Around 2.5 billion people will live in cities by 2050. Cars already are the source of many of the problems those people will be facing, including the health effects of pollution, traffic congestion and other issues.
Electric vehicles would reduce the levels of CO2 and other particulates in the air, however. Interconnecting road and transit networks in a citywide communication infrastructure that could include self-driving vehicles would revolutionize traffic management and other city operations.
Challenges to electrifying and digitizing city roads and tunnel remain, cautioned RobecoSAM Smart Mobility Strategy Senior Portfolio Manager Thiemo Lang. How electric car manufacturers use energy and materials in the production process, battery life, “range anxiety” and other questions that investors and experts must address, said Lang. Lithium batteries require materials sometimes supplied using forced labor in mines.
Overcoming these challenges is how asset managers might judge the success of sustainable efforts, Lang noted. Manufacturers have reduced their carbon footprints significantly, for example.
“In future, those that use renewable power – like Tesla’s planned Gigafactories – will have a much lower carbon footprint,” said Lang. “And as renewable power mix moves closer to 100 percent, it’s even conceivable that CO2 emissions drop to zero.