It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, but the ill wind that’s been blowing through Volkswagen these past few weeks may deliver a positive benefit to the battery industry if its industry Guru, Menachem Anderman, is to be believed.
In his latest missive, the XeV insider report (October 2015) Anderman believes the Volkswagen emissions scandal is about to force automakers to push the pedal to the floor on PHEVs development and introduction, with a consequent boost to the battery business. The beneficiaries are likely to be lithium ion battery makers in Asia.
The VW scandal that has been given acres of media coverage and cost the company billions of dollars, will probably result in even tougher emissions requirements and testing.
And these new standards can only be met through Plug in hybrids and EVs.
Yet VW in Europe has had an historically conservative approach to electric drive trains. This is likely to change because of VW’s strong interests in China says Anderman.
It will be interesting to see what the knock on effect will be on diesel sales generally as the reputation of all diesels are trashed as a consequence of VW’s appalling deceptions. And one wonders about other so called emissions reductions technology— particularly stop start. Laboratory test are one thing but we have all heard stories of stop start system being deactivated both officially and unofficially, because car owners don’t like them and real world fuel consumption improvement is likely to be small. We’re waiting for that little can of worms to be opened with interest.
And with gasoline and diesel prices falling in real terms in the west, where are the incentives for hybrid and EV sales? Interestingly Anderman doesn't say much about vehicle volumes but lithium-ion pack prices are likely to fall. Perhaps we should be waiting with baited breath to see whether Apple will enter the EV car market.
Or better, take a look at Ed Buiel’s article in the current issue of BEST magazine. The real market for hybridisation may be trucks. New EPA rules will force trucking firms to buy hybridised tractors. They get replaced regularly each year and hybridised versions are likely to save money. Because it’s going to take something really revolutionary to move battery costs, sales volumes and margins off their now very predictable market trajectories, if Anderman’s partly disguised charts in his teaser flyer are to be believed.