I am going to cover a couple of my usual topics today. I hope you’ll scroll through and see if there’s something that captures your interest. Mostly today are updates on the transition to an all electric fleet of vehicles and then, how losses from climate induced events are impacting the insurance business.

Following are articles about the automotive industry. The main points are, first, that the transition to an all electric vehicle fleet goes on unabated despite what you’ve read and how the media portrays it. Sales and market share continue to climb but at a slower pace for the moment. And the barriers continue to fall: range, speed of charging, cost, availability of charging stations and technology.

From Automotive News:


Tesla, Ford and Chevy Suffer December EV Slowdown, but U.S. Registrations Grow 23%

Electric vehicles captured 8.8% of U.S. light-vehicle registrations in December, S&P Global Mobility says.

February 16, 2024 

The December data shows that the EV market remains strong, despite a slowing trend from its red-hot numbers for full-year 2023. New EV registrations grew 52 percent last year over 2022 and their share of the U.S. light-vehicle market rose to 7.7 percent from 5.7 percent a year earlier.

From Automotive News


Chrysler Halcyon EV Concept Ditches Range Anxiety

The Halcyon, a futuristic concept that represents the brand’s styling direction, would wirelessly recharge while traveling on specially equipped roads.

The Halcyon, unveiled Tuesday, would incorporate Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer technology that enables electric vehicles to recharge while traveling over specially equipped lanes for unlimited range. Stellantis says the vision is to travel from New York to Seattle without the need for a charge station. The automaker demonstrated the potential of the technology in 2022 at the Arena del Futuro circuit in Italy.

the Halcyon would be powered by 800-volt lithium sulfur batteries from Lyten, a California startup. Stellantis said the Lyten batteries “do not use nickel, cobalt or manganese, resulting in an estimated 60 percent lower carbon footprint than today’s best-in-class batteries and a pathway to achieve the lowest-emissions-EV battery on the global market.”

From E&E News


EV Battery Breakthrough? Scientists Find Alternative to Cobalt.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology team says their technology rivals other EV batteries.


A team of chemists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a cathode — the negatively-charged part of an EV lithium-ion battery — that they say uses a small organic molecule instead of cobalt but still meets high performance standards.

the organic material could be produced at a lower cost than cobalt-containing batteries and conduct electricity at similar rates. Researchers also found the new cathode has comparable storage capacity and can be charged faster than cobalt batteries.

From E&E News


DOE Backs Startup Trying to Move Beyond Traditional EV Batteries

The Silicon Valley company wants to manufacture lithium-sulfur batteries.


Lithium-sulfur batteries have long piqued interest among researchers and the EV sector given they use cheaper materials and weigh less, and can have almost double the energy of a lithium-ion cell for the same mass.

“This means no nickel, no cobalt, manganese, graphite, so we basically eliminate all the mined minerals out of this,” said Keith Norman, Lyten’s chief sustainability officer. “Lithium is the last piece, and we’re looking to move more towards brine-based.”

From Bloomberg Hyperdrive

Taking Stock of 800-Volt EVs

Automakers are rolling out new 800-volt electric vehicle platforms, which promise to cut charging time in half


Automakers are rolling out new 800-volt electric vehicle platforms, which promise to cut charging time in half… for a standard vehicle like the Volkswagen ID.4 it can take about 20 minutes to add 200 kilometers (124 miles) of range. An 800-volt EV can do the same job in about 10 minutes.

Seven of the 10 largest automakers by revenue globally have announced 800-volt platforms that will introduce new vehicles to the mass market over the next few years

From Automotive News


A third of consumers report extremely limited experience with EVs, Consumer Reports survey finds

Willingness to buy an EV rises with experience, Consumer Reports says, but a third of consumers the group surveyed say their EV exposure is very limited.

February 13, 2024

Willingness to purchase an electric vehicle increases with experience, Consumer Reports says, but a third of consumers the group surveyed said their EV exposure is extremely limited.

Consumer Reports asked 9,030 Americans in its 2023 EV Survey if they have seen an electric-only vehicle in their neighborhood in the past month; have a friend, relative or co-worker who owns an electric-only vehicle; have been a passenger in an electric-only vehicle in the past year; and have driven an electric-only vehicle in the past year.

Thirty-four percent of respondents answered no to each question; 5 percent answered yes to all four.

As EV sales increase, “hopefully more people are seeing and more people are knowing friends and neighbors who have them,” said Chris Harto, Consumer Reports’ senior sustainability policy analyst. “It might be slow for a couple of years until we kind of get over a little bit of that experience hump.”

Still, overall interest in purchasing EVs is relatively consistent with what it was in 2022, according to the wide-ranging survey. Nearly a third of respondents said they would definitely buy or lease an EV or seriously consider one today. Thirty-seven percent said they would consider an EV in the future.

In addition to a potential lack of exposure, consumers are reluctant to buy an EV because they are unaware of purchasing incentives. Four in 10 Americans have not heard about incentives available for EV owners, yet 48 percent report that receiving tax rebates at the time of purchase would encourage them to buy an EV.

Turning now to the insurance business, I’ve been telling you for years that insurance companies are going to get really impacted by climate change and will be a driving (pun intended) factor in creating change. By raising rates and/or abandoning various markets this will affect peoples’ behavior and signal to the public that climate change is real and there are repercussions.

From the Wall Street Journal


Buying Home and Auto Insurance Is Becoming Impossible

Huge losses from national disasters prompt industry to jack up prices and pull back from some markets; ‘worst possible scenario’ for consumers

Jean Eaglesham Jan. 8, 2024

For many Americans, getting insurance for both their cars and homes has gone from a routine, generally manageable expense to a do-or-die ordeal that can strain household budgets.

Homeowners and drivers are facing sharply rising premiumsless coverage and fewer, if any, choices of insurer. In some places, the only options are bare bones coverage or none at all. That can make homes worth less and harder to sell, and cars less affordable. 

Allstate’s Wilson said that everywhere in the country is at some risk from increasingly severe weather. “There is no place that’s safe,” he said, “and no place that’s not going to be impacted.”

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