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Going Electric | Future Transport And Logistics 2030

The decade to 2030 will be remembered as a major turning point in the history of mobility and logistics

· Tech

In Picture : Future commuting at 300 km/h ? The all-electric Lilium Jet

Barely a week passes without the major headlines about developments in electric vehicles (EVs), with sales in parts of the world achieving new records. The first battery-powered passenger aircraft are already in the air, with commercial operation closer than many realize. Transport as a service, paid for per-use rather than owned, is a natural consequence of the connectivity boom.

Beyond the factors of convenience and cost driving these developments is the ticking clock of climate change and resultant pressure to decarbonize the sourcing and use of energy. Transportation accounts for oneseventh (14%) of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions1 and can expect continued and increased pressure, and tighter rules, to lower its emissions. The inventory of enabling technologies in this sector is staggering, and includes: alternative low- or zero-carbon fuels; decentralized production of parts and structures through additive manufacturing; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its subset – machine learning; augmented, virtual, and mixed reality; blockchain technology that can revolutionize contracts, tracking and payments – including carbon credits –in logistics chains; the Internet of Things (IoT); quantum computing for logistics optimization; robotics assisting greater automation; and more powerful, reliable and quicker digital communications and geolocation with advanced satellites.

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Electrification is a major trend in the transportation sector. It is currently most prevalent in private vehicles in areas with a mature battery re-charging infrastructure. Passenger EVs are on course to become mainstream, at least in Europe, by 2024, and the enormous two-and three-wheeler fleet in India, China and south east Asia will be 90% electric by 2030. With a cost learning rate (i.e. the rate at which costs fall with every doubling of capacity) of 19%, costs for batteries will plunge faster than even those for solar PV and wind technology, especially with the advent of solid-state chemistries before 2030.2 Further improvements in the cost, energy density, weight and volume of electric batteries will enable wider use of battery-storage systems in heavy road transport such as trucks and buses, and in short-haul air travel and short-sea shipping.

Societal impacts

On the face of it, the transport revolution seems entirely positive: cheaper, connected mobility and logistics that offer a wide range of benefits and choice to businesses and consumers – while making major strides towards the decarbonization of economic activity. However, the fundamental role of transport and logistics in society makes the sector especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and there is a mounting need to identify potential risks and implement appropriate safety measures. There are also unresolved ethical dilemmas associated with the design, operation and maintenance of self-driving vehicles. Many of the disruptions in mobility are driven by big tech, representing a further avenue for concentration of power, data and control for entities that are considered by some to be digital ‘monopolies’.

Source : Extract DNVGL Technology Outlook 2030 Report

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