The growth of the passenger vehicle fleet in the US stalled in 2008.
Sales plummeted in 2008-2010, and more cars were scrapped than sold in 2009-2010 which reduced the total number of vehicles.
Few analysts think car sales numbers will bounce back to the pre 2006 levels of 16 – 17 million cars per year. If they don’t and sales grow slowly, then this scenario is possible:
Steven Chu believes we can get 1 million EVs on the road by 2015. Carlos Ghosn believes that EV sales growth will grow to 10% by 2020.
Over time EVs will compromise more and more of the fleet – a tiny minority, but a very significant number compared to the growth of the fleet.
If the EV sales follow a path consistent with 1 million EVs by 2015 and 10% of sales by 2020 – then the total number of vehicles will exceed the 2008 high in 2014, but the number of EVs is the difference between the green and red lines in this chart:
The total vehicle fleet exceeds the 2008 peak in 2014, but EVs are a significant portion of the new growth – and the total number of ICE vehicles never exceeds the 2008 number.
That will make 2008 the year of the peak number of ICE vehicles in the U.S., and every year after we will see that number decline.
It is a possibility, we will know in a few years – it all depends on how fast sales bounce back, how fast EV sales grow, and how fast people scrap their old low mpg cars in the face of $4 and $5 gasoline.
If it comes true, then we can all remember 2008 as the moment of “Peak ICE”.