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Jon LeSage

Jon LeSage

Jon LeSage is a California-based journalist covering clean vehicles, alternative energy, and economic and regulatory trends shaping the automotive, transportation, and mobility sectors.

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“By 2030, 95% Of Consumers In The World Won’t Own A Car”

Tesla

With all of the global fascination over Uber, Lyft, shared rides, mobility services, and automated driving, a historic question inevitably comes up: Will new vehicle sales plunge because of it?

Stanford professor Tony Seba predicts by 2030, 95 percent of consumers in the world won’t own a car; and that all cars will be electric by 2025. Seba gives figures based on what new technologies like smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, have done to cause revolutionary changes in concentrated periods of time.

Seba’s viewpoint is considered to be too farfetched by many, but many analysts predict huge changes in transportation over the next decade – driven by explosive growth in Uber and Lyft rides, major moves by automakers in mobility services, and how viable autonomous vehicles appear to be in the relatively near future. Related: Rise In Rig Count Threatens To Undermine Recent Oil Price Spike

We’ve also seen significant forecasts coming from oil industry majors like Total S.A. and Shell about oil consumption declining by about 2030. Their economist reports point to growth in alternative fuels and technologies like vehicle electrification, and strict government regulatory mandates coming down in Europe and China.

There are few other experts who would disagree with vehicles sales taking a dive.

Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist for General Motors, earlier this month said that he doesn’t expect to see surging growth in Lyft and Uber rides, and carsharing through Maven and Zipcar, along with the introduction of autonomous vehicles, to mean we’ll see a lot less vehicles on roads in the next 10 years. With drivers of these shared rides putting 25,000 to 50,000 miles per year on their cars, it will accelerate the replacement cycle, he said.

Car sales aren’t likely to drop significantly, he said. While cars are better made than they were a decade ago, putting 50,000 miles a year on a new car means that hitting the 150,000-mile benchmark can happen in less than three years. That car had been more likely to be owned seven-to-10 years, and sometimes longer.

Related: Oil Prices Set To Rise On Back Of OPEC Deal Extension

Automakers will continue selling these cars, and they will need fuel.

On the self-driving car front, more corporate deals continue being made. Google’s Waymo self-driving car unit and Lyft just announced a partnership bringing self-driving rides to roads. Google had initially been in discussions with Uber about that type of arrangement and had invested significantly in the ride-hailing giant. That’s ended in debacle as the companies have pulled away and entered their own phases of autonomous vehicle testing. A lawsuit filed by Waymo over alleged stolen intellectual property from its self-driving technology, has placed a deep wedge between the two companies.

Several other companies have joined into the automated vehicle and mobility service front, including Apple, Tesla, Ford, General Motors, BMW, Intel, Uber, Lyft, and several more. It’s a very hot topic right now, but we’re still a few years out from seeing the technology tested and approved for safety.

It is moving forward much faster than expected. With rapid growth seen in ride-hailing services, and related mobility services from startups and major companies, transportation is in the process of seeing historic change. What that will mean for car sales and fuel consumption is yet to be seen.

By Jon LeSage for Oilprice.com

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  • Mark Urbanski on May 20 2017 said:
    Ha. Tony. Too Funny. Same planet that uses Coal still and population keeps growing. Ya, this article makes zero sense. Mind you it is a good dream and someday for sure we hope.
  • M Shannon on May 20 2017 said:
    All these professors are trying to make a name for themselves as 'the guy who called the end of the combustion engine' so they're making premature predictions. Oil has a while to run yet.
  • John Scior on May 20 2017 said:
    What color is the sky in Mr. Seba's world anyway ??? Perhaps he should step out of the ivory tower once in awhile and breath some fresh air if your reports of his predictions are accurate. Otherwise , wishful thinking is all I have to say.
  • Tony on May 21 2017 said:
    I'm sure the people that sold horse fees never thought that the "motor car" would decimate them either.

    As soon as VW can market a 200mile range Electric Golf - things will start to swing to EV on an accelerated timeline.

    If India makes a political intervention to promote EVs then the future growth demand disappears.
  • Glenn on May 21 2017 said:
    Comparing cars to smart phones is kinda silly and the assertion that all cars will be electric by 2025 is equally ridiculous.

    Sounds like one those 'Gold going to $10,000' in 5 years kinda PRs designed to get attention.
  • Keith on May 21 2017 said:
    Tony Seba is an idiot. On his seminar in Norway, it was saying electric cars were a "technology" and would decrease in a logarithmic scale and decrease in price like transistors go up in chips, If you looked at his slides an electric car by 2025 is $10,000 and by 2030 would cost between $3-4,000. It's such a simplistic conceptualization that for some reason people take seriously. He's an idiot, how can he even take his views seriously. Meh, but it's a popular conception. Hey by 2050 they will practically be free so why wouldn't every one have a few?

    watch about 28:22

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxryv2XrnqM
  • Josh Gregner on May 21 2017 said:
    I think that Tony Seba is an inspiring speaker but would like to caution against some methodological issues in his assumptions: I don't think a straightline write-off model for 1 Mio miles works.

    But aside from this (and a few other things): I do think that oil is in for a tripple wammy of a) electrification, b) ride-sharing and c) autonomy. These three trends combined are poised to kill massive amounts of oil demand relatively soon. And we have all seen what happened to coal once cheap natural gas came onto the scene... It doesn't take much falling demand have an oil perma glut that will kill the oil prices for the coming decades.
  • Dan on May 21 2017 said:
    Heard all this since the 1960s. Has the taxi,bus and subway, all considered hailing a ride destroyed auto ownership. Fact is, I don't want to ride with you, like taking my dirty dog and need to haul 2by4s and home ownership toys. Now come on Professor, I like my life just as is, not a 60s LSD dream.
  • Jack on June 14 2017 said:
    I broke my ankle last year and had to take Lyft/Uber everywhere for 6 weeks. I hated it! It's way more expensive than owning a car and it's really annoying (slow drivers, bad music, weird smelling cars). I can't imagine why anyone would think most people would get rid of their cars.
  • Philip Owen on June 16 2017 said:
    20 moving parts in an electric vehicle power train versus 2000 in an internal combustion engine says that $3,000 to 4,000 plastic cars will happen. But in between, not analysed by Seba, are plug in hybrids. The gear box and transmission vanish, fuel consumption falls a long way. They will keep ic limping along.

    The young and the poor will take to ride sharing because it will cost half as much as car ownership. The rural, the rich (you dear reader), the old and those of insecure masculinity will stay with their own vehicles for a while longer.
  • jimney123 on June 18 2017 said:
    I'm starting to think that these liberal professors are detached from reality and are writing papers of personal vision instead of actually forecasting with real data.

    It's too bad, American professors use to be significant contributors to our society. Now they are more often connected with the irrational and unhinged segments of our population.

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