Research predicts EVs to make up majority of new car sales by 2040

Electric vehicles (EVs) will make up the majority (54 per cent) of new car sales worldwide by 2040, new research has predicted.

A new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), claims a third of all ‘light-duty’ vehicles on the road by that date will be electric, as the price of lithium-ion batteries continues to fall and car manufacturers launch new models.

The report comes just a day after Volvo announced all its cars will either be fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards.

The BNEF forecast shows EV sales worldwide growing steadily in the next few years, from the 700,000 seen in 2016 to 3 million by 2021.

At that point, they will account for nearly 5 per cent of light-duty vehicle sales in Europe, up from a little over 1 per cent now.

The report also claimed EVs will add 5 per cent to global electricity consumption by 2040.

Jon Moore, chief executive of BNEF, said that that growth in EV market share ‘will come about during a time when the power system is also undergoing a revolution’.

‘This means that not only do EVs surge, but their emissions profile improves over time,’ added Mr Moore.

Salim Morsy, senior analyst on BNEF’s advanced transport team and lead author of the report, commented: ‘There is a credible path forward for strong EV growth, but much more investment in charging infrastructure is needed globally.

‘The inability to charge at home in many local and regional markets is part of the reason why we forecast EVs making up just over a third of the global car fleet in 2040, and not a much higher figure.’


In a statement this week, Volvo said it will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm.

Volvo’s president and chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson, said customers ‘increasingly demand electrified cars’ and the company wants to ‘respond to our customers’ current and future needs’.

‘This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,’ said Mr Samuelsson. ‘Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.’

Last week, the Renewable Energy Association held the first meeting of its new EV sector group in London.

Representatives from more than 60 companies operating in EV and component manufacturing, electricity supply, and infrastructure construction attended the first event.

‘Electric vehicle technology is rapidly improving and their uptake will significantly reduce urban air pollution,’ said the REA”s head of electric vehicles, Matt Trevaskis. ‘As their running costs are low and upfront costs are falling they can already have a lower cost of ownership over their lifetime.

‘Critically now the race is on to develop a well thought out, efficient network of rapid charge points and an intelligently controlled system of home and workplace charging. The REA’s role is to coordinate industry voices and help the Government plan for the future.’

Environment Journal recently spoke to Mr Trevaskis about the new group. To find out more, click here.

Speaking after the meeting, transport minister Jesse Norman commented: ‘The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads is now at record levels, and we continue to invest in infrastructure for electric car charging and other clean vehicles.

‘It is great to see the renewable energy sector engaging on this issue, and setting up a group to look at the issues and opportunities ahead for electric cars.’


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