By 2030, most cars will be autonomous EVs owned by fleets, report says
A Silicon Valley think tank has come up with a doomsday scenario for the auto industry in a new report on the future of transportation.
By 2030, within 10 years of regulatory approval of autonomous vehicles, 95 percent of U.S. passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand autonomous electric vehicles owned by fleets, not individuals, says the report by RethinkX. The forecast assumes that fully autonomous vehicles will be ready for use and approved by the government by the early 2020s. If not, the scenario will be delayed.
Transportation will become a service, as fewer cars travel many more miles. Autonomous EVs will be much more cost-efficient than todayês vehicles. These future cars will last 500,000 miles, or potentially 1 million miles by 2030, and have much lower maintenance, energy, finance and insurance costs.
Conversely, individual vehicle ownership, especially of internal combustion engine vehicles, will enter a vicious cycle of increasing costs, decreasing convenience and diminishing quality of service, the report says. But overall, the average American family will save more than $5,600 a year in transportation costs.
To accommodate the changes, 70 percent fewer passenger cars will be manufactured each year. The reportês authors high-level thinkers, not policy makers or on-the-ground business people added this: Conventional energy and transportation industries will suffer substantial job loss. Policies will be needed to mitigate these adverse effects.
The RethinkX report is very different from analyses by Moodyês and IHS Automotive, which say the transition to autonomous vehicles will likely take decades.
Disagreement remains on when EVs will start to have a cost advantage. Automotive supplier Continental AGês CFO Wolfgang Schaefer told Bloomberg recently that it wonêt be until 2025, because of the cost of batteries, limited driving range and extended charging times.
Another potential obstacle to more widespread use of autonomous vehicles: Some passengers in them have experienced motion sickness. Jim Hotary, director of xWorks Innovation Center at Faurecia North America, raised that issue at the Wards Auto Interior Conference, reported TheDetroitBureau.com. He said some people drive themselves specifically to avoid the motion sickness they might have as a passenger.Download Bulletin PDF