Car buyers are getting behind the wheel of an electric vehicle (EV) in ever greater numbers. No wonder, for they are exciting and easy to drive, compared with internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents. As battery costs tumble, prices are falling. But the shift to EVs means much more than driving pleasure. Transport is responsible for around a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions and road vehicles account for around three-quarters of that share. If there is to be any chance of reaching net-zero by 2050, EVs will need to take over, and soon.
The 6m pioneers who opt for EVs this year will still represent only 8% of all car purchasers. That figure will need to increase to around two-thirds by 2030 and to 100% by 2050 in order to meet net-zero goals. Many an investor is operating on the assumption that this will all happen as smoothly as a Tesla shifts gears. The huge market values of Elon Musk’s company, and of other newcomers such as Rivian with its electric pickup trucks, as well as pricey Chinese EV firms, attest to sky-high confidence. Electric battery-makers, too, are booming and their shares are soaring.
Yet look beyond the glamorous, shiny vehicles stuffed with the latest technology that are the obvious embodiment of the EV revolution, and you can see a merciless bottleneck ready to foul things up. Not even those eyeing an EV purchase are sufficiently aware of it. Governments are only waking up to the problem around now. Put simply: how will all these EVs get charged?