The New York Times has an in-depth story trying to anticipate when electric vehicles will rule the roads. Volvo and GM have goals of 2030 and 2035 respectively to end combustion engine production and others companies are sure to follow suit.
Even so, given that cars have a nearly 15 or more year lifespan, the times anticipates that combustion engine cars could be dominant on the roads even in 2050.
The article says:
If the United States wanted to move to a fully electric fleet by 2050 — to meet President Biden’s goal of net zero emissions — then sales of gasoline-powered vehicles would likely have to end altogether by around 2035, a heavy lift.
In order for almost all cars on the road to be electric by 2050, new plug-in sales would need to quickly ramp up to 100 percent in the next 15 years.
In the opinion of this Sandwich Climate poster, Leonard Witt, the Times reporters are underestimating how rapidly change is going to occur. The big oil companies are already losing value, no one in their right mind would mega invest in gas stations now or even in their infrastructure or anything to do with combustion engines. So gas stations will begin to disappear quite rapidly and combustion engines will never get any better than they are today with all the R&D investment going into EVs. Who will invest $20,000 to $50,000, the cost of a car, in a dying technology to which the manufacturers are going to pay less and less attention. In other words, the chances are high that by investing in a combustion engine car you will get a clunker with little infrastructure to help make it better. Even if the car is perfect, the resale value we will be much lower than an EV. Personally, I’m putting off any major car investment as long as possible to be part of the electric wave. Even if the car lasted 20 years, I don’t want to be in the minority of combustion cars on the road for all the reasons I mention above.
Here is the last paragraph of the Times story, which makes the most sense to me:
“It would not shock me if the transition eventually starts accelerating,” said Dr. Knittel of M.I.T. “Right now it can be inconvenient to own an electric vehicle if there are no charging stations around. But if we do get to a world where there are charging stations everywhere and few gas stations around, suddenly it’s less convenient to own a conventional vehicle.”