In less than 25 years, a majority of the new cars rolling off of dealership lots will be powered by electricity, according to a report out Thursday—a prediction that outpaces previous forecasts and stokes hopes that climate-warming tailpipe emissions could be cut more substantially and more quickly.
The report comes as automakers and governments are already sending unmistakable signals that the internal combustion engine is headed for the blocks. Just this week, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker Volvo surprised the industry when it announced that it would phase out conventional engines starting in two years, and the French government announced plans to end sales of gas- and diesel-powered cars beginning in 2040 as part of its commitment under the Paris climate agreement.
The Trump administration, meanwhile, has signaled that it could roll back vehicle emissions and efficiency standards, putting U.S. policy squarely at odds with global momentum and roiling the country’s auto industry.
“The electric vehicle revolution is under way, and the only question in my mind is whether U.S. automakers will be leaders,” said Roland Hwang, director of the energy and transportation program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With Trump saying he wants to cut economy standards, he’s undermining the market. He’s putting investments, jobs, technologies and the environment at risk.”
The new report, from industry analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, predicts that electric cars will represent 54 percent of all new cars sold in the world by 2040, up from the 35 percent the group predicted last year.
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