One thing confounding the much-delayed electric car revolution is that its antagonist—the gasoline engine—is a moving target. Under dogged pressure from electric competitors and government emissions standards, the combustion engine keeps becoming more efficient, making it harder for electrics to compete on price. In its 2040 outlook last week, ExxonMobil—admittedly not a company that is predisposed to be bullish on electric vehicles—cast doubt on whether electrics will make much headway for the next quarter century.
But there is a counter-argument: The internal combustion engine’s dominance is actually almost over. Over the next decade, the cost of electric and combustion vehicles will more or less equal out, Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache writes in a new note to clients. Electrics could even be cheaper than combustion vehicles, Lache writes, which could “serve as a catalyst for significant expansion” of electric car sales.