- A report from ABI Research indicates that electric vehicles (EVs) will exceed 20% of global mileage share by 2030.
- The report estimates that only 2% of new consumer vehicles this year will be electric, but local governments will contribute to more widespread adoption through regulatory measures such as urban emissions zones.
- The report also predicts that electric transportation will encompass mobility forms besides cars, to include bikes, scooters, shuttles, boats and in the more distant future, passenger-carrying drones.
This research supports the current electric transportation trend that many cities have embraced to a greater degree recently than in years past. Although interest in EVs experienced an initial boom in the 1990s, that waned for a variety of reasons and hasn't regained steam until the past few years. Dozens of transit agencies across the country — including Dallas, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, DC — have been leading the EV trend by replacing diesel or natural gas buses with electric, with a recent study predicting that 80% of municipal bus fleets around the world would transition to electric by 2040.
The predicted surge in EVs will require charging station and power grid infrastructure expansion, the report says, and the need for EV-compatible chargers will drive the creation of a network of fast chargers and wireless charging stations. Companies like Blink Charging already are working to integrate electric charging stations into light poles and other smart infrastructure for greater energy management, and Sprint announced work on an autonomous EV charger that would drive itself to vehicles in need of a charge.
States, cities and utilities alike are preparing for more widespread EV adoption and the effect it will have on the electrical grid and other infrastructure. New York and California gave the go-ahead for nearly $1 billion in electric transportation expansion and infrastructure investments, and a New Jersey utility announced its intention to spend $300 million on EV infrastructure. Atlanta passed an ordinance requiring new residential and commercial construction to include EV charging infrastructure, among its other regulations to boost EV use.
The study predictions for greater electric transportation adoption suggest that cities will continue moving forward with their electrification and emissions reduction plans, despite the federal government's recent move to freeze auto emissions standards at 2020 levels and revoke California's ability to set its own rules for EVs and vehicle efficiency.
Urban emissions zones are catching on in Europe and the study's researchers believe they soon will gain popularity in the United States as well. The goal of the zones is to ban older, diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles and ultimately create "zero emissions zones" and city centers where only electric-powered vehicles are allowed to operate.