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Electric Vehicles

What Analysts Expect From Q1 EV Sales

On carmakers’ quarterly reports, Shell’s climate case, and solar panel fences

What Analysts Expect From Q1 EV Sales
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: The Ohio and Tennessee Valleys could experience long-track tornadoes today • Gale-force winds killed at least four people in China’s Jiangxi Province • A winter storm watch is in effect across New England.


1. It’s a big week for EV sales numbers

Major U.S. electric vehicle manufacturers including Tesla and Rivian are expected to report on their first-quarter sales and deliveries this week. Expectations for Tesla are pretty low, according toBloomberg, with analysts forecasting global deliveries of about 449,080 vehicles, down 7%. “Some on Wall Street are even braced for Tesla’s first sales decline since the early days of the pandemic.” But hey, Tesla might win back its title of “biggest EV seller” after Chinese rival BYD reported a 43% drop in quarterly sales. Analysts expect Rivian to deliver 16,608 vehicles, up 18.9% over Q4 of 2023. Stellantis, Ford, Toyota, GM, and Honda will also release Q1 reports this week, so stay tuned.

2. Shell fights ‘mother of all climate cases’ in The Hague

Fossil fuel giant Shell is arguing in The Hague this week that a landmark emissions ruling was legally defunct. In 2021, a district court ruled in favor of environmental group Friends of the Earth Netherlands and ordered Shell to cut its greenhouse gas emissions (including scope 3 emissions) by 45% by 2030. “This was the mother of all climate cases against corporations” because it opened the door to copycat cases, Klaas Hendrik Eller, an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam’s center for transformative private law, told the Financial Times. Shell is appealing, insisting the order lacks legal basis and that companies cannot be held responsible for their clients’ emissions. Friends of the Earth will argue that the scientific evidence shows burning fossil fuels is causing global warming and that “Shell has a responsibility to act in accordance with climate science and international climate agreements.” A ruling is expected in the second half of this year.

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  • 3. Record number of fires recorded in Venezuela

    More than 30,200 fires were detected in Venezuela between January and March, the highest number ever recorded for that three-month period. The region is suffering from intense drought driven by human-caused climate change and the El Niño weather pattern. Researchers are worried these fires are a sign of things to come. “Everything is indicating we’re going to see other events of catastrophic fires – megafires that are huge in size and height,” Manoela Machado, a fire researcher at University of Oxford, told Reuters. More than half of all the fires burning in the Amazon rainforest are located in Venezuela.

    4. Human case of bird flu found in Texas

    A case of avian flu has been detected in a human in Texas, marking the first such case since the virus was recently identified in cows across several states, and only the second case in U.S. history. The current outbreak of H5N1 has decimated bird populations across the world and also spread to mammals, including seals, mink, and now cows. Health experts worry the virus could mutate to become easily transmissible between humans, but so far there is no evidence of that happening. Still, “every single time is a little bit of Russian roulette,” said Ashish Jha, who led the Biden administration’s pandemic response. “You play that game long enough and one of these times it will become fit to spread among humans.” Researchers say climate change is altering birds’ breeding habits and migratory patterns in ways that leave them more vulnerable to bird flu.

    5. In Europe, solar panels are the new garden fencing

    The price of solar panels has dropped so significantly that some households in Europe are using them as fencing in their yards, the Financial Timesreported. Skyrocketing production out of China means solar panels are cheap and getting cheaper. But at the same time, installation costs for rooftop solar remain high, prompting some DIY-minded homeowners to roll up their sleeves and install panels as fencing. The panels don’t get quite as much sun as they would on a rooftop, but they still work. No word on what the neighbors have to say about it. Peculiar garden aesthetics aside, the solar glut has “brought Europe's solar makers to their knees,” Politicoreported recently. Manufacturers want the European Commission to step in and help them. In the U.S., the cost of a solar panel is now half of what it was last year, and falling.


    As of yesterday, anyone living in Colorado can get a $450 discount when buying an e-bike thanks to the nation’s first statewide e-bike tax credit.

    Jessica  Hullinger profile image

    Jessica Hullinger

    Jessica Hullinger is a freelance writer and editor who likes to think deeply about climate science and sustainability. She previously served as Global Deputy Editor for The Week, and her writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, Popular Science, and Fortune. Jessica is originally from Indiana but lives in London.


    Is Sodium-Ion the Next Big Battery?

    U.S. manufacturers are racing to get into the game while they still can.

    Sodium-ion batteries.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images, Peak Energy, Natron Energy

    In the weird, wide world of energy storage, lithium-ion batteries may appear to be an unshakeably dominant technology. Costs have declined about 97% over the past three decades, grid-scale battery storage is forecast to grow faster than wind or solar in the U.S. in the coming decade, and the global lithium-ion supply chain is far outpacing demand, according to BloombergNEF.

    That supply chain, however, is dominated by Chinese manufacturing. According to the International Energy Agency, China controls well over half the world’s lithium processing, nearly 85% of global battery cell production capacity, and the lion’s share of actual lithium-ion battery production. Any country creating products using lithium-ion batteries, including the U.S., is at this point dependent on Chinese imports.

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    AM Briefing: Tesla’s Delay

    On Musk’s latest move, Arctic shipping, and China’s natural disasters

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    Current conditions: Heavy rains triggered a deadly landslide in Nepal that swept away 60 people • More than a million residents are still without power in and around Houston • It will be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Berlin on Sunday for the Euro 2024 final, where England will take on Spain.


    1. Biden administration announces $1.7 billion to convert auto plants into EV factories

    The Biden administration announced yesterday that the Energy Department will pour $1.7 billion into helping U.S. automakers convert shuttered or struggling manufacturing facilities into EV factories. The money will go to factories in eight states (including swing states Michigan and Pennsylvania) and recipients include Stellantis, Volvo, GM, and Harley-Davidson. Most of the funding comes from the Inflation Reduction Act and it could create nearly 3,000 new jobs and save 15,000 union positions at risk of elimination, the Energy Department said. “Agencies across the federal government are rushing to award the rest of their climate cash before the end of Biden’s first term,” The Washington Post reported.

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    What the Conventional Wisdom Gets Wrong About Trump and the IRA

    Anything decarbonization-related is on the chopping block.

    Donald Trump holding the IRA.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    The Biden administration has shoveled money from the Inflation Reduction Act out the door as fast as possible this year, touting the many benefits all that cash has brought to Republican congressional districts. Many — in Washington, at think tanks and non-profits, among developers — have found in this a reason to be calm about the law’s fate. But this is incorrect. The IRA’s future as a climate law is in a far more precarious place than the Beltway conventional wisdom has so far suggested.

    Shortly after the changing of the guard in Congress and the White House, policymakers will begin discussing whether to extend the Trump-era tax cuts, which expire at the end of 2025. If they opt to do so, they’ll try to find a way to pay for it — and if Republicans win big in the November elections, as recent polling and Democratic fretting suggests could happen, the IRA will be an easy target.

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