Regular readers of Gas2 already know the electric car revolution we crave will not happen until a few critical factors take place. First, a comprehensive electric charging infrastructure will be needed. Two, a range of around 200 miles will have to be commonplace. Three, the price of electric cars has to be competitive with conventional cars without government subsidies.
This past week, entrepreneur and author Tony Seba told a Nomura investment forum that the world will transition to electric cars by 2025 not because the environment demands it but because they will cost less than conventional cars with internal combustion engines by then .
The performance of electric cars has been improving so quickly and prices have been falling so fast that the internal combustion engine wouldn’t be able to compete for much longer, Seba, author of “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation.”
“You will soon be able to get Porsche performance for Buick prices and when you get that, neither Porsche nor Buick are able to compete,” he said. He said he expected the cost of an electric vehicle to fall to about $30,000 by 2020. By 2022, a low-end electric car will be available for as little as $22,000, he predicted.
Seba said the “marginal cost” of owning an EV was essentially zero because maintenance costs were so low. He notes that conventional cars have more than 2,000 moving parts, while an electric car only has around twenty. EVs are on track to become “the rational, economic choice” very quickly, he believes.
Seba is more optimistic than many industry observers. In particular, his forecast of rapidly dropping costs for electric cars seems more like wishful thinking. And the world will still need a fully developed network of charging stations before the green car revolution can become a reality.
Electric cars with 200 mile range are closer to reality. Even the least expensive Tesla offers that capability now. The Chevrolet Bolt will have at least that much range and most other manufacturers are planning cars with similar range performance. But many will not come to market until the end of this decade.
Seba’s prognostications might be more realistic for 2035 than 2025.