Summary – the points given in this table are expanded upon in the next table.
Advantages of BEVs
Disadvantages of BEVs
Discussion – filling-out the points made above
Advantages of BEVs
Disadvantages of BEVs
Lithium based batteries seem likely to remain non-recyclable because mined lithium will remain cheaper than recycled lithium at least for a number of years.
The electricity available to recharge BEVs will gradually become more sustainable as fossil-fuelled generation is phased out.
The number of BEVs built has increased at the exponential rate of around 70% per year from 2011 to 2017; the figures below are extracted from a graph on www.ev-volumes.com:
While it is doubtful that this huge rate of growth will continue for very many years (if it continued to 2025 the number being built each year would be eighty million) there can be little doubt that a high rate of growth will continue.
The problems with air pollution, particularly in India and China but in big cities everywhere, will continue to incentivise the change from ICE-vehicles to BEVs.
As BEV technology advances, as designs become more settled and as the numbers of BEVs built increase prices will come down substantially.
Fast-charging stations are becoming more common all the time.
As the integration of BEV batteries with home electricity supply and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services develop the advantage of having a BEV battery available at home will increase. For more information on vehicle-to-grid ability see Wikipedia. This could easily become one of the main economic incentives to own a BEV in the future.
What is needed is the full and flexible integration of:
There are huge opportunities in the integration of BEVs and home power, BEVs, the power grid, microgrids, etc.
See Solar Integration for thoughts on integration of solar power with homes, BEVs and the power grid.
Hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (HFCEVs)
This is a subject on which I have very limited knowledge. I am expressing an opinion based on what little knowledge I have. It is also a field that is very much in flux.
As of 2023 HFCEVs are not viable for private cars, mostly because there are very few hydrogen refuelling stations, although this will gradually change in the future. But hydrogen fuel-cells may well be viable for ships, trains and aircraft very soon, if not right now; these would need far fewer refuelling stations. Shipping would only require one refuelling station at each major deep-sea port, trains only at each terminal station, and aircraft only at major airports. Busses too could easily be run of hydrogen, with a refuelling station at the bus terminal.
While the mass of a hydrogen tank (or, for that matter, a battery) makes up a very significant part of the mass of a car, it would make up a far smaller proportion of the weight of a ship or train.
The recyclability of the fuel-cell power supply of HFCEVs seems to be problematic. Platinum is used as a catalyst in most (all?) fuel cells and is classed as a critical element; it must be recovered of fuel-cell power supplies are to be sustainable. This could be a major hurdle to overcome in the sustainability of fuel-cell electric vehicles.
Hydrogen: The Key to Decarbonizing the Global Shipping Industry?; Cnter for Strategic and International Studies, 2021/04/13, written by William Alan Reinsch and Will O’Neil
Is this the start of an aviation revolution?; BBC, 2020/02/12, written by Diane Selkirk
There seems no point in me paraphrasing the article, instead I'll quote a section of it. Please go to the article itself for more:
"We hop in the car to get groceries or drop kids at school. But while the car is convenient, these short trips add up in terms of emissions, pollution and petrol cost.Azhar and Uzair make the very strong point that electric mopeds, scooters and bicycles are much lighter than electric cars and therefore use far less electricity to power and contain far less embodied energy and use far less resources to build.
Close to half (44%) of all Australian commuter trips are by car – and under 10km. Of Perth’s 4.2 million daily car trips, 2.8 million are for distances of less than 2km.
This is common in wealthier countries. In the United States, a staggering 60% of all car trips cover less than 10km.
So what’s the best solution? You might think switching to an electric vehicle is the natural step. In fact, for short trips, an electric bike or moped might be better for you – and for the planet. That’s because these forms of transport – collectively known as electric micromobility – are cheaper to buy and run.
But it’s more than that – they are actually displacing four times as much demand for oil as all the world’s electric cars at present, due to their staggering uptake in China and other nations where mopeds are a common form of transport."
They point out that while over 20 million electric vehicles are on the roads, there are also "over 280 million electric mopeds, scooters, motorcycles and three-wheelers on the road last year".
One wonders, though, how many of the small electric vehicles are taking the place of cars, and how many are simply replacing peddle powered bicycles. If they are replacing ICE powered mopeds and motorcycles that is good, but not so good as if they were replacing ICE powered cars.
Related pages - externalA good article on selecting the right BEV charger.
Related external pages regarding hydrogen fuel-cell electric transport are in the section on that subject on this page.
Related pages - on this siteAustralia's energy future
The great opportunity
Integration of solar power with homes, BEVs and the power grid
Off-grid or not?
End of coal
Elec. generating methods
Sustainable energy in Oz
SA renewables success