By 2040 electric vehicles will make up over a third of sales

25 February 2016
By Jack Loughran
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Volkswagen XL1 hybrid car displayed at Auto China 2014 in Beijing

Volkswagen XL1 hybrid car displayed at Auto China 2014 in Beijing

Electric vehicles (EVs) will become cheaper to run than petrol vehicles in the 2020s due to the falling price of battery technology according to new research.

Sales of EVs will hit 41 million by 2040, representing 35 per cent of new light duty vehicle sales claims the study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

This would represent an almost 90-fold increase on the equivalent sales figure for 2015 with approximately 462,000 EVs sold last year, a 60 per cent rise from 2014.

This projected change will have far-reaching implications beyond the car market. By 2040 EVs will represent a quarter of the cars on the road, displacing 13 million barrels per day of crude oil but using 1,900TWh of electricity. This would be equivalent to nearly 8 per cent of global electricity demand in 2015.

Colin McKerracher, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: "At the core of this forecast is the work we have done on EV battery prices.

“Lithium-ion battery costs have already dropped by 65 per cent since 2010, reaching $350 per kWh last year. We expect EV battery costs to be well below $120 per kWh by 2030, and to fall further after that as new chemistries come in."

The Chinese government recently said over half of new vehicle purchases for some of its departments would be ‘new energy vehicles’.

However, a recent study found that the country’s drive to increase the uptake of electric vehicles, ostensibly to help reduce air pollution, could have the opposite effect due to the reliance on coal-fired power generation.

Furthermore, it was recently reported that US authorities have asked the German carmaker Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles in the USA as a way of making up for its rigging of emission tests.

In a new poll published today, 16 per cent of Londoners said they intended to vote for the Mayoral candidate who promises to tackle the city's air pollution.

London voters also believe that electric vehicles will solve the Capital's pollution problem with 80 per cent saying they would consider going green if they were buying a car in the next six months.

The research was commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the professional body that represents the retail motor industry. It found that 60 per cent of Londoners are concerned about the environment and the long-term impact of air pollution, which claims over 10,000 lives a year in the City.

But doubts linger around the capability of green cars. The majority of those polled believe they are more expensive to buy and to run than petrol or diesel cars, and that they are slower with a limited range. Other concerns include a lack of charging points and service technicians in London.

Steve Nash, CEO at IMI, said: "Very soon drivers will realise the true capabilities of electric vehicles with manufacturers continuing to advance the technology.

“As our research indicates demand will surge, and it's clear the next London Mayor has an urgent task to ensure the charging infrastructure is capable of keeping pace as Londoners make the switch to greener fuel to get around the city.

"The government will also need to focus on the skills base required to keep these cars on the road. With only 1,000 technicians currently qualified in the UK, they have some way to go."

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