Three trends – ride sharing, autonomous driving and vehicle electrification – are converging to transform the automotive industry and offer big-city dwellers a form of cheap, convenient transportation, according to a new report by the Boston Consulting Group.
By 2030, around 25 percent of all miles driven in the United States could be in shared autonomous electric vehicles, which will offer consumers in large cities the lowest-cost, most convenient form of transportation, according to the new research.
Together, the three trends “create a far more compelling economic case than any of these forces alone,” the Boston Consulting Group concludes.
“Such an evolution in mobility is no longer a fantasy,” said Brian Collie, a Chicago-based partner who leads the group’s automotive practice in North America. “The technology exists and our research shows that many consumers will embrace it. Yet few players are taking the bold steps needed to position themselves to thrive in this not-too-distant future. The time to act is now.”
By 2030, more than 5 million conventional cars per year could be replaced by a combination of fully autonomous electric vehicles for urban fleets and partially autonomous cars for personal use, according to the consulting group.
Shift Concentrated in Large Cities
Boston Consulting Group’s conservative estimate is that 23 percent to 26 percent of miles driven in the United States, or about 800 billion to 925 billion miles, could be traveled in SAEVs by 2030.
The shift to SAEVs, which would be gradual and would begin by the early 2020s, would likely occur in cities with more than 1 million people, where there is sufficient demand to keep fleet utilization high and there are significant pain points associated with private-vehicle ownership (expensive insurance, difficulty finding parking and congestion).
Adoption could be faster and more widespread if innovations in technology and pricing models reduce costs further for consumers.
Innovations could include:
- Radically different vehicle designs, such as driverless pods
- New tailored services, such as pooled ride sharing
- New revenue streams, such as in-vehicle advertising
At a lower price point, SAEV service might be attractive in cities with populations of 500,000 to 1 million people as well, according to the consulting group. However, the group concludes that SAEVs are unlikely to be economically viable in small cities and rural areas.
And even in larger cities, their survey findings suggest that many consumers remain skeptical of the technology or are unwilling to give up the many conveniences and benefits of private-vehicle ownership.