All new cars sold in Europe will be electric by 2035 according to a new report by ING. The Dutch bank points to increasing range, quicker battery charge times and plummeting prices making fully electric vehicles the “rational choice for motorists in Europe” by 2024. As the cost of running battery powered cars continues to fall thereafter and diesel and petrol cars become relatively more expensive the shift to 100 percent electric will continue over the following decade. The report warns that European car manufacturers, who account for only three percent of global lithium ion production, will lose out to their Asian and American competitors who produce most of the world’s electric batteries.
While electric vehicles today make up only 1.3 percent all cars sold in Europe the report’s authors note that the main concerns holding consumers back will soon be addressed by manufacturers. In 2018 super fast charging will be available allowing cars to drive for 300km on a twenty-minute charge. “Range anxiety” – the fear that the car’s battery will die before completing a long journey – is another perennial worry expressed by consumers that manufacturers will soon put to rest. Advances in battery cell density over the next few years will enable electric cars to reach distances of 500 km on a single charge.
The effect of 100 percent electric car sales will be felt beyond the auto sector. While the manufacture of electric vehicles is less labour intensive, meaning fewer people will be employed in the industry in the future, it will use more raw materials, boosting mining companies. Demand for minerals like manganese, cobalt and lithium, used as battery components, will rise – possibly exacerbating resource conflicts. Fifty percent of cobalt production is in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country already impoverished by wars over the minerals used in everyday electronics.
Carmaker Volvo announced this week that from 2019 all of its cars will be either fully or partly electric.