Visualizing the Global Electric Vehicle Market
Electric vehicles (EVs) are a key piece of the net-zero carbon future puzzle, and the electric vehicle market is growing exponentially.
Countries and governments around the world are recognizing the importance of these zero-emission vehicles and consequently including them in their decarbonization plans. But some countries are far ahead in the EV race, while others are yet to fully embrace EV adoption.
This infographic from our sponsor Scotch Creek Ventures provides an overview of the global EV market and the potential for growth in the United States.
The World’s Largest EV Markets
In 2020, global EV and plug-in hybrid sales crossed the 3 million mark for the first time, and data from the first half of 2021 suggests that we may be in for another year of record-high sales.
Europe and China have been the leading EV markets in both years, with over 80% of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales occurring in these two regions.
|Country/Region||2020 sales||2020 H1 sales|
|Rest of the World 🌎||180,000||147,000|
Although country populations are the driver of absolute sales potential, government incentives have played a key role in expanding EV adoption in the interim. For example, several European countries offer tax benefits for purchasing and owning EVs, in addition to incentives like road toll exemptions. Similarly, China’s EV subsidies reimburse buyers different amounts depending on the range of the vehicle purchased.
European countries also dominate the leaderboard for EV penetration rates, which represent the share of EVs in new passenger car sales. The top 10 countries for EV penetration in 2020 were all European, with Norway taking the top spot.
While the U.S. is the world’s third-largest market for EVs, its sales are only a fraction of those made in Europe and China, and its EV penetration rate sits at just 2%. However, the American EV market is growing rapidly, with plenty of potential for expansion.
Electrification Potential: The U.S. EV Market
Both automakers and the government are supporting America’s shift toward EVs.
The country is home to one of the world’s largest battery megafactories in Tesla’s Giga Nevada, which has the capacity to produce 37 gigawatt-hours (GWh) worth of batteries annually. Other battery makers have announced plans to build larger factories in the coming years.
Consequently, battery manufacturing capacity in the U.S. is expected to reach 224 GWh by 2025, up from 59 GWh in 2020. Here are some of the operational and planned battery factories in the country:
|LG Chem and GM*||70 GWh||Spring Hill, Tennessee|
|Tesla Gigafactory 1||37 GWh||Sparks, Nevada|
|LG Chem and GM*||30 GWh||Lordstown, Ohio|
|Tesla Gigafactory 5*||25 GWh||Austin, Texas|
|SK Innovation*||12 GWh||Commerce, Georgia|
|SK Innovation*||10 GWh||Commerce, Georgia|
|Tesla Pilot||10 GWh||Fremont, California|
|LG Chem||8 GWh||Holland, Michigan|
|Envision AESC||3 GWh||Smyrna, Tennessee|
*Represents planned, announced, or under-construction factories.
The government is also doing its part to support EV adoption. The recently-passed trillion-dollar infrastructure bill supports the White House’s electrification plan, with $7.5 billion allocated to building a network of EV charging stations, and another $5 billion for low and zero-emission buses. Earlier this year, President Biden signed an executive order that aims to make 50% of all new vehicle sales electric by 2030, providing another catalyst for the switch to EVs.
As a result, EV sales are set to grow in the United States. However, more EVs require more batteries, and more batteries need more raw materials—especially lithium.
The Impact on Lithium Demand
Batteries accounted for 81% of lithium consumption in 2020, and they are in increasing demand.
According to Bloomberg, the world could require 2,000 GWh of lithium-ion batteries annually by 2030, up from 223 GWh in 2020. Given that lithium is a key ingredient in these batteries, the impact on lithium demand will be massive.
In fact, global lithium demand is expected to outstrip supply in 2025. Furthermore, with 200 battery megafactories in the pipeline to 2030, the world could require 3 million tonnes of lithium annually, which is roughly 37 times current production.
Meeting the rising need for lithium will require new sources of production as the global electric vehicle market expands. This is especially true for the United States, which strives to build a domestic battery supply chain but hosts only one lithium-producing mine.
Scotch Creek Ventures is developing two lithium mining projects in Clayton Valley, Nevada, to supply lithium for the green future.
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.
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.
|Utility||Emissions Per Capita (CO2 tons per year)||Total Emissions (M)|
|Berkshire Hathaway Energy||14.0||57.2|
|American Electric Power||9.2||50.9|
|Florida Power and Light||8.0||41.0|
|Portland General Electric||7.6||6.9|
|Pacific Gas and Electric||0.5||2.6|
|Next Era Energy Resources||0||1.1|
PNM Resources data is from 2019, all other data is as of 2020
Let’s start by looking at the higher scoring IOUs.
TransAlta 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 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 Source||Vistra||State of Texas|
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 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 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 collectively serve 60 million Americans, or one-fifth of the U.S. population.
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.
The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet
The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills.
The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet
Asphalt, also known as bitumen, has various applications in the modern economy, with annual demand reaching 110 million tons globally.
Until the 20th century, natural asphalt made from decomposed plants accounted for the majority of asphalt production. Today, most asphalt is refined from crude oil.
This graphic, sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies, shows how new technologies to reuse and recycle asphalt can help protect the environment.
The Impact of Climate Change
Pollution from vehicles is expected to decline as electric vehicles replace internal combustion engines.
But pollution from asphalt could actually increase in the next decades because of rising temperatures in some parts of the Earth. When subjected to extreme temperatures, asphalt releases harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.
|Emissions from Road Construction (Source)||CO2 equivalent (%)|
|Excavators and Haulers||16%|
Asphalt paved surfaces and roofs make up approximately 45% and 20% of surfaces in U.S. cities, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of single-family detached homes in Canada and the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roofs.
Reducing the Environmental Impact of Asphalt
Similar to roads, asphalt shingles have oil as the primary component, which is especially harmful to the environment.
Shingles do not decompose or biodegrade. The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills, the equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil.
But most of it can be reused, rather than taking up valuable landfill space.
Using technology, the primary components in shingles can be repurposed into liquid asphalt, aggregate, and fiber, for use in road construction, embankments, and new shingles.
Providing the construction industry with clean, sustainable processing solutions is also a big business opportunity. Canada alone is a $1.3 billion market for recovering and reprocessing shingles.
Northstar Clean Technologies is the only public company that repurposes 99% of asphalt shingles components that otherwise go to landfills.
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