Alberta Politics
Don’t worry, it’s got right-hand drive – so it probably won’t be legal in Alberta! Warning: Production vehicles never look remotely as good as concept vehicles (Image: Found on Carscoops.com).

Brace yourself, Alberta, Toyota’s plan to build electric cars with solid-state batteries sounds like the real thing

Posted on December 17, 2020, 1:49 am
7 mins

Word about solid-state batteries out of Toyota City last week created a buzz in the automotive press and got some headlines on social media, but I doubt very many people out here in Wild Rose Country paid much attention. 

They probably should’ve.

Sunset over an oilfield (Photo: Arne Hückelheim, Creative Commons).

Because when the world’s largest automaker – which has been very quiet about its plans to build electric cars – announces a major breakthrough in electric-vehicle technology, it just can’t be good news for a place with an economy as heavily dependent on fossil fuels as Alberta’s. 

Now, large auto manufacturing companies are forever touting minor technological innovations as if they were the greatest thing since Henry Ford installed that production line at Highland Park, Michigan, in 1913. 

What’s interesting about Toyota’s announcement is that it seems to have been made late in the process, not right after some technician in a corporate skunk works identified something cool that might, someday, somehow make some money. 

It seems to have been slipped into an announcement about a new electric vehicle for the European market to be made by Toyota in partnership with Subaru Corp. and took the form of, oh, by the way, we’re about to introduce a new technology that will solve the key problems with EVs, short range and slow recharging times. And we’ll be selling it by 2025. 

If true, there go the two biggest barriers to electric vehicle sales. 

Toyota Motor Corp. is a very conservative company. When even companies like General Motors Corp. were spending billions on radical new approaches to manufacturing cars and trucks in the 1980s, Toyota stuck with implementing a stream of tiny refinements to production lines not all that conceptually different from the one built by Ford in 1913. 

When Tesla Inc. found a way to make electric cars appeal to rich people at the same moment as environmentalists and Green governments were starting to tout electric motors as a panacea for automotive pollution and fossil fuel demand, Toyota played its cards very close to its vest. 

A Tesla Model 3, $50,000+ in Canada (Photo: Tesla Inc.).

Meanwhile, what electric cars got built were mostly luxury vehicles that cost a lot (north of $50,000 in Canada for a “base” Tesla Model 3), didn’t go very far compared to a similar car with an internal combustion engine, and took hours to fully recharge. 

EVs are really fast. But just like cars with ICE engines, the faster you go, the more juice you use – limiting your already limited range. 

In other words, you couldn’t afford one, and even if you won the lottery and could, you couldn’t drive it to your new condo in Vancouver without cooling your jets in two or three places as nice as Kamloops, for a few hours each time.

So if you were someone like Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who presides over our province’s slumping fossil fuel industry with vows to Make Alberta Great Again, you could pooh-pooh the idea that electric motors would ever really replace internal combustion engines and maintain with some credibility that there would always be lots of demand for Alberta’s “ethical” oil. 

Solid-state batteries use substances like ceramics to replace the liquified electrolyte solutions – think battery acid – in lithium-ion batteries like Tesla’s. Toyota says its solid-state batteries will double the range of its EVs over cars with li-ion batteries, can be completely charged in 10 minutes (!), and will be less likely to burst into flames. 

So far, of course, that could just be car industry hype. It’s been known to happen, and if you’ve followed the car business as I have – once upon a time I covered the Canadian auto industry for the Globe and Mail, and my big success was predicting 30 years ago that steel bodies and ICE engines would still be around in 20 years – you’ve seen a lot of fantastic claims disappear like so much smoke. 

But as Tesla proved, electric cars that work are a thing already. And Toyota isn’t a company that races into new technology — its history is one of refining big ideas other people had until they work really well. 

Toyota said it will create a working prototype next year — which, in case you’ve forgotten, is only 15 days away. It has more than 1,000 patents with partner Panasonic Corp. to protect the new product – and presumably generate licensing deals with other vehicle manufacturers. 

Equipment manufacturers in Japan are reported to be installing equipment now to build solid-state batteries in 2021. 

And by the way, Volkswagen AG, the world’s second-largest automaker, is also working on a solid-state battery. 

So why does this matter here in oil country?

Well, obviously, such a technology would have a huge impact on the demand for our No. 1 (and virtually only) non-agricultural product, the stuff that supposedly Made Alberta Great. 

With many countries actively trying to transition from fossil fuel transportation to electricity, it would dramatically reduce consumer resistance to electric vehicles. 

If this technology is real – and it sure sounds as if it is – it can’t be stopped by a War Room, no matter how much you spend on it, or by pretending the Rockefellers and a bunch of “foreign funded environmentalists” have cooked up an “anti-Alberta” conspiracy. 

It’s the market, stupid! We can diversify or we can die. Pipelines? We’re not going to need ’em. 

I can’t offer much comfort about this to the I-[HEART]-Alberta-Oil crowd. What can I say, except maybe … it’s probably bad news for Tesla too? 

39 Comments to: Brace yourself, Alberta, Toyota’s plan to build electric cars with solid-state batteries sounds like the real thing

  1. Kim Poirier

    December 17th, 2020

    This is great news! Thanks David.

    Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      December 17th, 2020

      Thanks for providing the link, David. It was interesting to see how many of the promises Kenney said he didn’t make have been kept.

      Reply
  2. Watty

    December 17th, 2020

    EV’s pollute less while driving, no doubt. But they still need juice and sadly wind and solar are very far from being capable of creating enough to power the millions of cars and miles driven. Revival of coal?? no improvement if the electricity source is still a polluter.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      December 17th, 2020

      EVs are cleaner now than ICE vehicles even when running on power generated by coal. I stated the opposite not too long ago and was corrected in this comment area by an environmentalist. I checked out his facts and he was right. Like you, I was basing my beliefs on the understanding that nothing had changed in the past 30 years, since I stopped paying attention. What I couldn’t understand was why Toyota wasn’t building a pure electric car with a li-ion battery. Now we know why. In addition, of course, coal is disappearing as a power source in North America (the market that matters to Alberta, pipelinedreams notwithstanding). That continued all through the Trump presidency and will accelerate now under Biden. Here’s another prediction: Not only will Toyota now get into electric cars big time, they’ll build better ones and sell them for far less. Economies of scale, for the world’s largest and arguably best car maker, will reduce the cost of EVs to a level ordinary drivers can afford them. Yes, there will still be some pollution from this manufacturing process. There will be much less of it, though. Asd for Alberta, the UCP can cry if they wish. It’s their party. But, like I said, it’s the market. DJC

      Reply
      • watty

        December 17th, 2020

        Cleaner, but not yet totally clean. Coal is disappearing as much because of $$ than envi concerns, fracked natural gas is so much cheaper. cleaner than coal also, but not total clean. The real goal should be to change our societal habits of driving everywhere, and living in sprawling suburban cities.
        Aside: not a war room believer, and have a BSC in biology and a master of science degree in natural resource econ. And became a member of greenpeace in 1971, I have been following this stuff all my life.

        Reply
      • watty

        December 17th, 2020

        PS Please don’t get me wrong, EV’s are a wonderful improvement, but they are not enough. and i for one don’t trust current politicians enough to believe that the current govt won’t find a way to say that the new extra demand for electricity won’t necessitate a renewal of using coal, just to “tide us over”. the landscape of Ab will not allow for all juice to be generated by green energy with the same number of cars as today.

        Reply
    • Athabascan

      December 17th, 2020

      Hey Watty,

      Not true. Solar generated electricity is now cheaper to produce than coal or gas fired electricity. Heed the science not politicians and propagandists working for the War Room.

      Reply
      • watty

        December 17th, 2020

        I wasn’t talking price, but capacity. Even now the green energy industry would be (is) hard pressed to supply enough juice for current electricity needs. the added capacity needed to ALSO power millions of cars is a long long way off……….. if ever.

        Reply
        • Kang

          December 19th, 2020

          Hi Watty: Given the high rates of return on wind and solar installations, I’m not sure your capacity argument will hold true for long unless the UCP sandbag the process with their appointed regulators.
          An important addition to capacity is storage. Most of the time cars simply sit at home or at work. If those cars are electric their batteries can be grid-connected to provide both storage and stabilization services to the grid.
          Another important element of grid generating capacity is time-of-use. Since most cars are used for commuting, the EV owner typically charges the car overnight soaking up generating capacity that would otherwise go unused.
          Lastly, a very modest connection between BC hydro, Mb hydro, and Alberta would allow truly grid scale storage between the three provinces which would render your capacity concerns largely moot the day after such a line is put into service. About 15% or so of Alberta’s grid supply capacity is already based on pumped hydro storage in BC (our wind, cogens etc. pump water back up into BC hydro dams over night and then we withdraw the electricity during peak demand times here). This provides very healthy profits to the companies that control this electron flow – something the Alberta Public Utilities Board once audited and ordered returned to consumers each year until the Kleintastrophy.

          Reply
  3. Political Ranger

    December 17th, 2020

    Yeah, I don’t have any more ability to predict the future than the next guy. But one thing that was know for sure is that the 1980-2010 type oil economy was gone – forever.
    A corollary that was known is that those jurisdictions that planned for that obsolescence would fare better, economically, socially and predictably than those that didn’t.
    What would folks be doing instead? Who knew! Doesn’t matter.
    Something I learned in Cubs when I was about 7 years old – be prepared!

    Schadenfreude indeed!

    Reply
  4. Athabascan

    December 17th, 2020

    Oh, noooooo….

    What will happen to the billions of our pension money AIMCO invested in typewriter repair shops and Blockbuster video rental stores?

    Reply
  5. Janna

    December 17th, 2020

    looks like I bought my Prius Prime a few years too early! Mind you, I haven’t put gas in the car since July and have just under half a tank left.

    Here’s hoping we may be able to switch out the battery to the new one, that would be so nice!

    Reply
    • Mike in Edmonton

      December 17th, 2020

      Nice. My 2010 Prius V gets filled once a month. But be careful–Chevy Bolt drivers (the electric car with on-board gasoline generator) report the gas goes bad if it’s not used eventually. Strongly suggest you invest in some gasoline additive to preserve it.

      Reply
      • David Climenhaga

        December 17th, 2020

        A gasoline generator? Say what? Like a little Alberta right under your hood? Yikes! DJC

        Reply
      • Dfjo

        December 17th, 2020

        The Chev Volt is a hybrid system that uses the gas motor, to generate power. This is sent to the electric drive motor(not through the transmission like the Prius, or other hybrids), after it expends the battery power(approx. 40 k). It is no longer sold. It also has regen like the Prius.
        Chev. Bolt is the battery powered hatch back.
        My understanding is , that these vehicles monitor fuel usage, and will operate the gas engine if the fuel reaches a set age, in the fuel tank.

        Reply
      • Ken

        December 18th, 2020

        While googling info on the history of solid state battery research I came across this article about an ex-Tesla engineer patiently explaining how SS batteries will never be viable.
        I view it just like I do all the comments from people claiming things like “we cannot currently meet our power needs with solar and wind generation.”
        You may be correct at this very moment, but that can change in the blink of an eye.
        And it did.

        https://insideevs.com/news/443450/ex-tesla-solid-state-batteries-false-hope/

        Reply
      • Janna

        December 18th, 2020

        My husband has the same concerns about gas going bad. I’m going to tempt fate.

        Reply
      • Godo Stoyke

        December 20th, 2020

        Mike, the Chevy Bolt is an all-electric car, no gas tank. You are thinking of the Chevy Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid.

        Reply
  6. Bill Malcolm

    December 17th, 2020

    The automotive industry has been my real hobby for over 50 years, and I like to keep up. As a concept, 10 minute charging and more energy in less space is wonderful. Too bad there aren’t any of these chargers extant. There’s quite an infrastructure to be built, because 100 kWh in 10 minutes is 600 kW or more. Making a handy-dandy charging cord a petite woman can handle safely is not easy — there’s very high voltage around to keep the amps low(er).

    Last July, Toyota said they were having trouble with the limited number of recharge cycles this new type of solid electrolyte cell could achieve and told us why:

    https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a33435923/toyota-solid-state-battery-2025/

    And now, all of a sudden in December they rolled out the all-singing all-dancing team in a slightly low-key way to proclaim wonderfulness, without saying a word about whether they’d conquered the problems they admitted to in July. Probably not, or the announcement about the cells would have been the usual over the top Toyota advertising. So I’d wait a bit to see if the fanfare continues or dies down a bit.

    As for the message that Alberta should diversify because the future looms, well, of course. There’ll be other cell chemistry breakthroughs and Tesla among others isn’t standing still in dumbfounded awe. Panasonic is Tesla’s partner in the huge battery Gigafactory in Nevada, as well as with Toyota on solid-state cells. Whereas Tesla has looked over Panasonic’s shoulder and has patented improvements in cells themselves, looking to the eventual vertical integration Musk loves and kicking Panasonic out, there’s much more likelihood the two Japanese companies could cooperate more harmoniously long term. There are many other cell companies around as well, so progress is assured. Compared to the research going on and committed investment, Alberta is a pipsqueak, whatever fantasies kenney might have about otherwise. He sounds like the little boy who cried wolf, but in reverse.

    With luck, using natural gas to make hydrogen by stripping off the carbon atom in each molecule might extend the production of that resource. It all depends how rapidly the methane ice in shallow waters of the Siberian sea melts. It’s going pretty fast now. If that burps badly, it’s too much for the world and we’ll have a crisis on our hands that’ll transcend worrying about EVs.

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2020/12/menacing-methane-an-analysis/#more-111915

    Reply
  7. Bruce Turton

    December 17th, 2020

    It is great to see that Toyota followed up on solid state batteries. These were touted a few years ago, but there were caveats to their usefulness for EV’s. Also, recently there has been searches for cheaper and more abundant elements other than lithium for batteries that can be used in vehicles and for solar and wind excess power production storage batteries [https://onezero.medium.com/a-battery-breakthrough-could-end-lithium-ions-reign-9aac17fc2562], though this also comes with caveats about their future usefulness. Like Toyota, hopefully some people can overcome the problems with these potassium types.
    I have yet to learn fully that even though the production, from mines to actual machines, of EV’s and storage batteries is dependent on fossil fuels, there is no dependence on such fuels for the life of the battery system, except as noted in your article about fossil fuel charging. Electric motors are so much better than ICE’s – more torque, fewer parts [to repair], more reliable, longer lasting.
    There is, of course, the ongoing discussion that follows Vaclav Smil’s analyses about other power sources that could be used for recharging battery systems: “a well-built and well-sited wind turbine would generate as much energy as it embodies in less than a year. However, all of it will be in the form or intermittent electricity – while its production, installation, and maintenance remain critically dependent on specific fossil energies”.
    And now, along comes an article from Norway about construction machines that run on electricity – https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/zero-emissions-building-site-1.5843304. Though in its infancy, this too is a game changer!
    Now we need to go further, a la the Blatchford development, and use the expertise of many Albertans with geological, seismic, and drilling experience, to go into geothermal electricity generation for more local areas, within cities and many rural communities. [https://thenarwhal.ca/canada-geothermal-industry-gaining-ground/]. Capital outlays for such, as witnessed by our recent and continuing Covid-19 experiences, need not stand in the way of the proposed federal programme to change to net-zero climate pollution by 2050, if not sooner (which would be better for my grandkidlettes!).

    Reply
  8. Dave

    December 17th, 2020

    Whether things progress as quickly as Toyota hopes, I suppose remains to be seen. However, I do think the general direction is clear.

    First, technology wise, there are already electric battery powered cars being produced and sold and that number continues to grow. While they have limitations, technology has improved and will continue to do so, whether that happens quickly or more gradually over time. Second, many governments around the world are pushing this now both with increasing financial incentives and penalties. Third, I think the existing auto companies, including Toyota, also now see the writing on the wall because of all this.

    The existing big auto companies may have been fairly reluctant to go in this direction 5 or 10 years ago, but now with Tesla showing it can be done, I believe there is a lot of pressure on them to try catch up. I agree with you that Tesla will not likely be the biggest winner in the end. The existing auto companies have a big incentive to preserve their market share and do not want to lose the huge investments they made in existing production facilities, so for those reasons alone, they will start to re-purpose some of their existing facilities for electric vehicle production. I think having such existing facilities and markets could give them an advantage, even if they have to try catch up to Tesla. Also, Toyota already produces vehicles less dependant or not dependant on fossil fuels, including hybrids and hydrogen powered ones, so battery electric is just another move in this direction. At this time, it is no longer a new direction.

    Gretzky once said when asked to explain his strategy and success, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been”. Maybe he can explain what that means to our Premier Kenney.

    Reply
  9. Death and Gravity

    December 17th, 2020

    I sure hope this turns out. Far beyond the boost to EV practicality, if this new battery tech can scale, that goes a long way to solving the intermittency problems of wind and solar. With enough cheap, powerful, batteries, we perhaps can easily power our civilisation on sun, wind, tide and geothermal. And yes, maybe nuclear, except maybe we won’t need it.

    Reply
    • Death and Gravity

      December 19th, 2020

      Speaking of new power storage solutions, I just recently ran across articles on liquid air batteries. They store electrical energy by liquifying air right out of the atmosphere, and then warming it up to power turbines as it expands. It uses nothing by standard industrial plumbing technology of which Alberta has plenty, and with suitable siting, can reach 60% efficiency. It’s a cheap and effective and scaleable way to story surplus wind and solar and release it when needed. It sounds too good to be true, but prototypes exist and larger ones are being built. I can’t see any weak link after a few days of digging and pondering. The 40% loss may sound bad, but the point the energy you are storing was in essence free, coming from e.g. wind farms at times their generating capacity exceeds demand. Does anyone here know anything about this technology, and its potential application in Alberta?

      Reply
  10. Anonymous

    December 17th, 2020

    As technology changes, we must adapt. In Alberta, that’s not likely to be embraced very easily, as the Conservative governments like to depend on yesterday’s ideas to solve the problems of today and tomorrow.

    Reply
  11. St Albertan

    December 17th, 2020

    I read your blog every day. I don’t find myself wanting to post, because your regular contributors offer so much entertaining feedback, to a writer that should be on the pages of more media platforms. Today was different, because you wrote this: “my big success was predicting 30 years ago that steel bodies and ICE engines would still be around in 20 years – you’ve seen a lot of fantastic claims disappear like so much smoke.” I laughed! I’m so old it’s not likely funny for younger people. But I laughed! Please. Continue in good health, and the knowledge that even some of those of us like me who opened the mines want better ideas that close them.

    Reply
    • CovKid

      December 18th, 2020

      You’re right: Climenhaga’s a gem (and that’s not because he looks like Santa!).

      Reply
  12. Just Me

    December 18th, 2020

    Ultimately, once solid-state batteries are commercially available in quantity, the EV will become the most attractive mode of transportation.

    Solid-state batteries solution everything that has made batteries the weakest link in the EV chain; they are safer, higher capacity, lighter, more durable, and easier to manufacture. Going along with the infinitesimally lower cost of operating an EV, including day-to-day maintenance, and higher operational efficiency, the advantages of owning an EV are undeniable.

    The days of the ICE engine are numbered and getter shorter every month.

    As for the predictable claim from Kenney that EVs cannot operate in the Canadian winter, he foolishly ignores the success of EVs in Norway. Operating in every region of that country, EVs operate successful in winter temperatures at -20C thanks to their ‘winter packages’, which are simple thermal heating blankets wrapped around the batteries.

    The Angry Midget better get back into federal politics ASAP and ban the EV from Canada’s shores.

    Reply
  13. Ken

    December 18th, 2020

    Oh won’t someone think of those poor, frail “petite” womens!?!?

    Seriously though Bill, your arguments are ignorant and sexist.
    Quoting a 6 month old article as evidence to contradict a brand new breakthrough in modern technology is ridiculous.
    You are basically trying to tell us something is impossible after it’s been proven possible.
    You are an old man holding a Samsung S10 while screaming that wireless technology is science fiction.

    I’m curious to know how you feel women are capable of plugging in kitchen appliances, what with all those deadly volts and angry pixies running through their handy dandy power cords.

    Then pointing out that infrastructure needs to be updated as if it’s a reason to dump the idea….I’m not sure I can address that level of dumbassery without resorting to language that will prevent my comment from being approved, so I won’t.

    Reply
  14. Farmer Brian

    December 19th, 2020

    I do agree that it is inevitable that the car manufacturers of the world will make electric vehicles affordable and usable by the masses. Here is what I am curious about David what would you suggest we diversify into? China has already cornered the market on solar panels. There is no made in Canada wind turbines. Justin Trudeau’s recent announcement of $170 a tonne carbon tax by 2030 certainly will make industries like agriculture much less competitive on the world stage. I am also curious where the tax dollars to pay for road infrastructure will come from in electric vehicles, will a road tax per km have to be implemented by government?

    There is no doubt that previous Alberta governments should have had the foresight to increase taxes to a level that would have allowed the royalties from our natural resources to have been saved and the returns from those savings used to fund a portion of government services for future generations. But Alberta voters to this day still refuse such tax policies as a sales tax and want all royalty money spent and then some as it comes in. I think Alberta has to figure out a way to use our existing infrastructure and technology to create made in Alberta solutions to lower carbon energy production, hydrogen and geothermal come to mind. Installing Chinese made solar panels only creates intermittent power and enriches China not Alberta imo.

    Reply
  15. Mickey Rat

    December 19th, 2020

    Gosh Ken, the quality of commentary on here just keeps going up and then it crashes – hard. Sort of like oil prices I guess.

    Next it will be Geoffrey finding an excuse in here to slag Rachel Notley some more…

    Reply
  16. Mickey Rat

    December 19th, 2020

    Good comments here but hey, let’s insert a political angle on this – this is a political blog after all! Setting aside the pros, cons and questions about this specific technology, we know technological development has changed our civilization and I think it’s fair to say it will continue to change our future.

    Reading Toyota’s announcement and a couple of other links has given me a slightly different take on this. Near the bottom of the article (where the significant stuff is always found) it says that Japanese companies such as Sony and Panasonic are losing the lithium-ion battery competition to (gasp) China. The gov’t of Japan is putting up $19 billion (yes $ with a B) to help these companies compete – although subsidies like that kind of dilute the meaning of “compete.” How’s this for Free Enterprise Capitalism? “Policymakers will consider using those funds to provide subsidies of hundreds of billions of yen that will fund the development of the new batteries.” I suggest that after years of resisting auto electrification Toyota has made this announcement to dip their bill into some of this cash. And “Because solid-state batteries use lithium, an element with limited global reserves, the government will assist in procuring the material.” Capitalism is losing its edge everywhere.

    Sure enough, further down the article it’s even more revealing “Chinese tech group QingTao (Kunshan) Energy Development will spend over 1 billion yuan ($153 million) into R&D of solid-state batteries, among other areas…” It turns out this company is already producing solid-state batteries! In China no less, the guys who “can’t make anything except cheap crap for Walmart” – well Walmart gets them to make cheap crap because we buy it. I wonder who will have dominance going fwd? Marx told us that capitalism is a powerful force, and it is, but evidently capitalism has trouble standing up to “Socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

    Rachel Notley and the NDP were working to diversify Alberta for the future. That’s the segue for GP to jump in and slag Rachel…

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      December 19th, 2020

      Electric batteries, solid state or otherwise, not being a field of expertise of mine, I can’t really say how accurate this article is, but I think it may case some light on the topic. DJC

      Reply
      • Mickey Rat

        December 20th, 2020

        It is an interesting conversation but whether the technology is sound or not, my point is that this is about Japanese taxpayers subsidizing Japanese industrials to counter China because “Chinese rivals have emerged to prominence” (quote from the article). With a huge head start on an agrarian society (China), Japan couldn’t take advantage of what they should have seen was the future. But that’s ok, Toyota will take the money provided, all they have to do is go along and make it look like they’re trying.

        That Japan has realized they need to play catch up is the lesson here. So some company in Japan is looking at developing the infrastructure to produce materials for making solid-state batteries? Apparently some company in China has gone way past that to actually producing solid-state batteries. DJC – the point of your post is absolutely correct we need to evolve, diversify is part of it.

        We need to use what we have (which includes fossil fuels for now) to develop what’s needed for the future and yes Farmer Brian, agriculture is a very important part of that.

        Reply
  17. Mickey Rat

    December 20th, 2020

    Farmer Brian you are right, we are in a hole because the gov’ts (federal, provincial and even municipal) have not been collecting enough taxes to keep our infrastructure up-to-date. And because we’re in this hole it’s going to hurt us to climb out. But let’s stay with the clear thinking here and blame the people who screamed for reduced taxes and put us in this hole to begin with – as the opossum said “We have seen the enemy and it is us.” So now we are faced with a tax on carbon, but what to do with these tax revenues? Should we use it to vitalize our country or maybe to help people like farmers produce food for the world? No, let’s just give it back to the voters as rebates so they’ll be placated.

    “But Alberta voters to this day still refuse such tax policies as a sales tax and want all royalty money spent and then some as it comes in.” Good observation, this is the problem and it’s not just an Albertan thing.

    Reply
  18. Godo Stoyke

    December 20th, 2020

    Toyota has its head in the sand and is still betting on hydrogen as a car fuel, which is a non-starter. I don’t put much faith in their announcement of an electric car 5 (five!) years in the future, while Tesla is cutting its battery cost in half by 2023 AND has been the leading electric car manufacturer since 2008. I don’t think Tesla has to worry about competition from Toyota. VW is the closest mainstream auto manufacturer with an EV only strategy, and its CEO admitted that Tesla has a 2 year technology lead (in reality likely much more than that).

    Reply
  19. Bruce Winter

    January 7th, 2021

    Hey David:
    Came across this Thermal Hydrogen: An emissions-free hydrocarbon economy ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360319917312272). It’s a reference from Michael Liebreich: Separating Hype from Hydrogen – Part One: The Supply Side ( https://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-separating-hype-from-hydrogen-part-one-the-supply-side/) Both are challenging reads. Both very applicable to Alberta’s future.

    In the first piece, there’s a detailed analysis of the efficiency of electric transportation.

    “Rather than competitors, batteries and fuel cells should be viewed as mutually dependent co-enablers of broader electric transportation.”

    Toyota seems to be a laggard on the battery-electric side. Sales of hybrids are doing just fine. https://autosphere.ca/dealerships/2021/01/06/toyota-canada-reports-record-ev-sales-in-december/ There’s more to the vague Toyota announcement on EV architecture than meets the eye. https://tldrify.com/123i

    Reply

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