While vehicle fitness alone accounts for a third of autos’ 2050 fuel reduction, it more importantly enables the essential element that finally liberates us from oil—an electric powertrain, which unlocks a further 63% reduction of 2050 fossil fuel consumption.
Mutually reinforcing technologies, economies of scale, and manufacturing innovation will make Revolutionary + autos affordable; the question is when. We can jump-start the rapid development of Revolutionary + vehicles today with smart policies that unlock and accelerate this transition by changing buyers’ price signals to favor advanced-technology vehicles, and speeding retooling to make them.
Feebates make efficient autos cheaper to buy and inefficient autos costlier, providing a powerful price signal that influences auto-buying decisions at the instant they’re made. Feebates maintain a continuous incentive for automakers to innovate. And, they work.
U.S. motor gasoline consumption with and without policy change and accelerated retooling, 2010–2050
Feebates are necessary for Revolutionary+ autos to be adopted because of their initial price premium. However, even after feebates are adopted and the U.S. begins to move off of oil, speeding EIA’s factory retooling rate by a few years could move U.S. autos completely off of oil by 2050.
Cost reduction potential of powertrains
Different powertrains have different cost reduction potential for Revolutionary+ autos. By 2020, for example, battery electric vehicles would be priced about $6,000 higher than business-as-usual autos as forecasted by EIA. However, by 2050, this price difference drops to $500 due to learning curves in carbon fiber, structural manufacturing, and battery packs.
Cumulative volume-based learning curves for battery packs fuel cell systems
The cost of the Revolutionary+ auto decreases over time because we assume that battery electric and fuel cell propulsion costs fit empirically observed learning curves analogous to the history of hundreds of diverse manufactured goods.