BloombergNEF has just released its latest annual passenger car survey.

BNEF’s transport research tends to focus on decarbonisation, including how transmissions are changing. But another important aspect of road transport emissions is the number of vehicles on the road.

We believe that the fleet will continue to grow for at least another ten years.

This latest report outlines a scenario for passenger road transport over the coming decades, with the global passenger car fleet growing from 1.2 billion to a record 1.5 billion in 2039.

BNEF expects global annual sales to peak in 2036, ending more than a century of growth.

Changes in the driving-age population are a powerful driver of the outlook. According to the United Nations, the working-age population of Europe will decrease by 11% by 2040, while Japan and South Korea will decrease by more than 20%.

In China, the largest car market in the world, the working age population will decrease by 14%. Over the same period, the share of the world’s population aged 69 and over rose from 4% to 10%. These changes prevent our forecast for passenger car usage from rising.

Urbanization is another important factor in our worldview. Urbanization in India and other low- and middle-income markets such as Brazil, Russia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey means that most urban dwellers, especially those living in heavily congested megacities, will find owning a car more expensive or less convenient than owning two – a motorcycle, using shared mobility services or using public transport.

This leads to passenger car sales in India, for example, approaching 8 million units by 2040, but never crossing that figure due to increased urban congestion and increased sales of two-wheelers, which already make up the majority of vehicles sold annually. in the country.

The number of vehicles on the road also depends on who or what is driving. Shared and driverless vehicles drive more kilometers per car on average than private cars.

In our view, shared and autonomous vehicles are an increasing part of the vehicle fleet, but still far outnumber private vehicles.

This trend has a significant impact on the drivetrain mix, as shared and driverless cars will most likely be electric.

As of the end of last year, the private car fleet consisted of just over 1% of electric vehicles, which is significantly lower than the 6% of shared vehicles (such as ride-hailing services, taxis and carpooling) and autonomous vehicles. However, private vehicles account for 98.7% of the global passenger car fleet and have 15 times the absolute number of electric vehicles than shared and autonomous vehicles.

Policy measures will affect the rate of electrification of common vehicles. All major ride-hailing companies currently have programs in place to encourage drivers to purchase electric vehicles, given future regulation or a growing sense of what their customers want.

Most have set specific goals for full electric vehicle adoption on their platforms. While these companies typically don’t own the vehicles used on their platforms, they are testing the levers they can use to drive electric vehicle adoption.

Long-term perspectives such as this report take into account many factors that, even slightly changed, can have a significant impact on results.

We will continue to closely monitor upcoming developments in car sales, shared car business models and driverless technology as they will clearly impact the transport industry’s ability to decarbonise.

Read: These are the most popular and sought-after used cars in South Africa

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