2. A love affair with electric SUVs
Skeptics, including oil companies and much of Wall Street, continue to heap doubt on the ability of electric cars to break out of their green-fanatic niche any time soon. But a new forecast suggests why they can — because they will piggy-back onto existing mobility fashion.
By which we mean ... the love affair shared by Americans and Chinese for SUVs. These tall, roomy vehicles accounted for 42% of all U.S. demand last year and 39% of China's, dominating the largest car markets in the world.
Now that ardor will grow into surging demand for electric SUVs, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm.
Quick take: By 2022, BNEF says in a new report, Chinese demand for electric cars will triple, and the largest block — 39% — will be SUVs and crossovers. As for Americans, they will buy more than twice as many electrics as they currently do, and electric SUVs and crossovers will account for 52%, says BNEF's Salim Morsy, the report's main author.
- Demand will be led by ultra-stylish and luxury SUVs and crossovers like the Audi e-tron, the Jaguar I-PACE, the BMW iX3, the Ford Mach 1, and Tesla's coming Model Y, Morsy tells Axios.
- The German carmakers are being especially aggressive. VW alone plans to release about 80 electric models by 2025, BMW has announced 47, and Daimler 10.
What is most surprising: Morsy says the attitude of incumbent automakers has changed dramatically. From creating electrics simply to comply with regulation, the industry now clearly sees sales advantage.
- This mental shift "unlocks dozens of billions of dollars of committed and invested capital," he said. "There is a vision and a recognition that electrification has huge potential."
But but but ... Two events could taper the surge of electrics, Morsy said:
- If battery costs fail to keep falling in line with forecasts
- If Tesla, the pioneer of the modern electric industry, collapses
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