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Electric Vehicles

What to Make of Q2 EV Sales

On car trends, Cali’s power outages, and Google’s emissions

What to Make of Q2 EV Sales
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Hurricane Beryl could bring up to 9 feet of storm surge to Jamaica • Northeastern India, already flooded, is expecting more rain • Last month beat June 2023 as the hottest June ever recorded.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Car companies see EV growth in Q2 sales reports

Many automakers are reporting Q2 U.S. sales and deliveries this week. Let’s take a look at how the EV numbers are shaping up:

General Motors
Deliveries: 21,930 EVs, up 40% compared to Q2 last year, and up 34% compared to Q1. EV registrations are up 17% YTD, “outpacing the industry average of 10%.” Sales of its LYRIQ EV were up 26% on Q1.
Rivian
Deliveries: 13,790 EVs, in line with expectations. The company still expects to produce 57,000 vehicles this year.
Toyota (and Lexus)
Sales: 247,347 “electrified vehicles” (including hybrids). EV sales for the entire first half of the year were up 68% and accounted for 38% of total sales volume, “an all-time best-ever.”
Kia
Sales: 17,980 BEVs, up 131% year-over-year. In June, overall U.S. sales for the brand were down 6.5% YOY, but EV sales specifically were up 125%, according to calculations from Inside EVs.
Hyundai
Sales: 38,657 fully-electric vehicles (plus 26 hydrogen fuel cell SUVs, fwiw) in the U.S., up 15% compared to Q2 2023. IONIQ 5 sales were up 51%. KONA SUV sales were up 26%. Hybrid sales are up 42% for the quarter.

Tesla, for its part, reported 443,956 global EV deliveries, “a smaller-than-expected 5% drop,” but the brand is still losing its dominance.

The sales figures, while encouraging, don’t necessarily suggest EV growth will accelerate, analysts toldReuters. “We’re expecting this period of time to have bumps along the way for the next few years as the transition goes from early adopters to mainstream buyers and we’re going to see this happen for a long time,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president at research firm AutoForecast Solutions. “Some quarters will be up, some quarters will be down, but all in all, it won’t be as strong a growth as we saw over the last few years.”

2. Power outages plague California as temperatures soar

Some Californians are experiencing power outages as an intense heat wave sends temperatures spiking across the state. Yesterday more than 11,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers in the Bay Area were without electricity. Some of the outages this week will be planned power shutoffs intended to prevent fires, but wasn’t one of them. The heat wave is expected to break records and last into next week. “High temperatures are forecast to reach into the 105-115F range throughout interior California away from the immediate coastline, as well as into much of the Desert Southwest,” the National Weather Service said. July marks the start of the “peak period” for power emissions in the U.S., which lasts through September. Power emissions for the first half of 2024 are already up 5.2% compared to the same period last year as residents turn up their air conditioning to battle early-season heat waves.

3. Biden announces $504 million for 12 tech hubs

The Biden administration yesterday announced a new funding round of $504 million in grants to 12 “tech hubs,” some of which are focused on scaling up clean tech:

  • $21 million for Nevada’s Tech Hub, which is focusing on lithium batteries and electric vehicle materials.
  • $45 million for South Carolina and Georgia’s Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy, which is focusing on the clean energy supply chain.
  • $19 million for South Florida’s ClimateReady Tech Hub focused on sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure.
  • $51 million for Ohio’s Sustainable Polymers Tech Hub focused on sustainable production of rubbers and plastics.

4. Google blames AI growth for emissions spike

Google’s greenhouse gas emissions climbed by 13% last year compared to the year before, and were up 48% from 2019, the company reported. The company blames artificial intelligence for rising power demand. Back in 2021, the tech giant pledged to be net zero by 2030. Chief sustainability officer Kate Brandt now says that is an “extremely ambitious goal” that “is not going to be easy.” Microsoft’s emissions are also on the rise because of energy-intensive data centers, up 29% compared to 2020.

5. Study finds alarming glacial loss in Alaskan icefield

Global warming is speeding up glacial ice loss in a major Alaskan icefield, and could push the field over a tipping point sooner than previously expected, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers found that the Juneau Icefield, which covers about 1,500 square miles, is melting twice as quickly as it was in 2010 and has lost a quarter of its ice volume since the 18th century. “The fate of Alaska’s ice matters tremendously for the world,” explained climate reporter Raymond Zhong at The New York Times. “In no other region of the planet are melting glaciers predicted to contribute more to global sea-level rise this century.” Current melting projections suggest ice loss for the Juneau Icefield will accelerate after 2070, but the researchers suggest this projection may be “too small and underestimate glacier melt in the future.”

THE KICKER

NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick, currently on the International Space Station, captured the awesome and terrifying size of Hurricane Beryl. The bottom picture peers into the storm’s eye.

Matthew Dominick/NASA

Matthew Dominick/NASA

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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.

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Florida’s Climate Tech Hub Has a Florida Problem

One of the most vulnerable states in the U.S. wants nothing to do with “climate change.”

A Florida postcard.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The Biden administration loves a hub. There are the hydrogen hubs, the direct air capture hubs, and now there are the tech hubs. Established as a part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the $10 billion program has so far seeded 12 such hubs across the country. Four of these are focused on clean energy and sustainability, and one is located in the great state of Florida, which recently passed legislation essentially deleting the words “climate change” from state law.

The South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub did not, in the end, eliminate climate from its name. But while Governor Ron DeSantis might not approve, the federal government didn’t seem to mind, as the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded the hub $19.5 million to “advance its global leadership in sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”

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America Wasn’t Built for This

Why extreme heat messes with infrastructure.

Teton Pass.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

America is melting. Roads are buckling everywhere from Houston to Aurora, Colorado, and in June caused traffic jams in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Last week, a New York City bridge that had opened to let a ship pass got stuck after expanding in the heat, forcing thousands of commuters to detour. The mid-June heat wave led to thousands of flight delays; more recently, even Toronto’s Pearson International Airport warned travelers to brace for heat-related complications. Commuters along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor have been harried by heat-induced delays for weeks.

The train delays have affected an especially large population. The Northeast Corridor is the most trafficked commuter rail system in the country, with over 750,000 daily commuters. In late June, Amtrak notified customers that trains in the corridor could face delays of up to an hour in the coming weeks as heat interfered with tracks and overhead power lines. Since it issued that warning, tens of thousands of people have experienced heat-related delays.

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AM Briefing: Turbine Troubles

On broken blades, COP29, and the falling price of used electric vehicles

Vineyard Wind Is Having Turbine Troubles
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Torrential rain brought flash flooding to Toronto • A wildfire on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has been contained • Parts of southern Spain could hit 111 degrees Fahrenheit this week.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Intense heat waves and thunderstorms torment millions of Americans

The extreme heat wave over the East Coast may very well break a record in Washington, D.C., today that was set during the 1930s Dust Bowl: the longest stretch of days with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The mercury yesterday hit 104 degrees, after similarly scorching numbers on Monday and Sunday, tying the existing record of three days. The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 98 degrees for Wednesday but The Washington Post said there’s “an outside chance that it hits 100 (or higher).” Either way, with humidity at 55%, it will feel torturously hot, with a potential heat index of 110 degrees. An “Extended Heat Emergency” is in effect in the city through today. Nearly 75 major cities across the Northeast, South, and Southwest are currently facing dangerous heat levels, according to The New York Times.

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