Some overseas reports say petrol cars may be obsolete by 2026 but either way the massive switch to electric vehicles will be the biggest disruptive change to people's lives in more than 100 years, Graeme Muller NZTech chief executive says.
Muller stating, “A couple of weeks ago, I was at a conference on digital transformation and a presenter showed a photo of Times Square in New York from 1900, complete with horses and carriages.
“Then we were shown the same view, in 1920 and not a horse to be seen. Something like 20 million horses were unemployed within 20 years, last week, Stanford economist Tony Seba told APEC delegates in Wellington that this process has already started for cars.
“He believes the tipping point is here and that no petrol vehicles will be built after 2025, Tony also believes that the number of cars will have decreased by 80% by 2030, with most of us opting to ride in an Uber-style self-driving vehicle.
According to Tony Seba, on current trends, it will be cheaper to build a mid-range EV costing US$33,000 than a conventional car by 2019, and they would be cheaper than the average equivalent conventional small car by 2022.
The next step is embedding technology into roads.
This is being piloted in several countries including UK, Israel and Sweden.
Technology, similar to that developed by Kiwi company PowerbyProxi which was recently purchased by Apple, allows wireless charging from the road to the car.
This charge-as-you-drive system would overcome battery limitations.
Muller continues, “EVs will also play a crucial role in supporting the environmental sustainability of future transport, helping to rid the environment of harmful fossil fuels, cutting down on air pollution emissions and providing not just a more convenient future, but a healthier one too.
“So consider the horse and car example, by 2037 if you look along Highway one in New Zealand the number of human-driven petrol vehicles will have probably dropped substantially to about one in every 10 vehicles.
“The cost of insurance and enviro taxes making them too expensive for most people to run.
The majority of the population may not even own a car, instead choosing to “request” a vehicle when they need it.
Muller concludes, “There will be more ridesharing, lower cost of transport, reduced environmental impact, more space on roads and easier parking."