EETimes – In the midst of the Tesla Model S rollout at the company’s California manufacturing plant recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a startling prediction: “In 20 years more than half of new cars manufactured will be fully electric,” he said, according to a Reuters article. “I actually feel quite safe in that bet. That’s a bet I will put money on.”
That’s a strong statement, but Musk apparently didn’t think it was strong enough, so he quickly amended it. “It’s probably going to be in the 12- to 15-year time frame,” he added.
Most forecasters do not see the battery technology being good enough, being produced in sufficient volume or being low enough in cost to support that much market share.
However there are improvements occurring with beaming power wirelessly.
Today, fully electric cars are few and their sales are poor. By 2020, Lux Research Inc. projects that “less than a percent” of new vehicles will be fully electric. Pike Research is slightly more charitable, saying they believe it could hit 1 percent. “If you look 10 years past 2020, is it going to gain another 49 percent?” asks Dave Hurst, senior analyst for Pike Research. “It’s unlikely.”
Forecasts of massive EV success have been frequent since the late 1980s, of course. During the 80s and 90s, battery manufacturers were notorious for saying that we were on the cusp of an EV revolution.
Musk is different, though. He has built electric cars, worked closely with battery makers, is acutely aware of the unfulfilled promises of the past two decades, and has succeeded anyway. He has to be taken seriously.
His prediction could easily be written off as a bit of hype. Or it could simply be interpreted as overstatement during the thrill of the Model S introduction. Then again, there’s always the other possibility: Whatever Musk is seeing isn’t visible to the rest of the auto industry. It wouldn’t be the first time.