In the words of Swedish climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, “change is coming, whether we like it or not.” Following 20th September’s global mass protests led by schoolkids demanding governments take urgent direct action to address climate change, came the UN Climate Action Summit on 23rd September. The closing press release from the UN (https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/assets/pdf/CAS_closing_release.pdf) states “major announcements by government and private sector leaders boosted climate action momentum, and demonstrated growing recognition that the pace of climate action must be rapidly accelerated.”

Some key outcomes of the Summit include 77 countries having committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and over 100 business leaders having delivered concrete actions to align with the Paris Agreement targets, and speed up the transition to a green economy. In pledges to increase renewable energy capacity, 80 countries have joined the International Solar Alliance, and to reduce emissions, 87 major companies, with a combined market capitalisation of over US$2.3 trillion, have pledged to align their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change.

With this climate crisis backdrop towards the end of 2019, it looks like 2020 heralds big changes across the world, and particularly in the energy sectors. We expect that will include a decline in fossils of the fuel variety, and the beginning of the end of the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car age.

Accelerating interest in EVs

The electric revolution has begun and the wheels of the EV industry are turning. ‘Whichcar’ (https://www.whichcar.com.au/car-advice/electric-vehicles-coming-to-australia/) said at the beginning of the year that 2019 would be a watershed year for mainstream electric vehicles in Australia. According to Jaguar, two thirds of Australians will be driving electric cars within the next ten years. Australian energy consultancy ‘Energetics’ (https://www.energetics.com.au/insights/thought-leadership/electric-vehicles-will-change-the-world-what-could-it-mean-for-your-business/) estimates that 40%-60% of new vehicle sales in Australia will be electric by 2050, and that’s a conservative estimate.

Which electric cars?

Whichcar says new electric cars due in Australia in the next 12 months from brands like Hyundai, Nissan, Audi, and others could catapult EVs from expensive niche products like the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S into true mainstream models with mass appeal. These new EV models include the Hyundai Kona Electric, the Kia e-Nero, the Nissan Leaf, the Audi E-Tron, the Mercedes-Benz EQC, and the Tesla Model 3. As we mentioned in a previous post, The Driven’s (https://thedriven.io/2019/09/09/model-3-sales-in-australia-already-in-thousands-tipping-scale-of-adoption/) car news reports orders for the latest Tesla are in their thousands and that the Model 3 is on the way to becoming, if not already, the best-selling EV in Australia.

The next decade will be electric

According to Energetics, with around 137 million cars being sold globally in 2050, and approximately two million in Australia, this equates to around 800,000 – 1.3million new EVs on Australian roads each year. To understand more about growth in the EV market, and to look at a costs and comparisons of electric and ICE vehicles, Energetics has done a thorough analysis you can check out here: https://www.energetics.com.au/insights/thought-leadership/electric-vehicles-will-change-the-world-what-could-it-mean-for-your-business/ It shows that electric cars are already cheaper to operate and maintain, and that they’re expected to approach cost competitiveness within the decade.

At Energy Partners, we can’t wait to hear more about the solar side of EVs as the transition to renewables builds momentum. Keep following us to stay up to date with developments in the solar industry.