Moving on from combustion for energy is a significant milestone.
From the first ability to harness fire as a tool during the early paleolithic age, energy became one of the tools that most transformed humanity. Fire, or combustion, remained sole the energy source as we moved from wood to fossil fuels until the 20th century, when made the step to adding electrical power generated by combustion into our energy mix.
One way of looking at periods of human history through considering the tools:
- Palaeolithic with the first stone tools.
- Neolithic win newer stone tools.
- The bronze age with metal tools.
- The iron age with more newer metal tools.
There is less consensus on what follows the above ages, partially because insufficient time has passed for perspective to be established. Some suggest the ‘steel age’ and the ‘steam age’, which if accepted, would be logically succeeded by the internal combustion age.
A different perspective to consider the role of energy in each of these periods:
- During the paleolithic and neolithic ages, energy came from burning renewable wood, and there was insufficient energy intensity for metallurgy.
- The bronze age was enabled by improved harnessing of energy, with neolithic pottery kilns improved in their utilisation of combustion energy to be able to reach temperatures beyond 900oC.
- The iron age was enabled by further improved utilisation of combustion energy to able to reach sufficient temperatures to smelt iron.
The industrial age was powered by utilisation of combustion energy to power machines, and then accelerated by the introduction of the internal combustion engine.
The first wave of electrification introduced the more efficient electrical energy, although initially with combustion as the energy source. During this first wave, the two problems with electrical energy were:
- As the electrical energy was sourced from combustion, there will little advantage over combustion energy.
- Electrical energy without conductors connected to the grid had very limited energy available.
We have now entered the age of moving beyond those two limitations.
The unusual thing is that two of the worlds largest industries, fossil fuels and vehicle manufacturing, both lose in this transition. Normally, a change where the losers are extremely valuable industries and the winners have far less wealth would be perpetually stalled. It is obvious how the fossil fuel industry loses, but not all realise the impact on the vehicle manufacturing industry. Electric vehicles simply need less parts are less complex, and produce less revenue per vehicle, so the industry loses revenue. Although currently electric vehicles have a typically higher price than internal combustion vehicles, the increased cost is in the battery that vehicle makers buy from others, and as EVs go mainstream prices will fall below internal combustion vehicle prices.
The huge change is perhaps demonstrated by the ability of people to go ‘off grid’. Going ‘off grid’ is not even possible with fossil fuels.
People can become more independent and self reliant, and with the potential competition of people sourcing their own energy, energy providers, and even governments, have less hold over peoples lives.
I also provide reference information that I needed as background for analysis, and some timeline pages that look at how the future might pan out.
Some sample pages by sub-topic:
- Living With EVs:
- My Reference Pages:
- EVs in Perspective.
- Energy Wars: Economic disaster?
- Timeline, EV trends and market developments:
- 2021 EVs Don’t add up yet.
- In 2021, it seemed 2025 would be Electric Cars would become The Logical Choice And Create A Revolution.
- Electric Vehicle Tipping Point in 2022: An end to EV subsidies?
- 2022: Year Of The EV take over, and beginning of the end for the ‘Legacy’ Industry.
- Key EVs and brands that shape the Market.
- BYD Atto 3
- Planned: Tesla Roadster, Model S and Model 3.
- Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi IMiEV.
* = Recently Updated as of March 2022.
External Reference data on EVs:
- 2022 Aug 1: Modified this page to better act as a topic introduction.