Disruption think tank predicts private car domination has less than 15 years remaining

A new report produced by independent think thank RethinkX and co-authored by respected futurist Tony Seba has predicted that by 2030 95% of U.S. passenger miles will be delivered by autonomous electric vehicles.

Seba, a Silicon Valley pioneer who has form when it comes to predicting the future, has formerly correctly called a boom in solar power during a spell when prices were prohibitive for many.

Within ten years of regulatory approval of autonomous electric vehicles the study predicts “Transport as a Service” (TaaS) could be provided almost free, perhaps as a result of sponsorship, or included in the price of a coffee. What’s more the change will be driven by economics and will “quickly radiate out to the suburbs, the smaller cities, and then rural areas.”

“Basically, the day that autonomous vehicles are regulatory accepted, transport-as-a-service will be 10 cheaper than cost of new vehicles,” Seba told RenewEconomy.

Though stopping short of saying that private car ownership will experience quite the same level of decline, Seba estimates that by 2030 just 40% of cars will be privately owned, accounting for just 5% of distance travelled.

“Every time we have had a ten x change in technology, we had a disruption. This is going to be no different,” explains Seba.

Noting that car manufacturers are already flocking to make investments in different mobility options, the report predicts that disruption to the automotive, oil and insurance industries will be enormous. It’s therefore little surprise to see a pattern emerging of car makers developing investments in companies such as Uber and Lyft, but also in smaller urban mobility solutions. Think electric bikes.

“Adopting TaaS requires no investment or lock-in. Consumers can try it with ease and increase usage as their comfort level increases. Even in suburban and rural areas, where wait times and cost might be slightly higher, adoption is likely to be more extensive than generally forecast because of the greater impact of cost savings on lower incomes,” says Seba.

“As with any technology disruption, adoption will grow along an exponential S-curve.”

Read more over at RenewEconomy.