Power Trains? Electric, diesel or hydrogen

This data-file compares diesel trains, electric trains and hydrogen trains, according to their energy consumption, carbon emissions and fuel costs. The data are presented apples-to-apples, per passenger mile, based on worked examples. Seven train routes are compared on 20 metrics overall.

Travelling by train should be 2-15x more fuel-efficient, and 3-20x less carbon intensive than travelling by car.

Electric trains are most efficient and cost-effective. The drawback is that electrifying tracks can cost c$1.4M/km. Nevertheless, we are most positive on the electrification opportunity around railways, particularly using next-generation combustion technologies.

The world’s first hydrogen trains launched in Germany in September-2018. To be cost-competitive with entry-level diesel trains requires c$12/kg hydrogen, $6/gallon diesel and a $50/ton carbon price.

Relative costs and economics can be compared by varying inputs in the file.

 

Electric cars slow the energy transition?

Electric Cars are being overtaken by new electric vehicles, which achieve c3x greater decarbonisation per unit of battery material. This metric matters if one believes that battery materials are a limiting factor in the energy transition. To illustrate our case, our new Excel-file models two scenarios…

In the first scenario, 400kg of battery materials can be used to produce 1 electric vehicle, which displaces 1 gasoline taxi. The calculations show that 28 bbls of oil-equivalent energy and 12T of CO2 emissions are avoided each year.

In the second scenario, 400kg of battery materials can be used to produce 120 electric scooters, which displace 2.5 gasoline taxis. The calculations show that 96bbls of oil-equivalent energy and 37T of CO2 emissions are avoided. I.e., the scooters achieve 3x more decarbonisation than the electric car.

Moreover,  our numbers above only assume that one-in-three scooter trips displaces a car-trip, while the other two-in-three are deemed to be “new demand”. Per mile travelled, the scooters achieve 9x more decarbonisation than putting the same 400kg of battery materials into the electric car.

Please download the data-file to interrogate our assumptions and stress-test your own scenarios. We argue the “electric revolution” goes beyond replacing today’s ground cars with electric ground cars. The opportunities are in new vehicle types.

Scooter Wars?

E-scooters can re-shape urban mobility, eliminating 2Mbpd of oil demand by 2030, competing amidst the ascent of “electric vehicles” and re-shaping urban economies.  These implications follow from e-scooters having 25-50x higher energy efficiencies, higher convenience and c50% lower costs than gasoline vehicles, over short 1-2 mile journeys. Our 12-page note explores the consequences.

Energy Economics of e-Scooters

This data-file contains all our data on the energy economics of e-scooters, a transformational technology for urban mobility, where demand has exploded in 2018 and 2019. And for good reason. The data-file includes:

  • Our projections of the oil demand destroyed by scooters
  • Our projections of the electricity demand created by scooters
  • Number of US travel-trips using shared bikes and scooters from 2010-18
  • Scooter costs versus car and taxi costs per mile
  • Average ranges and battery sizes of incumbent scooter models
  • Relative energy economics of scooters versus gasoline cars and EVs
  • Relative time taken to charge scooters versus EVs using solar panels
  • The proportion of scooter trips that replace gasoline car trips in eight cities
  • Profiles of the top 4 e-scooter companies
  • A timeline of shared mobility from 1965 to 2018.

The download will also enable you to adjust the input assumptions, to test different scenarios.

Boeings and batteries?

We have applied the equations of flight to a Boeing 747. Fuel economy of 5-6 gallons per mile is calculated as a function of the plane’s mass, velocity, distance travelled and aerodynamics. Hence for a 10,000km journey, jet fuel makes up c30% of the take-off weight (which is more than all the passengers).

To fuel the same journey with battery-power would require the batteries to weigh 12x more than the entire plane, at batteries’ current energy density. The maximum range of a battery-powered 747 is currently around 90km.

With some heroic assumptions over the next 10-20 years, a battery-powered 747 could be extended to cover c1,000km. But overall, because of the long range, Trans-Atlantic air travel looks immune to electrification.

Download the model and you can see our calculation methodology, as well as testing your own inputs.

Hydrogen Cars: how economic?

We have modelled the relative economics of hydrogen cars fed by renewable energy and hydrolysis of water, to assess whether they can be cost-competitive.

In our base case US assumptions, hydrogen is c85% costlier than gasoline. In Europe, all in costs of hydrogen can match gasoline cars with c20% deflation across the board, free renewable energy and c$75/bbl oil inputs.

The model breaks out full-cycle costs as a function of: oil prices, oil taxes, power prices, renewable prices, hydrolysis costs, carbon costs,  vehicle costs and capital costs. Download the model and you can flex these variables.

 

Aerial Vehicles: why flying cars fly

Aerial vehicles will do in the 2020s what electric vehicles did in the 2010s. They will go from a niche technology, to a global mega-trend that no forecaster can ignore.

These conclusions stem from a deep-dive analysis into the technology, the fuel economies and the costs, all of which will be transformational.

This 20-page written-insight summarises the evidence, reviewing over 100 different companies’ efforts, checking the equations of flight for leading concepts, and bridging to competitive costs. Aerial vehicles accelerate the energy transition.

Aerial Vehicles Re-Shape Transportation Costs?

This model calculates the costs per passenger-kilometer for transportation, based on mileage, load factors, fuel prices (oil and electricity), fuel-economy, vehicle costs and maintenance costs.

Ground level vehicles are assessed using data from around the industry, on gasoline, electric, owned and taxi vehicles.

Aerial vehicles could compete with taxis as early as 2025. By the 2030s, their costs can be 60% below the level of car ownership.

This model shows all of our input assumptions and calculations.

Aerial Vehicles: Which Ones Fly?

We have compiled a database of over 100 companies, which have already flown c40 aerial vehicles (aka “flying cars”) and the number should rise to c60 by 2021.

Look through the data and you will likely share our conclusion that aerial vehicles will gain credibility in the 2020s, the way electric vehicles did in the 2010s.

Our database categorizes the top vehicle concepts by type, company, year-founded, company-size, company-geography, backers, fuel-type, speed, range, take-off weight, payload, year of first prototype, target commercial delivery date, fuel economy and required battery weights.

Some vehicle concepts are extremely impressive and credible; others may find it more challenging to meet the ranges promised at current battery densities…

Who’s Afraid of Aerial Vehicles?

This data-file tabulates consumer attitudes towards aerial vehicles, based on the best perception study we have seen in the technical literature.

It summarises attitudes towards aerial vehicles in four countries, covering overall attitudes, and how they are influenced by geography, income, age, gender, education levels and length of commute.

It also identifies the top six concerns, and how sensitive each one is to different input parameters.