Electric cars will represent 35% of all car sales by 2040

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) look set to sky-rocket over the next 25 years with Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) predicting that, by 2040, they will represent 35% of all new car sales.

In a study published yesterday (25 February), BNEF revealed that that the presence of EVs in the global automotive market will be 90 times larger in 2040 than in 2015, with sales reaching more than 40 million.

The researchers suggests that this shift will have implications beyond the car market – the growth of EVs during that timeframe would displace 13 million barrels of crude oil each day, replacing it with 1,900TWh of electricity – nearly 8% of the global electricity demand in 2015 – according to BNEF.

BNEF’s lead advanced transportation analyst Colin McKerracher said: “At the core of this forecast is the work we have done on EV battery prices. Lithium-ion battery costs have already dropped by 65% since 2010, reaching $350 per kWh last year.

“We expect EV battery costs to be well below $120 per kWh by 2030, and to fall further after that as new chemistries come in.”

At present, the EV market is dependent on early adopters keen to innovate in order to reduce emissions. This led to 462,000 EVs being sold in 2015, with 1.3 million EVs currently on the roads worldwide. EV makers such as Nissan (LEAF) and Chevrolet (Volt) have relied on EV innovations coupled with government incentives – such as the UK’s plug-in grant, which was recently extended to 2018 – to commercialise their concepts.

With new battery innovations now hitting the EV market – including charging concepts from both Tesla and Google – BNEF predicts that the cost of EVs will continue to fall as driving ranges and charging infrastructures increase.

Commenting on these new figures, Neil Wallis, head of communications at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), said: “This encouraging study supports projected EV cost reductions identified by the Committee on Climate Change in its fifth carbon budget. EV ownership is clearly going to become increasingly attractive from the motorists’ perspective.

“EV uptake on the large scale projected would impact on oil demand and so impact on its price. It will also have significant implications for the management of the power grid and for electricity generation. The LowCVP will continue working with government and other stakeholders to help plan for and manage these changes.”

EVs on the mind

The figures came on the same day that a survey into London voters revealed that they believe electric vehicles will solve the Capital’s pollution problem.

The Institute of the Motor Industry’s (IMI) survey of more than 1,700 people found that 80% would consider going green if they were buying a car in the next six months. The survey also revealed that just 16% of Londoners intend to vote for the Mayoral candidate who promises to tackle the city’s air pollution.

Greenpeace recently issued a rallying call to the London Mayoral candidates, urging them to kick-start a renewables revolution in the city with policy changes such as localised feed-in tariffs and the implementation of a ‘solar task force’.

Matt Mace

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