Archive for the ‘General’ Category

 

Mar 13

Tesla Bringing Stored Solar Power to Kauai – Video

 

By Jon LeSage

The Hawaiian island of Kauai has contracted with Tesla’s SolarCity and Solar Energy subsidiaries to solve the problems of limited sunlight and dependency on fossil fuels.

Tesla created a 13 megawatt “solar farm” to generate electricity onto solar panels. That power is stored in a 52 MWh Tesla Powerpack setup. This provides a power source that can collect energy during the day and deliver it to the power grid during evening hours. That clean power will take away the island’s need for fossil fuels to meet energy demand.

Tesla says that this solar project represents the first time a public utility contracted for a system of this size that stores and delivers solar energy after sunset. The utility, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, and Tesla believe the project will reduce fossil fuel usage by 1.6 million gallons per year.


The state of Hawaii has committed to bring in more renewable energy through its Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan.

The two primary utilities that service the power needs of the state are Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The Hawaiian Electric Industries has set the goal of tripling distributed solar by 2030.

Tesla and Southern California Edison opened up the world’s largest battery storage facility in early February.

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Opens World’s Largest Battery Storage Facility With Utility Company

The facility at the SCE utility’s Ontario, Calif., station hosts about 400 Tesla PowerPack units on a 1.5-acre site. It can store enough energy to power 2,500 homes for a day or 15,000 homes for four hours, the companies said.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants Tesla to play its part in fighting climate change with electric vehicles, solar energy through its SolarCity company, and energy storage products and grid-storage plants through Tesla Energy.

HybridCars.com

 

Mar 10

7 Green Cars Of The Future: What We’ll Be Driving In 2025?

 

By Larry E. Hall

Travel to almost any major city in the world and you’ll find a familiar sight: a sheen of brown haze that hovers over the city called smog. Much of this smog comes from cars, SUVs and pickup trucks — those mechanical gasoline or diesel powered things most of us drive everyday.

Along with the smog comes carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that scientists say is a primary cause of climate change. Added to this calamity is urban growth that is becoming the new way of life, and with it challenges to transportation. In America, city streets are already clogged, and the once “rush hour” traffic now starts at 5:00 a.m. and ends at 7:00 p.m.

But things could be on the verge of getting better. A new wave of innovation led by carmakers and automotive-tech companies promises to transform the driving experience. Don’t worry, the car won’t disappear, it will just be powered by different energies, and in some cases, take on new shapes.

Concept cars are how manufacturers work out ideas for the future. In an attempt to solve the issues of pollution and crowded streets their ideas of cars of the future are they will be smarter, nimbler and safer. They also will be self-driving, monitor the person behind the steering wheel and even communicate between themselves to avoid collisions.

Here are seven concept cars that could quite well be what we’ll be driving in 2025. There’s even one car that is currently in a vehicle sharing pilot program, and one that doesn’t have wheels and tires, but is shaped like a very large tire.

Catch a ride in a future car.

1. Volkswagen NILS

The Volkswagen NILS — an electric commuter car for the urban world of the future — was designed and engineered to offer a dynamic driving experience, while generating neither emissions nor noise. The blueprint followed a Formula 1 car with a driver in the middle. A lightweight 20-horsepower electric motor is slung out back driving the rear wheels, and the design features four freestanding 17-inch tires and wheels.

That blueprint may not qualify the NILS as a performance machine, but it is lightweight. Assembled from aluminum, polycarbonate and other lightweight materials, the car weighs just 1,015 pounds. A minimalist cabin features a seven-inch TFT display that indicates speed, range, and energy flow. A second display, which is snapped into the A-pillar, is a portable navigation and entertainment unit.

Thanks to a 40-mile range and a top speed of 80 mph, the NILS would be the ideal vehicle for most commuters, and a reflection of a new era.

2. Chevrolet EN-V 2.0

Chevrolet’s second generation EN-V 2.0 (Electric Networked-Vehicle) may look like designers crossed a ladybug with a Transformer robot, but the two-seat electric vehicle can scoot around cities at up to 25 mph for around 25 miles with energy from a lithium-ion battery. The prototype car was developed to show the possibilities for alleviating concerns surrounding traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability for tomorrow’s cities.

While the diminutive EN-V 2.0 has a standard steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal, it also contains a full complement of cameras, lidar sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2X) technology to make many or all of the driving decisions while the driver rides hands-free. Further, it has features that consumers demand such as climate control and personal storage space.

In 2015 the EN-V 2.0 began a vehicle sharing pilot program launched by General Motors and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Sixteen cars are in the program, and if you visit Shanghai before the end of this year, share a ride. The EN-V 2.0 opens up an exciting future vision of multi-modal transport.

3. Mercedes-Benz F 125!

While it’s difficult to predict what the automotive landscape will look like in 2025, this much is nearly certain: Mercedes will still be building luxury cars for those fortunate enough to afford them.

Designed to represent what a luxury four-passenger car could look like in 2025, the F 125! is an F-Cell plug-in hybrid. Electric power for the four motors, one in each wheel, is generated on board by the F-Cell fuel cell. The research vehicle conceptually employs a 10 kWh lithium-sulfur battery pack that can be inductively charged. Combined, the motors produce 231 horsepower and deliver all-wheel-drive traction that Mercedes is calling e4Matic.

With the use of lightweight fiber-reinforced plastic, carbon fiber, aluminum and high-strength steel, weight is kept to a minimum. The car has autonomous features, can automatically change lanes and navigate traffic jams without driver involvement. Mercedes says the F 125! can travel up to 31 miles on battery power alone, before switching to power from the fuel cell. Then the car can travel an additional 590 miles on hydrogen power before refueling is necessary.

4. Nissan PIVO 3

As you might have guessed, Nissan’s PIVO 3 concept follows PIVO 1 and 2. But unlike its forbearers, the automaker would like to produce this pint-size urban electric vehicle that seats three. The PIVO 3 may not be able to “crab walk” like its immediate predecessor, but it has some slick tricks of its own.

First, its two doors slide open like a minivan’s to allow ingress and egress in tight parking spaces. The futuristic cabin places the driver’s seat forward and to the center, flanked by two passenger seats. Power is provided by individual in-wheel electric motors, with energy provided by a Nissan Leaf-inspired lithium-ion battery pack. Rear-wheel steering allows the PIVO to practically spin on its axis, and Nissan says the roughly 10-foot-long EV can make a U-turn on a road only 13 feet wide.

But the PIVO 3’s biggest trick comes from its electronic gizmos. Drivers can call into play what Nissan calls an Automatic Valet Parking (AVP) system. The system not only finds a parking space, but the car drives off on its own to park and charges itself, and then returns when called by a smartphone. The downside is this only happens in AVP-parking lots of the future, say 2025.

5. Toyota Fun Vii


Toyota’s Fun Vii is unlike any futuristic concept car we’ve ever seen. The exterior is made of touch-screen panels that can be changed, based on the owner’s preferences, with a simple download of a smartphone app or by uploading an image to Facebook. When introduced to the media, Toyota president Akio Toyoda said, “A car must appeal to our emotions. If it’s not fun, it’s not a car.”

The fun continues inside the 13-foot long, three passenger Fun Vii, which stands for “Vehicle Interactive Internet.” Like the exterior, whatever visuals you would like to see on the inside can be wirelessly painted in real time. Then there’s the holographic “navigation concierge” lady with a cute little hat that pops out of the dashboard. She can guide you around the vehicle’s features or help find your way from one place to another. Since the car is networked with all the other cars on the road it drives itself. And if all that is not enough fun, the Fun Vii can instantly convert into a video game.

Toyota has no intention of building a production version just yet, but says the Fun Vii is an example of technologies that it could incorporate into vehicles in the future.

6. Immortus Solar Car

“Inspired by the world portrayed in post-apocalyptic movies,” the Immortus is a solar-electric concept car from Australia’s EVX Ventures, a collaboration between the electric vehicle research group at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, and a group of Australian engineers who have designed and produced award-winning solar racing cars. No word as to why the car is named after a Marvel Comic’s villain.

Electricity to power the car is generated from 75 square feet of silicon photovoltaic cells on the roof. On a sunny day traveling at about 50 mph, the Immortus can be driven more than 340 miles. Drop the speed to a constant 37 mph and the range is effectively to infinity on solar power alone. The car also features a plug-in powertrain with a 10 kWh lithium-ion battery that can supply enough juice for an additional 250 miles of emissions-free driving.

The Immortus is not a small car — slightly longer and wider than a BMW 6 Series Coupe — with interior space for a driver and passenger with modest luggage capacity. However, it weighs in at just 1,212 pounds. That means the power-to-weight ratio and acceleration time are comparable to a Mazda MX-5 Miata.

The idea of a car that can run on its own power forever sounds crazy. Stay tuned.

7. Volkswagen Hover Car


Automobile companies aren’t the only folks that can design concept cars to work out ideas for the future. Volkswagen, which translates to “people’s car” in English, launched The People’s Car Project in China, which invited Chinese consumers to submit ideas for cars of the future. One of the three design winners was Wang Jia, a student and resident of Chengdu in the country’s Sichuan province. She envisioned a tall, narrow, easy-to-park, emission free two-seater shaped like a very large tire.

Jia’s inspiration for a propulsion system came from The Shanghai Maglev Train, which can hover along special rails using electromagnetic suspension. Volkswagen brought the idea to life in a short video. In the video, Jia’s parents take the tire-shaped hover car out for a spin through Chengdu. The narrator points out a number of the imaginary car’s features, including a joystick controller, autopilot, and a collision-avoidance sensor. Simon Loasby, head of design at Volkswagen Group China commented, “It was the ultimate in dreaming because a full-scale version of the car doesn’t exist.”

The Volkswagen Hover Car isn’t as farfetched as it might seem. The technology to produce the car and road infrastructure is available today. And after watching the video — you did watch it, didn’t you? — who wouldn’t want to take a spin in Jia’s Hover Car?

HybridCars.com

 

Mar 09

5 Alternative Cars We’re Looking Forward to This Year

 

Carmakers in the U.S. now have more than 60 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles on offer and more are coming.

As gas prices have dropped and Americans have shown their preference for larger conventionally powered SUVs, crossovers, and trucks, anything from the alternative segments that scratches that itch is welcome.

Out of a slew of new alternative vehicles due this year, we’ve picked five newcomers that stand to do this in some ways, or otherwise broaden horizons.

Nissan Rogue Hybrid

Revealed alongside a refreshed conventional and very popular Rogue sibling, the hybrid version of Nissan’s crossover could prove welcome in its own right.

Priced a bit less than the only other direct competitor, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the Rogue is due in first dealers in April according to analyst Alan Baum, and promises more choices for buyers in what has proven a desirable type of vehicle.

The RAV 4 in its first year has vaulted to near the top of the hybrid sales charts, often being in second or third place and nudging other perennial favorite hatchbacks and sedans out of the way in the process.

Nissan’s Rogue Hybrid with 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, electric motor, and lithium-ion battery promises 176 total horsepower.

Helping it along, as is the case for the 32 mpg combined RAV4 is all wheel drive availability.

Rogue Hybrid front drive models are estimated 33 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined. AWD models are estimated at 31 city, 34 highway, and 33 combined.

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

Also taking on a Toyota product, the Ioniq plug-in hybrid tackles Toyota’s all-new Prius Prime, and hits it on all points – range, mpg, price, and arguably styling.

Hyundai’s car is actually one of three Ioniq variants. The battery electric and hybrid version are launching now, and the yet-to-be priced PHEV is based on the hybrid’s 1.6-liter, electric motor and li-ion powertrain.

MPG in hybrid mode is expected in the middle 50s, and electric range from the 8.9-liter battery is expected to be 27 miles.

SEE ALSO: Which Looks More Competitive: Toyota Prius Prime, or Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid?

Performance may be about the same as the Toyota – adequate in a 0-60 mph dash perhaps around 10 seconds, but not amazing – but this vehicle promises to save fuel and cut emissions very effectively.

Many owners will have enough electric range to keep the gas engine off entirely in daily driving. The gas engine will make a long-haul trip also near the top of the charts in energy efficiency among petrol burners.

As for styling, the Ioniqs look more conventional while otherwise parroting the design of Toyota’s Prius upon which they were benchmarked.

A unique dual clutch auto instead of a CVT transmissions may also gather fans who prefer that type better.

Also unique also is a 12-volt starter battery packaged with the li-ion unit, under lifetime warranty, and capable of being “jump started” by the bigger battery if needed.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid


Shoosh! Don’t tell anyone. The Pacifica Hybrid due in dealers as soon as this month is really a plug-in hybrid.

In its efforts not to stress its usual minivan constituency overly much, Chrysler is calling alternative version of its already released Pacific simply the Pacifica Hybrid, but it does plug in.

Alternative energy enthusiasts may otherwise shout to the hills that this is the most efficient such seven-passenger gas-electric vehicle in existence, and by a large margin.

The Pacifica’s 32 mpg rating in hybrid mode and 33 miles gas-free electric range puts it ahead of even small-engined, midsized sedans.

Powering it is a V6 Pentastar engine and electric motor plus 16-kWh battery with 248 horsepower for enough get up and go.
Assuming this vehicle takes off in the marketplace, it also stands to goad others to follow and that will be great for those wanting to see more large vehicles saving fuel like this one will.

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Based on the Niro Hybrid which comes in three trims ranging from 43 mpg to 50 mpg, the plug-in version due as soon as October raises the bar one step further.

Based on a 103-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine plus 43 horse electric motor, the PHEV Niro adds an 8.9 kWh battery for as much as 27 miles potential range.

Exciting also is the Niro may be priced relatively low as PHEVs go, while coming in a popular compact crossover package.

As a division of Hyundai, Kia is part of the twin companies’ attempt to rise in the alternative energy space, so this one is being made by someone who knows they have something to prove.

Hopefully it will meet the bill as it otherwise broadens choices in a contemporary styled design.

Tesla Model 3

Saving the best for last, the all-electric Model 3 has been the talk of the town since last year and it’s believed well more than half a million people have reservations on it.

This unprecedented interest is spurred by a car that promises maybe three-quarters or more of what a Tesla Model S offers at maybe half the price.

At least that’s the ostensible proposition for the EV to be priced from $35,000 plus destination and with at least 215 miles on tap.

In reality, the first models that may be delivered by October, according to analyst Alan Baum, are expected to be top-drawer Founders’ editions given first to employees, friends and family. Expect other higher level trims to also be delivers ahead of any base models, assuming those come along eventually.

Tesla’s Model 3 otherwise stands to overshadow the 238-mile range Chevy Bolt in that it is highly configurable.

Expected are all wheel drive and larger battery versions with performance to fit in a company that says it does not know how to make slow cars.

What the top end of the pricing will be has been speculated, but more is to be revealed in a second unveiling closer to launch.

Baum projects 5,000 units may be delivered by year’s end. If however an aggressive ramp up outlined by CEO Elon Musk on a conference call comes to pass, even more than this could arrive for Tesla’s first high-volume car.

HybridCars.com

 

Mar 08

Will President Trump Put A Wet Blanket On the US Electric Car Movement?

 

Is the United States on its way toward Who Killed the Electric Car, part 2?

That’s unknown, but this week the U.S. EPA is expected to begin a process intended to roll back Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards calling for increasingly stringent tailpipe emissions through 2025, and while it’s at it California is also in federal sites.

California’s waiver letting it set its own clean air rules is also a threat to a new agenda to relax rules automakers say could cost them as much as $200 billion by 2025.

The move would come in the name of regulatory reform, and be headed by the EPA’s new administrator Scott Pruitt installed by President Trump.

Trump, who denies climate change is caused by man, and who has turned his ear to letters sent by all the major carmakers doing business in U.S., is reportedly sympathetic with reversing a regulatory climate set by former president Barack Obama.

SEE ALSO: Automakers Ask Trump Transition Team to Consider Reforming Fuel Economy and Emissions Rules

Last month, Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers representing 77 percent of U.S. auto manufacturers, wrote to Pruitt the CAFE rules are “the product of egregious procedural and substantive defects.”

And, he added, it is “riddled with indefensible assumptions, inadequate analysis and a failure to engage with contrary evidence.”

Whether the process to reverse federal rules could be a swift one, or a lengthy battle with environmentalists has been up in the air. It is more certain that if zero emission rules set by California’s Air Resources Board rules come under attack, the state and supporters would fight tooth and nail.

The New York Times, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said dismantling federal standards calling for fleet average fuel economy to be around 40 mpg by 2025 “will be much more legally simple.”

Americans have preferred trucks and SUVs in light of inexpensive gas. These are most profitable for carmakers.

Step one could be to withdraw the Obama administration’s determination on 2022-2025 rules after which the Trump administration would have a year to set alternative standards.

Speaking on NPR yesterday, EV advocate Chelsea Sexton likened the threat by automakers emboldened by Trump’s known policy direction to a major setback for electric cars.

Advocates like Sexton, who was a star in the original “Who Killed the Electric Car” documentary, have long fought the war of spin on what the real truth is on cars that run partly or fully on batteries.

SEE ALSO: Are Consumers Being Manipulated By Anti-Electric Car Propaganda?

Their purpose is to reduce America’s reliance on a near monopoly energy source – petroleum – and attendant emissions that are not only blamed on climate change, but also simply human health.

Without citing a source, NPR moderator Sonari Glinton let loose one talking point that’s become part of the counter-rhetoric by those who question the efficacy of EVs to solve America’s energy and environmental needs.

“When GM makes a Silverado, they make thousands of dollars … when they make a Chevy Volt, they lose money,” said Glinton to Sexton. “What you are saying is, if these regulations are rolled back, it’s the new death of the electric car.”

That is one possibility, said Sexton, who is out in front of the expected continued war of words and ideology that is brewing.

“Even some of the more aggressive automakers are likely to roll back their plans,” said Sexton, “…we get the same kind of ‘ah shucks we tried as hard as we could, consumers just don’t want those EVs yet, maybe we’ll come back later.’”

But before declaring doom, there will be a fight said the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Roland Hwang.

“The Trump administration cannot with a stroke of a pen roll back federal clean car standards or take away California’s authority to implement his own standards,” he said. “To change either, they need to notify, allow public comment, before rendering a decision. If they try to rollback federal or CA standards, we’ll see them in court.”

At this stage, eyes are on what will happen after the Trump administration begins its power play.

Hwang said the most likely scenario is for Trump to direct the EPA to do a “redo” of the EPA’s 2022-2025 final determination as the first step in attempting to rollback the federal and likely California standards.

A best case scenario Hwang said, is to leave things in place, as organization like the NRDC, and even Consumer Reports have come out in favor of rules as good for the economy, global competiveness, and consumers.

Notable is the U.S. is part of a broader global market and other nations are moving forward rapidly with rules of their own that are akin to present U.S. federal rules. How it would work out that the U.S. could become a relative backwater is uncertain.

Really, many potential twists and turns may only be known in time, and Hwang was not willing to predict a worst case scenario.

“The worse case scenario is – well who really knows?” said Hwang. “If the Trump administration really attempts a wholesale dismantling of federal and California clean car standards then they will be likely facing years of litigation and chaos, of their own making. This will be problematic for the auto industry who needs certainty for their planning. This not puts clean air and climate progress at risk, but also jobs in factories across the U.S. involved in manufacturing clean car technologies.”

As for the California question, this too is a wild card question.

“The EPA has never rescinded a California waiver. It would be unprecedented and face vigorous pushback by states, NRDC and others, in court,” said Hwang. “There is no factual or legal basis for EPA to rescind the waiver. Weakening the federal standards is certainly no basis to revoke California authority. The entire premise of California’s separate motor vehicle authority is that it’s more stringent, or at least as stringent, as federal standards.”

But this is precisely why the Trump administration would go after California. Its zero emission rules act as a de facto second set of requirements for U.S. carmakers to keep the EV agenda going.

SEE ALSO: CAFE Hearings Focus Opposing Viewpoints

By 2025 ZEV rules could mandate as many as one in seven cars sold in California be zero emission. California is the country’s largest car market, and as many as a dozen states have piggybacked on some or all of its rules.

SEE ALSO: CAFE Rules: Only 1-3 percent of cars need to be electric by 2025

This would force carmakers to still have to create cars for those markets, which they have been doing already. To more fully relieve automakers from requirements, California’s rules would need to be neutralized also.

But this would not go down without a fight.

“If they significantly weaken the federal standards or try to take away California’s waiver, it will certainly be a protracted battle. It would be a long, bumpy road to roll back the standards,” said Hwang. “The Trump EPA needs to go through a long process of rewriting the determination, the standard and the California waiver decision, if they choose to go there all this takes time. And then there is litigation. So we are talking about years which puts the auto industry in bind to plan for 2022 compliance.”

The federal rules meanwhile are not only about plug-in cars, but speak to all cars becoming incrementally cleaner. The plug-ins help raise the average score for automaker fleets just like an A student does in a class average where other students score Bs and Cs.

For his part, Hwang thinks there are far more productive things the Trump administration could tackle if the goal is economic progress.

“Attacking these common sense clear car standards is a losing proposition for the Trump EPA and the automakers,” said Hwang. “It will tie up enormous resources better put to use in investing in innovating and building the next generation of clean car technologies.”

By 2025 ZEV rules could mandate as many as one in seven cars sold in California be zero emission. California is the country’s largest car market, and as many as a dozen states have piggybacked on some or all of its rules.

SEE ALSO: CAFE Rules: Only 1-3 percent of cars need to be electric by 2025

This would force carmakers to still have to create cars for those markets, which they have been doing already. To more fully relieve automakers from requirements, California’s rules would need to be neutralized also.

But this would not go down without a fight.

“If they significantly weaken the federal standards or try to take away California’s waiver, it will certainly be a protracted battle. It would be a long, bumpy road to roll back the standards,” said Huang. “The Trump EPA needs to go through a long process of rewriting the determination, the standard and the California waiver decision, if they choose to go there all this takes time. And then there is litigation. So we are talking about years which puts the auto industry in bind to plan for 2022 compliance.”

The federal rules meanwhile are not only about plug-in cars, but speak to all cars becoming incrementally cleaner. The plug-ins help raise the average score for automaker fleets just like an A student does in a class average where other students score Bs and Cs.

For his part, Huang thinks there are far more productive things the Trump administration could tackle if the goal is economic progress.

“Attacking these common sense clear car standards is a losing proposition for the Trump EPA and the automakers,” said Huang. “It will tie up enormous resources better put to use in investing in innovating and building the next generation of clean car technologies.”

HybridCars.com

 

Mar 07

PSA buys Opel/Vauxhall from GM in $2.3B Deal

 

By Claiborne Booker

Today GM announced it has agreed to sell its Opel and Vauxhall subsidiaries, as well as some financing operations in Europe to PSA.

The holding company for Peugeot, Citroen and DS, PSA will be taking over the automotive brands and the move increases its market share to 17 percent in Europe meaning it is now the second largest European car manufacturer.

“We are proud to join forces with Opel/Vauxhall and are deeply committed to continuing to develop this great company and accelerating its turnaround,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman of the Managing Board of PSA. “Having already created together winning products for the European market, we know that Opel/Vauxhall is the right partner. We see this as a natural extension of our relationship and are eager to take it to the next level.”

Carlos Tavares, chairman of the Managing Board of PSA, and Mary T. Barra, GM chairman and chief executive officer.


“We believe this new chapter puts Opel and Vauxhall in an even stronger position for the long term and we look forward to our participation in the future success and strong value-creation potential of PSA through our economic interest and continued collaboration on current and exciting new projects,” GM’s chairman and chief executive officer Mary T. Barra said.

The sale also includes intellectual property licenses from GM until vehicles transition to PSA platforms. This suggests that the Opel Ampera-e, a rebadged Chevrolet Bolt EV, will be launched in Europe as planned later this year.

GM press release, HybridCars.com

 

Mar 06

Peak Demand Projected For Gasoline By 2021

 

By Jon LeSage

Demand for gasoline has been projected to reach its peak next year in the U.S. and as early as 2021 globally.

Analysts at Edinburgh-based consultancy WoodMackenzie say this will happen in the face of continuing growth in the vehicle fleet due to vehicle engine efficiency. The rising number of hybrid and electric vehicles being sold and higher fuel standards in the U.S. and Europe will contribute to the historic consumption shift.

The dramatic drop in oil prices during 2014 brought oil consumption to a record high last year, with 9.326 million barrels per day last year consumed in the U.S.

That will be changing in years ahead. An expected recovery in oil prices in coming years will be an important factor in demand growth diminishing, WoodMackenzie said.

Reaching that peak will have a huge economic impact eventually, with demand for gasoline in the U.S. accounting for 10 percent of global oil consumption; and global demand for gasoline representing a more than a quarter of the world’s oil consumption, according to WoodMackenzie.

The consulting firm thinks that improvement in battery technology will be a turning point.

“We expect gasoline engine efficiency to continue to improve through better deployment of batteries in hybrid vehicles,” WoodMac analyst Alan Gelder said.

The question of whether peak oil demand will be reached has been a hot topic of debate over the past decade by oil companies, regulators, economists, auto executives, and environmental groups. Oil companies and oil processors face a period of change as several nations, and a United Nations-backed plan, consider getting rid of fossil fuels entirely in the next 20 years or so.

Vitol, the world’s top oil trader, expects global demand for gasoline and diesel to peak in 2027-2028. Royal Dutch Shell predicts oil demand could peak in the 2030s.

The International Energy Agency expects oil consumption to grow in the foreseeable future, but at much slower rates.

SEE ALSO:  Does America Still Need Green Cars Now That It’s Swimming in Oil?

There are other economic and fuel consumption factors to consider. Growing vehicle sales and fuel consumption in Asia will play a part. Fuel efficient vehicle sales are expected to increase, but the global gasoline car fleet is expected to grow by more than 10 percent by 2025 to above 1 billion vehicles, WoodMac predicts.

“We still see global oil demand growing but the role of transportation shrinks,” WoodMac analyst Alan Gelder said.

WoodMac sees demand coming more form the petrochemical sector, with oil feedstocks going into plastics. Demand should also see an increase from the diesel and gasoil used in commercial transportation by buses, ships, and airplanes.

The study expects that overall consumption will see an historic drop.

“Traditionally we had (annual) oil demand growth north of 1 million barrels per day. We are transitioning over the next decade to growth of around 500,000 bpd a year,” Gelder said.

Reuters, HybridCars.com

 
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