Over the last several years, and especially in the last few months, automakers have been generating splashy headlines as they promote their future electric vehicles. Judging from these headlines alone, one might conclude that the all-electric future is just years away.
However, fossil-fuel-burning, internal-combustion vehicles might dominate the global vehicle market longer than some might have hoped.
Last week, consulting firm LMC Automotive published its analysis of the future market share of electric vehicles through the year 2030. It concluded that the ascendance of electric vehicles might be slower than some might believe.
LMC concluded that by 2030 more than half of the world’s light-duty vehicles would still be powered by fossil fuels.
Three countries were specifically called out in the report: the United States, China, and India. These countries will have the largest effect on the slowed adoption of electric vehicles.
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In the U.S. LMC foresees EV market-share growth topping out at three to four percent annually. That leaves 69 percent of all light-duty vehicles in the States still powered by fossil fuels in 2030.
China, even with its aggressive legislation aimed at converting its vehicle fleet to electric, still could have 48 percent of its vehicles powered by fossil fuels in 11 years time. To look at that the other way, however, is a bit promising: In just 11 years, more than half of China’s light-duty vehicles will be electric. For such a populous country, that’s no small feat. It will undoubtedly have a positive environmental effect.
On the other hand, India — despite recent governmental fervor for the adoption of an electrified vehicle fleet — could still have 97 percent of its vehicles (including two-, three-, and four-wheelers) powered by fossil fuels by the end of the next decade.
This is bad news for those who hoped that the enthusiasm shown for electric vehicles by automakers and governments alike would translate into robust public adoption of the eco-friendlier vehicles. Eagerness alone won’t do it, though.
In the U.S., trucks and SUVs remain supremely popular. Electrification lags behind internal combustion engines as a propulsion system in those key segments. Until customer tastes can be changed and EV charging infrastructure greatly broadened, the growth of electric vehicle popularity will remain slow — at least for the next decade.