Oct 24, 2017 - Energy & Environment

The future of electric vehicles

The federal Energy Information Administration is out with a new report on electric vehicles and how much the market might grow. The chart below shows EIA's forecast of how much, or how little, of the global auto market that EVs will grab in coming decades.

Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Possible futures: Compared to EIA's base or "reference" case, the "low" penetration case envisions a market in which consumers are willing to pay the upfront costs, which in turn means less charging infrastructure built and fewer vehicle models available, which leads to slower adoption. They also explore a "high" EV penetration case with a self-reinforcing cycle that moves in the other direction — higher consumer willingness to pay means more sales that in turn lead to more charging networks and a greater blossoming of vehicle choices, leading EVs to grow to 26% of the light-duty vehicles on the roads in 2040.

Go deeper:

  • ICYMI: My Axios colleague Amy Harder explored another aspect of the report here, looking at why EVs currently account for a much bigger percentage of vehicle sales in Norway than elsewhere.
  • Tesla's China push: "Tesla is moving closer to becoming the first foreign car company to have a wholly owned manufacturing operation in China, a deal that would test the relationship norms between a foreign automaker and the Chinese government," the New York Times reports.
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