Elon Makes a Bold EV PredictionIt usually doesn't pay to bet against Elon Musk. He's not only brilliant and he never gives up, but he's also shown great insight into technological trends. His latest prediction - which he's ready to bet on - is that: "In 20 years more than half of new cars manufactured will be fully electric." He even added that "it's probably going to be in the 12- to 15-year time frame," and "I feel actually quite safe in that bet. That's a bet I will put money on."
My 2 CentsAre things likely to happen that way? It's hard to say, but I do know that non-linear systems can surprise people when tipping points are reached. It wasn't that long ago that almost nobody had cellphones, and someone looking at the cellphone adoption rate could have projected that it would take decades for cellphones to reach even a pretty small market share.
But at some point, certain conditions were met and cellphone adoption exploded rapidly, faster than almost anyone could have predicted. These conditions were things like price, performance, size and portability, the network effect (the more people have them, the more useful they become), features, familiarity, etc.
Electric cars aren't cellphones and even if they reach the right conditions, adoption won't be as fast. But it could be much faster than some people think. Once you reach a certain level of price, performance, familiarity, and infrastructure, things could happen rapidly. At some point, most new car buyers just won't have much reason to prefer a gasoline car over a fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, and with some help from high oil prices and a better economy, people will be more ready to spend a bit more upfront for big fuel savings over time.