Hi, I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View to help us understand how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies. This is my member’s-only Charts of the Week mailout in which we explore the world through data.
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DEPARTMENT OF AMERICAN ELECTRIFICATION
An infrastructure challenge
If we want to get serious about renewable energy, we need a new approach to infrastructure. This is especially true in the United States, which has been built over the decades around traditional automobiles and the use of fossil fuels. This map illustrates the infrastructure challenge: electric vehicle charging stations are few and far between outside of the major metros. (Although, even today, you can just about get your electric kicks on Route 66.). Via Renewable Energy World
Consumers want to go green
If we can solve the infrastructure challenges, the good news is that consumers want to go green. Half of all new passenger vehicles sold worldwide by 2035 will be electric. We can build on this. Via Nature
Global electric vehicle sales are up 168% year on year. This looks to me like that inflection point that we often see with technology markets. The technology has got cheap enough and proven its mettle to persuade majority segments to make the switch. Via Nat Bullard
Make it cheaper
There are impressive declines in the cost of installing and operating large-scale battery storage systems taking place in the US. Average battery energy storage capital costs in 2019 were $589 per kilowatt-hour, and battery storage costs fell by 72% between 2015 and 2019, a 27% annual rate of decline. Via US Energy Information Administration
DEPARTMENT OF CRYPTO REBOUND
Crypto markets are having a good month with Bitcoin leading the charge. Bitcoin has climbed 82% since hitting a low of $27,700 in January. The total market cap for cryptocurrencies is back above $2tn. Via Coinmarketcap
The NFT inflection
The crypto price run is accompanied by a boom in NFTs. OpenSea, a marketplace for NFTs, experienced a crazy spike in NFTs volume over the last month. You can check out some of my daughter’s here. Via Dune Analytics
Challengers waiting in the wings
The rise in NFTs brings new attention to the Ethereum blockchain and some of its technical limitations. Alternative blockchains like Solana have gained a lot of attention for their incredible speed and performance over Ethereum. Solana is 1.276 million times cheaper and 2100 times faster than Ethereum for processing transactions. This is a space to watch closely. As an aside, Solana is named after the San Diego beach suburb of Solana Beach where EV senior editor Joseph Dana grew up and learned to surf. Via Rareliquid
DEPARTMENT OF INNOVATION GEOGRAPHY
China’s exploding number of patents
Excellent data from the Fred blog showing total US patents granted from China and Germany from 1992 through 2020. Take note of how China’s patent number quickly jumps away in 2001. From the blog: “In 2001, the US granted 11,894 patents to German inventors, while granting only 266 to Chinese inventors. Over the next 19 years, as of 2020, US patents granted to Germans increased 38% to just over 19,000 and U.S. patents granted to Chinese inventors increased nearly 10,000% to nearly 27,000.” Via Fred
The locus of innovation
European tech startups are becoming more robust than their global counterparts, which we will see in the next graph. The geography of where these startups are based on the continent remains quite tight. Via McKinsey
The cold war between China and Europe
Impressive stats here. Since 1990 Europe has created more unicorns than China (296 vs 276). The US still far exceeds everyone having created 275 unicorns just this year. Via John Thornhill
Female venture capitalists
Ellen Pao sued the venture firm, Kleiner Perkins, for gender discrimination in 2012 and lost. Despite the defeat, the case has had an impact on the number of women hired by VCs and investment in female-led ventures. Venture is still dominated by men, but this is a start. Via Ethan Mollick
A real impact
Climate change events like massive wildfires are having a serious impact. This is not a test. Via New Scientist
The American cliche
Anyone that has been to an American fast food restaurant will surely remember the incredible size of the fizzy drink cups. No additional comment is required. Via Michael Goran
Happy for you to discuss any of these charts in the comments. Comments are open for Exponential View members to discuss and expand on the charts. Just click on the main headline of this mail to go to the website where you can give us your observations.
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