Global sales of plug-in electric vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric vehicles, rose to 1.2 million in 2015, but only 1% of all vehicles in use worldwide are electric vehicles, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA recently released three cases based consumer acceptance of electric vehicles through 2040, and each case shows the differences in energy consumption worldwide.
The low acceptance case shows the stock of electric vehicles would be about half of that in the reference case by 2040. The high acceptance case shows the stock of electric vehicles would be twice that of the reference case, by the same year.
Liquids fuel consumption of light-duty vehicles would be 2 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) higher in 2040 in the low acceptance case, compared to the reference case. In the high acceptance case, liquids fuel consumption would be 2.75 quadrillion Btu lower than in the reference case in 2040, according to the EIA.
“Projected changes in light-duty vehicle electricity consumption is not one-to-one with the changes in light-duty vehicle petroleum fuel consumption,” according to the EIA. A greater number of electric vehicles in operation will lead to lower petroleum use “because of the greater efficiency of the (electric vehicle) powertrain and the switch from using petroleum to electricity.” In the low acceptance case, light-duty vehicles would use nearly 1 quadrillion Btu less electricity than in the reference case. In the high acceptance case, light-duty vehicles would use 1.8 quadrillion Btu more electricity than in the reference case in 2040.