OPEC is reported to have raised its 2040 electric vehicle fleet prediction from 46 million vehicles a year ago, to 266 million. It now also says the spread of EVs could dampen sales targets in some parts of Asia as soon as 2018.
According to one study, the reduced demand for fossil fuels with the uptake of EVs by 2040 will reduce demand for 8 million barrels of oil, more than the current combined production of Iraq and Iran.
Is this the Kodak moment for car makers when they must decide their direction? The choice is to switch entirely to EV (as Volvo has done) or to continue to produce internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles only, banking on a premise that there will almost certainly always be a demand – albeit majorly reduced – for fossil fuel vehicles.
The speed of uptake of EVs is surprising everyone – oil producers, vehicle manufacturers and Governments. And while the majority of new cars sold are ICE vehicles, the increasingly rapid rise in the sale of EVs will see the crossover – that point where EV sales equal and then surpass the sale of ICE vehicles – come around a lot sooner than predictions from as recently as a year ago.
Before the crossover comes however, there is another important milestone for ICE manufacturers, the peak. That point where sales demand starts to drop off and the steady decline in units sold sets in. That’s when you’ll see the sweet deals on conventional cars as auto companies compete to retain business.
From now until 2040 may seem like a long way off, but to a century-old Automotive industry, it is just another stage in the development of each brand’s relevance to its market.