Electric driverless vehicles could reduce decarbonisation gap by third

23rd March 2018

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Mahmoud Hashish

Autonomous Electric Vehicles (A-EVs) could bridge approximately one-third of the gap between current decarbonisation rates and those needed to limit global warming to 2˚C.

That is according to a new report from PwC, which also reveals that A-EVs are likely to cause a reduction in oil demand relative to current trends, and have a noticeable impact on global carbon intensity.

However, the scale at which they will influence decarbonisation efforts varies under a range of different scenarios, demonstrating a lack of consensus on how the technology could impact the economy.

“It is clear that the future for vehicles is autonomous and electric,” PwC assistant director of climate change, Lit Ping Low, said. “A-EVs could drive a swift and substantial shift towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s 2˚C objective.

“But the range of uncertainties and possibilities remain wide, and they come with potential risks of disruption to business and the economy. There are likely to be winners and losers as A-EVs are increasingly deployed.”

A-EVs use artificial intelligence, next-generation batteries and other fourth industrial technologies, all of which help can help contribute to greenhouse gas emission reductions in the transport sector.

BP, Wood Mackenzie and Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast a reduction in oil demand from A-EVs of between 5 and 10 million barrels per day against ‘business as usual’ scenarios over the next 25 years.

However, RethinkX believe the reduction could be as high as 40 million barrels by 2030 as a result of less people owning vehicles and instead moving towards Transportation as a service (TaaS).

PwC argue that rapid policy reforms are likely to be necessary for this to come to fruition, while low-carbon incentives, changing transport habits and new emission standards will also be needed.

“It’s vital that businesses start preparing by understanding how A-EV deployment can affect their operations,” Ping Low continued.

“While improvements in technology are key drivers, policy development and consumer behaviour will be equally vital over the next 10 years in determining whether A-EVs play a starring role in the low-carbon transition.”

Image credit: iStock


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