The way people and cargo move from place to place is rapidly changing, and there are overarching global transportation megatrends impacting societies and economies. At CAMX 2019, several of these global megatrends were discussed at educational sessions, on the exhibit hall floor and among conversations at networking events.

One such trend is electric vehicles (EVs). EVs are beginning to experience unprecedented growth that will continue through 2040, according to Nick Albanese, research associate on the advanced transport team at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEW) and lead author of NEF’s Long Term Electrical Vehicle Outlook. One of the panelists on an educational session on the future of ground transportation, Albanese said that while electric vehicles still represent only 2 to 4% of the automotive market, annual sales doubled in 2018 and will reach 2 million to 3 million in 2019, putting 5 million EVs on the road. “There are very few industries where you go from zero to five million this quickly,” he noted.

Albanese said that rapid acceleration will continue due to three key trends. The first is reduced battery pack costs, which have fallen an average of 85% since 2010 and will reach $100 per kilowatt hour by 2024, he said. Second is the commitment by automakers to electrification, including an investment of $150 billion in the next three to five years. Finally, government incentives and mandates – notably those in China – will drive continued EV growth.

Within the automotive sector, composites companies should also keep an eye on shared mobility, where users access cars on an as-needed basis. While ridesharing through companies such as Uber and Lyft are beginning to boom, other shared mobility models will continue to develop, said Dale Brosius, chief commercialization officer of IACMI, moderator of the ground transportation session. “The average privately owned vehicle is used about 4% of any 24-hour period,” he said. “The rest of the time it just sits.” Brosius noted that this provides additional opportunities for sharing, as owners increasingly offer their private vehicles for use by others.

Another transportation megatrend on the horizon is urban air mobility (UAM). As more people continue to migrate to cities and populations grow, urban air mobility (UAM) has generated buzz for its ability to alleviate congestion and efficiently transport people and cargo. At the CAMX featured session, “Urban Air Mobility – City Infrastructure Design and the Promise of Composites,” Michael Dyment of NEXA Capital Partners shared an overview of UAM and its potential for the composites industry.