The photo is sourced from autocar.co.uk
In the current economic conditions, the EVs will not be able to completely displace cars with internal combustion engines, however, in certain sector the electrically-driven cars may prove to be quite indispensable. First of all, this relates to the traffic in major cities, construction, agriculture and cargo transportation. Hence, the issue is developing and implementing Russian technologies in the electric car building sphere.
According to the Ministry of Economic Development, EVs are gradually starting to gain popularity in Russia. Even in 2022, when the sales of cars with internal combustion engines collapsed by 59%, EV sales grew by 30%. That was underpinned by the government support measures, mainly – the subsidised loans and leasing, as well as gradual growth of the EVs charging stations network. In addition, EVs have a number of fundamental advantages: they are noiseless, eco-friendly and controlled by the state-of-the-art navigation systems and Artificial Intellect (AI).
The growth of demand for EVs will incentivise Russian manufacturing of the electrically-driven cars. In 2024, their output will reach 7,000 cars, and in 2025 it will grow 2.5 times, i.e., up to 18,000 cars.
By 2030, the share of EVs in the overall output of the Russian automotive industry may constitute 13%. The total EVs output may achieve 217,000 cars out of the total cars output of 1.7 mln. By 2035, the share of EVs in the overall output of the Russian automotive industry may grow up to 26%, with the total number of manufactured EVs making 506,000 vs 1.92 mln cars with internal combustion engines.
The key Russian manufacturers will be Motorinvest (Great Wall Hover), Moskvich, Evocargo (producing the unmanned electrically-driven trucks) and others. Gradual development of the EV manufacturing may pull the establishment of Lithium and Lithium-Ion batteries manufacturing sites in Russia.
According to the forecast by CREON Energy, the demand for Lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) in Russia for the needs of EVs will grow up to 6,000-6,500 tons by 2035, and the share of the EVs sector in the total Russian Li2CO3 consumption will achieve 50-55%.
Around the world, the EVs account for 79% of total Lithium consumption. In the battery Lithium consumption mix, EVs account for 80%, electronics – for 12%, and energy sector – for 8%. Such breakdown of demand is directly connected with the rapid development of electrically-driven transport: in 2013, the global EVs sales made 110,000 cars, in 2022 – 7.3 mln cars, while as the hybrid cars sales during the same period grew from 91,000 up to 2.9 mln.
However, the EV manufacturing development may be challenged by one substantial problem – the rapid growth of prices for Lithium and Lithium-Ion batteries. “The growth of the global demand for Lithium has resulted in the price surge: for example, in the USA the average price almost tripled in 2022 – up to USD 37 K per ton vs USD 12.6 K per ton in 2021”, indicates Igor Yushkov, the leading expert of the National Energy Security Fund referring to the data by the US Geological Survey. “On top of that, the industry still does not have the commercially scalable Lithium processing technologies. That is why fuel cell vehicles (FCV) will be more and more successfully competing with EVs, especially in the trucks segment”, Yushkov emphasised.
The global FCV fleet has achieved 72,000 vehicles, 80% of them being cars, 10% – trucks and the remaining 10% – buses. Further development of this sector will be to a great extent dependent on hydrogen production costs reduction.
According to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, the unit cost of producing the green hydrogen varies from USD 3.3 to USD 6.5 per kg (depending on the cost of solar and wind energy), while as for the gray hydrogen it varies from USD 1.5 to USD 1.8 per kg (depending on the cost of natural gas), and for the blue hydrogen – from USD 2.1 to USD 2.4 per kg (with account of the costs of the carbon dioxide capture systems). That is why the global hydrogen consumption by transport in 2022 totaled just a bit more than 30,000 tons.
However, the designers of alternative transportation vehicles are already following the principle of combining the advantages of EVs and FCVs. Such hybrids are efficient for commercial transportation especially if they are combined with unmanned technologies. One of the examples is a Russian developed – the autonomous truck N1 by Evocargo is both electrically and hydrogen driven and may be used for transporting cargos at the industrial sites, at marketplaces and distribution centres. Having the carrying capacity of up to 2 tons and the fuel distance of 200 km, the truck is capable of moving with a speed of up to 20 km/h. It may be used in the ambient temperatures from minus 35 up to plus 50 degrees Celsius, which makes it fit for using in different climates. The autonomous vehicles by Evocargo already have demonstrated their economic efficiency. The unmanned trucks are commercially used at the facilities of major companies in different sectors of economy – from oil refining to retail, allowing to reduce the truck fleet maintenance costs by 30%.
“I believe it to be a very interesting project. Until now we had to use hydrogen or electricity. Now they are combined. I personally think that these two energy sources when combined look very promising, so that the drawbacks of the EVs may be mitigated by the hydrogen fuel cells – all together, in a single enclosure. So, I really believe to be the state-of-the-art technology with great capability of leading the transition to the clean energy future”, says Rae Kwon Chung, the Nobel Prize Laureate, the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee Chairman.