If the only positive side of the COVID-19 pandemic were to show us a world without oil, we would undoubtedly endure these difficult times with more hope. The world may get better and cleaner when scientists finally manage to develop a vaccine. BloombergNEF analysts tell us there are reasons for such hopes. According to their forecasts, combustion-engined vehicle sales will probably drop 23 percent worldwide. When it relates to electric car sales, they will fall 18 percent. That means EV market share will increase.

In 2020, the analysts believe we will have 1.7 million electric vehicles sold in the world. That represents 3 percent of global car sales. Currently, we have 7 million of them help make the air more breathable while preserving personal mobility. In 2023, EV new car sales share will rise to 7 percent, with 5.4 million units. That shows how EV adoption will grow in the next few years.

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BloombergNEF says it expects electric cars to account for 31 percent of the whole car fleet by 2040. That’s 67 percent of all municipal buses, 47 percent of two-wheelers, and 24 percent of light commercial vehicles. We repeat: they are talking about all the cars running all over the world. If you refer to new car sales, they will represent 58 percent of all vehicles sold by manufacturers by that time. We believe there is potential for much more than that.

Whether there is or not, electrification has already reduced oil demand by almost 1 million barrels of oil per day in 2020. By 2040, daily oil demand will be 17.6 million barrels lower. On the other hand, cars with a plug will increase electricity demand by 5.2 percent.

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That will require a world investment of $500 billion to get a total of 290 million chargers. Curiously, only 12 million of these chargers will be public, which brings us to the conclusion that most EV adopters will prefer to charge them at home or work. The ones without a home charger will probably have to stick to PHEVs or e-Power, such as the Nissan Kicks

It is worth to remember that the demand for EVs is obviously only growing in markets where they are already sold. Many countries do not have them for sale at all. Some others have just started to offer these vehicles with no government incentives for their adoption, which implies higher prices and not being competitive. At least while new battery technologies do not deliver the promised price parity of EVs and combustion-engined cars, which will come when battery pack prices fall below $100/kWh.

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Regarding fuel cells and hydrogen use, BloombergNEF believes their main applications will be in heavy-duty commercial vehicles and municipal buses. The forecast expects 3.9 percent of trucks and 6.5 percent of buses to use them globally by 2040. Most of them will be in East Asia and Europe. BloombergNEF does not believe they will be popular in passenger cars.

It is a pity we do not have access to the full BloombergNEF analysis. If it has specific pages for more mature EV markets, such as the US, China, and Europe, they may present even better numbers for EV sales compared to the ones of ICE cars. We will try to obtain it with the PR department of BloombergNEF.

Source: BloombergNEF via Reuters

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Electric Vehicle Sales to Fall 18% in 2020 but Long-term Prospects Remain Undimmed
May 19, 2020

EVs more resilient as overall car market expected to shrink by 23% in response to health and economic crisis

London and New York, May 19, 2020 – Sales of electric passenger vehicles are forecast to fall 18% in 2020, to 1.7 million worldwide – with the coronavirus crisis interrupting ten successive years of strong growth. However, sales of combustion engine cars are set to drop even faster this year (by 23%), and the long-term electrification of transport is projected to accelerate in the years ahead.

The latest annual Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook, published today by research company BloombergNEF (BNEF), shows electric models accounting for 58% of new passenger car sales globally by 2040, and 31% of the whole car fleet. They will also make up 67% of all municipal buses on the road by that year, plus 47% of two-wheelers[1] and 24% of light commercial vehicles.

The figures have major implications for oil and electricity markets. Transport electrification, particularly in the form of two-wheelers, is already taking out almost 1 million barrels of oil demand per day and by 2040 it will remove 17.6 million barrels per day. Electric vehicles (EVs) of all types are seen adding 5.2% to global electricity demand by 2040.

Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport for BNEF, commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic is set to cause a major downturn in global auto sales in 2020. It is raising difficult questions about automakers’ priorities and their ability to fund the transition. The long-term trajectory has not changed, but the market will be bumpy for the next three years.”

BNEF’s analysis suggests that global sales of internal combustion engine, or ICE, cars peaked in 2017 and will continue their long-term decline after a temporary post-crisis recovery. For the first time, BNEF sees overall new passenger vehicle sales peaking in 2036 as changing global demographics, increasing urbanization and more shared mobility outweigh the effects of economic development – though the fleet size keeps growing. Electric models are seen accounting for 3% of global car sales in 2020, rising to 7% in 2023, at some 5.4 million units.

Further falls in lithium-ion battery prices will mean that the lifetime and upfront costs of an electric car ‘cross over’ with those of ICE equivalents in around 2025, on average. However, the date will vary greatly depending on the market, as early as 2022 for large cars in Europe but 2030 or after for small ones in India and Japan.

This year’s Outlook breaks new ground in examining prospects for the growth of electric two-wheelers and fuel-cell vehicles, using hydrogen. It sees the latter technology accounting for 3.9% of heavy-duty commercial vehicle sales and 6.5% of municipal bus sales globally by 2040, but with higher shares in East Asia and parts of Europe. Fuel cells are not seen encroaching far into lighter-duty commercial or passenger car markets.

The report sees fully autonomous vehicles or ‘robotaxis’ beginning to play a much larger role in the late 2030s, helped by the growing deployment of advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, and the build-out of sensor supply chains.

Aleksandra O’Donovan, head of electrified transport for BNEF, said: “We’ve taken our closest look yet at electric vehicle charging infrastructure. We estimate that the world will need around 290 million charging points by 2040, including 12 million in public places, involving cumulative investment of $500 billion.”

BNEF estimates that home, workplace and private commercial charging will account for 78% of this investment. Investment in public charging infrastructure is seen as a cumulative $111 billion across all countries by 2040. Most of this can be provided profitably by the private sector as utilization rates rise in the 2020s, but government support may be needed in some regions.

There are currently over 7 million passenger EVs on the road, together with more than 500,000 e-buses, almost 400,000 electric delivery vans and trucks, and 184 million electric mopeds, scooters and motorcycles on the road globally. The majority of the e-buses and electric two-wheelers on the road today are in China.

The report also discusses the impact of the coronavirus crisis on public transit. It sees more than a short-term effect as lockdowns ease. Instead, there is likely to be a lasting reduction in ridership of municipal bus and metro services, and more traffic congestion in cities. Shared mobility operators have suffered, but will rebound quickly on the back of food delivery, logistics and micromobility services.

[1] Two wheelers includes electric mopeds, scooters and motorcycles, but excludes e-bikes.

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