EIA Projects Electric Vehicle Growth to 2040

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Projections for the growth electric vehicles in the global light vehicle fleet indicate a massive shift to EVs by 2040. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimated that by 2040 some 54% of the global fleet will be electrified and that about 80% of that fleet will be battery electric vehicles like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Models S, X and 3.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Monday weighed in with projections that the global fleet of plug-in light vehicles will account for 14% of the global fleet in a reference case, 8% in a low penetration case and 26% in a high penetration case. Light duty vehicles include passenger cars, sport utility vehicles/crossovers and pickup trucks.

Over the 25 year period of the EIA study, consumption of petroleum-based fuels drops from 98% of all vehicle energy consumption to 90% of total energy consumption by the light-duty fleet.

EIA looked at the use of petroleum-based fuels in OECD (developed) and non-OECD (developing) countries and found that a 22% decrease in petroleum-based fuel consumption in OECD countries is more than offset by a near-doubling of petroleum-based fuel consumption in non-OECD countries.

Liquid fuel consumption in 2015 is forecast at 225 quadrillion BTUs (1 barrel of oil is equivalent to about 5.77 million BTUs and further calculations are left as an exercise for the reader). In the low penetration case, liquid fuel consumption would rise by nearly 2 quadrillion BTUs in 2040, while the high penetration case would reduce liquid fuel consumption by 2.75 quadrillion BTUs.

The high penetration case reduces energy consumption by 1.2% compared with the reference case and by about 2.1% compared with the low penetration case. That works out to about 2 million barrels a day, based on global liquids production of about 35 billion barrels in 2016.