The number of years it will take for electric cars to break into the mainstream would be greatly reduced if the Chinese government made a commitment to introduce the technology, the director of a leading US business school has said.
Speaking at a two-day workshop on clean energy entrepreneurship and investment in Edinburgh last month, Bill Aulet, MD of leading US business school the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Entrepreneurship Centre, said that he believed it would take about 25 years for the US to adopt electric cars if progress continued as it was at the moment.
However, he said that if China made a commitment to the technology, this would change things dramatically.
Aulet said: “I took this talk to the Chinese and we did a breakout where we asked ‘how long do you think it will take for electric cars?’. I said that setting up the whole thing could take 25 years.
They came back and they said two years, three years, one and a half years.
“How did people come up with these numbers? They said, ‘it’s very easy, if the chairman says we’re going to do it, we must do it’ – they take everything else off the market and they do it. This is a very serious point: this is the advantage that China has in the green economy – it’s not a market economy and if they say, ‘this is what you’re going to do’ then there are no other options.” Advising those in the audience in the electric car market place to watch China’s progress carefully, he added: “If China forces 20 per cent of their market to have electric cars, that’s a game changer. That then overflows to the United States.”