The following World of Data charts show the total urban and rural population from the year 1500 A.D. to the year 2050 A.D. – given as estimates to 2016, and UN projections to 2050. Projections are based on the UN World Urbanization Prospects and its median fertility scenario. Source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mapping-the-worlds-urban-population-in-2050/
By 2050 approx. 68% of the global population of 9.8 billion people (thereof 80% in Asia and Africa) will live in urban areas and just 32% in rural areas. In 1500 A.D. just 4% of the global population of approx. 450 million people lived in urban areas and 96% in rural areas.
The 54 African countries will double their population from 1.25 billion people in 2016 to 2.5 billion people in 2050. Despite great progress in recent years, around 45% of people in Africa (580 million out of 1.3 billion) still have no access to electricity according to the International Energy Agency. This is because many of the inhabitants of African countries live in remote, sparsely populated areas where the expansion of central electricity grids is not worthwhile from an economic point of view.
The following table shows the global top 20 countries with the highest birth rate in 2018 according to the World Bank, all of which are located in Africa. Source: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/sp.dyn.tfrt.in .
There are about 1.3 billion motor vehicles on Planet Earth. In 2015 the global motorization rate was Ø 18.2%, i.e. for every 1,000 inhabitants there were 182 motor vehicles – 470 in the European Union (with 555 in Germany) and even 788 in the United States of America.
The motorization rate in the densely populated developing and emerging countries in Asia and Africa is still significantly lower: in 2015 there were 105 motor vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants in Asia, and just 43 in Africa. But the developing and emerging countries in Asia and Africa are growing and they are growing fast. According to UN forecasts, 80% of the world population will live in Asia and Africa by 2050 (7.8 billion out of 9.8 billion people).
In parallel to this, the economic power&wealth in these regions is developing rapidly, so that more consumers will be able to afford more vehicles. You can calculate for yourself how the global vehicle population would develop if Asia and Africa with its 7.8 billion inhabitants reached the motorization rate of the EU or the USA (spoiler: the number of vehicles on planet earth would explode from 1.3 billion to more than 5.0 billion). Nobody, except the automobile industry, can be interested in such a development.
These facts explain, why passenger cars – independently from their power train technology (combustion engine or battery electric) are a conceptual dead-end and not the future of mobility, but just a last desperate attempt of the automobile industry to expand the lifetime of the outdated 134-year-old passenger car concept by some more decades. Passenger cars consume too much resources and too much space. We need more intelligent Shared Mobility solutions – including public transportation (buses, trams, trains, subways, …), car/ride sharing, two-wheel-vehicles (bicycles, scooters, …) and innovative solutions such as moving walkways, flying taxis, or bumper cars – particularly for the fast growing urban areas. We should be able to implement these alternative solutions short term, instead of wasting decades of precious time for transforming the vehicle stock and the energy supply to renewable energies.
In German we have the beautiful metaphor of „shooting sparrows with cannons“, which describes an effort that stands in no meaningful relation to the benefit. Imagine if you had to solve the problem that too many resource-consuming cars in large cities cause traffic jams, noise and toxic emissions impairing the citizens‘ quality of life, make them ill and damage the climate.
▶︎ You promote the development of connected, autonomous electric cars
▶︎ You invest tens of billions to build a nationwide electricity storage network
▶︎ Your invest tens of billions more to build a nationwide 5G mobile network
▶︎ You invest trillions to convert electricity production to renewable energies
▶︎ You build a system of subsidies to push the uncompetitive price of connected, autonomous, electric cars to a level that at least wealthy buyers can afford
▶︎ You wait 20 – 30 years until the vehicle population of 47.7 million cars has been electrified and electricity is „green“
▶︎ You promote the use of shared mobility with any power train
▶︎ You announce that starting in 2030 the centers of large cities will be closed to individual cars
▶︎ You invest in the expansion of public transport and cycle paths
Which option would you choose? Choose wisely …
▶︎ African Economic Outlook 2020: Developing Africa’s workforce for the future: https://www.afdb.org/en/knowledge/publications/african-economic-outlook
▶︎ Complicated electrification: Why does Africa have so little electricity?: https://www.n-tv.de/wirtschaft/Warum-hat-Afrika-so-wenig-Strom-article22252905.html
▶︎ WIKIPEDIA article on African economy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Africa
▶︎ Map with 10 largest African economies as of 2018: https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/edoel1/10_largest_african_economies_oc/
▶︎ „Facts and Figures on climate change and global warming“ published on May 12, 2019: https://t1p.de/ve7q (only in English)
▶︎ „The future of mobility goes far beyond electric power train versus combustion engine“ published on June 9, 2019: https://t1p.de/0efu (only in English)