Study on the future of the car : “there will be no revolution”

Shell and prognos take a look at the automotive future and discover something surprising: the car fleet will become more environmentally friendly – but despite technological and demographic change, the world in 25 years’ time will look relatively similar to the world today.

The private car will remain the main pillar of mobility in germany for decades to come. And cars will still be powered mainly by gasoline and diesel in 25 years’ time. these are two key findings of a joint study by the energy company shell and the research firm prognos, which was presented in hamburg on tuesday. Although there will hardly be any fewer cars on the road in 2040 than today, greenhouse gas emissions for the entire fleet could be cut by about half.

According to the study, the number of cars will continue to rise until the mid-2020s, when it will reach more than 45 million. Then it goes down to 42.7 million by 2040, compared to about 44 million today. "we will continue to have to deal with a lot of individual traffic," said stefan rommerskirchen of prognos. "demographic change won’t solve anything on its own."the mileage of all cars in germany is also still rising, from today’s 617 to 626 billion kilometers. According to this scenario, there will be a decline to 580 billion vehicle kilometers by 2040, which is about the same as in 2003.

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"The car remains the most important means of transport"

A closer look at the details reveals a number of dynamic developments behind the comparatively stable figures. Young people will drive less and spend their money on modern communication technology instead. in contrast, women’s motorization rises to 68 percent of the male figure. As recently as 2000, the figure was only 44 percent.

the bottom line is that 80 percent of land transportation is done by cars and motorcycles. The remaining 20 percent is shared by rail, public transport, bicycles and walking. "the car remains the most important means of transport," said shell economist jorg adolf. "there will be no revolution."this is also true for propulsion energy: "cars last a long time, and it takes time to replace the entire fleet."with around three million new registrations per year and 44 million cars in the fleet, a car is taken out of service after 13 to 14 years.

It will be more environmentally friendly

The share of alternative drive systems in passenger cars in germany is currently 1.6 percent; most of these are gas-powered engines. According to the authors of the study, 95 percent of passenger cars will still have an internal combustion engine on board in 2040. However, around 12 million cars could then also drive electrically as hybrid vehicles. shell and prognos do not expect the electric car to make a breakthrough on the mass market in the foreseeable future. "we definitely won’t have a million electric vehicles in the fleet in 2020," said rommerskirchen.

Nevertheless, the transport sector will become more environmentally friendly, mainly thanks to technical progress in reducing energy consumption. the federal government’s national emissions target for the economy as a whole, a 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2040, will not quite be met by passenger cars – but at least it is almost. (dpa)

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