A new report predicts that by 2030, 15 percent of global automotive sales will be of fully autonomous cars, and the industry will continue to undergo massive technological changes.

The report by McKinsey & Company — a consulting firm that studies automotive trends — touches on a number of trends, including the increased adoption of shared mobility companies like Uber and Lyft, the expected proliferation of electric vehicles thanks to government regulation, the continued rise in auto sales and the advancements in driverless car technology.

The biggest takeaway from “Automotive Revolution – Perspective Towards 2030” is that the auto industry and driver needs are evolving, and automakers had better be ready to change with the times.

“What we are going through is the most unprecedented time of disruptive change in the automotive industry as it transforms itself into a mobility industry,” Hans-Werner Kaas, a senior partner in McKinsey’s automotive practice, said in an interview. “Consumer needs are changing fast and in more real time today, therefore understanding them is very critical.”

The report found that, especially in cities and other densely populated areas, the importance of vehicle ownership is declining. Thanks to ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and car-sharing services like Zipcar, the share of young people (age 16-24) that hold a driver’s license dropped from 76 percent in 2000 to 71 percent in 2013, while there has been over 30 percent annual growth in car sharing members in North America and Germany over the last five years.

As a result, the report predicts that by 2030, up to 1 out of 10 new cars sold may likely be a shared vehicle. By 2050, the report predicts 1 out of 3 new cars sold will be shared.

Kaas said third-party companies will continue to cash in on demand for shared mobility, but “automakers are in an early phase of experimentation of piloting these services” as well.

Ford Motor Co., for example, has made an effort to better understand consumer preference through a number of “mobility experiments” it launched last January across the globe. They include a car-sharing program in London and a new employee-only shuttle service in Dearborn.

The report also found that the adoption of electric vehicles will continue to grow thanks to government regulations on fuel economy, but the speed of adoption will vary.

In 2030, the share of electrified vehicles could range from 10 to 50 percent of new vehicle sales, the report found. Kaas said certain hurdles remain, including lack of charging station infrastructure and cost to build the vehicles, but government demands on automakers’ emissions standards will continue to drive the creation of EVs.

Ford last month pledged to spend $4.5 billion on electric vehicles by the end of the decade, and since 2009, General Motors Co. has spent at least $2 billion in Michigan alone on electric vehicle research. GM will unveil an all-electric Bolt with about a 200 mile range this week at CES.

The study also predicts that vehicle sales — which will likely hit an all-time record in the U.S. for 2015 — will continue to grow, but at a slower rate. It says sales are growing now at a 3.6 percent rate, but that will drop to about 2 percent by 2030.

The race to fully autonomous vehicles will continue to heat up, the report found, but technological and regulatory hurdles could hinder the progress. Some in the industry, including Ford CEO Mark Fields, have said they expect fully autonomous cars on the road by 2020.

Kaas said he expects them on roads in certain instances between 2020-22, but by 2030 they’ll account for 15 percent of global auto sales. The success or failure will depend on how quickly and willingly consumers will hop behind the wheel of a driverless car.

“The benefits are obvious, but when you adopt any type of new technology, you need to have a certain level of confidence,” Kaas said. “And confidence builds up only when you have a chance to gain experience. We should never underestimate the role of the consumer.”

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

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