Me first –global EV policies boost sales as U.S. lags behind

Source: By KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Plug-in electric vehicle sales in European Union nations grew 54 percent last year as automakers ramp up production in response to new pollution rules, according to a new report from S&P Global Platts Analytics. That’s a marked contrast to the U.S., where analysts said EV sales dropped 9 percent.

By 2021, EU rules say new vehicles from each automaker must average 95 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer traveled. Nearly every major automaker is struggling to meet that mandate, opening them up to multibillion-dollar fines if they do not sell more EVs or cut production of higher-emitting models. That’s led to a “landmark push” to get more EVs on the market, said Zane McDonald, senior analyst at S&P.

EV sales also grew 3 percent in China last year, S&P found, despite a “large reduction” in total light duty cars sales. As in Europe, analysts credited stricter emissions standards, along with a “ramped up” New Energy Vehicle mandate from the central government, which sets EV and hybrid manufacturing targets.

Meanwhile, EV sales dipped in the U.S. as the Trump administration continues its push to gut Obama-era efficiency standards for cars and undermine stricter rules by California and a dozen other states. Along with the deregulatory actions, analysts blamed the dip on “very limited availability” of electric vehicles across many U.S. regions and the “lack of a long term [EV] adoption strategy” from the federal government.

As U.S. regulations and incentives have stalled, automakers are looking at other markets to launch EVs first. Just this week, General Motors announced a new fully electric crossover vehicle — the Menlo — with a 250-mile range and a base price tag under $24,000. It will only be available in China. Toyota and Honda will launch their first major electric models in China this year as well, while Mazda and Volkswagen will begin their EV rollouts in Europe.