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Electric Vehicles Buoyed by a Backlog and Fresh Air

It took a pandemic for some drivers to come around on pollution

Luxury Automobile Assembly At Porsche AG Factory
Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
Updated on

As Covid-19 crunches car sales globally, a backlog of orders have helped electric vehicles maintain momentum in much of the world —better than gas-powered cars and trucks. 

Even in March, as pandemic lockdowns swept the globe, sales of battery-powered vehicles—including plug-in hybrids—surged in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The demand, however, is somewhat synthetic. European emissions targets will rise considerably this year and automakers who don’t meet them will face steep fines for the first time. Passenger cars in Europe are required to reduce carbon emissions by roughly one quarter compared with levels of two years ago—between 4% and 6% of cars sold in Europe this year will have to be battery-powered in order to hit the new CO2 targets.