Jan 28, 2019

New report says the future of EVs in the U.S. looks grim

Electric vehicles may not have the stamina to outsell gasoline engines. Photo: Paul Aiken/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

The Energy Information Administration's latest set of long-term projections is kind of a sad trombone when it comes to the growth of electric vehicles in the U.S.

Where it stands: The "reference case" in the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2019 projects that EVs will grow but internal combustion engines will remain "dominant" through at least mid-century.

  • They see gasoline-powered and to a much lesser extent "flex fuel" (gasoline-high ethanol) vehicles accounting for 75% of the light-duty sales in 2050.

The other side: Contrast their outlook with the consultancy BloombergNEF.

  • They see battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids swelling to 64% of the U.S. market in 2040, with BEV sales around 10.3 million, which is several times what EIA projects, their analysts told me.
  • Yes, BNEF has long been the optimistic end of the spectrum, but a number of major forecasters have been boosting their estimates, too.

Where it stands: The EIA has long faced criticism for low-balling the growth of renewables, and there's reason to think they're too conservative when it comes to EVs too.

  • Consider Rice University analyst Daniel Cohan, who questions the EIA's cost comparisons for gasoline-powered versus electric-powered vehicles.

But, but, but: To be fair, it's an exercise and the EIA takes some pains to show that there are all kinds of variables and the future, like, hasn't even happened yet.

  • The reference case, for instance, assumes that laws and policies remain unchanged, and needless to say U.S. policy isn't static.

Go deeper: Harvard energy expert Jesse Jenkins discussed the topic via this Twitter thread over the weekend.

  • It's a helpful look at the uses and limitations of long-term models and his view that the EIA's methods don't adequately consider technology and economic changes.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,383,582 — Total deaths: 344,077 — Total recoveries — 2,158,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,640,972 — Total deaths: 97,679 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.