On the electrification of road transport - Learning rates and price forecasts for hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles
Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are currently more expensive than conventional passenger cars but may become cheaper due to technological learning. Here, we obtain insight into the prospects of future price decline by establishing ex-post learning rates for HEVs and ex-ante price forecasts for HEVs and BEVs. Since 1997, HEVs have shown a robust decline in their price and price differential at learning rates of 7±2% and 23±5%, respectively. By 2010, HEVs were only 31±22€2010kW−1 more expensive than conventional cars. Mass-produced BEVs are currently introduced into the market at prices of 479±171€2010kW−1, which is 285±213€2010kW−1 and 316±209€2010kW−1 more expensive than HEVs and conventional cars. Our forecast suggests that price breakeven with these vehicles may only be achieved by 2026 and 2032, when 50 and 80 million BEVs, respectively, would have been produced worldwide. We estimate that BEVs may require until then global learning investments of 100–150 billion € which is less than the global subsidies for fossil fuel consumption paid in 2009. These findings suggest that HEVs, including plug-in HEVs, could become the dominant vehicle technology in the next two decades, while BEVs may require long-term policy support.
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