Electric vehicles could make up 15% to 35% of total new vehicle sales globally in 2040, according to US research company IHS Markit.

Launching a research project, Reinventing the Wheel, Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit and chairman of the study, said: “The key question is whether we are approaching a transformative shift akin to the first decade of the 20th century, when the internal combustion engine, cheap gasoline, bicycle technology and mass production combined to usher in the automotive age.

“Converging developments along multiple tracks are leading us to focus on this important question.”

While electric vehicles constitute a small percentage of the world’s vehicle sales, and account for just 1% of the on-road fleet today, sales in 2016 are up more than 1,000% since 2010.

This is a trend that IHS Markit expects to continue with the potential to make electric vehicles more than one third of the new vehicle sales in 2040.

“Significant advances in battery technology, financial support from governments, regulations and values of millennials will be key factors leading to increases in electric vehicle adoption,” said Jim Burkhard, study co-director and chief of research at IHS Markit for crude oil markets and energy scenarios.

Electric vehicle share in individual markets will vary based on these factors, IHS Markit says. In China and Europe – regions where policies are favourable to electric vehicles – IHS Markit estimates that electric vehicles could comprise more than half of new passenger vehicle sales in 2040.