GM launches Bolt; electric vehicles market to grow by 2040


US auto maker General Motors (GM) has beaten Tesla in releasing the first truly mass market all-electric car by making the first three deliveries of its new electric vehicle, Chevrolet Bolt, just close to Tesla's massive all-electric vehicle factory in Fremont, US. The move is seen as an apparent jab at Tesla, the much smaller, but popular electric car maker that has been seen as a leader in the market, but yet hasn't delivered its mass-market electric car, the Model 3. Although electric cars have been in the US for two decades, GM says the Bolt will run 238 miles on a single charge, greater range than it initially promised and 10% more than the 215 miles that Tesla says the Model 3 will run. The Bolt’s nationwide roll-out is expected in 2017.

Tesla has said it will begin delivering Model 3s in 2017. It says it has around 370,000 pre-orders, although it won't be able to immediately deliver all of those. If Tesla was able to meet demand, the Model 3 would immediately become one of the best selling cars in the country.

Meanwhile, electric vehicles could make up 15 to 35% of total new vehicle sales globally in 2040, according to IHS Markit. The findings are part of a new research project, Reinventing the Wheel, that will be conducted over the first half of 2017.

“The key question is whether we are approaching a transformative shift akin to the first decade of the 20th century, when the internal combustion engine, cheap gasoline, bicycle technology and mass production combined to usher in the automotive age,” said Dr. Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit and chairman of the study who wrote about the beginning of the auto age in his most recent book The Quest. “Converging developments along multiple tracks are leading us to focus on this important question.”

While electric vehicles constitute a small percentage of the world’s vehicle sales and are just 1% of the on-road fleet today, sales in 2016 are up more than 1,000% since 2010—a trend that IHS Markit expects to continue with the potential to make electric vehicles more than one third of the new vehicle sales in 2040.

“Significant advances in battery technology, financial support from governments, regulations and values of millennials will be key factors leading to increases in electric vehicle adoption,” said Jim Burkhard, study co-director and chief of research at IHS Markit for crude oil markets and energy scenarios.

Electric vehicle share in individual markets will vary based on these factors, IHS Markit says. For instance, in China and Europe, regions where policies are favourable to electric vehicles, it is estimated that electric vehicles could comprise over half of new passenger vehicle sales in 2040.

Reinventing the Wheel will focus on the world’s largest automotive markets, the US, Europe and China, as well as India, with projections out to the year 2040. The study, to be completed in 2017, will consist of two parts.


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