15 Jun 17 Electric vehicles by 2030: Disruptions and opportunities galore

An economist from Stanford University, Tony Seba, is causing much anxiety in the energy and automobile sectors. He predicts that people in the US will stop owning vehicles. According to his report, “By 2030, within 10 years of regulatory approval of fully autonomous vehicles, 95% of all US passenger miles will be served by transport-as-a-service (TaaS) providers who will own and operate fleets of autonomous electric vehicles.” Annual manufacturing of new cars in the country will drop by 70%, electric vehicles will rule its roads, and the geopolitical importance of oil will vastly diminish.

Electric vehicles

No doubt, then, why investors in the US are betting big on Tesla – the country’s most valuable car maker, although it sold just a handful of vehicles in 2016, compared to General Motors’ millions. Tesla is all geared up to disrupt the automobile industry with the launch of its affordable Model 3 electric car.

China, the United States and India (in that order) are the top-3 carbon emitting countries in the world according to data published by EDGAR. A few days ago, the US withdrew from the Paris climate accord. In response to that, large American corporations have pledged their support to the treaty, including Elon Musk; and China and the EU will together take a leading role in tackling climate change.

Closer to home, India is doing its bit to support the Paris treaty. The vision of the country’s prime minister is to electrify all vehicles by 2030, a roadmap detailed by the government’s think tank, NITI Aayog. Analysts have predicted that India will be the world’s third largest seller of cars by 2020. If the country achieves its 100% EV (electric vehicle) goal, players in the industry must be prepared … Car makers will be forced to go electric; what happens to the manufacturers of combustion engines? Will energy companies set up an infrastructure of charging stations, or develop cheaper and more efficient battery power?

There is already much activity in India that is potentially pointing towards achieving the 100% EV target –

  • Mahindra Electric entered the EV market with the acquisition of Reva Electric Car in 2010. Apart from its range of electric cars, the company will soon launch an electric three-wheeler, and a 32-seater bus.
  • In April this year, Kinetic Green launched its first electric three-wheeler, powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery
  • India’s first electric mass mobility ecosystem was launched in Nagpur earlier this month. The pilot project will see a fleet of 200 EVs – Mahindra e-taxis and Kinetic e-rickshaws – that will run on the Ola app.
  • Late last year, Hero MotoCorp acquired a stake in Ather Energy, a maker of electric scooter makers
  • NTPC, a state-owned power utility company, recently entered into a new business segment of setting up EV charging stations

It will be interesting to see how electric vehicles will impact our lives. No doubt there will be disruptions hurting some business; but there will be opportunities for many others. Perhaps Elon Musk’s energy storage businesses will one day be bigger than his car business.

Nandita Harendra

I look after the corporate communications function at ValueNotes, and contribute towards marketing. You can reach me on nandita@valuenotes.co.in

  • How green is India’s new GST regime? - ValueNotes Strategic Intelligence
    Posted at 11:53h, 27 June Reply

    […] and the United States as the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide. With its ambitious goal to electrify all vehicles by 2030, and to create 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 (up from 57 GW in 2016-17), is the […]

  • Ribhu
    Posted at 10:51h, 16 June Reply

    Good read Nandita… creating the underlying enabling infrastructure will be a big challenge for India… clearly an opportunity for innovative service providers like chargepoint.com besides others who will need to re-think their business models.

    • Nandita Harendra
      Posted at 13:09h, 27 June Reply

      Thanks very much for your comment, Ribhu. Yes, it will be interesting to see how it all pans out… It’s encouraging to see that NTPC – a public sector enterprise – is leading the way forward in developing the infrastructure for charging stations. I’m sure private players will follow suit.

    • alejandro sol
      Posted at 14:53h, 27 November Reply

      I think all the predictions are being overly optimistic, and frankly quite unrealistic. In the west, the problems with wholesale adoption of EVs are immense. Most governments (with the exceptions of the Scandis and Germans) are not putting much weight behind promoting recharging infrastructure (yet), nor are they offering incentives for the public to make the switch to EVs. I’ve seen how disappointing sales of 100% EVs have been in the UK.

      I also think that many western countries are underestimating how hard the energy companies will fight to maintain the status quo, there is simply too much profit to be made from fossil fuels still. I can’t see the OPEC nations giving up so easily either. It’s quite fanciful to think that India will be ‘all electric’ by 2030. The Chinese, who are far more efficient and implement these types of infrastructure changes more quickly than India certainly won’t be ‘all electric’ by 2030, so for anyone, India or the UK, to think that will happen within the next 13 years or so is quite unrealistic, and possibly self-delusional.

      EVs are wonderful things, don’t get me wrong, but they’re only as good as the energy that is used to make them in the first place, and also how the energy needed to recharge them is generated. If it’s by 100% renewable energy, then we can talk. Until newer battery technology comes along (and I don’t doubt that it will) then ‘range anxiety’ is still a factor (especially in countries like the US where people travel great distances!), and the time that it takes to recharge an EV to 80% capacity is also a concern.

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