Automakers should have a “robust” plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their fleet and assembly operations, and should also shape their business models to deal with the challenges of climate change if they want to remain competitive in the long run. Those are the recommendations from more than 250 institutional investors with over $24 trillion in assets under management. Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change published a guide on October 11, 2016 that outlines the threats facing the automotive sector, as well as investors’ expectations. With the Paris climate deal taking effect next month, investors expect regulations “affecting the automotive sector to become far more stringent, not least those governing vehicle fuel performance standards in the EU and elsewhere,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO for European investor network IIGCC.

According to the report widespread electrification of the global vehicle fleet will be necessary to meet climate commitments and goals set out in the Paris Agreement. There are currently approximately 1.5 million electric vehicles globally, and IEA estimates that we will need 100 million EVs by 2030 to meet the Paris commitments and 140 million EVs by 2030 to meet a 2°C Scenario.21 Evidence so far suggests the widespread adoption and acceptance of advanced vehicles is likely to depend initially on the incentives provided by the state to switch from combustion engine-propelled vehicles to electric cars. For example, as a result of strong EV policies and incentives, in addition to technological advances, Norway’s EV and PHEV share is 40 times the global average (compared to almost zero deployment 5 years ago :

“At the forefront will be the development and advancement of advanced vehicles that rely on more sustainable power train engineering, such as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV). It is predicted that BEVs, PHEVs, and FCVs will significantly contribute to reduce the car manufacturer’s fleet emissions (in the interim, significant advances in Internal Combustion Engine technologies driven by strong regulations will also decrease fleet emissions).30 Also, it is expected that BEV and FCV developments will complement rather than compete with each other.31 For hydrogen-powered engines, the outlook is more mixed because the energy sources for hydrogen-powered cars mainly stem mostly from fossil fuels – giving rise to the question whether such vehicles will actually help cut overall CO2 emissions from automotives.32 Currently the cheapest source of hydrogen is from fossil fuels, but even if the fuel comes from natural gas, (one of the dirtiest sources of hydrogen) fuel cell vehicles can cut emissions by over 30%33 when compared with vehicles with ICE.