Electric vehicle revolution will slash travel costs in cities: report

A new report from the World Economic Forum said autonomous and shared mobility, digitization, and decentralization of energy systems require new approaches to electric mobility.

The report, produced in collaboration with Bain & Company, examines the major trends affecting the transformation of energy and mobility systems, with a special focus on cities. In this context, it considers electrification, decentralization and digitalization of the energy system, along with the shift towards shared mobility and autonomous driving.

The report calls for the urgent integration of urban-energy-mobility patterns to accelerate the ability of cities to meet climate goals, support energy efficiency, and foster innovation of services and infrastructure. Combined, these could dramatically increase productivity and generate economic growth, ultimately providing great benefits to citizens.

In the US alone, achieving the transformation will quadruple value for society by 2030, a gain that could be worth up to $635 billion.

As the share of journeys made by electrified vehicles increases, the energy system will see:

• A reduction in cost per mile of up to 40% as a result of increased use of electrified autonomous vehicles (AV)

• Additional flexibility for energy system management as electrified non-AV and AV fleets of public, commercial and mobility-as-a-service vehicles connect to smarter charging and ancillary services

• Lower carbon emissions driven by increased use of solar and wind energy to meet demand for the electricity required to power electric fleets

The report gathers and analyses practical examples and best practices, which can be tailored to local specific cities. The principles – required for action by both public and private sectors – and their corresponding recommendations are described below.

Take a multistakeholder and market-specific approach: A comprehensive approach to electrification of transport will require engagement of stakeholders from different industries and sectors and may vary significantly across different markets based on the local energy mix or mobility patterns.

Prioritize high-use vehicles: The shift of the approach to transport electrification, through advancing and reforming regulation, should prioritize high-use vehicles, such as fleet and autonomous vehicles. The goal is to accelerate the electrification of miles to maximize the value creation.

Deploy critical charging infrastructure today while anticipating mobility transformation: In the context of mobility and energy systems transformation, planning charging infrastructures is critical to cope with the risk of stranded assets as well as ensure the sustainable implementation and use of the charging stations and hubs.

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