News & Events

Energy Economics Weekly Briefings

Economic and Social Impacts: Future Mobility Workshop

Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

Key Takeaways:

  • A full day of panel discussions with experts from across the country…and the UK…convened to discuss the future of mobility.
  • Experts noted several trends using solid analysis of a diverse data sets, from ride hailing statistics to global electrified and autonomous vehicle sales.
  • Policy interventions are key: many experts noted China’s policy stimulus for electrified vehicles fits squarely with their objective of improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions.

The University of Michigan’s Energy Institute and Mcity co-hosted a day long, invitation only workshop on the economic and social impacts of future mobility (see pp. 3 – 4 for the workshop agenda). The topics were wide ranging, but centered on the likely outcomes regarding the penetration of electrified vehicle (EVs) sales, the extent to which ride hailing services will increasingly substitute for personal car ownership, how fast will autonomous car features be adopted on the global highways and cities, and what policy menus are on offer which affect these new mobility trends?

Economic Scenarios for EVs and CAVs for 2035

  • Panel experts agreed that the data do not suggest that the transition toward large shares of EV sales, or an onslaught of switching toward CAVs will happen anytime soon.
  • One expert noted that it would take until 2035 to see a 26% market share of EV sales (this includes both plug-in and battery electric vehicles).
  • Even more distant is the likelihood of significant penetration of connected and automated vehicles. Fewer than one out of every 5 miles driven will be Level 4 -5 automated vehicles (see box below).
  • This panel of experts provided a realistic appraisal of the “slope of the curve:” It will take years before we see any meaningful shift away from the internal combustion engine vehicles.
  • Adding to this assessment was an expert’s discussion of a study regarding outright urban car bans’ impact on fuel use. One conclusion from this analysis showed that it would take at least 45% closure of city centers worldwide in order to have a significant impact on fuel use.

Consumer and Business Behavior: Economic and Financial Factors

  • A heavy dose of policy stimulus can incentivize consumer behavior to buy EVs. In the case of China (see last week’s briefing here), several policies are designed to stimulate EV demand, and it has been successful (see chart below).