What will happen to the existing fleet of vehicles as a result of the transportation disruption? Can these vehicles be converted to EVs? A-EVs?

 |  6 May 2024

As robotaxis become popular, people in the U.S. will likely choose to sell their old ICEs to people who might use them less frequently, keep them in storage in their garage for recreational use, sell them, or simply give them away for scrap.

We already saw in April 2020, as Covid began to spread, that crude oil prices could turn negative. We said in our 2017 report Rethinking Transportation that when robo-taxis become popular, “used internal combustion engine (ICE) car prices plunge to zero or even negative value. The rising cost of maintenance, gasoline and insurance; the cost of storing or taxing worthless vehicles; and the lack of a used car market might mean that prices go to zero or even below. That is to say, owners may need to pay to dispose of their cars.”

We do not think it is likely that most ICE cars will be converted to autonomous electric vehicles (A-EVs). Of course, some unique old cars might be converted to electric vehicles (EVs) for fun, but it will generally be easier to manufacture new electric cars that can drive themselves than to convert old ones. The business for recycling old cars will boom.

Explore the evidence...

Witness the transformation

The disruption of ICEs by A-EVs and Transport-as-a-Service (Taas) will follow a standard experience curve, with traditional ICE vehicles being disrupted as these modern technologies become cheaper.

From the introduction of TaaS, consumers purchasing a new car will choose TaaS over independently owned ICE vehicles for purely economic reasons. ICE vehicles become ever more expensive to operate and harder to use. 


Published on: 12/07/23

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