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OPEC Struggles To Manage “Permanent Demand Destruction”

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Fossil Fuels

Published on August 3rd, 2020 | by Steve Hanley

August 3rd, 2020 by Steve Hanley 


The oil industry has been hit hard by a number of things this year that have led to a decrease in demand. The biggest one, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic. People aren’t driving as much these days as they stay close to home. The airline and cruise ship industries have been crushed by the virus, leaving airplanes and ships sitting idle waiting for business to return. Industrial activity has been greatly reduced as well, and don’t forget to factor in the switchover to electric vehicles and renewable energy, too.

Oil-carrying ships parked in the Pacific Ocean due to low demand and oversupply earlier this year. Image courtesy U.S. Coast Guard, from video by Petty Officer Third Class Aidan Cooney (public domain). The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Then there is the turmoil within the industry caused by plummeting prices amid wrangling between the members of OPEC about how much oil they each should produce. The upshot of all those factors has some people in oil producing nations wondering whether we are seeing “permanent demand reduction,” according to a report by Reuters.

Reuters interviewed 7 current or former OPEC officials, most of whom asked to remain anonymous. “People are waking up to a new reality and trying to work their heads around it all,” one said, before adding “the possibility exists in the minds of all the key players” that consumption might never fully recover.

One official, who works in energy studies in the oil ministry of a major OPEC member, said shocks to oil demand had in the past led to permanent changes in consumer behavior. He thinks this time is unlikely to be different. “The demand does not return to pre-crisis levels or it takes time for this to happen. The main concern is that oil demand will peak in the next few years due to rapid technological advances, especially in car batteries.”

In 2019, world oil consumption averaged just under 100 million barrels per day. But so far this year, with so many economic sectors affected by the virus, that number has fallen to about 91 million barrels per day. OPEC does not foresee demand rising to 2019 numbers again until 2021 at the earliest.

Producing nations, energy analysts, and oil companies have long tried to work out when the world would reach “peak oil,” the point after which consumption starts permanently falling. OPEC has been scaling back expectations for years. In 2007, it forecast world demand would hit 118 million bpd in 2030. By last year, that forecast had dropped to 108.3 million bpd. Its next report, coming in November, is expected to show another downward revision, an OPEC source says. Consulting group DNV GL believes demand may have actually peaked in 2019.

“Once aviation recovers by the end of 2023, demand will go back to normal — aside from the competition from other sources of energy,” said another OPEC official involved in forecasting. The International Air Transport Association has similar expectations. It says it does not expect air travel to reach 2019 levels until 2023, if then. To some, even those expectations may be too optimistic and may be little more than whistling past the graveyard, hoping against hope that things will return to normal — eventually.

OPEC has weathered many challenges in the past, but now it may have to learn how to live with long term decline. “This trend will put a stress on the cooperation between OPEC members, as well as between OPEC and Russia, as each strives to maintain its market share,” Chakib Khelil, Algeria’s oil minister for a decade and twice OPEC’s president, tells Reuters.

Many nations depend almost entirely on oil revenues to balance their budgets, particularly Russia and Venezuela. “Many challenges are ahead, and we have to adapt,” said one OPEC delegate, who said the group’s handling of past crises proved it was able to respond.

Hasan Qabazard believes OPEC might have a little more time to adjust before demand peaks, but the deadline for the group to adapt is fast approaching. “I don’t think it will go higher than 110 million barrels per day by the 2040s,” he says, noting that the COVID-19 virus may have changed consumer habits for good.

We can only hope. As CleanTechnica noted recently, getting back to normal is the last thing the world needs, if normal means extracting every drop of fossil fuel and burning it to add to the atmospheric pollution that is already choking the environment — and many humans as well. Don’t weep for the oil producing nations. They, more than anyone, have conspired to create the existential crisis posed by a warming planet.

Sickness, shorter lifespans, unequal impact on the poor and communities of color — the focus going forward must be on climate justice, social justice, and racial justice. Anything else is just a self-serving excuse for the wealthy to help themselves to an even bigger slice of the pie than they already have. It’s not fair to blame oil and other fossil fuels for all the world’s ills, but it’s a good place to begin analyzing where we are, how we got here, and what a sustainable path forward looks without carbon emissions. 
 
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Tags: air travel, coronavirus, oil demand, oil industry, OPEC, peak oil


About the Author

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/08/03/opec-struggles-to-manage-permanent-demand-destruction/

Cleantech

Ford Mustang Mach-E Easily Goes 300+ Miles In Norway

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Cars

Published on September 18th, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan

September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


Ford is now testing its hot new Mustang Mach-e electric crossover/SUV in Europe. Naturally, the #1 place to take an electric vehicle is Norway, where approximately 70% of new vehicle sales are now electric (fully electric or plugin hybrid). That’s where Ford has been playing around with the Mustang Mach-E, and the results are looking good (according to Ford’s PR team, but I don’t see any reason to not believe them).

Toward the end of a long press release filled with fluffy marketing language more than anything else, Ford shared that the “all-wheel drive model with a targeted WLTP driving range of 335 miles exceeded energy-efficiency expectations, travelling 301 miles non-stop from Oslo to Trondheim, finishing the journey with 14 per cent battery capacity remaining.” Not too shabby, and that’s not even the extended-range trim, which Ford expects to get a WLTP range rating of 379 miles.

Furthermore, Ford’s charging specs have gotten better. “Latest testing shows charge time has improved by nearly 30 per cent from early estimates, reaching an average of 73 miles of range within 10 minutes using IONITY fast charging, when equipped with an extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive.”

Overall, though, Ford’s message in its press release about European testing is pretty simple: The Mustang Mach-E drives really well. It has a useful low center of gravity due to the big battery on the bottom (because it’s an electric vehicle and Ford considered both basic physics and Tesla’s decade lead in the market). It has great torque (because it’s an electric vehicle).

Though, it was the less obvious benefits touched on in the accompanying video that caught my attention. Depending on what mode you want to drive in, the lighting changes. Cool! The soundproofing is highlighted as noteworthy as well. I’m curious to check that out, especially because the soundproofing on my Tesla Model 3 seems rather weak on fast roads.

Overall, since it was revealed, I’ve thought that the Ford Mustang Mach-E has a winning, true 21st century package. The electric SUV/crossover may prove to be a big item in Europe.

“Whether testing on frozen lakes, in searing deserts, or using state-of-the-art driving simulators, Ford’s engineering teams worked across the globe to develop an all-electric Mustang Mach‑E that delivers a true Mustang driving experience for customers around the world.”

You can read the full press release about the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s European testing here.

There’s also more info on the UK website for the Mustang Mach-E
 


 


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Tags: Ford, Ford Mustang, Ford Mustang Mach E, Ford Mustang Mach-E price


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/ford-mustang-mach-e-easily-goes-300-miles-in-norway/

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Indian Government May Put EV Chargers At 69,000 Gas Pumps

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September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


The Indian government has occasionally expressed extremely bold electric vehicle plans. While it is doing a bit to pursue those dreams, it is far away from some of the loftier goals. However, one potentially new move could give a boost to e-mobility in the country — the government is considering a requirement that all gas stations (“petrol stations” as they and the Brits say) include EV chargers.

Well, technically, it wouldn’t be all gas stations — there’s some fine print. The requirement, if implemented, would be for “Company-Owned, Company-Operated (COCO) petrol pumps of state refiners.”

An alternative but similar idea is that the government would install EV chargers at 69,000 gas/petrol stations across India.

One other possible path forward that the government is considering is focusing EV charging investments in and around several major cities — Delhi, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Vadodara.

One final detail under consideration: requiring that no chargers used for such plans come from China or Pakistan. 
 


 


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Tags: India, India electric vehicles, India EV charging


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/indian-government-may-put-ev-chargers-at-69000-gas-pumps/

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I ♥ ChargePoint

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September 18th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 


I wrote recently that I’ve had electric cars in Florida for two years and haven’t spent a dime on charging. Nine months were in a BMW i3 (and then we were gone for 3 months) and one year was in a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus. The free charging has been one of the big benefits of driving electric.

There’s one charging network that dominates in providing us with that free charging — ChargePoint. Whether at the grocery store, the mall, the beach, the park, or just right down the street from us at a shopping center, ChargePoint gives us our electrons.

Availability and proximity to where we’re going are paramount, but there are several other things I love about ChargePoint stations — and one or two things I don’t.

Before getting to the things I like, love, and dislike about ChargePoint, though, I should first explain how the network actually works. ChargePoint doesn’t pay to install the stations and it doesn’t decide whether to charge for using the stations or not. That’s all in the purview of the site host. They decide whether to install a station, they pay for it, and they decide whether to charge users to use it. So, all of the free charging I have in my area is thanks in part to ChargePoint (simply for existing), but it is also thanks in large part to the site owners that decided to buy the stations and provide the charging for free. Also, I should perhaps note: yes, free charging attracts customers.

Whether charging should be free or not is a hotly debated topic, and I’d so most EV charging network companies are vehemently against the idea. But it’s really about the business model you choose and what your aims are. If shops or shopping centers just want to attract customers, it may make sense to offer charging like this for free. If, like some other companies (e.g., Volta Charging), you are selling ads on the chargers, again, it makes sense to offer free charging. We’ll see which business models win out in time, or how much market share the different models get, but from a user’s perspective, free charging is ccertainly appealing.

Regarding what I think is superb about the stations themselves, some of these features are features I also love about Tesla Superchargers, and they are all things that I recommend for nearly any public EV charging station company. Let’s have a look.

There are 8 charging ports at 4 charging stalls at this station.

The number of stalls is often decent. This must be a site host choice in the end, but it seems that ChargePoint either does a good job convincing those hosts to put in multiple stalls or is simply frequently selected for such installations.

It’s important to have several charging stalls because it’s a huge downer to get to a charging station and find that all the stalls are in use. This is an especially big issue if you are in big need of a charge — not simply topping up while shopping or hanging out. I seldom get to a ChargePoint station anywhere and find all the stalls in use.

Quite visible: ChargePoint charging stalls are fairly tall, which helps make them easy to find. They also typically have some bright orange on them that further helps to catch the eye, but not in a tacky way.

Aside from these things making it easier for a first-time user to find the station, greater visibility also puts the idea of going electric in front of more people, and encourages others who have been thinking about it to think about it more.

Data, data, data: Being the “smart” chargers they are, ChargePoint provides you with data regarding your charging habits and charging history. Fun.

Charging via phone or RFID card: Simply plugging in and charging (Plug&Charge) would be easier, and some “dumb” chargers in the area allow this, but it is fairly convenient to use my phone to start charging rather than needing an RFID card. That said, the RFID card also has benefits, and even a 2 year old can use it (see picture above).

Retractable cables that stay off the ground! Some charging stations do not have charging cables that are kept off the ground with a fancy little retractable cable systems. They should. This is a great benefit to a user, since it means you don’t have to wrestle with the cable and it doesn’t get covered in dirt and mud from lying on the ground.

Okay, now about a couple of things I don’t like about ChargePoint stations. First of all, an important part of the chargers has been breaking off at some stations. In particular, the chargers are now mostly broken at a location near me that just a couple of years ago had 8 brand new charging ports on 4 stalls. A little metal part that clicks onto the adapter for the Tesla Model 3 has broken off on most of them. (See the pics below.) I’m not sure if the chargers still work for other models, but they never work for the Model 3 with this piece missing.

Not broken.

Broken.

Not broken.

Broken.

Broken charger plugged into car but not secured. “Waiting for vehicle.”

Interestingly, some of the chargers don’t have this metal part. The black plastic just extends into that important shape. I think these ones are newer and the design was perhaps created to deal with this problem.

New? One big black plastic piece instead of black plastic with silver metal on the end (that often breaks off).

Charger on left is broken. Charger on right has full black plastic piece. (It is the charger I’m holding in the picture above this picture.)

The other issue: it seems that it takes ChargePoint a long time to get technicians to come and fix stations. One station was down for months this year. COVID-19 may have been an excuse, but I met the person at the City of Sarasota in charge of their charging stations and he also complained about this problem. That said, it seemed that other companies the city had worked with took even longer to fix or respond to technical problems. So, it appears to be a challenge across the industry.

Overall, though, I love ChargePoint stations and it’s hard to imagine EV life without them!

 
 


 


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Tags: chargepoint, free EV charging


About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2020/09/18/i-%e2%99%a5-chargepoint/

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