How many cars will be on the planet in the future?

According to Energy Technology Perspectives, more than 2 billion light duty vehicles (not counting two- and three-wheelers) are expected to be on the roads in 2050, an increase from the approximately 900 million today.

How does the IEA work in the area of transport?

The IEA conducts a broad range of transport research and analysis, focusing on ways in which countries can improve energy efficiency in their transport sectors and shift to lower-carbon fuels. This work involves analysing technologies and systems, which can be developed and adopted by countries to reduce dependence on oil and the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the transport sector. The IEA also works with economic analysis and scenarios of the potential evolution of the global transport system under different constraints, which are published annually in the World Energy Outlook and Energy Technology Perspectives series. Finally, the IEA brings together representatives – from parts manufacturers to global energy companies – to discuss areas of mutual concern and interest.

What kind of cars will be sold in the future, assuming climate-friendly policies are implemented?

Energy Technology Perspectives presents three scenarios (6DS/4DS/2DS), which make different assumptions about government policies and their implementation in the years ahead. The most ambitious of these scenarios assumes that countries will implement national pledges and stronger policies after 2020, including the near-universal removal of fossil-fuel consumption subsidies, in order to achieve the objective of limiting global temperature increases to no more than 2°C. To achieve this scenario, IEA analysis shows that advanced vehicles must make up 70% of global car sales by 2035. Advanced vehicles include hybrid (gasoline and diesel vehicles with an internally charging battery), electric (which are battery powered) and plug-in hybrid models (which uses two sources of power – most commonly gasoline plus batteries that can be charged from an electricity grid).

What is MoMo?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Mobility Model is a comprehensive transport-modelling tool aimed at the improvement of the analysis of all the aspects of mobility, building on:

  • the gathering of accurate data on the current and historical conditions of the transport sector
  • the coherent use of the information collected
  • the characterisation and the inclusion of a wide range of transportation technologies and practices.

Key outcomes of the modelling activity include a better understanding of the role of different transport modes with respect to energy consumption, emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), emission of pollutants, the utilisation of natural resources and their requirements for vehicle production and fuel supply.

The Mobility Model is continually developed through a close collaboration between a number of leading institutions in the field of transport and energy.

The origin of the IEA Mobility Model can be traced back to the Sustainable Mobility Project (SMP) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Established in 2000 to consider how global mobility patterns might evolve in the period to 2030 and beyond, the SMP concentrated on mobility issues related to road transportation. In July 2004, the project released a comprehensive report on the topic, Mobility 2030: Meeting the Challenges to Sustainability. The global transport model underlying the analysis of the Mobility 2030 report (the SMP model) has been developed by the IEA and became the basis of the Mobility Model.

Six of the companies that participated in the SMP (BP, Honda, Nissan, Statoil, Shell, and Toyota) agreed to continue to work with the IEA on the model, and have been funding its development on a yearly basis. Seven other partners have since joined the partnership. The participation in the Mobility Model Group has also been instrumental to involve the group members in the activities of the IEA Secretariat.

The project members have access to regular updates and developments of the Mobility Model and the databases that the Agency has developed to feed it. To date, the collaboration developed around the Mobility Model worked effectively to foster a dialogue on matters relevant for transport (e.g. vehicle technologies), energy (e.g. fuel characteristics), the environment and climate change (e.g. well-to-wheel GHG emission factors), favouring the exchange of ideas and information and allowing the IEA to strengthen its knowledge base for its analysis and research.

Significant improvements on the road freight sector, now addressed in great detail in the model, will allow widening and deepening the focus of forthcoming IEA transport-related publications on medium and heavy trucks. Bus and rail modes have also been recently updated to cover the sector much more in-depth. Additional work is being carried out in the fields of shipping and air.