In 2050, the world will count about 9 billion inhabitants. The potential for increased vehicle ownership in emerging markets, in particular China and India, is huge (accounting for 50% of the projected growth). But as the transport sector depends more than 98% on oil , and it produces large emissions of CO2 which accelerate global warming, which let us wonder : Will electricity replace oil in transportation ? My answer would be : I don’t think so.
Electric vehicles : a costly alternative
First of all, oil has a technical advantage over electricity : it can easily be built, is cheaper, whereas electricity would require more investment carrying more risk. In addition, it requires less technological developments. Indeed, to use electricity in the transportation, it requires to develop infrastructures to charge the vehicles, and it is costly.
Furthermore, the switch from oil to electricity will be costly and will take years to be achieved. Indeed, according to a report made by the General Commission for Sustainable Development, « the cost of the battery remains a major challenge in the short to medium term competitiveness of the electric vehicle » since it is still very expensive. People will prefer buying a car working with oil rather than an electric vehicle since the price will be less expensive and cars working with oil exist since 1901.
the problem of short battery autonomy
Moreover, there is another drawback since all-electric vehicle (that runs only from a rechargeable battery), have a short autonomy : from 100 to 150 kilometers . We are far from achieving the construction of electric vehicles with ultra-high efficiency battery. At the moment, all electric vehicles are not competitive on the market and will require public support. This is why oil will still be predominant concerning the transportation sector.
Finally, we can mention the fact oil is a sector supported by a powerful lobby that ensure its interests. And as the date of the oil peak is still under debate, the cost-benefit calculation shows transportation working thanks to oil is more interesting in terms of economic costs. So, in the next decades to come, electricity won’t replace oil in transportation, at least not with the current context.
Tags: alternative, car, China, CO2 emissions, Commissariat général au développement durable, cost, electric cars, electric vehicles, electricity, emerging markets, energy, IEA, India, oil, transportation