Branson says every car on road will be an EV within 15 years | RenewEconomy

Branson says every car on road will be an EV within 15 years

Richard Branson says all cars on roads in 15 years will be electric vehicles.



The prominent and outspoken Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was recently quoted as saying that he suspected that 15 years from now every car on the road would be electric.

Here’s the exact quote that he made in his conversation with CNN at a Formula E race (while supporting the Virgin Racing team): “Formula E is pushing the boundaries forward into what will be the future. Fifteen years from now, I suspect every car on the road will be electric.”

While one would presume that he was exaggerating a bit for the sake of the argument, with Branson, who knows? He is, after all, known for being a bit optimistic on many counts. Still, electric vehicles are certainly on the ascent — 15 years from now, how prevalent will they actually be?

Elaborating on the comment, Branson stated: “If governments set the ground rules — and they sometimes have to be brave and set positive ground rules — and for instance said, ‘more than 50% of cars must be battery-driven in 10 years and 100% in 15 years,’ we could make that happen. It will be great fun and really challenging to do. The cars would be much more efficient… and battery technology will get better and better.”

CNN‘s coverage wasn’t particularly kind, with the notation made that: “Cumulative sales of electric vehicles (EVs) passed one million last year … but the number of electric cars around the globe is still low, with the International Energy Agency calculating that they accounted for just 0.1% of the total number of passenger cars on the road worldwide in 2015.”

Certainly true…. There’s a long way to go to reach the 100% goal. And 15 years simply isn’t that long for that kind of change. All of that said, though, there are big changes coming to the auto industry. And certainly a lot of opportunities appearing.

Source: Cleantechnica. Reproduced with permission.

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  1. Chris Fraser 4 years ago

    It’d be wonderful if that could be achieved, given that fossil transport fuels are responsible for 15% of all emissions. He probably means every new car on the road would be an EV.

    • david_fta 4 years ago

      Yes, and all the off-road vehicles will be biodiesel.

      • trackdaze 4 years ago

        Will there be any offroad to offroad on? 4wd’s are likely to be electrified too perhaps with support from diesel range extenders.

        • david_fta 4 years ago

          Will there be any offroad to offroad on? Most of Australia.

          Biodiesel-electric might be the way to go.

        • david_fta 4 years ago

          In Australia, there’s oodles of space for offroad driving … most of the country, actually, and it’s all a long way from where they’d be likely to install EV charging points.

          • trackdaze 4 years ago

            Im sure they happily sell you home grown electricity at mt dare or birdsville.

          • david_fta 4 years ago

            May be a long drive to Birdsville or Mt Dare, and another long drive back to camp.

  2. trackdaze 4 years ago

    Yes but the 2nd million will be added within 12~15 months of the first. Then 9~12 months, then 6…….

    It definetly won’t be true that all vehicles on the road will be electric by 2030. Old merv will still be rolling the fisher&paykel white dashmatted immaculate toyota corolla sedan out the garage to travel to the local rsl each week.

    More certain that practically all sold in 2030 will be electric.

  3. Petra Liverani 4 years ago

    Someone who’s just come back from Norway said he started counting the EVs he saw but gave up rather quickly as there were too many of them. Last I heard, 25% of new cars in Norway were EVs but just googled now and found that in March this year 60% of new cars were electric, hybrids or plug-in hybrids!!! Is Norway really so special, it can only happen there?

    This person also saw electric trucks in Holland (perhaps the flatness helps). EVs are set to explode. Save some sort of WWIII thing happening (and perhaps even with it), I’d say virtually all new vehicles will be EVs by around 2022 in which case 2030 is not so ambitious for all vehicles. No doubt many ICEs (internal combustion engine vehicles) will also convert to electric too.

    As Tony Seba points out in his presentation at the Nordic Energy Conference in March, there’s a photo of the Easter Parade in NY taken in 1900 featuring a sea of horse-and-carts and one car. A photo of the same scene in 1913 features a sea of cars and one horse-and-cart.

  4. Steve M 4 years ago

    I believe that in five years a large percentage on new cars sold will be electric and within 10 years the combustion engine will not be sold in Australia except to collectors. The electric motor is 95% efficient in a car maybe 92% whereas the best a consumption engine can be is 40%. The technology is not new, there is not a lot of testing needed it was just waiting for storage to improve to get the range acceptable. put renewable energy in the mix and remove people fuel bill as well as their electricity bills and it is inevitable that this will be our future.
    Whether we will be driving or flying is the real question because this technology has also spawned some great inventions that were not possible previously and some cost effective vertically landing flying cars are to be released in 2018 and although they haven’t given pricing they have indicated they will be within reach of the average budget.

  5. Ian 4 years ago

    I wonder if Richard Branson reads sites like this. It will be so if we make it so. Actually the tipping point will be the price of battery packs, get ’em down to $100/kWh and there will be no sane reason to build or buy ICE vehicles. We have to keep pushing this mantra: lithium batteries are cheap to manufacture, the market for EV is the current market for ICE, ie, stupendously enormous.

    Has Branson got the ‘right stuff ‘ to build battery factories or is he getting too long in the tooth?

    • Ian 4 years ago

      Virgin Australia’s fuel bill is over $1 billion, they have a large incentive too keep oil prices subdued. One way to do this is to remove ICE vehicles from the road by replacing them with EV. Economies of scale in battery manufacturing are needed to get the price of lithium car battery packs down to the $100/KWH range . A strategically placed investment or partnership with other interested companies or the use of lobbying power by someone of Branson’s stature can affect a large investment in battery manufacturing. People like Branson are needed to get the ball rolling. Here’s a figure to shoot for: reduce oil consumption by 1 million bbl/day to maintain a surplus of production of oil over consumption. That is a figure of 34 million EV. ( 120l petrol and diesel from one barrel oil 3.5l /day consumption for average car ).

      • Chris B 4 years ago

        Branson no longer owns a substantial interest in Virgin Australia. He has ~8% and that number is trending down with every refinancing deal.

        He sold most of it to Patrick Corporation, which was bought by Toll Holdings, who onsold it to Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, HAN and several private equity groups.

        • Ian 4 years ago

          A tangled web they weave indeed. My challenge to Branson as representing people of influence is to move from predictive wishful thinking to action. Someone of his influence and standing can affect change. The motivation to encourage battery vehicles could be to reduce demand and thus keep fuel prices low by creating an imbalance between supply and demand of oil. He may have an 8 % interest in Virgin Australia but that is still a large interest in keeping oil prices low.

          EV adoption is great, but batteries are needed for them. The one small technical detail ignored in all the optimistic targets and predictions for EV uptake is the production of vehicle battery packs. The conversation about EV is really a conversation about batteries. Build the factories, make batteries economical and the rest will follow.

          the evidence is clear that burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming and the trajectory to disaster is accelerating. We know that transportation is a major contributor to this problem and a very simple solution now presents itself. Substitute electric vehicles for ICE vehicles. Retooling existing vehicle factories to produce EV is no more expensive than retooling for new models of existing vehicles, energy efficiency of EV is really very good so the primary generation sources to charge the vehicles is not huge. The weak link is the battery storage, so effort needs to be concentrated on producing these packs in large numbers and very cheaply. There are so many people with vested interests that could champion the cause to produce EV batteries. The airline industry is just one such contender.

          Up to 50% of their costs can be fuel related, if they could drive down the cost of fuel that would improve their profits. A 1% surplus of oil production over oil supply has already driven down the price of oil from $100 range to $50 a barrel. This situation could be maintained indefinitely by continuously reducing demand.The airlines are in direct competition with other transport industries for the oil barrel, if they encourage others to reduce their oil consumption then there is more available for themselves.

          Self interest can be a powerful motivator, why not use this to affect positive change?

  6. Geoff 4 years ago

    15 years is a short time but certainly possible, especially with the big tech companies investing heavily in this area. I suspect that Chile will become a power house seeing that they have the largest lithium reserves in the world. Don’t know about you guys but I know where I’m going to be putting my money…

  7. EVs are good for some applications. But why force people to drive overweight and overpriced vehicles instead of allowing cellulosic ethanol and sustainable biodiesel to compete with EVs in a free, fair and efficient economy?

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