Driverless and electric vehicles could provide $92bn boost for Australian economy

Electric and driverless cars could provide an AUD‌$92 billion boost to Australia’s economy by 2050, according to a new study.

The indicative analysis, by management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting, found that as new mobility innovations benefit GDP‌ and employment, the country’s economy could enjoy growth of up to $92 billion.

The report notes that new technologies and mobility options such as car-sharing and ride sharing/pooling are already changing the way people travel. But innovations such as autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and on-demand transport are likely to bring even more dramatic shifts, according to the authors.

“New mobility innovations promise a range of social and environmental advantages, making travel simpler and cheaper, reducing pollution, and cutting road accidents,” said Mark Streeting, Partner at L.E.K. and report author.

“The analysis suggests there could be measurable economic benefits for Australia from consumers adopting new mobility trends and technologies.”

According to the report’s findings, the introduction and adoption of new mobility options could increase Australia’s GDP by between AUD$62 billion and AUD$92 billion by 2050, a rise of 2-3% over projected GDP‌ without new mobility options.

The analysis forecasts that the advent of new mobility could boost employment in Australia by 1-2%, adding the equivalent of up to 274,000 full-time jobs.

Around half of the estimated increase in GDP is likely to come from improved labour force participation as new mobility options such as autonomous vehicles make it easier for people to travel to work, said the authors.

Meanwhile, as automated vehicle technologies help to improve road safety, lower vehicle accident rates will also improve GDP by between AUD$30 billion and AUD$46 billion by 2050, the report found, with much of this increase coming from improved labour productivity and lower insurance costs.

When it comes to autonomous vehicles, the authors said that ‘robot taxis’ could account for between 25% and 45% of these vehicles by 2050, making up the largest part of the sector.

The report also found that the growth of electric vehicles in Australia could see the internal combustion engine’s share of the country’s car market fall to as little as 17% by 2050, compared with 99% in 2017.

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