As the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, many industry analysts are debating a key question: How quickly can plug-in cars become mainstream?
The conventional view holds that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies.
But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe.
Between 2025 and 2030, the group predicts, plug-in vehicles will become cost competitive with traditional petroleum-powered cars, even without subsidies and even before taking fuel savings into account. Once that happens, mass adoption should quickly follow.
“Our forecast doesn’t hinge on countries adopting stringent new fuel standards or climate policies,”
said Colin McKerracher, the head of advanced transport analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“It’s an economic analysis, looking at what happens when the upfront cost of electric vehicles reaches parity. That’s when the real shift occurs.”
If that prediction pans out, it will have enormous consequences for the auto industry, oil markets and the world’s efforts to slow global warming.
Read more: The New York Times