Page 20 - European Energy Innovation - Winter 2015 publication
P. 20
Winter 2015 European Energy Innovation


Crisis? What Crisis?

By Mike Edmund

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’
One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.
In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.”
John F. Kennedy, Speech in Indianapolis, April 12, 1959
Over half a century
after this speech just put us back on the right road level has a “weak correlation”
was delivered, two again. with early e-mobility uptake,
news stories shed while VW has demonstrated that
Bellona’s Director of Policy environmental considerations

light upon the clear and present & Research Hallstein Havåg may still be subordinated to

danger represented by our summed up the sense of anger business considerations. Perhaps,

current climate predicament; and betrayal that many felt as with COP21 taking place as I

and, it must be said, upon the dieselgate unravelled, when write, it is the right time to ask if

opportunity this also presents. he observed4 that “Volkswagen there might be better integration

Perhaps these stories cast had the choice between making of these two approaches; or even

particularly strong shadows; PRUHHIƓFLHQWFRPEXVWLRQ a better strategy altogether.

perhaps they throw Man’s engines or manipulating the

stewardship of the planet into performance of their engines to Perhaps such a question is

ever-sharper focus. What is certain cheat the system, and they chose premature: the recent Amsterdam

is that they are woven closely the latter option”. Meanwhile, in Roundtables Foundation/

together into the backcloth of our its recent publication5, the JRC McKinsey Report7 observes that

DWWHPSWVWRDYHUWDVHOILQŴLFWHG recognised the importance of Europe has gone through the

catastrophe. transport emissions as it examined initial adoption phase of electric

e-mobility policies of two Member mobility, a “turbulent” period

7KHVWRU\ƓUVWFRQFHUQV States in more detail. In the of excitement, promise and

revelations from Wolfsburg that Netherlands, there are many tax disappointment. Nevertheless,

VW has been manipulating the exemptions for EVs, and regional/ the report states that global

performance of its engines in municipality incentives such as DQG(XURSHDQVDOHVƓJXUHV

an attempt to defeat emissions infrastructure provision, purchase are still below 1% of new car

regulations. The second is the VXEVLGLHVIRUŴHHWYHKLFOHVDQG registrations, albeit with much

COP21 Conference in Paris, at free or priority parking. Elsewhere, stronger performances locally:

which the world’s nations are the UK has implemented various in Norway, the top-selling

pledging to reduce those very policies, including subsidy (up models in September, October,

emissions. Both refer to the to 25% of the vehicle purchase and December of 2013 were

central element of a plan to limit price), and an extensive battery electric vehicles (BEVs). In

the rise in global temperatures to infrastructure programme November, EVs reached 12% of

below 2 celsius degrees above involving eight test regions. sales in Norway overall.

pre-industrial levels. And, so far at

least, there is plenty of evidence The current approach may Elsewhere, there are many

that the plan is not working therefore reasonably be examples of advances in battery

very well1,2,3. However, even as described as a mixture of carrot, technology. Recent research8

it highlights the urgency of our principally in the form of subsidies into the structure of lithium and

situation, this concatenation and tax incentives, and stick manganese-rich transition metal

of events may constitute a (such as emissions regulations). oxides could yield materials that

watershed for e-mobility in However, the JRC has concluded6 could potentially double the

general; and for Electric Vehicles that, taken in isolation, subsidising capacity of the most commonly

(EVs) in particular. And it may infrastructure provision at an EU used Lithium-ion batteries.
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