(Not so) surprising US attack on ICE to benefit EVs …

(Not so) surprising US attack on ICE to benefit EVs …

(Not so) surprising US attack on ICE to benefit EVs … 150 150 Batteries International

June 14, 2024: It’s that spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. On June 7 the US government announced ‘new vehicle economy standards’ that will mean by 2031 the average buyer of any new light passenger car will have to drive a car that runs at 50.4 miles a gallon.

The sugar? The next generation of cars will be fuel efficient in ways that were inconceivable even 20 years ago. According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that gave the latest ruling, US cars averaged around 13 miles to the gallon in the 1970s.

More sugar. The new standards will save the average US light car driver $600 in fuel over the lifetime of their vehicles. For heavy-duty pickup and van owners, it’ll be $700.

These numbers are unintelligible to European drivers — in the UK they have different sized gallons and still proud of the fact that they cannot think in litres. But to the rest of the world this is equivalent to a driving range of 21.3 km per litre.

The medicine, however, is going to be bitter.

The average price difference — and where an average is hard to find — between ICE vehicles, hybrid ones and their equivalent in size for pure EVs, is around $6,000. They also require an extra 12% to insure. Over their lifetime figures prove EVs will be cheaper to run after the initial expense, but when the cost of replacement of the battery at the end of the warranty periods is included all the numbers get muddled.

As one BCI council adviser told Batteries International: “Moreover, the quality of the cars will inevitably be compromised to make an ICE car affordable and at the same time these requirements will mean that it is less powered and less luxurious. For an EV the same applies given that the battery costs so much in making these cars affordable.”

The implications for the battery market for EVs are puzzling. The US drive for electrification of transport has had a huge injection of, possibly up to $1 trillion (all told) through the IRA act of 2022 that applies to US and international firms.

Electric vehicles are being pushed, across the world, as part of the saviours of the planet, even though the economics of the supply chain aren’t sorted. Nor are the discussions over on the restrictions imposed on who will make the EVs and their batteries.

The propaganda — and it is propaganda — went like this in the US government statement last week.

US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “Not only will these new standards save Americans money at the pump every time they fill up, they will also decrease harmful pollution and make America less reliant on foreign oil.

“These standards will save car owners more than $600 in gasoline costs over the lifetime of their vehicle.” He later said the improved standards will save almost 70 billion gallons of gasoline through 2050, preventing more than 710 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.”

That’s a lot of hot air. And it’s coming from all sides.