Electrification isn't the only change

This Vox article discusses the possibility that vehicle electrification could accelerate more quickly than previously expected.

Basically, a lot of oil company and large firm predictions fail to take into account continuing policy changes and innovations in the electric car market which could continue to drive costs down.

That's a good take and a prudent one that I think will be borne out. There is one other change that I think will accelerate the gas to electric vehicle transition to an even greater degree: self driving/autonomous vehicles.

I think it's reasonable that autonomous vehicles will see limited real-world use in the next five years and widespread use within 10-15 years. Recode predicts that between 2020 and 2025 autonomous cars will be developed enough to handle all driving tasks.

I believe that if self driving cars become practical that people will begin using them aggressively. From getting deliveries to cross country roadtrips people will love not having to pilot a vehicle for day to day tasks.

The traditional model of car ownership has a family own a car or two that can accomplish most any car task (going to the grocery store and a cross country road trip). If self driving cars become commonplace people will likely stop owning one specific car and will instead buy use of cars.

That means that maybe people will use a different car for a grocery run versus a road trip. Local trip or commuting cars could have maybe 50-100 mile ranges before needing recharging while roadtrip cars will have ICE-based (internal combustion engine) drivetrains to enable the much greater range requirements of that trip.

I think that if self driving cars become practical (and that's still a big if) it will significantly accelerate the rate at which electric cars and electric car infrastructure will proliferate.

So If the optimistic take is that 30% of cars are electric by 2030 I posit that many many more (say, 50% rather than 30%) will be electric if autonomous vehicles become road worthy for the vast majority of road driving scenarios.