ELECTRIC VEHICLES, or EVs, are on track to dominate global sales of passenger cars and buses by 2040, and to encroach significantly on the market for vans and short-distance trucking, according to the latest forecast from research firm BloombergNEF (BNEF).
The firm announced in a press conference that based on analysis of the evolving economics in different vehicle segments and geographical markets, BNEF’s “Electric Vehicle Outlook 2019” shows electrics taking up 57 per cent of global passenger car sales by 2040, slightly higher than it forecast a year ago. Electric buses are set to hold 81 per cent of municipal bus sales by the same date.
For the first time, BNEF has incorporated in its forecast detailed work on the commercial vehicle market.
These projections show electric models taking 56 per cent of light commercial vehicle sales in Europe, the US and China within the next two decades, plus 31 per cent of the medium commercial market.
Heavy trucks will prove the hardest segment for electrics to crack, with the latter’s sales limited to 19 per cent in 2040. Their use case will mostly be in shorter-distance applications.
However, conventional heavy trucks on long-haul routes will also face other, non-electric competition – from alternatives using natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells.
Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport for BNEF, on Tuesday said: “Our conclusions are stark for fossil fuel use in road transport. Electrification will still take time because the global fleet changes over slowly but, once it gets rolling in the 2020s, it starts to spread to many other areas of road transport. We see a real possibility that global sales of conventional passenger cars have already passed their peak.” The role of shared mobility services such as ride-hailing and car-sharing will be important in this evolving picture.
These services account for less than 5 per cent of all passenger miles travelled globally at the moment, but this is set to rise to 19 per cent by 2040.
The BNEF team does not expect autonomous driving to have an impact on global transport and energy patterns until the 2030s.
The main driver for the electrification trend over the next 20 years will be further sharp reductions in EV battery costs, making electric cars cheaper than combustion-engine alternatives.