- By 2040, 54% of new car sales and 33% of all cars globally will be electric vehicles (EV), according to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). While some regions are ahead in terms of charging infrastructure, BNEF predicts an "infrastructure cap” in the mid 2030s that will significantly slow growth.
- By 2029, BNEF predicts EV prices will reach unsubsidized parity with traditional cars with internal combustion engines, which is said to be when mass market adoption will take off.
- While the report says that the impact of autonomous vehicles will be "limited" during the next 10 years, BNEF expects 80% of all AVs to also be electric by 2040.
The Bloomberg prediction feels more optimistic than some recent state-level projections from California or Massachusetts, and also more optimistic than the recent EEI report that projects 7 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2025. The two biggest drivers of the BNEF prediction are the "tumbling" of battery prices and more commitments from automakers to produce EVs.
While EVs are great for cities looking to hit low emissions goals, they bring with them inherent planning and utility challenges. Some cities like Boulder, CO are already working on ambitious goals to prepare for a surge in electric vehicles on city streets – but, if EVs become ubiquitous as quickly as Bloomberg is predicting, cities worldwide will need to prepare.
Private sector players will have to stay ahead of the EV curve, too. Already, builders of parking garages must rethink design and strategy to accommodate electric vehicles. Ultimately, whether electric vehicles are a boon to cities, utilities and other private sector companies has little to do with consumer behavior – because consumers will adopt EV as the prices drop – and much to do with how parties prepare themselves.