Electric Cars Reach a Tipping Point – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – September 10, 2017)


Say goodbye to gasoline. The world’s slow drift toward electric cars is about to enter full flood. China, one-third of the world’s car market, is working on a timetable to end sales of fossil-fuel-based vehicles, the country’s vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, told an industry forum in Tianjin on Saturday. That would probably see the country join Norway, France and the U.K. in switching to a wholly electric fleet within the lifetime of most current drivers.

The announcement is important because the most influential players in the global auto market have always been not companies, but governments. Diesel cars make up about half of the market in the European Union and less than a percentage point in the U.S., largely because of different fuel-taxation and emissions regimes.

Carburetors have been regulated out of most developed markets because fuel injection — originally a more costly technology — results in less tailpipe pollution. Moves toward electrification of the world’s cars have been tentative.

Just 695,000 electric vehicles were sold in 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, equivalent to about three days of sales in an 84 million-strong market. Including those already on the roads, the global car fleet is roughly a billion-strong.At the same time, the direction of travel is unambiguous.

China’s auto industry plan released in April envisages new energy vehicles — including electric and hybrids — making up all the future sales growth in the country. With conventional cars plateauing at current levels, new-energy vehicle sales will reach 7 million annually in 2025.

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-09-11/electric-cars-reach-a-tipping-point