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15 Nov 17

EV uptake only at 19% by 2040, study predicts

Annual private vehicle sales in the U.S., Europe and India will decline from about 67 million today to 54 million in 2040 due to the uptake of on-demand ride services, a study by IHS Markit projects. 

The growing popularity of Uber, Lyft, Didi Chuxing and other on-demand ride services will reduce the need for individual private vehicles, the study explains. 

Automotive paradox
The company calls it the automotive paradox: fewer cars needed by individuals, but more people travelling by car than ever. “The shift to that behaviour is just beginning”, says IHS vice chairman Daniel Yergin.

The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) industry is projected to buy around 300,000 vehicles in 2017 in the four markets examined for the study, but will buy more than 10 million in 2040.

Big impact
While on-demand mobility is predicted to make a big impact over the next two decades, the study does not foresee a similarly strong impact for electric vehicles. 

By 2040, all-electric models will make up just 19% of all new vehicles sold worldwide. More than 80% of vehicles sold worldwide will thus still use some form of petroleum-based combustion engine. 

This prediction is largely in line with a recent forecast, made by Boston Consulting Group, of 14% EVs by 2030. Again according to IHS Markit, plug-in hybrids will command a 14% share of the market by 2040. 

Embracing technology
The share of cars powered exclusively by petrol or diesel will take a dive: from 98% now to 62% by 2040. Significant, but perhaps less than policy makers and industry movers would like to see. 

Still, for IHS Markit, the figures are a sign that “consumers are starting to embrace the advanced technologies in electric and self-driving vehicles”, says the company's transport and mobility practice leader Ton De Vleesschauwer. 

Non-transportation use
A crucial factor in the uptake of EVs is the price of battery packs, currently around $200/kWh. For EVs to be price-competitive, that has to drop to $100/kWh. IHS Markit projects price parity only by the 2030s. 

Despite the drop in car sales, demand for petroleum is expected to rise, from 98 million barrels a day to 115 million by 2040. Although, to be fair, most of that demand is for non-transportation uses. Overall, cars only account for a third of oil demand.

Authored by: Frank Jacobs