Bet 838

Duration 20 years (02020-02040)

“Battery electric cars will outsell hydrogen fuel-cell cars by at least a factor of 10 globally every year from 2020 to 2040.”


Holmes à Court's Argument

As the world moves away from internal combustion engines to electric drive trains for passenger cars, two replacement technologies stand out — battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (HFCEVs). Hydrogen is held out by some as a logical successor to petroleum as it shares many of the same features as petroleum; hydrogen is transportable, can be made from oil, and can quickly fill a vehicle. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, require longer period to "refill" (charge), require expensive and heavy batteries, and, for fast charging, rely on fast chargers with strong grid connections. That said, battery technology is improving, most charging is from low power chargers over longe period, and is significantly more energy efficient than fuel cells. Perhaps most powerfully, BEVs have taken early market share and are attracting the vast majority of innovation and investment Fuelled by a broad ecosystem of technology providers and automobile marques, BEVs have pulled ahead of HFCEVs in terms of market share, and it's difficult to see the latter ever catching up. (For the purposes of this prediction, BEVs include plug-in hybrids, PHEVs.)

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