From the sun to the moon

Publish date 10-08-2022

by Sandro Calvani

The desire to move is the first human aspiration to freedom: first the desire to walk and run by a child, then the desire for a bicycle or a scooter that often leads to the desire to use or own a car or even a minibus or a camper. The availability of mass transit systems, such as bus, train, subway, maritime and river transport networks, is seen everywhere in the world as an indicator of good governance and quality of life. The type of mobility of a people is a visible feature of its development and culture, so much so that the typical transport of a territory, such as a tuk-tuk for Southeast Asia and mini-buses for Latin America, are now true social icons.

In the era of change we live in, together with climate change and the aspiration of young people to look after the essentials, transport systems, in addition to being a powerful engine of industrial innovation, have become a driving force for fast profound transformation of civil societies. They also show the severe wealth inequality between and within countries. The graphics show for example the bad distribution of cars in the world and the enormous questions that arise for the future. In fact, if the Chinese or Indians set out to build and sell as many cars as are considered "normal" in Europe and the United States, they would lack both the raw materials to make them and the energy to make them move.

Meanwhile, Asia is investing heavily in the collection of solar energy, with solar panels, especially from China, which are increasingly cheaper. The Asian continent is conquering the market for new electric vehicles and is becoming a leader in innovation, from batteries to autonomous driving software, entertainment in cars and public transport and high connectivity between people and transport systems.

Electric vehicle sales in China, Japan, India and Indonesia will increase by 36% per year to 20 million units by 2030, from around 2 million today, representing the largest growth in the world . China will have the majority of electric vehicle sales, with nearly 18 million units sold in 2030 compared to 1.8 million today. Between 2022 and 2024, Indonesia will grow the entire transport sector by 97%, India by 59% and Japan by 45%. The global market for electric vehicle batteries will rise to $ 356 billion from $ 17 billion in 2020, 60% in China. The impending electric vehicle revolution will also benefit Indonesia, which has the largest nickel reserves in the world; will produce approximately 450,000 tons of nickel and 50,000 tons of cobalt in the next few years, most of which will be dedicated to battery production.

Investors call the new motor industry moonshot, with the probability of earnings soaring up to the moon. Will it be solar-powered growth or lunar gains? What is clear is that Asia is poised to lead the industry for years to come.

Sandro Calvani
NP April 2022

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