At the opening plenary of Vancouver’s EV 2010 VE electric vehicle conference, William Clinton J. Foundation senior director Steven Crolius struck a parallel between the electric car business today and Southwest airlines five years ago.
Crolius’ organization works as a catalyst to help launch greenhouse-gas-reduction projects. It’s a partner in C40—formerly the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group—16 members of which recently formed the C40 Electric Vehicle Network and committed to making their streets more accessible to electric vehicles.
Crolius cited a recent Goldman Sachs report that throws cold water on the dream of an electric mobility revolution. Of a global auto market of 85 million vehicles in 2020, the firm expects only about 1.7 million of them—a scant 2 percent—will boast batteries instead of tanks.
“We wonder why the mainstream has such a pessimistic view of the prospects,” Crolius said, pointing to the graph, which showed EV adoption bumping along the bottom of the chart like a dead eel.
He then showed the penetration of hybrids in the United States, which has flattened out at 2.5 percent. “This is the foundation of the mainstream view,” he explained. “Hybrid cars are almost a rounding error in the total market for vehicles.”