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Opinion
Nathaniel Bullard

Buying Into the Electric Vehicle Future? Maybe Try Leasing It

As prices fall and options increase, even driving a greener luxury SUV will be within reach in just a few years.

You know you want one.

You know you want one.

Photographer: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

By 2040, 55 percent of all new car sales, and a third of the total 1.6 billion cars worldwide, will be electric. Those are the findings from my Bloomberg New Energy Finance colleagues’ global long-term Electric Vehicle Outlook 2018. Decreasing costs, increasing range and a wealth of new models will drive the electrification of passenger vehicles and transit buses for the next 20 years. 

2040 is a long time out, so let’s look at 2024. That’s when electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles will reach upfront cost parity as batteries become cheaper. In last year’s forecast, BNEF expected that prices would be the same for both kinds of vehicles by 2026. Now, it’s expected to reach that point six years from now. That six-year interval is about half the average age of cars and light trucks in the U.S. Any new car purchased today should be able to last well past the point at which electric vehicles will become competitive on upfront cost.