#43. 🏞️Colorado River mandatory cuts | ☀️solar cell efficiency world record | 🚫Oregon bans gas cars from 2035
Plus: Quebec coast retreats | German quits hydrogen buses | heat pump water heaters | BMW's solid state batteries | Ford quashes EV disinformation | Vietnam's VinFast EVs arrive in California
🌡 CLIMATE CHANGE
The communities along the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, Canada have been pulling back from the water's edge and dismantling defenses against the sea due to climate change-related erosion. This includes moving a road and building a new seaside boardwalk farther from the water without a concrete wall. The idea is to "move with the sea, not against it," as fighting nature is futile. The approach taken by these communities could serve as a test case for other places where strategic capitulation to nature is possible.
The water level in Lake Powell and Lake Mead in the US may drop to the point that they become "dead pools," meaning water will not be able to flow downstream, as a result of overconsumption and climate change, leading to unprecedented shortages in the West. The federal government has asked the seven Western states that rely on Colorado River water to cut usage by 2 to 4 million acre-feet, or up to a third of the river's annual average flow, in order to avoid this outcome. However, the states have so far failed to reach a voluntary agreement on how to make these cuts, and the Interior Department may be forced to impose unilateral cuts in the coming months.
The German city of Wiesbaden is retiring its ten hydrogen-powered fuel-cell buses a year after they were delivered, due to the breakdown of its €2.3m ($2.44m) refuelling station, which "is no longer in operation due to a defect." The buses were funded by €1.95m from the EU's Clean Hydrogen Partnership and €1.68m from the German government, while more than €2m of funding for the refuelling station came from the German states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. There are now questions about whether ESWE Verkehr, the publicly owned transport company operating the buses, will have to repay the funding it received.
🔋 CLEAN ENERGY
Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are a key technology for a zero-emissions 21st century. They are 2–4 times more efficient than fossil gas or electric resistance water heaters, emit little if any CO2 (depending on your electricity mix), and cost around $100 a year to operate. A. O. Smith's Voltex AL HPWH is an efficient and cost-effective appliance that can be installed in a home to save money and reduce carbon emissions. It has a Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) of up to 4.02, which means for every unit of energy put in, four units of heat are produced, and can save a family of four around $470 a year in operational costs. With the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) 30% tax credit factored in, payback is around two years if replacing an electric resistance water heater. The 50-gallon A. O. Smith Voltex AL has a first-hour rating of 66 gallons and is rated at 45 dBA, which is the same noise range as a quiet dishwasher. It also requires less air space than previous models and is compatible with a variety of thermostats and controls.
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin have developed a tandem solar cell that can convert 32.5% of solar radiation into electrical energy, a world record. The technology combines silicon and perovskite materials and has been included on the US National Renewable Energy Lab's Best Research-Cell Efficiency Chart. The research follows the record 29.8% efficiency achieved by HZB in late 2021, and a 31.3% value certified by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland over the summer.
BMW is expanding its joint development agreement with Solid Power (Crunchbase) to license its solid-state battery technology and build its own solid-state batteries in Germany. BMW will have access to Solid Power's battery research and development, cell design and manufacturing expertise, while paying $20m through June 2024 subject to certain milestones. The expanded joint development agreement does not include a license to intellectual property related to Solid Power's electrolyte material. Solid Power will still supply BMW with its electrolyte material for all prototype cell production.
🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Ford has released a report that shows the benefits of driving electric vehicles (EVs) compared to their gas-powered counterparts. According to the report, driving EVs using US grid-average electricity can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60% compared to similar gas-powered cars. The report also showed that driving a Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup can save $27,200 in gas costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 78 metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicle, while driving a Mustang Mach-E can save $14,600 in gas and reduce CO2 emissions by 42 metric tons.
All new cars sold in Oregon must be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, according to a new rule adopted by the state's Environmental Quality Commission. The Advanced Clean Cars II Rule requires car manufacturers to begin producing and delivering a growing number of zero-emission vehicles to Oregon starting in 2026, with the goal of 100% of new vehicles sold in the state being zero-emission by 2035. The rule applies to electric battery and plug-in hybrid vehicles and is expected to cost up to $3 billion by 2040 for manufacturers to comply. The rule is expected to result in health and economic benefits for the state, including reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Vietnam EV manufacturer VinFast has delivered 999 VF8s and VF9s to the US, fulfilling a promise made in April to bring its all-electric SUVs to the market by the end of 2022. The vehicles, which arrived in California, have received the necessary certifications to sell cars in the US and will begin deliveries to customers later this month. The VF8 City Edition comes with a 10-year warranty for the vehicle and battery and includes the Advanced Driver Assistance System and Smart Services platform. VinFast will also offer a battery subscription program for the VF8 and VF9 for customers who purchase the vehicles in 2022 or 2023, giving them permanent subscription rates for the life of their vehicle.
🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!
Just a heads-up that tomorrow, Friday — Future Perfect #44 — will be my last issue until after the holidays, so please be sure to help me get some more subscribers until then; don’t forget to take my quick survey to let me know how you’re liking Future Perfect; and I’ll see you back here tomorrow!