While electric cars are all but guaranteed to make up a growing chunk of the new car market in the decades to come, the speed with which they scale up to dominate the industry remains the billion-dollar question. So far, EVs make up a small chunk of new car sales in the vast majority of countries. Most industry analysts see them growing to make up roughly a quarter of new vehicle sales roughly a decade from now (though Elon Musk is a little more bullish on that). But Hyundai senior vice president Lee Ki-sang thinks electric cars could leap to as much as 90 percent market dominance shortly after the year 2025...if battery tech manages to take one giant leap for mankind.
"If a really new, next-generation battery appears, like magic, around 2025, then the market share of electric vehicles will go from 20 to 30 percent to 80 to 90 percent of the whole market," Lee said, according to Automotive News.
The phrase "like magic" notwithstanding, Lee is referring to actual—albeit currently bleeding-edge—energy storage technologies, such as solid-state batteries, which use a solid electrolyte instead of a fluid like current li-ion ones, or lithium-air, which combines oxygen from the atmosphere with lithium to pull electrons from an electrode; both these technologies theoretically can reach energy densities several times greater than what existing batteries offer. Lee told AN he heard battery makers' current endeavors to bring such technologies to production should result in a viable consumer product sometime in that post-2025 era.
Hyundai is far from the only automaker looking to new battery technology to change the electric car game. Toyota is planning on launching a new long-range electric car powered by a solid state battery in the year 2022, according to a recent Reuters report.
In the meantime, Lee said Hyundai would continue to invest in and develop environmentally-friendly cars powered by lithium-ion batteries and other existing technologies, including hybrids (plug-in and otherwise), fuel cells, and full EVs. The carmaker plans to launch 28 new "eco cars" between now and 2020, according to AN; if all goes well, green vehicles could make up as much as 40 percent of Hyundai's global sales by 2025.
Pictured: Hyundai Ioniq Electric