Podcast: Don’t believe Elon Musk’s hype about autonomous driving EVs

Mobility as a Service won’t really arrive until 2030 and become a mature business model until 2050

The hype around autonomous electric vehicles (AEV) is out of control, much of it led by Elon Musk, the visionary CEO of Tesla Motors, who has claimed that existing EVs will become fully autonomous with just a software upgrade. My guest on today’s podcast, Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst with┬áNavigant Research based in Detroit, says Musk is probably ahead of reality by at least 10 years. He and I discussed AEVs and the business model that the technology will create: Mobility as a Service.

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk.

The majority of manufacturers now offer standard or low cost Level 1 systems across most consumer and commercial vehicle segments. Increasingly capable Level 2 systems are also offered on a broad array of premium models. Highly automated Level 3 and 4 systems are being tested extensively, including in public pilot programs, and governments globally are debating and starting to approve the legislation to allow commercial deployment on public roads.

As Level 4 vehicles become more capable and able to handle a greater variety of conditions, they will evolve into fully automated Level 5 vehicles.

Automated driving has the potential to bring a range of benefits to society. Long range driving tasks can be made safer, first by introducing increasing levels of assistance to drivers and then by taking over the primary responsibility.

Full automation brings many possibilities, including the potential rollout of fleets of vehicles that are available on demand. These vehicles would be available at much lower costs per mile than owning a car or using a taxi and would be more convenient than public transport.

Navigant Research expects first introductions of highly automated light duty vehicles (LDVs) to begin in 2020, with steady growth anticipated beginning in 2025.

The sales growth pattern is similar for commercial vehicles, although the start of the growth period is expected to lag by between three and five years and vary by vehicle type.

A growing global population and an ever increasing proportion of people moving from rural to urban settings are driving economic growth and opportunities. However, these trends are also creating challenges for residents and governments. Since the United Nations projects that the number of megacities with a population of greater than 10 million will grow from 31 to 41 by 2030, congestion and air quality are problems everywhere.

Safety is another major issue, with more than one million people killed each year in traffic accidents.

Meanwhile, demand for residential and commercial space in cities is driving up the cost of living. All these new residents need places to park their cars, which exacerbates the problem since large tracts of land must be set aside to store idle vehicles.

Sam Abuelsamid, senior research analyst with Navigant Research

Despite these challenges, residents still need to get to work, school, health facilities, and recreational activities. While mass transit is a part of the solution to providing transportation for people in cities, it is limited in its flexibility. Buses, trains, and subways cannot reach every corner of a city. Moreover, for many residents, mass transit solutions are impractical for certain trips.

Mobility as a service (MaaS) solutions such as carsharing, ride-hailing, and micro transit provide much more flexibility while also enabling the replacement of 5-20 individually owned vehicles depending on the use cases.

According to Navigant Research, global revenue generated by ride-hailing services is expected to grow to almost $1.2 trillion in 2026.

Posted in: Markham on Energy

Post a Comment