In time, all cars will be electric, driverless and running on renewables

September 7, 2016 1:25 pm Published by

Speculation about the future of transportation, like common flu, appears to becontagious. Not a week goes by without another celebrity, business guru or executive predicting that future of transportation is electric.

That, you may say, is probable and not newsworthy. What is newsworthy is that many of the same people are predicting that the transition is likely to be at a pace much faster than many had expected.
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In July 2016, for example, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was quoted as saying that he suspected that 15 years from now every car on the road would be electric. Chances are that he made up the number – 15 years – without giving it much thought. One can also assume that he was talking about new cars sold in 15 years, not all cars on the road.

That, of course, is what makes Branson Branson. He was talking to CNN at a Formula E race, which he was attending to support the Virgin Racing team. He said, “Formula E is pushing the boundaries forward into what will be the future.

Fifteen years from now, I suspect every car on the road will be electric.” He went on to elaborate: “If governments set the ground rules — and they sometimes have to be brave and set positive ground rules — and for instance said, ‘more than 50% of cars must be battery-driven in 10 years and 100% in 15 years,’ we could make that happen.

It will be great fun and really challenging to do. The cars would be much more efficient… and battery technology will get better and better.” But even if governments were brave – or foolish depending on your point of view – and set ambitious targets for electric vehicles (EVs), it would take a while for EVs to make a dent in the overall numbers.

Currently, roughly 1 million EVs represent a mere 0.1% of the total number of passenger cars in the world. Oil majors need not panic yet. Nor can they afford to be complacent. That, however, does not prevent people from making bold projections. A report released by Lux Research in July 2016 (graph below) says 30% of the world’s – we assume new vehicles sold – will be EVs by 2030, powered by renewable energy.

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Source: Renew Economy