Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, which has just released the first Tesla Model S cars, predicted at the launch event that more than half of all cars manufactured in 20 years will be all-electric.
His exact words on the matter were, “In 20 years more than half of new cars manufactured will be fully electric. I feel actually quite safe in that bet. That’s a bet I will put money on.” He went on to say, “It’s probably going to be in the 12- to 15-year time frame”.
Putting money on it is exactly what Elon Musk is doing, with this hugely ambitious all-electric car project known as Tesla Motors Inc. Funnily enough, it doesn’t even seem like his most ambitious project to date. That would be SpaceX, which is a space exploration startup that has just completed its first successful return journey to the International Space Station, and has its sights set on Mars. Let’s not even mention Musk being a co-founder of PayPal, and Chair of solar energy services company SolarCity.
I certainly wouldn’t be willing to bet against this guy when it comes to the uptake and promotion of new technology. In fact, I do agree with him. It seems only logical, even though electric vehicles have had a rather difficult start. Opposition to the idea of mainstream electric cars from some politicians and the fossil fuel industry, and even from major automakers, certainly hasn’t helped.
However, the fact that the Toyota Prius after a decade is now the world’s third best selling car line may be evidence of what lies ahead. After all, it’s well known that the growth of a new technology is often overestimated in the short term, and then underestimated over the long term, as advances often proceed exponentially.
As a technology passes critical mass, it seems to be everywhere all of a sudden. I think electric vehicles may be like this. And at some stage in the coming years, they may be given a big kick along by the belated realization that climate change is actually proceeding as climate scientists have predicted. This could happen about the same time electric vehicle technology starts to get quite a bit less expensive.
The economic factor alone could make electric vehicles as popular as Musk is predicting. This could certainly happen if the energy needed to power them gets progressively cleaner and less expensive, and oil gets progressively more expensive.
Do you think electric cars could be as popular, if not more, than combustion engine cars by 2032, or is it wishful thinking?
Image CC licensed by djevents: Elon Musk