Electric vehicles

EV adoption is rising, but challenges remain

Report indicates additional policy is needed to make road transport net-zero by 2050.
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Francis Scialabba

less than 3 min read

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A new report from BloombergNEF estimates that there will be over 100 million passenger EVs on roads across the globe by 2026, and over 700 million by 2040.

Internal combustion vehicle sales, which peaked in 2017, are presently declining. EVs are currently displacing 1.5 million barrels of oil demand per day, and global oil demand for road transport will peak in 2027.

That may all sound like good news, but, according to the report, without additional policymaking by governments globally, those numbers might not be enough to keep global emissions targets on track.

BNEF’s 2023 Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook considers two scenarios, one which assumes no additional policies are implemented, and another which would be consistent with global net-zero emissions by 2050.

BNEF noted that the gap between the two scenarios “is smaller than in any of our previous projections.”

In the former scenario, BNEF predicts cumulative EV sales to reach $8.8 trillion by 2030 and $57 trillion by 2050, but that less than 50% of global passenger vehicles on the road will be electric in 2040. In the latter, the report indicates that neither passenger cars nor commercial vehicle sales are currently on track to meet the ambitious mid-century net-zero goal.

“Direct electrification via batteries is the most efficient, cost-effective, and commercially available route to fully decarbonizing road transport,” Aleksandra O’Donovan, head of electric vehicles at BloombergNEF, said in a statement. “Still, a stronger push is needed on areas like heavy trucking, charging infrastructure, and raw material supply.”

BNEF’s report recommends stricter CO2 emissions standards, particularly for vans, trucks, and other commercial vehicles, which currently make up 30% of road transport emissions. Additional policy recommendations include funding for EV battery recycling and research, as well as for public charging networks, and, for governments with 2050 net-zero goals, phasing out sales of new internal combustion vehicles by 2035 at the latest.

Without those changes, BloombergNEF still estimates an immense market opportunity for EVs globally, particularly in China, which BNEF estimates will control 31% of a $56.7 trillion market in 2050. But additional policies could bring the total EV market value to over $88 trillion, the report said.

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