papers like this so pathetic, Braben, is that if tiny little Tesla can independently finance and develop a supercharging infrastructure, than why hasn’t VW, Toyota, Mercedes, GM (sorry, long list here) gotten hydrogen, natural gas, or even “biofuel” distribution done? It would cost Toyota less than a tenth of its annual 3-5bb profits, to repeat what Tesla has already done (~200 million). Instead, they protect a few more dimes of margin, mock charging times, VW talks up 5 million missing charging stations, it goes on…

Biofuels? Really? Do you think we can afford to waste valuable crop land on something so pathetically inefficient?

Yes, biofuels or other Jet-A synthetic replacements for aviation.

Yes but religions needs demons so bending the reality, although dishonest, is convenient.

Well, then back all technologies, and put twice as much money into fuel cells and hope they catch up compared to BEVs so that the gas producers stay happy.

Hey, I just described California’s approach!

EVs will be a solution once we have affordable, high-capacity, quick-charging batteries, ubiquitous charging infrastructure, and clean electricity. Today we have none of those. We simply do not have the time to wait around until the technology and infrastructure mature and EVs achieve sufficient market penetration. If we do, the CO2 targets will be missed, and the damage irreversible. We need to attack the problem on all available fronts, now. One-sided polemic won’t help (although it may produce more clicks on this web page).

“We simply do not have the time to wait around” If I thought VW agreed with this, I’d have more sympathy for your view. VW denied, to Fortune, that NOx represents any proven health threat. “The scientific data currently known to us does not give a clear picture of the effect of nitrogen oxide in environmental concentrations on people and no completely validated statements can be made about the actual risk potential.” What do they feel about CO2?

Braben, please stick around (my two cents). We debate extended range, versus battery-only. Sometimes, those of us going off-script on plug-in cars, will even talk about nuclear. We’re still here, and it’s certainly not all about the environment.

“we have heard these concerns from potential customers again and again, and most of them (such as cost, current lack of infrastructure and charging times) are simply the truth.”

Cost and charging times are already so far down that they don’t matter much anymore if you look at it rationally (but the perception is still negative).

My Soul EV is, calculated over my 3 years lease, not at all more expensive then my old diesel was.

And charging time is only double that of gas stations if you count all actions at the gas station, and not 5 fold, like most people think.

But, yes, the infrastructure still sucks.

Well said!! Reply to Braben

among the 5 listed “main hurdles” to electric vehicle adoption, 4 of them (“risk” excepted) seem quite legitimate. even if you addressed the “infrastructure” risk, you still have to deal with the charging time being longer than the refueling time. furthermore, you still have the fact that a comparable gasoline vehicle has longer range than a BEV (because of the higher energy density of gasoline); furthermore, the range of a BEV takes a bigger hit in colder weather. finally, BEVs are more expensive than comparable conventional vehicles; i know that there is a lot of wishful thinking about the tesla model 3, sight unseen, but the tesla model 3 is probably going to end up, at best, being priced like a benz c-class or bmw 3 series.

that doesn’t mean that you don’t do electric vehicles, or that you don’t research the possibility of FCEV technology to address some of the shortcomings in BEV technology. but what it does mean is that you have to be realistic about this stuff: BEVs have advantages and they have disadvantages. what that means is that some people will look at BEVs and say: “perfect”; while others will say: “not for me”.

This is a classic logical fallacy. All of their numbers assume we have to solve all the future needs for a complete Fleet turnover to electric, in the next 14 years, before car makers can sell a relatively small percent of their new cars as EV’s today. That is utter nonsense. Even if every single brand new car sold to consumers were suddenly an EV starting today, it would take over 20 years for the existing fleet of gas cars to finally be mostly off the road. Even if 50% of the cars sold today were EV’s, it would take decades for EV’s to account for 50% of the cars on the road. In reality, we would be lucky if 50% of new car sales were EV’s 15 years from now, which would still leave a large majority of cars on the road being gas. I wish it were faster, but that’s the reality we face. These issues do not need to be completely resolved in the next 14 years. By the time EV numbers grow to the point where these become issues, we have no idea what advancements will have been made between now and then. We might not… Read more »

oops!! didn’t mean this as a reply to “no comment”.


This is the reply I meant to make to “no comment”‘s post: “among the 5 listed “main hurdles” to electric vehicle adoption, 4 of them (“risk” excepted) seem quite legitimate. even if you addressed the “infrastructure” risk, you still have to deal with the charging time being longer than the refueling time. furthermore, you still have the fact that a comparable gasoline vehicle has longer range than a BEV (because of the higher energy density of gasoline); furthermore, the range of a BEV takes a bigger hit in colder weather. finally, BEVs are more expensive than comparable conventional vehicles” So go buy a PHEV like the Volt. Problem solved. Even the price issue, because after federal tax incentive, the base Volt is still cheaper than the median new ICE car price of approx $30-35K. And if you need something cheaper, buy a used Volt, just like so many ICE car buyers do when they can’t afford a brand new ICE car either. Want a cheap pure EV? The iMiev can be found brand new for literally cheaper than any gas counterpart after federal incentive. This is yet another of the classic logical fallacies of the ICE car and petroleum industry.… Read more »

i actually *do* own a chevrolet Volt; and yes, for me it is a matter of “problem solved”. 🙂

i think the real problem with PHEVs/EREVs vs BEV is not a conspiracy by ICE manufacturers and the fossil fuel industry; i think the real problem is that the public sees all of these acronyms and don’t really know the difference between a Volt, a Leaf, a Model S, an i3 and an i3 REX.

You are assuming the public is stupid. Perhaps, but the biggest problem is perception. A lot of people don’t know much about EVs (even hybrids) and have no interest in learning what they’re about.

It’s like not having any interest in a video game, and then one day you try it and you’re hooked. You don’t know what you’re missing until you try.

A grand way to raise EV awareness and interest would be to encourage dealers to offer EV test drives so people can experience the pleasure first-hand and spread the word.

Even today people STILL sit in EVs for the first time, drive it and gasp and exlaim “oh it feels just like a normal car!”. It’s almost as if they were expecting something hopeless and alien.

*laugh* Yes, problem solved! Just like it did for all the other Volt owners, who have put the Volt on top of the Leaf for total US sales. Everybody knew the rollout of highway capable plug in vehicles was going to be a tough path, even before car makers started selling them in the US. That’s why we have tax incentives to help the technology break into the mainstream, and to bridge the initial years of rollout. I actually don’t spend too much time navel-gazing about the hurdles, because we’ve known for decades that we were just going to have to cross those hurdles as they come. And the facts are that we keep putting hurdles behind us over and over again. There are so many “can’t work, can’t happen” hurdles that we’ve already crossed, that I’m confident in our ability to keep moving forward. Heck, I still remember when the Conventional Wisdom was that GM was never going to even survive to build the Volt, and if they survived, they wouldn’t built the Volt anyways. And if they did build the Volt, that it would be a failure. Etc… And I’m realistic enough to know that this isn’t going… Read more »

I would say there are really only two main reasons for lack of EV uptake.

1) it’s not as profitable for Auto Manufacturers & their dealerships.

2) lack of Government incentive due to the amount of taxation (less so in the US) on Fuel.

The only way to overcome these is to not buy ICE vehicles or hybrids full stop and force their hand once the 200 mile pure EV’s come to market.

When I say uptake, it’s more incentive for mass manufacturing !

Dear Shell,

The whole “20-25 minutes is too long to wait, even a few times a year” thing is getting really old, can we please give that one up?! If you have to wait this time three or four times a year on the occasional road trip, how exactly is that worse than waiting an hour or two, also three or four times a year, while having your oil changed (with Shell Rotella (R) of course!)? Or even worse, spending an hour buying oil (again, Shell brand, of course) and a filter, crawling on the dirty ground under your car to change your own and then having to spend another 15 minutes taking a shower and changing. Oh wait, I see the conflict of interest there and why you don’t talk about the time wasted with oil changes…

Save time at the lube shop and instead spend it stretching out in the middle of a road trip – it’s better for your health than contorting yourself to do an oil change! 🙂

For most of the world it is not 3-4 times a year, as in most countries people do not have an assigned parking that can be used for overnight charging. Charging times are a real issue for majority of car owners.

If you assume things will stay the way they are now, of course, they cannot charge at home and it’s a huge issue. But as anyone who has an EV with home charging could tell you, it’s just way too convenient not to charge at home. I suspect people will push for home charging when EV become more popular.

As for 5 times a year for DCFC argument, that is plausible when 200 miles range EV are common. People generally don’t drive far often. But to be safe, I would guess 12 times a year, or once a month.

here is what happens when you own a “200 mile range” BEV in a cold climate area. when the weather is very cold, that 200 mile range can turn into 120 miles. in a major metropolitan area, you can run through that in a day of running errands. when you have exhausted the available range, you are down for at least 12 hours even if you have level 2 home recharging.

if you are, say, commuting from the suburbs to a city like chicago, you would use up 80 miles of range just commuting; so you would need to do your daily commuting and allow for 10 hours or so to recharge for the next day.

the point is, that if you live in a cold climate area, you don’t want a BEV to be your only car unless you are an EV enthusiast.

BEVs are a more limiting form of transportation in comparison to ICE or PHEV/EREVs, you just want to be aware of the limitations so that you can plan accordingly (such as keeping a backup car).

no comment,
People frequently make the mistake of assuming all BEV’s lose up to 40% of their range in cold weather. It takes a fixed amount of energy to heat a car, whether a VW PHEV with 21 miles, or a Bolt/Tesla with >200.

A 200 mile range car might become a ~170 mile car, for one trip, or a 150 mile car if reheated twice in a freezing day. Not 120.

Well, “no comment’s” comment hit home with me.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been driving a Fit EV in New England.

In the summer, I can routinely get 90-100 mile range, which includes regen.

In the winter, I routinely get <40 mile range… and this is WITHOUT HEAT.

I know that the Fit EV is a gen 1 compliance car and that it lacks battery thermal management (but it is such a blast to drive!).

I'm just hoping that the Bolt and M3 exhibit much greater energy retention in cold climates.

Depends on the vehicle and how efficiently it thermally manages its batteries, whether or not you park indoors, etc. Some people in canadian winters have reported range losses of ~40%, but those are some extreme scenarios. The vast majority of vehicles on the roads today are in locations where winters very rarely exceed -5c

i actually own a chevrolet Volt, so i have some experience in observing the loss of range between warmer and colder months…

the thing about automobiles is that they are not designed for thermal efficiency in terms of cabin temperature. as such, the cabin quickly loses heat at a fairly high, and constant *rate*. as an experiment, try turning the heat off during a cold day and observer how quickly you feel the drop in cabin temperature.

that means that the heating systems has to work equally hard to replace the lost heat such that cabin temperature can be maintained. what that also means is that the greater the temperature difference between the cabin and outside, the greater the rate of heat loss. thus, the longer you operate a BEV in such conditions, the greater is the amount of battery energy that has to be diverted to maintaining cabin temperature.

the reason why the Volt as an ERDTT mode is because it is more efficient to heat the cabin by heating up the engine block than it is to rely on resistive heating. heat pumps help, but they lose efficiency at low temperatures.

How much range do you lose during the winter?

PS: I will be getting a new Volt this summer. I have learned *the hard way* with the Fit EV, so my next car will be an ER-EV.

I like heat in January. 😉

i have a 2012 Volt, which is rated at 35 miles of electric range. i get range in the low 20’s during the winter and high 40’s during the summer months. the nice thing about the Volt is that i don’t have to think about the amount of range i have.

for heating the cabin i generally use “econ” mode but i also like a warm cabin (i use a set point of 75 degrees) so i may be seeing a bigger ranger hit than those who opt for a cooler cabin. “comfort” mode works better but it drains the battery a lot quicker. “engine running due to temperature” mode heats best of all.

It is worth mentioning that the Volt doesn’t take advantage of modern Heat Pump technologies.

So when the engine isn’t running to heat the cabin, it is using more battery for HVAC than other plug-in’s that do utilize modern Heat Pumps.

as stated above, heat pumps lose efficiency at low temperatures. in the Volt, ERDTT obviates any requirements for a heat pump because the ERDTT mode heats the cabin much better than would a heat pump.

“that means that the heating systems has to work equally hard to replace the lost heat such that cabin temperature can be maintained. ”

Try closing the windows.

We have both a Volt and a Tesla, and this is not our experience, nor have I found Tesla owners on TMC report 40%. You lose about 2 miles of range for each mile driven for the first twenty miles, and then it goes back to 1:1 @65mph, in a Model S. That’s my experience in single, long trips to Maine, @15-20F.

(part of the reason for the above is what George B. talks about, where Tesla harvests heat from the big electric motors.)

Where the effects are negative, is in trying to go successive days without charging, where you’re basically warming the car up for multiple ~20 mile trips. Then, you won’t get more than 3-4 days.

…40 mile round trips.

glass has a relatively high coefficient of thermal conductivity. what that means is that when the warm air in the cabin contacts the glass windows and windshields, the glass very quickly conducts the warmth to the outside. you also lose heat through the doors. as that warmth exits the cabin (as measured in BTUs), the heating system has to output an equal number of BTUs to maintain the setpoint cabin temperature. as a person who owns a Volt, my experience is that i see electric range of low 20’s during the cold months (where the rated range is 35 miles) and high 40’s in the warmer months. you may very well drive around at a setpoint cabin temperature than i use. i also don’t precondition the cabin because i recharge from a 120v outlet and when it is cold, the engine can turn on when i attempt to precondition the cabin and i don’t want the engine running for extended periods of time while the car is sitting the garage. i can believe that preconditioning would help, but the rate of heat loss in a car is so great that it wouldn’t make a huge difference. i don’t understand your… Read more »

“and when it is cold, the engine can turn on when i attempt to precondition the cabin”

Wow, never heard that. Can the Volt really turn the engine on for preconditioning? That doesn’t make sense.

Yeah, its a safety hazard for those with attached garages in the 2011 volts and it hasn’t been addressed.

The report (or the subset presented here) appears to be a bit childish and doesn’t emphasize the main issues regarding different technologies.

IEV – just “follow the money”. We need an expose on shady coalition mentioned in the study. I bet you’ll find Koch’s dirty paws all over this one.

Oh yeah.

Rest assured their is some serious dark money from a coalition of Fossil Fools and their useful idiots, i.e. the laggard auto OEMs behind this.

I suspect that Bjorn Lomborg, aka the Danish Denier whom the Koch Heads have been funneling money to will soon rear his ugly head to support the pre-conceived “findings” of this slanted big-oil propaganda piece.

Correct. The whole big polluter/climate denial ecosystem will pump this report as ‘scientific proof’.

If Shell, Neste et. al. want government support for carbon neutral synthetic drop-in liquid hydrocarbon fuels, I’m all for that. There is such a huge installed base of vehicles that burn gasoline and diesel that we need synthetic drop-in replacements to curb the burning of fossil fuels. Taking CO2 out of the atmosphere or out of industrial processes like cement manufacturing to make synthetic fuels is a valuable technology to develop now. Eventually we will have a surplus of renewable electricity and having a cost effective process to make liquid fuels would be a good use for that surplus electricity.

We don’t want any analysis from Oil companies like Shell, Exxon, BP.

Shell recently made a prediction that the last gas car will be manufactured in 2070.
That’s funny.

Even Saudi Arabia (the Oil champion) is contemplating 2030 without any dependence on Oil revenue.

Last year China sold 330,000+ Highway capable EVs and another 600,000 + Low speed EVs. And that’s a total of 930,000 +.
Now you know why Oil prices are this low.

These oil companies oppose all types of Alternative fuels from Natgas, Biofuels, Electric and even LPG a part of it comes from Oil.

All they want is to maintain a monopoly on the transport market so that they can dictate the price. When the Shale supply goes down, they will increase the price again.

So lets keep our electric cars running.


Biofuels are a small niche at best. Most EROI studies show that biofuels have a TERRIBLE return on energy invested. You are FAR better off covering a field with solar panels and charging up EVs.

And even if you actually thought biofuels were a good idea . . . it cannot be done because we don’t nearly have the land-mass to replace petroleum fuels. We would have to replace food crops with biofuel crops and let people starve.

Insanity from the people that brought you dieselgate.

Biofuels were always a “transitional” fuel as just one part of an “all above” transition to cleaner energy and cleaner transportation. It was never supposed to completely replace petroleum fuels.

The idea was that as long as we still sell cars with ICE engines while transitioning to alternative drivetrains, biofuels would help clean up ICE cars that were going to exist no matter what.

Biofuels can still fulfill that role. But to be honest, car makers have done absolutely everything they can to intentionally sabotage Biofuels. They use the wrong engines, they don’t do any optimization for biofuels, they don’t promote them, they blame biofuels for problems they don’t cause, etc.

So when a consortium of car and oil companies start suggesting biofuels instead of EV’s, what they are really doing is trying to kill doing anything at all. Because as soon as they succeed in stopping pro-EV legislation, they will turn around and bash biofuels, and undermine biofuels too.

So we shouldn’t fall for their trick of turning EV proponents against Biofuel proponents. Each alternative fuel has their own role in getting off of petroleum based fuels, and neither can solve all problems immediately today.

I’m sure this was commissioned way, way before VW’s Dieselgate (maybe even this “EU Auto Fuel Coalition” is even acting independently, after it was setup by the funders)…
Someone in VW PR is probably getting in a lot of hot water as we speak, for not suppressing the report.
I urge folks to write VW at:
and complain.

Thankful for this insightful study. Just emailed Tesla to get my Model 3 deposit back. Sending a note to Shell to thank them for saving me from making a huge mistake. May even get one of their 18.99% APR gas credit cards as a token of my appreciation for bringing these matters to light. And I’m definitely now thinking about organizing a class action lawsuit against Nissan for tricking me into leasing a Leaf that can only serve my daily driving needs, while failing miserably at hypothetical trips that I might make outside it’s range.


Toyota and BMW hurt their brand image by sponsoring this oil company PR stuff. I probably will never forget it when choosing a car.

Volkswagen doesn’t have much brand image left to hurt.

A few points…
We should ensure that all hybrids from here on can burn E85 or higher… All flex… then that all regular unleaded grade low octane fuel sold is E85 or better… Supreme will be the only way to get non alcohol fuel. Then extend and continue to 500000 units all incentives for hybrids and electrics based on battery size. Higher incentives for bigger batteries with bonus money for poorer folks.
Let’s just simplify and convert the population ASAP.