Electric cars will come to dominate the market, but we’ll have to wait until around 2030 before they start to outnumber the cars we drive now according to Robert Bosch, the German-based automotive components giant.
The world’s biggest car-parts maker, which already makes drive motors, control systems and batteries for electric cars — and spends a large proportion of its £2.5billion annual R&D budget making them better — is adamant that electricity will eventually power most of the world’s new cars, but says it will be a 2020 before this new breed “makes a noticeable mark” on the world car market. The company estimates that by 2015 electric cars and plug-in hybrids will account for just 500,000 units of the world’s 90 million car production, rising to three million units (of 100 million) by 2020. At both dates, Prius-style hybrids should account for about five million sales. But the vast majority of cars will use improved and downsized turbo petrol and diesel engines similar to those we drive now, their efficiency boosted by as much as 50 percent. Speaking at an automotive seminar at the company’s giant Boxberg research centre, near Stuttgart, Bosch chairman Dr Bernd Bohr claimed ever stricter efficiency and clean air standards across the world will have “turned a mid-class diesel into an 80 mpg car, with CO2 emissions of just 99gm/km” well before the electric car begins in earnest. However, though the internal combustion engine is likely to be ‘unchallenged in the next 20 years”, Dr Bohr believes the takeover of electric power – either from batteries, or generated either by on-board range-extending engines or fuel cells – will be irresistible, on simple efficiency grounds.