Why 2017 will go down as the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine

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Electric vehicles no longer seem like a futuristic fever dream, but they remain a rarity on most American city streets, accounting for less than one percent of the nation’s auto sales, according to the automotive website Edmunds.com.

Yet, when future auto historians look back, they may pinpoint 2017 as the year electric vehicles went from a promising progressive fad to an industry-wide inevitability.

The tipping point, experts say, follows three developments, each rippling outward with economic and cultural consequences.

China’s flexing: In addition to setting aggressive production quotas for EV’s, China plans to scrap internal combustion engines entirely as soon as 2030. By taking a lead role in the shift to plug-ins, the world’s largest auto market is forcing the rest of the international community to follow in its footsteps.

The debut of Tesla’s Model 3: The company’s first mass-market vehicle has ushered in an era of excitement about EV’s because of the car’s slick design and starting price of around $35,000.

Major automakers announce plans for an “all-electric future.” General Motors finished 2016 as the world’s third-largest automaker, meaning its decision to create 20 new electric vehicles by 2023 is bound to have an impact on the global marketplace. Volvo, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Ford also have announced EV plans in recent months.

“You really do feel like this electrification thing is suddenly very real,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds.com. “There’s a momentum we haven’t really seen before. It’s coming from other countries around the world and from big automakers, and that’s forcing everyone else to comply.”

The all-electric future is still years away, experts say. But as EV momentum builds, we’ve listed five ways in which EV adoption is expected to play out:

– The future of Big Oil

Not so long ago, minuscule sales of EVs made it hard for big oil to take the threat of electric cars seriously. Now, thanks to growing demand in Asia and Europe, experts say, that’s beginning to change, even amid predictions that oil demand will continue growing in the developing world. The question facing experts is no longer whether EVs will take over, but when?

A Barclays’ analysis concluded that oil demand could be slashed by 3.5 million barrels per day worldwide in 2025. If electric vehicle penetration reaches 33 percent, oil demand could shrink by a whopping 9 million barrels per day by 2040, Barclays concluded. Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance puts the number at Continue Reading      

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