A new study by Stanford University economist Tony Seba predicts that by 2025, all newly produced cars will be electric.
In order to meet the new emission standards set by the Paris accord, the world will need to stop using gas cars by 2035. This sounds quite unlikely to happen considering that currently, electric vehicles account for only one to two percent of vehicles on the market.
However, Stanford University economist Tony Seba recently published a new report, “Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030”, where argues that the vision isn’t so far-fetched after all. Seba claims that we “are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history”, and that within only eight years no more gas or diesel cars, buses or trucks will be produced anywhere in the world.
According to the report, the turning point for the auto industry will occur in only two or three years, due to the fact that batteries for electric vehicles will only get better and better. Seba thinks electric vehicles will get around 322 kilometers (200 miles) on a single charge, and cost around $30,000 at the end of the decade.
“What the cost curve says is that by 2025 all new vehicles will be electric, all new buses, all new cars, all new tractors, all new vans, anything that moves on wheels will be electric, globally.”
Seba says that only those who are nostalgic for the past will hang onto their old cars, and the habit of car ownership in general. At a cost per mile of only 6.8 cents for an electric vehicle, most customers will switch to electric cars. Not only will the cost per mile drop, insurance costs will fall by 90% thanks to autonomous technologies which will prevent the majority of all accidents. Seba argues that more than 95% of all miles driven in the US by 2030 will be in autonomous EVs. Seba also thinks dealerships will disappear by 2024, and that global oil demand will peak at 100 million barrels per day by 2020, dropping to 70 million by 2030.
While Seba’s predictions may initially seem overly optimistic, considering the rate of adoption for other recent technologies, perhaps they aren’t. Broadband internet connections went from basically zero ownership to being owned by 70% of the population in thirteen years. Meanwhile, smartphones went from a 1% adoption rate in 2006 to an over 80% adoption rate in 2016. Both technologies exploded over the course of a decade, so it isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
Time will tell if Seba’s predictions come true, but no matter how you look at it the winds of change seem to be blowing.