Electric cars and peak sales of fuel cars

    Recently, there has been an increasing discussion about electric vehicles and their impact on our lives, on other industries and on their impact on oil consumption. It is often claimed that global production of traditional fuel vehicles will continue to grow for several decades. However, recently Bloomberg NEF published a report stating that the production of traditional cars (for simplicity we will call them oil vehicles) has already reached a peak and will not grow in the future due to the growth in sales of electric vehicles. The peak of oil consumption by vehicles inevitably follows the peak of sales of oil vehicles makes this issue particularly acute. We’ll try to understand the article in more detail with the dates of these events.

    Deciphering abbreviations from graphs
    ICE - Internal Combustion Engines (Internal Combustion Engine);
    PHEV - Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (Hybrids with the ability to connect to the mains);
    BEV - Battery electric vehicles (electric car);

    Electric vehicle sales have grown at a very fast pace this decade, and it has become apparent that such growth will someday cause a drop in oil vehicle sales. But when exactly humanity will begin to refuse cars with ICE no one knew. Oil workers hoped that sales of oil vehicles would grow for several decades. All the more unexpected was the Bloomberg NEF statement published in an electric car market review for 2019 that oil car sales began to fall after more than 100 years of growth.

    Bloomberg NEF does not specify in which year the peak of sales occurred. But according to the consulting company LMC Automotive, in 2018, 94 million new cars and light commercial (LCV) cars were sold in the world, which is 0.5% less than 2017. In 2019, the fall continued at the largest automobile wound in the world, the Chinese. Therefore, apparently 2017 will remain a record.

    Now the most important thing: after the peak of sales of oil vehicles, the peak of the world fleet of cars and the peak of oil consumption by this park should follow. Based on the average vehicle life of approximately 12 years, it can be assumed that the global fleet of oil vehicles will be maximum 6 years after 2017. That is, the peak in oil consumption by automobiles may occur in 2023 (the same date is calledanalysts at London's Carbon Tracker Initiative research center and Norwegian risk management company DNV GL)
    Let's see what year Bloomberg NEF predicts.

    Bloomberg NEF predicts that passenger demand for oil will peak in passenger transport in 2028, and commercial transport in 2035. This forecast is very conservative since the difference in the peak in sales of oil vehicles and the peak in oil consumption is not 6, but 13 years.
    From a mathematical point of view, the difference between the peak of sales of oil vehicles and the peak of oil consumption should be 6 years, which is why:
    If the life of the car was several months, then the peak of the fleet (and the peak of oil consumption) would coincide with the peak of sales of oil vehicles, that is, it would happen in 2017. But cars are durable goods with an average life of about 12 years. Therefore, the peak of the fleet should happen 6 years later. If the average service life was 40 years, then the peak of the fleet would come 20 years after the peak of sales. In reality, it may happen that the peak of the fleet occurs 5 or 7 years after the peak of sales, but the likelihood of this is less. The maximum mathematical probability is after 6 years (half of the service life). The peak of oil consumption usually coincides with the peak of the fleet in all studies, and energy efficiency growth is usually neglected. Given the increase in energy efficiency,


    1. The peak in oil consumption by automobiles will occur within 12-15 years after the peak in sales of oil vehicles.
    2. Perhaps humanity will not be able to predict the peak in oil consumption in advance, as it could not predict the peak in oil vehicle sales due to extremely conservative forecasts.

    PS Independent studies show that the peak in oil consumption by road will come in 2023. The same date is confirmed by mathematical calculations. Oil companies and Bloomberg NEF argue that the peak in oil consumption by road will happen no earlier than 2030. Let everyone draw conclusions about the independence and objectivity of Bloomberg NEF forecasts for themselves.
    PPS The Central Bank of the Russian Federation believes that the peak in oil demand from motor vehicles will fall in the mid-2020s, which coincides with the opinion of organizations independent of oil companies.
    UPD: Bloomberg has a forecast with a peak in oil demand in 2023, which they themselves consider unlikely
    In 2016, Bloomberg published a forecast for the development of the electric car market with annual sales growth of about 60%. They considered this forecast unlikely, and therefore not the main one. The problem is that in 2016, 2017 and 2018, electric vehicle sales grew according to this “unlikely scenario” (46%, 61% and 64%). And in 2019 it is expected that this scenario is unlikely for Blomberg experts. And in 2020-21, growth is expected to be equally rapid and equally unlikely for these experts.
    What seemed unreal a couple of years today has become inevitable.
    It is important to understand that the peak in oil consumption will not occur in all countries at the same time. For example, in Norway, electric cars have already caused a decrease in oil consumption. Next in line are countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and China, leading in the introduction of electric vehicles. The decline in oil consumption in these countries will probably come as a complete surprise to experts, as these experts greatly underestimated the impact of electric transport.

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