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Electric cars got crushed in 2020, but next year could be their best

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File
On a roll.
  • Michael J. Coren
By Michael J. Coren

Climate and emerging industries editor

Published Last updated

Electric vehicles have long defied the slumping global auto market. As vehicle sales cooled over in recent years, EVs have resisted the pull of gravity, selling roughly a million new units every six months since 2018. This year, the Chinese government was hoping to see the sector’s sales double. 

Not any more. In Asia and the US, a long-term trend is reversing: Electric vehicles are now underperforming their conventional counterparts.

For the first time, electric and “new energy” vehicle sales dropped in China this April even as the broader market grew. Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie is predicting a 40% drop in global EV sales in 2020 from 2.2 million units last year. And while that may be too bleak—global sales are only down 22% so far this year—sales are still likely to be flat by the end of 2020.

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