macpacheco wrote:There is zero shortage of materials to make lithium ion cells, zero. Production can increase by an order of magnitude. The bottleneck is optimizing industrial processes/building more factories.
The problem with your observation is that to get to realistic EV numbers we need 2 to 3, maybe even 4 orders of magnitude, not just one. IMHO, the best path is to go PHEV with just enough battery to go maybe 5 or 10 miles. That way we MIGHT keep it down to 1.5 OOM and have enough resource.
For me its a 20-25 years process. One order of magnitude will be a huge challenge for the whole supply chain, not just batteries.
Advances in Lithium Ion means the same raw materials will achieve higher energy capacity, and will be recycled again and again.
Last I heard there are rockets that run on hydrogen, made from natural gas. SpaceX current rocket runs on RP1 (Kerosene), but the next generation will use cryogenic methane. Plenty of rockets use hydrogen + solid rocket boosters. SRBs are also on their way out, since they are not economical for reuse.
Yeah, aircraft will be the last challenge, but since we're talking a 30 year process, there is already hydrogen engines being tested today for Mach 5 aircraft/hybrid rocket (Reaction Engines Ltd/Sabre engine). In 10-15 years the first hydrogen airplanes will begin commercial operation.
Taxi drivers here in Brazil are a telling case. Migrating from gasoline to burning natural gas halves fuel costs. Migrating from natural gas to EV halves again. And that's without solar panels.
That will be an unavoidable process, as taxi cabs migrate on mass to EVs since they run a lot of miles every day. 300 mile battery means one or two charges per day.
What really matters is miles driven by EVs. Lower fuel costs will naturally drive high mileage consumers to purchase EVs, over low mileage ones. EVs are still being purchased mostly by first adopters, and those who would otherwise buy a premium car anyways. And this is the main reason fuel cells are dead on arrival, since they don't improve fuel costs (making hydrogen, methanol or whatever then converting it back into electricity ~ 50% losses, making fuel cost per mile similar to gasoline).
I'm not saying 100% of oil will be gone, but that electricity will become mainstream and diesel/gasoline will become the niche. Over 2/3s of transportation will go electric. Fuel cells actually make sense for locomotives. Tesla already announced they will eventually be making electric buses and semis. There are startups already working on electric buses. There are plenty of bus conversions, but a dedicated EV bus will have better range and performance.
And lets not forget that Lithium Ion could improve by a factor of 3 or 4 in cost/kWh and energy density, getting better than gasoline/jet fuel. Aircraft are very weight sensitive, but combustion jets are limited by air density, electric fan jets can fly much higher, where the air is ultra thin, going supersonic, that would electric fan jets viable even with Lithium Ion twice as heavy as jet fuel per joule.
Short range electric aircraft is already here, but too limited functionality (technological demonstration only so far), in 5-10 years we should have the replacement to a 4-6 seater Cessna/Piper battery prop plane, which will have much better performance since it won't loose thrust with altitude. A C172 looses 50% of thrust from sea level to 13000ft (the highest one should fly without O2), an electric version will maintain power and fly twice as fast. Add minimal pressurization and flight at 15-18k ft is logical.
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