Elon Musk: Half Of All New Cars Will Be Electric In 10 Years

Elon Musk


Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently spoke at the 2017 National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island, and he painted a picture of the future of transportation.

Elon Musk shared his insights and wisdom with thiry U.S. governors. As usual, he spewed all sorts of fascinating information. His entrance starts at about the 45-minute mark in the video, and we definitely suggest that you take the time to watch/listen to the entire interview.

Musk believes that in 10 years, more than half of all cars built will be electric and autonomous. Within 20 almost all vehicles will be fully autonomous. Nevada Governor, Brian Sandoval, asked Musk what things will look like in five to 10 years. Musk was quick to say that growth is exponential, so the difference between five years and 10 years is significant. Musk responded (via Teslarati):

Elon Musk

The Silicon Valley dress code doesn’t include neckties …

“Probably in 10 years, more than a half of new vehicle production is electric in the United States, half of all production will be EV, I think almost all cars produced will be autonomous.”

When Elon Musk was referring to self-driving cars in 10 years, he wasn’t referring to half of vehicles being fully autonomous (without a steering wheel). But by 20 years that will be the case, according to Musk.

“There will not be a steering wheel, in 20 years, it will be like having a horse.”

The horse part of the comment was in reference to what it will be like if you still have a car that’s not autonomous.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean half of all cars on the road. This is only half of all new vehicles that come to market. It will be much further off before we see most drivers in self-driving cars.

Tesla still has plans to cross the country in a fully autonomous car by the end of the year. Last October, Tesla announced that all of its new cars are being built with hardware capable of full autonomy. Shortly thereafter, the automaker debuted a video showing a fully self-driving Model X.

Tesla is currently working on a multitude of incremental over-the-air updates to get the software side of the equation up to par for public use. Once this is situated, it will only be regulating bodies that determine when and if fully self-driving vehicles can hit public roadways.

Video Description via National Governors Association on YouTube:

Closing Plenary Introducing the News Chairs Initiative “Ahead of the Curve”

Speaker: Elon Musk
Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia, Chair
Governor Brian Sandoval, Nevada, Vice Chair

Keynote Speaker:
• Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX

Source: via Teslarati

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50 Comments on "Elon Musk: Half Of All New Cars Will Be Electric In 10 Years"

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Half of all news cars? LOL title.

Yup! “Elon Musk: Half Of All News Cars Will Be Electric In 10 Years” Elon will be making News, by Selling Half of All New Cars in 10 Years!

There was a projection of about 50% by 2040 which I think is over stated by half.

It is spelled “understated”.

Clever but wrong.

Am I the only one thinking this is much less than I hoped for?

Yeah, I hoped that News companies would catch up faster.

it is not about electrification, so much as much as bloviating about how nobody will either want, or legally be allowed, to drive. That is where the money is.

EV yes, without steering wheel, no.

Let’s say that Elon makes a few rare mistakes some time, otherwise he wouldn’t be human.

As enthusiastic as I am for electrics I don’t see how the current electric infrastructure could handle that many vehicles coming on line. Given the amount of time to plan and build new energy sources can it be ready in time?

Also, unless there’s some kind of breakthrough with a non lithium battery is there enough lithium to make all those batteries?

There is plenty of spare electricity outside of peak hours. In fact the lack of demand is even a problem in some places causing negative electricity prices.

Yes lack of demand at night is a problem right now especially in Ontario. Still, my charging station dishes out 6000W which is twice as much as I need to heat the house most winter days. Now imagine is half the households in the neighbourhood are charging at night. Can the transformer boxes take it? Let’s hear from some electrical engineers out there.

Having surveyed, designed and built many of these stations I can tell you the problem is different between different types of properties. In cities the area most likely an issue is the line DROP from the distribution line/poll to the property. The local utilities all too often (100% of the time in my area on buildings at 400Amp panels and above) undersize the drop wire vs the panel they serve and rely upon the idea of non-concurrent loads to handle the transformer and distribution BUT mix it up with the drop line. This has been a big problem as when the building adds load for EV and looks at their panel they think they’re fine but then the utility drop is too small for the capacity. The utilities also typically run to death their transformers, we had multiple sites where the transformers were “normally” operated at 150% to 200% of maximum rated capacity. The utilities makes their $$ based on a regulated rate of return on on what they spend on building things (here 11% annual) and so prices get gold plated and overhead costs get added by slowing things down. To really build out consumption management (load management) with… Read more »

The Grid side of this question, is not as bad as we think: with more localised Grid Storage at Sub Stations, Solar Roofs, and Home Energy Storage, and General Grid Upgrades, over 10 years, it wil not be as big a huccup as many think! It has already been reported that a large % of current total cars in the US could already ne charged overnight easily, now.

India might be a challenge, as they won’t allow Autonomous Vehicles to cause their many taxi drivers to be unemployed.

As to vehicles, and lithium, this is not about 50% of ALL vehicles, just 50% of New Sold Vehicles!

This is not an issue.

From an energy production and grid point of view, it takes less energy to charge electric vehicles than the electricity used to produce and refine fuel (diesel/gasoline).

Another common misconception is that all electric vehicles need to be fully charged every day. This is incorrect, you only need to charge the ‘average daily used kWh’.

Exactly. Not buying gas means lower electric bill at Exxon, spare capacity for you.

EV-A — that is only somewhat correct. But it is not just electricity that is in the energy inputs required for refining, transporting, etc of gasoline.

It is often expressed in the terms of “energy” inputs, which is often translated into “electricity” by well-meaning people who are just trying to simplify a complex issue down into simple terms. But electricity from the grid really isn’t where all that energy comes from. It is also natural gas, refined fuels, even coal. Some refineries even generate their own electricity, that would never go back out onto the grid.

But yes, switching from gasoline to plugging in an EV isn’t purely a net-new drain on the grid.

Well said.

One minor addition, some refineries generate more electricity than they need and export the excess to the grid:



The other one missing is that if we charge 75-80% of ALL transportation at nighttime, we would have plenty of grid and power.
The fact is, that nighttime demand, PLUS 95% of all transportation, would be around the same amount as daytime demand. And when we get to that level, you can bet on it that utilities will simply build more power plants (hopefully nuclear).

It’s not going to be nuclear. People need to stop holding out hope for this fantasy energy source. It’s too expensive and pretty soon there won’t be any companies even installing new plants.

When you get your electric bill, in a state with no night-time charging rate, you’ll put up solar panels quicker then a charging panther.

Because, why pay them, when you can pay off solar panels so quickly, and make yourself richer.

actually, it is better to have a nighttime rate and higher rate during the daytime.
With that approach, you can sell more of the electricity in the daytime and then charge at night with much cheaper electricity.

“As enthusiastic as I am for electrics I don’t see how the current electric infrastructure could handle that many vehicles coming on line. Given the amount of time to plan and build new energy sources can it be ready in time?”

I’ve seen it claimed that switching cars over to EVs won’t increase demand for electricity any more than installing central air conditioning in homes and businesses did back in the sixties and seventies. If that’s true, then I feel confident the utilities can handle it. Been there, done that!

“Also, unless there’s some kind of breakthrough with a non lithium battery is there enough lithium to make all those batteries?”

There’s plenty of lithium; it’s so common that there has been little incentive to explore for it. Anyone claiming otherwise is trying to sell you something — probably speculative stocks in a mineral exploration company.

If you’re gonna worry about any supply bottleneck for li-ion batteries, worry about cobalt or nickel.



hold on there greenhorn. NUMEROUS studies have been done to see what would happen if we move 100% of our transportation to our grid. Turns out that it all depends on certain conditions. Imagine if 100% of the transportation had to be charged every 20 miles. That means that you will have more than 50% of your extra electricity coming from the daytime. For that, we would have to increase nearly all grids and add a LOT OF EXPENSIVE POWER PLANTS. It is for this reason that I have expressed a deep hatred of plug-in hybrids and low charge vehicles like the leaf and I3. They will encourage owners to plug-in during the daytime and increase our demand, which will increase the costs of electricity for all of us. OTOH, if less than 25% of the vehicles charge in the daytime, then the grid can handle things and interestingly, so can our power plants. It will not costs the utilities extra, but it will be using the more expensive electricity. Now, if less than 15% charge in the daytime, or that is that more than 85% of the charging takes place between 9 pm to 8/9 am, things REALLY CHANGE.… Read more »

“Imagine if 100% of the transportation had to be charged every 20 miles.”

Let’s not, it will never happen.

The reality is that if anything in the future long before we reach even 50% of the vehicles on the road being plug-ins, people will be encouraged to charge at work after lunch at highly discounted rates in order to soak up excess mid-day solar production. See duck curve graph anywhere on the internet.

BTW, you are 100% correct about the elements. Li is a MAJOR item. Heck, Tesla is waiting for a particular company to come out of the courts and will likely then buy them. And they will obtain Li at a fraction of the costs of other means.

At least half. I would say closer to “most”. We are seeing already today how every car manufacturer jumps on the EV bandwagon, even those that initially was very reluctant such as Toyota and FCA. Electric vehicles cannot be ignored anymore, the performance is already so much better than ICE in every respect outside of range. Once we get a better battery the ICE is truly dead. There is no way anyone would want to buy an ICE car when EVs do everything better.

GO ELON GO SAVE HUMANITY …too bad there are many people who hate Elon, a good example is Cory Johnson of Bloomberg.

Steven Loveday, wanna check that Headline: “Elon Musk: Half Of All News Cars Will Be Electric In 10 Years” – News Cars? Really? Just the News Company Cars?

That one is my bad, lol. Fixed, thanks for heads-up Robert!

Fox News, rumor has it, will be first with a fleet of electrics.

If “cars” excludes CUVs, SUVs and pickup trucks I could see EVs reaching 25% of new cars sale by 2027. A major break through in battery costs could accelerate this. I think part of the challenge will be as EV adoption spreads it will put downward pressure on ICE fuel prices which will make 50 MPG hybrids less expensive to operate per mile in many areas of the US that have relatively expensive electricity but cheap gasoline. And with the new hybrid Accord and Camry knocking on 50 MPG one won’t be restricted to the Prius.
I really hope Elon is closer to being correct than I am on this though.

Half of all new cars in the USA.
Far more than that in China.
And I think in Europe to.

Toyota seems to agree, abandoning their position that ev’s are not the future.
Now they claim to have a long range ss battery electric coming in 2022.

Toyota really missed the bus on EVs. It’s hard to believe the company that made the Prius could end up getting caught so flat footed. Luckily for them their good name may still allow them to flag down a cab and catch up.

1/2 of all cars being electric? No problem for the ‘grid’ at all. Since these (if charged off-peak, as the vast majority currently are) improve the central station load factor, no infrastructure changes are needed at all for greater overall efficiency, and electricity price rates should actually come down (although total utility revenue will be up).

But seeing how in the past 10 years we’ve struggled to get 2% penetration, I’d say 50% in the next 10 is too optimistic. It all depends on the cost of other sources. Even if petroleum skyrocked, there would be plenty of competition from CNG.

ALL alternate sources of energy would have to skyrocket in price, along with a massive increase in wind/solar power, (to keep electricity prices from similarly skyrocketing) to shift consumer demand to 50% electric in the next ten years.

Now if political considerations FORCE extremely high ‘MPG’ ‘CAFE’ averages, then car manufactures will simply make all their vehicles plug-in hybrids, like the VOLT or ENERGI products – perhaps THAT would force 50% plug-ins.

Will autonomy mean the end of needing a driver’s license?

Yes. The AI will have the driver’s license.

Half in 10 years sounds high, given we’re currently at roughly 2%, at least at first blush. But honestly, if I were setting a Vegas-style betting line, I think I’d put the over/under at right around 50%. The primary hurdle right now is the psychology of the American consumer. MANY car buyers today either still don’t know BEVs exist or think they’re glorified golf carts (slow, can’t drive in snow, 40 mile range, etc.). I run into these misperceptions all the time when people find out I drive a Leaf. But the 200+ mile mainstream-priced trio (T3, B, L2) will change that in a hurry. And that’s the most important domino to fall, since it will directly lead to many more people buying products that are on the market right now, but it will trigger the necessary knock-on effect of forcing the other car companies to develop and release their own BEVs. (As I keep saying, if the trio starts selling well, then we could see at least one or two surprise announcements from Ford, Honda, or Toyota of BEVs that they seemingly developed in record time, when they actually were working on them for a while — as in… Read more »

Word. I think it would be great but I just don’t see it unless there is some big breakthrough in battery tech. When you realize that only then EVs are going to be cost competitive with ICEs and that many people live somewhere they can’t consistently charge I just don’t see it happening. America loves their SUVs and trucks and while there is all this talk about a 200+ mile EV they’re for the most part all expensive and/or small cars. When you can make a reasonably priced SUV/truck go 200+ (or realistically more) on a charge and make that charge happen quickly then we’re on to something but until then I just don’t see the masses going EV.

You obviously do NOT know what you are talking about. Tesla Model S is the number 1 luxury full size car in America. It outsells ALL OTHER COMPETITORS. ALL OF THEM. In fact, if you subtract MB S class (which was #1), Tesla outsells all of the other competitors COMBINED. Model X is interesting. It SHOULD have been a top seller, but they have had QA issues with it due to complexity. As such, it is middle of the pact on Large Luxury SUVs. Now, we see Model 3, and Tesla has admitted that they have presold over 400,000. However, due to the quarterlies, we can see that they have over $700,000,000 in deposits. Now, some of that is S/X deposts. But that is less than $100,000,000, which means that 600-650M are deposts for the model 3. Not only is this the best launch of a car, EVER, but, it means that it will outsell ALL of its direct competitors. One of its largest direct competitors is the BMW 3 series. http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/bmw-3-series-sales-figures.html If you look through the us sales, you will see that until the last 2 years, they were growing or holding steady at around 100,000 cars / year.… Read more »

What does “EV” and “electric” mean here.

If it means BEV then I think that’s still too optimistic. Not if we count all passenger cars and light trucks.

Maybe if you just count EPA cars (not SUVs/crossovers or light trucks).

For ELon and most ppl, EV is ONLY for battery. Most ppl do not consider hybrids to be EVs since they still run gas/diesel.
And consider that Tesla will be out with their truck in 2 years, that will take on F150, F250, and low-end of F350 with more torque than they have, for 30-35K.

I would say that Tesla is going to do just fine. And I would say that EVs will be 50% in 5 years. Game over for ICE.

“Probably in 10 years, more than a half of new vehicle production is electric in the United States…”

And happily, at least according to statistics in Wikipedia articles, the international market penetration of PEVs (Plug-in EVs) is very close to the domestic percentage, or at least was last year: 0.90% in the U.S. vs. 0.86% internationally (sources linked below).

I certainly hope it will happen as fast as Elon thinks it will! I’ve been disappointed at the slow rate of growth from 2013-2015. Hopefully that’s going to improve; if the market penetration is going to get to 50% in only 10 years, the rate of growth will have to improve substantially.



I don’t know about in 10 years. 50% by 2030 seems possible, and I’d say certainly by 2035. The first 10% will be the hardest. Once EVs reach price parity with ICE and then drop below, and word gets out to the general public that EVs are normal and actually good, then I think sales will quickly spike higher.

50% in 10 years? Nope. More like 50% in 5 years. Nobody wants to buy an expensive car that will lose its value quickly. Would you pay 100,000 for a car that in 2-3 years was worth less than 20K? Or how about buying a 35K car that in 2-3 years was worth less than 5K? Simply put, Tesla is going to move fast over the next 2 years installing new factories. If they do a great job with the Model 3, NOBODY will want old complicated, expensive to own (buy AND run), ICE cars. They will like the idea of a simple car that is faster than more expensive cars, is always full because you charge nightly, can go across the nation CHEAPLY, and has a simple interface that is updated constantly so that the owners have a new car every 6 months or so. When Model Y and the truck hit the market in 2 years, and Tesla has 4 factories producing cars and can add these in QUICKLY, it will be over for ICE passenger vehicles. And when the tesla regular truck hits, nobody will want to pay more from a F150 or F250 or bottom end… Read more »

It is certainly possible although I think it will be a bit longer mainly because I expect a few extra years for ICE companies to switch gears with a few years of really low car sales in general.

I’m more optimistic. I believe the experts at Stanford and Google. EV price/performance tipping point is around 2025. Anyone thinking multiple decades is plain wrong.

> The horse part of the comment was in reference to what it will be like if you still have a car that’s not autonomous.

Since we’re all in the business of interpreting for one another what Elon actually meant to say, not just what he said, I shall beg to differ.

I think he said so referring to the fact that a horse *is* autonomous.