Electric vehicle industry going global as Asia invests in energy storage

October 27 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2011   Rating: 9 Hot

Want to think about a tough pill to swallow? Electric cars are not likely to make countries more energy independent. The US and Europe are likely to trade ‘foreign’ oil, for ‘foreign’ energy storage systems! And this might not be a bad thing. If we expect to transform the largest industries in the world (energy and transportation) it will have to be a global effort.

Key to Electric Vehicles – Asia & Energy Storage
If we look closely at recent announcements around electric vehicles, the future is looking very globally integrated and interdependent. Even as the US tries to grow its manufacturing base around ‘cleantech’ industries, Korea, China, and India are making strategic investments in the future of energy storage systems (batteries, fuel cells and capacitors) to power electric vehicles.

In the last few weeks Warren Buffet placed a $233 million bet on China’s BYD, a US firm purchased a Koren battery maker, India’s Tata announced plans to sell electric cars in Europe, and GM picked the unit of Korea’s LG Chem to supply batteries of its Volt electric car.

Today, Green Car Congress picked up a Reuters report that Korea’s number one refiner SK Energy is in talks with major automakers such as Daimler and Ford on the joint development of next-generation batteries used in electric cars. SK Energy is looking to leverage ‘separator’ components for lithium ion batteries that prevent overheating. SK joins the crowd of Exxon, Chevron and Toshiba who are getting involved in battery materials.

Selling a new message: The Eco benefits of being Global
In the months and year ahead leaders in the US and Europe might have to change their simplistic and nationalistic message of independence to reflect the complexities of the energy industry and the future. It will likely be globally integrated.

If the US and Europe expect to kill the combustion engine, and end the monopoly era of liquid fuels, they will need Asia and the rest of the world to join in the effort. This new message might better reflect the brutal facts of the global economy and fate of the planet – we’re all in it together whether we are talking energy finance, energy resources, energy emissions, energy software or energy storage.

The solar industry is growing globally. The wind industry is growing globally. Why not electric vehicles? Could that be an easier pill to swallow and a better image of the future?

Related posts:
Could China help the world move beyond the combustion engine
CBS Video on Future of Electric Car
Detroit to World-Nobody Killed the Electric Car
GM picks Korean battery company for Volt

Warren Buffet invests in Chinese battery maker
Could China launch age of electric vehicles?
India’s Tata to produce electric cars for Europeans

Image credit – Planet Pinelands by Blyzz Flickr CC License#

Comment Thread (2 Responses)

  1. So we trade out foreign energy for a different type of foreign energy? I thought the whole point was to keep US money in the US, not spend it around the world.

    Posted by: martymcfly   October 28, 2008
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  2. Re: martymcfly That is the question! What is the point? From US perspective – is it to keep money in country? Or expand our role in a growing global industry – and start producing, designing, and selling electric vehicle systems and vehicles. I think the desire to turn inward is less healthy for all countries and the planet. We can accomplish more tapping the power of markets. But if the goal is to reduce CO2 emissions- then we have to ask honestly- which is more likely – a future of electric vehicles produced only in one country, or assembled via systems produced from countries around the world. I’m just not seeing a strong case for the ‘domestic’ future… Excellent question… and I’m looking forward to seeing how people start to question their assumptions of the future of electric vehicles.

    Posted by: Garry Golden   October 29, 2008
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