How soon will electric cars become commonplace?

Electric vehicles accounted for less than 1% of all new sales at the end 2017. They were viewed by most people as an intriguing but unproven idea.

Electric vehicles accounted for 2% of all new sales at the end of 2018. They were regarded as an intriguing but unproven phenomenon and not ready to take off.

Based on the current growth rates and forecasts electric vehicles will only account for 3.6% of all new sales by 2019. This makes them an attractive but not compelling idea.

If the trend continues, perhaps a 6.5% market share at the end of 2020 will be a reality. Tesla is building 1M/yr Model 3 and Y, which are priced at the average new car price. This steals sales from small crossovers.

You will get nearly 12% of all new sales in 2021, if you continue the 80% YoY increase that has been consistent for many years. People notice.

2022? 21%. 2023? 38%.

You will break 50% halfway through 2024, which is only five years away. EVs will reach purchase price parity by the time they have achieved continued improvements in battery chemistry, production scale, and their compelling operating cost advantage. Nearly everyone makes a purchase decision with electric in mind. The cost argument has been eliminated, the range anxiety argument has been disproven, durability and longevity concerns have been disproved. 15 years of consumer data shows that charging infrastructure is fast and easy to use. If you don’t mind paying an additional $20,000 for your vehicle to make it sound VROOM, but take longer to accelerate, then you are out of options.

What looked like an exponential curve before 2025 turns out to be a logistic curve, just as many graphs of real-world phenomena show. As the market approaches saturation, the growth rate decreases. Around 80% to 90% of new sales are lost, while niche markets remain resistant to full conversion. For example, vehicles with very high duty cycles in areas where there are few charging options. New solutions can be highly profitable even if they are expensive, as the cost incentive is strongest at the highest duty cycles. This is why, in 2019, cities pay an additional half million dollars to buy electric buses that can save $50k a year on fuel and maintenance. It’s also the reason why even the most marginal applications of EVs will convert when they become more affordable than the alternatives.

ICE engines will be less popular in many niches by 2030 due to falling sales volume and correspondingly high unit costs. This includes trucks and vans. As the last generation mostly-ICE vehicles ages, decreasing gas and diesel demand puts increasing pressure on production and distribution. Fueling stations are less common as home charging is the main source of power.

ICE vehicles will be largely regarded by 2035-2040 as toys for the wealthy.

It was just one man’s dream, but the current data supports it strongly. Although extrapolation is not sufficient to prove it, I will say that models are coming to market and how much R&D money is involved, it’s very possible.


Leave a Comment