The future of electric vehicles

Electric vehicles could make up 15 to 35% of total new vehicle sales globally in 2040, according to analytics group, IHS Markit.

The findings are part of a new research project, Reinventing the Wheel, that will be conducted over the first half of 2017.

“The key question is whether we are approaching a transformative shift akin to the first decade of the 20th century, when the internal combustion engine, cheap gasoline, bicycle technology and mass production combined to usher in the automotive age,” said Dr. Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit and chairman of the study who wrote about the beginning of the automotive age in his most recent book, The Quest.

“Converging developments along multiple tracks are leading us to focus on this important question.”

While electric vehicles constitute a small percentage of the world’s vehicle sales and are just 1% of the on-road fleet today, sales in 2016 are up more than 1,000% since 2010—a trend that IHS Markit expects to continue with the potential to make electric vehicles more than one third of the new vehicle sales in 2040.

“Significant advances in battery technology, financial support from governments, regulations and values of millennials will be key factors leading to increases in electric vehicle adoption,” said Jim Burkhard, study co-director and chief of research at IHS Markit for crude oil markets and energy scenarios.

Electric vehicle share in individual markets will vary based on these factors, IHS Markit says. For instance, in China and Europe—regions where policies are favorable to electric vehicles—IHS Markit estimates that electric vehicles could comprise over half of new passenger vehicle sales in 2040.

The growth of electric vehicles is one of several forces reshaping the future of transportation that are the subject of Reinventing the Wheel – which will be completed in 2017.

Other critical factors to be examined by the study include the potential impacts of car sharing, ride hailing and autonomous vehicles on the transportation ecosystem.

Read: Driving electric vs petrol cars in South Africa

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The future of electric vehicles