Report on May Speaker: – Dr. Jan Conradi, “Electric Vehicles”

It was almost a year to the day that Jan Conadi provided a fascinating presentation on climate change to our Probus group. 

On May 6 of this year we welcomed him back to speak to us about his research on the evolution of electric vehicles (EVs). It was one of the best attended presentations since we started meeting on Zoom some 2 years ago.

After all, as Margaret stated after Jan’s presentation, the topic couldn’t have been more timely. The price at the pumps has surged to over $2/litre. Probus members are shedding their COVID cocoons as they take day trips around the Island, as well as road trips to the mainland and beyond. Meanwhile, we are haunted by the increasing destruction linked to climate change.  Many of us hoped Jan would provide us advice on transitioning from fossil-fuel vehicles to battery and plug-in electrical vehicles (BEVs).

We were not disappointed. Although passionate about the topic, he presented his findings calmly and frankly. He certainly emphasized the many strengths of operating electric vehicles, but he recognized the challenges confronting industry and society. It was refreshing to hear him encourage dialogue rather than advocate a position.

I cannot do justice to the powerful presentation Jan delivered. I’ll just touch on some of the themes he explored. I recommend you download his set of comprehensive slides and critically review the contents. I can guarantee that many who attended will find much to gain from this second viewing. Those of you who missed the meeting will be more confident there is a viable, sustainable electrified road to the future, and that future is all but upon us.  

To view the full presentation click here.


Jan raised a number of interesting points: 

  • It is not at all unusual that ‘brand new’ technologies such as electric vehicles have historically been ‘discovered’ and quickly integrated into society, often within one or two decades – technologies such as cell phones, the internet, microwave ovens, even refrigeration, digital cameras and colour TVs.

  • The pace of implementing BEVs globally is mind-boggling (estimated at 60% annually, or a ten-fold increase in 5 years), led by China and followed by Scandinavian and northern European countries.
  • By mid-2021 fully 75% of all new car sales in Norway were BEVs.
  • The cost of batteries has plunged lower and lower even as their effectiveness has increased almost immeasurably. Researchers are actively working on a battery with a lifetime of 2 million miles, capable of operating a car for almost 1000 kilometres between charges. The subsequent recharge will take just 15 minutes.
  • The powertrain costs of mainstream battery-electric vehicles are projected to achieve cost parity with efficient fossil fuel cars in 2023-4, even without government subsidies. Furthermore, the total lifetime cost of a BEV (i.e., the purchase, maintenance and operation of the vehicle) continues to decline even as the total cost of its fossil fuel brethren increases.

Near the end of Jan’s slides you’ll find a number of web sites that provide information to help you decide whether an electric vehicle is for you. Some also provide consumer advice from a number of independent third-party organizations.

I can’t help but wonder: “what topic will Jan wish to present in 2023?”


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