Infographic: Anticipating the Driverless Future of Vehicles
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Anticipating the Driverless Future of Vehicles

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Anticipating the Driverless Future of Vehicles

With the rapid rise of electric vehicles (EVs) and increased investments in autonomous driving, what was once the future of vehicles is quickly becoming a present day reality.

By 2040, EVs are forecast to account for more than half of global annual car sales. A 2020 Consumer Reports survey showed that 31% of U.S. consumers said they are interested in an EV for their next car purchase, with another 40% saying they’re interested in EVs for a future purchase.

And the drive is no longer fueled by just a few players like Tesla. Every major automaker and several Silicon Valley giants are investing billions in the future of vehicles.

This infographic from eToro takes a detailed look at how a driverless future is taking shape right before our eyes.

Driverless Developments in Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

Investments in future-friendly cars are now commonplace—as are new vehicle releases—but for a long time, automakers hesitated to make the electric transition.

With the meteoric rise of Tesla, now a household name in EVs and self-driving vehicles, it’s now clear to the world’s automakers that the pivot to EVs could pay off. As of June 2021, two 100% electric car companies make it onto a list of the highest valued automakers in the world.

RankCompanyMarket Cap (June 2021)
#1Tesla (100% Electric)$662.1B
#2Toyota$247.0B
#3Volkswagen$149.9B
#4BYD$102.1B
#5Daimler$96.9B
#6General Motors$85.1B
#7NIO (100% Electric)$80.8B
#8BMW$70.4B
#9Stellantis$63.1B
#10Ford$59.7B

And as electric car companies started to climb in value, traditional automakers ramped up their EV investments.

In 2019, automakers invested at least $300 billion in EVs and batteries, primarily those based in Germany ($139.5 billion) and China ($57.0 billion). In 2021, American companies have also stepped up their EV investments, with Ford and GM committing $22 billion and $27 billion respectively to EV investments through 2025.

Autonomous, A.I. piloted vehicles are also on the cusp of further investment breakthroughs. Driverless companies Cruise (backed by GM) and Waymo (backed by Alphabet) completed more than 600,000 miles of autonomous driving testing in 2020 in California alone.

Over the next five years, the autonomous vehicle market is forecast to grow to $557 billion by 2026 from just $53 billion in 2019. It’s no surprise that other companies like Toyota, Amazon, SoftBank, Lyft, and Daimler are all investing in driverless companies.

What The Driverless Future Will Look Like

Over the next decade, the speed and visibility of vehicle evolution will depend largely on location.

In the U.S. and Europe, the current trajectory is towards reduction of impact. As consumers shift from combustion engines to EVs, many are also looking to reduce the need for a vehicle in the first place. The total number of cars in the U.S. and Europe is actually expected to drop by more than 100 million by 2030.

That contrasts with China, where car inventory is expected to surge to 276 million in 2030 from just 180 million in 2017. The country is a leader in EV rollouts, with Tesla even building a factory in Shanghai. China is also leaning heavily on autonomous driving —by 2040, driverless vehicles are expected to account for 66% of total passenger KM driven in China.

In fact, driverless vehicles and shared mobility is a leading driver in modern vehicle investment. An analysis of vehicle investments by more than 1000 companies since 2010 found that e-hailing is the leading cluster of investment, followed closely by semiconductors and sensors required by smart cars.

Vehicle Tech ClusterTotal Disclosed Investment (2010–19)
E-hailing$56.2B
Semiconductors$38.1B
AV sensors and ADAS components$29.9B
Connectivity/infotainment$20.8B
EVs and charging$19.0B
Batteries$14.3B
AV software and mapping$13.5B
Telematics and intelligent traffic$12.4B
Back end/cybersecurity$9.0B
HMI and voice recognition$7.4B

As investments in future-friendly smart cars continue to ramp up, countries already prepared for EVs are likely to benefit the quickest.

A 2020 assessment of countries by readiness for autonomous vehicles found that Singapore leads the world with driverless-ready policies and high road quality. It was closely followed by the Netherlands and Norway, with EVs already accounting for more than 56% of vehicles purchased in Norway.

Though the full rollout of EVs and driverless vehicles will look different depending on the country, it’s certain that the future of vehicles is on the horizon.

How Can Investors Take Part?

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The History of U.S. Energy Independence

This infographic traces the history of U.S. energy independence, showing the events that have shaped oil demand and imports over 150 years.

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history of U.S. energy independence

The History of U.S. Energy Independence

Energy independence has long been a part of America’s political history and foreign policy, especially since the 1970s.

Despite long being a leader in energy production, the U.S. has often still relied on oil imports to meet its growing needs. This “energy dependence” left the country and American consumers vulnerable to supply disruptions and oil price shocks.

The above infographic from Surge Battery Metals traces the history of U.S. energy independence, highlighting key events that shaped the country’s import reliance for oil. This is part one of three infographics in the Energy Independence Series.

How the U.S. Became Energy Dependent

Oil was first commercially drilled in the U.S. in 1859, when Colonel Edwin Drake developed an oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Twenty years later in 1880, the U.S. was responsible for 85% of global crude oil production and refining. But over the next century, the country became increasingly dependent on oil imports.

Here are some key events that affected America’s oil dependence and foreign policy during that time according to the Council on Foreign Relations:

  • 1908: Henry Ford invented the Model T, the world’s first mass-produced and affordable car.
  • 1914-1918: The U.S. began importing small quantities of oil from Mexico to meet the demands of World War I and domestic consumption.
  • 1942: In efforts to save gas and fuel for World War II, the Office of Defense Transportation implemented a national plan limiting driving speeds to 35 miles per hour.
  • 1943: President Roosevelt provided financial support to Saudi Arabia and declared Saudi oil critical to U.S. security.
  • 1950: With 40 million cars on the road, the U.S. became a net importer of oil bringing in around 500,000 barrels per day.
  • 1970: Twentieth century U.S. oil production peaked and President Nixon eased oil import quotas, allowing an additional 100,000 barrels per day in imports.

The U.S. economy’s increasing reliance on oil imports made it vulnerable to supply disruptions. For example, in 1973, in response to the U.S.’ support for Israel, Arab members of the OPEC imposed an embargo on oil exports to Western nations, creating the first “oil shock”. Oil prices nearly quadrupled, and American consumers felt the shock through long lineups at gas stations along with high inflation. Combined with rising unemployment rates and flattening wages, the increase in prices led to a period of stagflation.

Despite the energy crisis, U.S. oil production fell for decades, while the country met its increasing energy needs with oil from abroad.

The Rise and Fall of U.S. Oil Imports

Here’s how U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum products has evolved since 1950 in comparison with consumption and production. All figures are in millions of barrels per day (bpd).

YearConsumption (bpd)Production (bpd)Net imports (bpd)
19506.5M5.9M0.5M
19609.8M8.1M1.6M
197014.7M11.7M3.2M
198017.1M10.8M6.4M
199017.0M9.6M7.2M
200019.7M8.7M10.4M
201019.2M9.5M9.4M
202119.8M18.7M-0.2M

Net oil imports quadrupled between 1960 and 1980, marking the two biggest decadal jumps. Given that production was falling while consumption was booming, it’s clear why the U.S. needed to rely on imports.

Imports peaked in 2005, with net imports accounting for a record 60% of domestic consumption. Both imports and consumption fell in the years that followed. In 2009, for the first time since 1970, U.S. oil production increased thanks to the shale boom. It ascended until 2019 to make the U.S. the world’s largest oil producer.

As of 2021, the U.S. was a net exporter of refined petroleum products and hydrocarbon liquids but remained a net importer of crude oil.

The New Era of Energy

Oil and fossil fuels have long played a central role in the global energy mix. The U.S.’ reliance on other countries for oil made it energy-dependent, exposing American gas consumers to geopolitical shocks and volatile oil prices.

Today, the global energy shift away from fossil fuels towards cleaner sources of generation offers a new opportunity to use lessons from the past. By securing the raw materials needed to enable the energy transition, the U.S. can build a clean energy future independent of foreign sources.

In the next part of the Energy Independence Series sponsored by Surge Battery Metals, we will explore the New Era of Energy and the role of electric vehicles and renewables in the ongoing energy transition.

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Ranked: Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Roughly 25% of all GHG emissions come from electricity production. See how the top 30 IOUs rank by emissions per capita.

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Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Approximately 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from electricity generation.

Subsequently, this means investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will have a crucial role to play around carbon reduction initiatives. This is particularly true for the top 30 IOUs, where almost 75% of utility customers get their electricity from.

This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council ranks the largest IOUs by emissions per capita. By accounting for the varying customer bases they serve, we get a more accurate look at their green energy practices. Here’s how they line up.

Per Capita Rankings

The emissions per capita rankings for the top 30 investor-owned utilities have large disparities from one another.

Totals range from a high of 25.8 tons of CO2 per customer annually to a low of 0.5 tons.

UtilityEmissions Per Capita (CO2 tons per year)Total Emissions (M)
TransAlta25.816.3
Vistra22.497.0
OGE Energy21.518.2
AES Corporation19.849.9
Southern Company18.077.8
Evergy14.623.6
Alliant Energy14.414.1
DTE Energy14.229.0
Berkshire Hathaway Energy14.057.2
Entergy13.840.5
WEC Energy13.522.2
Ameren12.831.6
Duke Energy12.096.6
Xcel Energy11.943.3
Dominion Energy11.037.8
Emera11.016.6
PNM Resources10.55.6
PPL Corporation10.428.7
American Electric Power9.250.9
Consumers Energy8.716.1
NRG Energy8.229.8
Florida Power and Light8.041.0
Portland General Electric7.66.9
Fortis Inc.6.112.6
Avangrid5.111.6
PSEG3.99.0
Exelon3.834.0
Consolidated Edison1.66.3
Pacific Gas and Electric0.52.6
Next Era Energy Resources01.1

PNM Resources data is from 2019, all other data is as of 2020

Let’s start by looking at the higher scoring IOUs.

TransAlta

TransAlta emits 25.8 tons of CO2 emissions per customer, the largest of any utility on a per capita basis. Altogether, the company’s 630,000 customers emit 16.3 million metric tons. On a recent earnings call, its management discussed clear intent to phase out coal and grow their renewables mix by doubling their renewables fleet. And so far it appears they’ve been making good on their promise, having shut down the Canadian Highvale coal mine recently.

Vistra

Vistra had the highest total emissions at 97 million tons of CO2 per year and is almost exclusively a coal and gas generator. However, the company announced plans for 60% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and is striving to be carbon neutral by 2050. As the highest total emitter, this transition would make a noticeable impact on total utility emissions if successful.

Currently, based on their 4.3 million customers, Vistra sees per capita emissions of 22.4 tons a year. The utility is a key electricity provider for Texas, ad here’s how their electricity mix compares to that of the state as a whole:

Energy SourceVistraState of Texas
Gas63%52%
Coal29%15%
Nuclear6%9%
Renewables1%24%
Oil1%0%

Despite their ambitious green energy pledges, for now only 1% of Vistra’s electricity comes from renewables compared to 24% for Texas, where wind energy is prospering.

Based on those scores, the average customer from some of the highest emitting utility groups emit about the same as a customer from each of the bottom seven, who clearly have greener energy practices. Let’s take a closer look at emissions for some of the bottom scoring entities.

Utilities With The Greenest Energy Practices

Groups with the lowest carbon emission scores are in many ways leaders on the path towards a greener future.

Exelon

Exelon emits only 3.8 tons of CO2 emissions per capita annually and is one of the top clean power generators across the Americas. In the last decade they’ve reduced their GHG emissions by 18 million metric tons, and have recently teamed up with the state of Illinois through the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Through this, Exelon will receive $700 million in subsidies as it phases out coal and gas plants to meet 2030 and 2045 targets.

Consolidated Edison

Consolidated Edison serves nearly 4 million customers with a large chunk coming from New York state. Altogether, they emit 1.6 tons of CO2 emissions per capita from their electricity generation.

The utility group is making notable strides towards a sustainable future by expanding its renewable projects and testing higher capacity limits. In addition, they are often praised for their financial management and carry the title of dividend aristocrat, having increased their dividend for 47 years and counting. In fact, this is the longest out of any utility company in the S&P 500.

A Sustainable Tomorrow

Altogether, utilities will have a pivotal role to play in decarbonization efforts. This is particularly true for the top 30 U.S. IOUs, who serve millions of Americans.

Ultimately, this means a unique moment for utilities is emerging. As the transition toward cleaner energy continues and various groups push to achieve their goals, all eyes will be on utilities to deliver.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

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