Just The Facts

Electric Cars in 2040: Sustainable Development

Are we on course to electrify enough cars to meet climate change mitigation targets?

Takeaways


  • There could be as many as 875 million electric cars in the passenger vehicle sector worldwide by 2040.
  • Although there could be 875 million electric cars worldwide by 2040, this would displace only nine million barrels of daily oil demand.

1. There could be as many as 875 million electric cars in the passenger vehicle sector worldwide by 2040.

2. This projection was made in 2017 by the International Energy Agency, the intergovernmental energy policy organization, in its most ambitious climate policy action scenario (the “Sustainable Development Scenario”).

3. However, astonishingly this 875 million projection would displace only a bit more than nine million barrels of daily oil demand.

4. In other words, it would displace less than 10% of the current total of 94 million barrels per day.

5. That means even such a large switch to electric cars would not dent global oil demand by much.

6. One reason is that the Sustainable Development Scenario assumes that electric cars would account for just 43% of the global passenger car fleet of 2 billion or so in 2040.

7. The bigger reason is that road freight, aviation, shipping and plastics production are expected to continue creating new oil demand.

8. To meet more ambitious targets that contain climate change’s damage better – such as the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree Celsius warming limit – three-quarters of that fleet would need to be electric (and charged by nearly zero-emission power) by 2040.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center and the International Energy Agency

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