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    Renewable Energy Roundtable
    Facilitating Disruptive Automotive Technologies: Issues and Implications of Commercialization
    March 21, 2017
    New disruptive vehicle technologies, should they become more ubiquitous, may create significant changes in the auto industry's business model, bring in new players into this sector, and usher in dramatic changes to society overall. Regarding these disruptive technologies, there are currently two major trends in the automotive sector that can revolutionize transportation and may have broader implications for future energy systems and urban landscapes: the move away from fossil fuel combustion engines—exemplified by electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-ins—and automated/autonomous vehicles. As these trends move forward, the proportion of electronic components in vehicles will increase concomitantly—by 2030, it is anticipated that electronics will comprise 50% of the cost of a vehicle, an unprecedented figure. An array of advances in areas such as materials and batteries has brought some of these technologies, particularly electric vehicles, closer to commercialization. Although further R&D will be necessary to improve the competitiveness and scalability of manufacturing of these technologies, the potential benefits of deployment can be significant. For instance, widespread adoption of electric vehicles would in essence result in more prevalent energy storage capacity. Autonomous vehicles, in addition to their safety benefits, could engender progress and advances in traffic patterns, fuel efficiency, land use, and so forth.