Joe Biden plans to shift all the US federal government’s 650k vehicles to electric. In the US there are 276m cars, trucks and other transportation vehicles in the USA, of which 8m are in fleets. The economics for this now make sense, but this move indicated a wider trend that the move to electric will happen in spurts or waves. New York is planning to make all delivery vehicles in Manhattan electric. This move could be the catalyse for a more fundamental shift, more EVs with a predetermined travel route means more charging infrastructure. Maybe there is a need for a lunch break charge or simply putting in the series of charging stations will cause the grid to be bolstered to handle the extra energy need. If we look at the entire industry, the same is likely to happen with autonomy – the deployment question is where, not when.
Along with Biden’s news of electrifying the government fleet, GM is making plans to move entirely to electric by 2035. We’ve heard this promise from automakers before, for instance Volvo committed to electrifying it’s entire fleet, but for them this meant going plug in hybrid not fully electric.
As a technology journalist turn mobility expert it’s an easy pattern for me to assume that automotive will follow Smartphone trends. The hardware will become the commodity while software and services will end up dominating. This could be the case, but Benedict Evans points out that “there’s a strong case that electric will mostly be a commodity and scale manufacturing will matter a lot more”.