I certainly hope that forecast proves correct. That post is from Y Combinator partner Geoff Ralston. In his post Geoff raises an interesting “tipping point” argument:
When 10% of the vehicles on the road are electric many of them will go out of business.
What is the logic that connects 10% EV penetration to “many gas stations out of business”? Other possibilities are the gas-pumping retailers get more physically concentrated (which has been happening in most geographies that we know); the retail price of petrol goes up; automated gas pumps become accessories to other retailers (supermarkets are common gas pumpers in NZ).
I agree with Geoff that consumers will react strongly when it becomes really inconvenient to refuel. It’s above my pay grade whether that is 25% or 50% EV penetration. When does the refueling “tipping point” effect grow large enough to offset the (decreasing) EV price premium?
What else might bend the curve of EV adoption? It wouldn’t surprise me if self-driving cars were a more direct cause of an inflection in EV market penetration. I think automated taxis are likely to explode in the cities that have favorable density, travel patterns and demographics. And I will eat my hat if the robo-taxi companies chose to deploy fleets of ICE vehicles. If I’m right about the growth of robo-taxis these fleets could contribute EV growth promoters like:
1. Building out fleets of Robo-taxis drive down the EV cost/benefit so much it promotes private adoption.
2. In urban zones the market for private autos shrinks as people find they prefer using over owning. So total EV penetration goes up with the shrinking ICE denominator.
Even if the EV takeover is slower than Geoff hopes we can look forward to a much cleaner and more convenient future. EVs are essential: the road to a low carbon economy goes through the electrification of transport.