There could be ten times the number of electric cars on the road by 2030 and stronger renewable energy policies are needed not just to keep them powered, but cleanly.
This is according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which highlights vehicle volumes in the latest edition of the World Energy Outlook. It estimates that 220 million electric vehicles will be in use by the close of this decade, up from 26 million in 2022.
Clean energy needs to play a greater role than it does today, the IEA says. This includes solar photovoltaics generating “more electricity than the entire US power system does currently,” and the renewable share of the electricity mix has to increase to nearly 50 percent from the 30 percent it is today.
In the past two decades, demand for oil grew to 18 million barrels a day and “much” of this expansion was fueled by road transport, which accounts for around 45 percent of oil demand. The global car fleet is estimated to have reached upwards of 600 million cars in the last 20 years.
The picture is changing, however, claims IEA exec director Dr Faith Birol, who reckons the transition to clean energy is “happening worldwide and it’s unstoppable.”
“Governments, companies and investors need to get behind clean energy transitions rather than hindering them. There are immense benefits on offer, including new industrial opportunities and jobs, greater energy security, cleaner air, universal energy access and a safer climate for everyone.
“Taking into account the ongoing strains and volatility in traditional energy markets today, claims that oil and gas represent safe or secure choices for the world’s energy and climate future look weaker than ever.”
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The IEA points to several areas that will require ongoing attention, including the charging infrastructure, and the shortage of key materials used in the manufacture of components, notably lithium. These elements are all far from mature.
More locally in Europe, there is the issue of EU tariffs that are standing in the way of European car makers exporting their goods to the UK, making the vehicles vastly more expensive.
China this year became the world’s largest exporter of cars, shipping 2.3 million in the first half of this year, according to Canalys. Total car exports from China are forecast to grow to 5.4 million this year, with electric vehicles accounting for 2.2 million.
Electric car shipments are projected to reach 17.9 million units next year, up 19 percent year-on-year, but longer term Gartner last month warned that electric power generation and grid capacity could start to limit uptake.
“Unless countries take actions to incentivize EV drivers to charge outside peak electricity consumption periods, the switch to EVs may put an additional strain on both the power generation capacity and the distribution infrastructure,” said Jonathan Davenport, senior director analyst at Gartner. ®
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