The Dawn of the Electric Car

The electric car is poised to have its moment. In fact, the 2020s could be the decade of the electric car.
March 6, 2016, 1pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Matej Kastelic

Tom Randall reports: "Battery prices fell 35 percent last year and are on a trajectory to make unsubsidized electric vehicles as affordable as their gasoline counterparts in the next six years, according to a new analysis of the electric-vehicle market by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)."

The same report expects for long-range electric vehicles to cost $22,000 (in today's dollars) by the year 2040. Randall notes that OPEC is maintaining that the adoption of electric car technology will occur slowly, making up just 1 percent of car sales by 2040. But many indications say otherwise. Sales of electric cars are now growing 60 percent year over year worldwide, for instance—the same rate that pushed henry Ford's Model T past the horse and buggy back in the 1910s, according to Randall.

After noting the growth rate of electric vehicle sales, Randall changes focus to the impact the electric car market will have on the oil industry. "[Bloomberg analysis] found that electric vehicles could displace oil demand of 2 million barrels a day as early as 2023. That would create a glut of oil equivalent to what triggered the 2014 oil crisis." At that point, the story becomes equally about the rise of the electric car as it becomes about the next great oil crash.

David Roberts picked up on the report for Vox by explaining the S curve of technology adoption and rehashing Randall's points.

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Published on Thursday, February 25, 2016 in Bloomberg Business
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