Projecting Tesla’s 2030 Environmental Impact

In 2020, the global fleet of Tesla vehicles and solar panels let Tesla customers avoid emitting 5.0 million metric tons of CO2e. The cumulative fleet of Tesla cars was about 1 million in 2020.

Tesla has a goal 20 million cars in 2030 and a goal of 50% more cars every year. I think the following progression is reasonable.
2021 900K new cars, 1.9 million total cars
2022 1.7 M new cars, 3.6 million total cars
2023 3M new cars, 6.6 million total cars
2024 5M new cars, 11.6 million total cars
2025 8.4M new cars, 20 million total cars
2026 13M new cars, 33 million total cars
2027 19M new cars, 52M total cars
2028 25M new cars, 77M total cars
2029 32M new cars, 108M total cars
2030 40M new cars, 148M total cars

Solar and fixed storage would also increase. The Tesla Semi is actually the bigger potential for CO2 and pollution avoidance. Trucks generate 70% of vehicle pollution. In 2030, Tesla would be helping to avoid in the ballpark of 3-5 billion tons of CO2 per year. This would be about 1 billion tons of CO2 from the fleet of cars and about 2 billion tons of CO2 from the trucks and then another 1-2 billion from the solar and fixed battery storage. The Tesla electric car impact is not just the increase from a fleet of 1M in 2020 to around 148M in 2030. There is also the replacement of pickup trucks and vans, which are more polluting than the current replacement of sedans and small crossovers SUVs.


12 thoughts on “Projecting Tesla’s 2030 Environmental Impact”

  1. And recharging at your warehouse or factory overnight at $0.05/kW.h (off peak for industrial user) is much easier and more predictable than hoping you can find a supercharger with a free plug somewhere on your cross country route.

  2. sometimes better to have more of a good thing than less of a quantifiably similar bad thing (in the sense of larger # of personal vehicles at a higher pecentage of EVs than fewer with greater ratio of ICEs) — since technology and economy enables future choice (the most valuable of all things)

  3. ..and if people are purchasing these as second/third cars due to mileage/ charger anxiety — we have added cars, not replaced ICEs

  4. "The Tesla Semi is actually the bigger potential for CO2 and pollution avoidance."

    Where is Semi? It is MIA and has been delayed three years till 2022 (at least until it gets its next delay).

    I still think Tesla should sell a 150 mile Semi to take advantage of EV being much more efficient than diesel at stop and go traffic in urban areas.

  5. It’s based on the projection that the next decade for the auto industry is unlike it’s first century. By 1920, Auto 1.0 was being mass produced. Nothing substantial changed for 100 years. Starting in the 2020’s Auto 2.0 will be produced in rapidly more automated factories. This is fundamentally different. There’s now a strong demand to replace every single human driven ICE vehicle on the planet, 2 billion or so of them. Tesla dominates Auto 2.0 with superiority in both hardware and selfdriving software. Tesla selling 50 million vehicles in a year at peak does not seem unrealistic in this context – that’s a few percent of the fleet facing accelerated replacement.

  6. Yes and the co2 cost fir building the car , raw materials extraction and other stuff, this is some greenwhashing

  7. Not sure how you derive these numbers Brian – your expectations of 40M cars by 2030 is totally unrealistic.
    Let's use 2025 & project forwards to 2030 at 5% GR NOT 0.75% as suggested in the above reference.
    We get :
    Year 2025 – total car production = 93M Tesla = 8.4M ~ 9%
    Year 2030 – total car production = 119M Tesla = 40M ~ 34%
    In 2020 the top selling manufacturer was Volkswagen with 9.33M vehicles = 12% of ALL cars sold. Toyota was 2nd with 7.2M ~ 9.3% of ALL cars.

    I don't see how a luxury car maker like Tesla will take even 10% of the market.

    Even if you believe car production will double by 2040 e.g.
    As written in the article " Bernstein said it expects most of this transport growth to happen in emerging markets like China and India, as global populations are set to
    rise by another two billion over the next 25 years to 9.2 billion."
    i.e. cheap cars NOT TESLA

  8. If a GF takes about 2 years to get to production, Tesla will have to be opening a lot of them over the next decade.
    Shanghai, Austin, Berlin seem to have demonstrated so far that Tesla can finance GFs based on their own expected earnings – so it doesn’t need to tie up other capital with this growth. It can likely finance 10 at a time if it can plausibly manage 10 projects at the same time.
    To keep to this pace Tesla needs to double the number of GF projects every 2 year cycle, so at least 4 new GF projects this round. East Coast US, Another China, another Europe, and a wild card slot?

    These GFs are opportunities for Elon to advance closer to the Alien Dreadnought every cycle. When Tesla saves computer vision with it’s NN system including Dojo for training it will already be pretty close to drop in human worker replacement robots.

  9. I'm a Tesla bull, but 40M cars per year by 2030 is twice compared to what Tesla states as their goal… It would also be 40% of the world production of cars…

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