Publication Detail

Electric Vehicles: Approaching the Tipping Point


Journal Article

China Center for Energy and Transportation, Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS), Electric Vehicle Research Center

Suggested Citation:
Sperling, Daniel (2018) Electric Vehicles: Approaching the Tipping Point. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 74 (1), 11 - 18

A revolution is underway in transportation, with a variety of electric vehicles rapidly coming to the fore. The switch from internal combustion engines to electric motors will change the world in many ways and is expected to help reduce the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Inspired by this vision, leaders in China, France, and Britain have all proclaimed that they will effectively ban cars that aren’t electric by about 2040, while Volvo says all of its vehicles will be powered by electric motors in a few years. Other automakers have also announced that they are headed that way. But how far along is this revolution really? What challenges still need to be overcome to gain truly widespread acceptance on a scale that can combat climate change? Will the costs and the benefits of these new vehicles be equally spread among countries and companies? And while we all benefit in the long term, who will be the winners and the losers in our short-term world where Wall Street thinking predominates?

Keywords: Electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid, zero-emission passenger vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell, batteries