When will all cars be electric? While electric cars will not be replacing gas-powered vehicles in the near future, the process of internal combustion engines becoming obsolete has already begun according to Kiplinger. Many things need to change to fulfill electric car future predictions.
Battery production and infrastructure for charging electric vehicles will need to grow significantly. Automakers will have to convert to an all-electric platform. And — perhaps the most important factor — consumers will need to embrace electric vehicles and demand those changes happen.
When will all cars be electric?
According to The International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2021, sales of electric vehicles nearly doubled 2020 sales to 6.6 million (a sales share of nearly 9%) bringing the number of electronic cars on the road to 16.5 million. Hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs, don’t count toward that total because they can run on gasoline engines and electric power.
That may not sound like much, but the pace is ramping up, according to industry analysts. Our friends at True Car, a digital car sales marketplace, predict that there will be more models than ever, with more than 100 EV models likely to be available by the end of 2024. According to Protocol, the ratio of electric cars to gas cars will gradually increase too:
- By 2025, electric vehicle sales could comprise up to 20% of new car sales
- By 2030, electric vehicle sales could reach 40% of new car sales
- By 2040, electric vehicle sales could account for nearly all new car sales
The future of electric cars relies on many factors
Complex economic and societal issues influence how fast and effectively the United States can adopt electric vehicles. EVs will need to become a priority for automakers, legislators, and most consumers before we can expect them to replace gas-powered vehicles.
Fleet turnover refers to how quickly new vehicles replace the vehicles on the road. Because modern gas cars are more reliable and last longer than ever, it will take longer for future EVs to replace them. Other factors impacting fleet turnover include urban transportation planning and ride-sharing services.
Auto manufacturer conversions
Automakers are working on converting their offerings to all-electric vehicles, but their timetables for conversion differ. Some have committed to ending gasoline car sales by 2035; others may take until 2045-2050 to get there unless required by law.
Many states have passed laws or had governors sign executive orders banning the sale of new gasoline passenger cars in their states by 2035. If this happens nationally, most passenger cars on the road by 2050 could be electric.
If more electric cars are on the road, we’ll need the infrastructure to charge them. Legislators have passed laws to begin the work of installing chargers across the country, which will take many years to complete.
Consumer influence on the future of electric cars
The projected exponential growth in electric vehicle adoption has a few more hurdles to overcome with consumers. Some of those hurdles include the cost of ownership, driving habits, and the anxiety drivers have over how far they can drive on a charge.
Electric vehicle costs
Although the total cost of ownership for an electric car is lower than a gasoline car, the purchase price for an electric vehicle in 2021 was about $10,000 higher than average for all cars. Installing a home EV charger, replacing an electric car battery, and even insuring an EV can be expensive.
Ultimately, electric vehicle adoption will increase when the cost of purchasing and maintaining EVs is on par with gasoline cars.
As more companies and workers embrace remote work, future driving habits and car purchases could be affected. People driving less may be less likely to replace an older vehicle and invest in an electric option.
Range anxiety is the term coined for people concerned about whether an electric vehicle will run out of battery power and leave them stranded. This fear could lessen as more charging stations become available. Also, these fears will diminish as batteries become increasingly more powerful and people realize that they’re often not driving enough to make range an issue.
If the industry can address these challenges quickly and decisively, the electric vehicle adoption rate could grow faster than experts predict. Learn more about buying an electric car.
Demand for electric cars is booming
Global sales of electric cars are set to surge to yet another record this year, expanding their share of the overall car market to close to one-fifth and leading a major transformation of the auto industry that has implications for the energy sector, especially oil.
The new edition of the IEA’s annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook shows that more than 10 million electric cars were sold worldwide in 2022 and that sales are expected to grow by another 35% this year to reach 14 million.
This explosive growth means electric cars’ share of the overall car market has risen from around 4% in 2020 to 14% in 2022 and is set to increase further to 18% this year, based on the latest IEA projections.
“Electric vehicles are one of the driving forces in the new global energy economy that is rapidly emerging – and they are bringing about a historic transformation of the car manufacturing industry worldwide,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “The trends we are witnessing have significant implications for global oil demand.
The internal combustion engine has gone unrivalled for over a century, but electric vehicles are changing the status quo. By 2030, they will avoid the need for at least 5 million barrels a day of oil. Cars are just the first wave: electric buses and trucks will follow soon.”
The overwhelming majority of electric car sales to date are mainly concentrated in three markets – China, Europe and the United States. China is the frontrunner, with 60% of global electric car sales taking place there in 2022.
Today, more than half of all electric cars on the road worldwide are in China. Europe and the United States, the second and third largest markets, both saw strong growth with sales increasing 15% and 55% respectively in 2022.
Ambitious policy programmes in major economies, such as the Fit for 55 package in the European Union and the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, are expected to further increase market share for electric vehicles this decade and beyond. By 2030, the average share of electric cars in total sales across China, the EU and the United States is set to rise to around 60%.
The encouraging trends are also having positive knock-on effects for battery production and supply chains. The new report highlights that announced battery manufacturing projects would be more than enough to meet demand for electric vehicles to 2030 in the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.
However, manufacturing remains highly concentrated, with China dominating the battery and component trade – and increasing its share of global electric car exports to more than 35% last year.
Other economies have announced policies to foster domestic industries that will improve their competitiveness in the EV market in years to come. The EU’s Net Zero Industry Act aims for nearly 90% of annual battery demand to be met by domestic battery manufacturers.
Similarly, the US Inflation Reduction Act places emphasis on strengthening domestic supply chains for EVs, batteries and minerals. Between August 2022, when the Inflation Reduction Act was passed, and March 2023, major EV and battery makers announced investments totalling at least USD 52 billion in EV supply chains in North America.
Despite a concentration of electric car sales and manufacturing in only a few big markets, there are promising signs in other regions. Electric car sales more than tripled in India and Indonesia last year, albeit from a low base, and they more than doubled in Thailand.
The share of electric cars in total sales rose to 3% in Thailand, and to 1.5% in India and Indonesia. A combination of effective policies and private sector investment is likely to increase these shares in the future.
In India, the government’s USD 3.2 billion incentive programme, which has attracted investments worth USD 8.3 billion, is expected to increasing battery manufacturing and EV rollout substantially in the coming years.
In emerging and developing economies, the most dynamic area of electric mobility is two- or three-wheel vehicles, which outnumber cars.
For example, over half of India’s three-wheeler registrations in 2022 were electric, demonstrating their growing popularity. In many developing economies, two- or three-wheelers offer an affordable way to get access to mobility, meaning their electrification is important to support sustainable development.
Can you still drive gas cars after 2035?
But owners of vehicles with internal combustion engines will still be permitted to operate or resell them after 2035. With the average lifespan of a car in the U.S. pegged at about 12 years, there will be a need for gasoline for decades to come. Still, that demand will decline dramatically.
Will all cars be electric by 2050?
In a report last month, Thunder Said Energy, a Europe-based energy research firm run by industry analyst Rob West, said that even if 97% of new car sales in the developed world are fully electric in 2050, there will be about 1 billion gasoline-powered and hybrid vehicles on the world’s roads that year.
Will gas powered cars ever go away?
Starting in 2035, California will prohibit the sale of new gas-powered cars. A measure approved by the California Air Resources Board requires all new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks sold in the state to generate zero tailpipe emissions by then.
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