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Europe Is Getting Its Shit Together On EVs And Hybrids

Employees wearing protective masks against the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, work along the assembly line that produces both the electric vehicle Renault Zoe and the hybrid vehicle Nissan Micra, at Flins-sur-Seine, the largest Renault production site in France on May 6, 2020
Employees wearing protective masks against the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, work along the assembly line that produces both the electric vehicle Renault Zoe and the hybrid vehicle Nissan Micra, at Flins-sur-Seine, the largest Renault production site in France on May 6, 2020
Photo: Getty Images (Getty Images)

From the Prius to Tesla, America got an early lead in buying up hybrids and all-electric cars. First China started stepping past us with affordable EVs, and now it’s Europe that’s getting its act together. Europe is on track to triple sales of plug-in vehicles, thanks to strict regulations rolling in while we are getting lax. 

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Here are the numbers, as the Financial Times reports:

One in 10 new cars sold across Europe this year will be electric or plug-in hybrid, triple last year’s sales levels after carmakers rolled out new models to meet emissions rules, according to projections from green policy group Transport & Environment.

The market share of mostly electric cars will rise to 15 per cent next year, the group forecasts, as carmakers across the continent race to cut their CO2 levels. The projections are based on sales data for the first half of the year, as well as expected increases as manufacturers scramble to comply with tightening restrictions in 2021.

“Electric car sales are booming thanks to EU emissions standards,” said clean vehicle director Julia Poliscanova. “Next year, one in every seven cars sold in Europe will be a plug-in.”

Under the rules, carmakers must reduce the average emissions from their vehicles to 95g of CO2 per km or face fines that could run into billions of euros.

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The new penalties have spurred carmakers to rush in new all-electric models, in particular the ID series from VW. A top exec has dropped off from VW and factories have been scrambling to get IDs into customers’ hands and EU penalties off the company’s back.

Meanwhile in the U.S., we can’t even get consistent regulations because the Trump administration is trying to backtrack, leaving it up to the states to put pressure on automakers to get zero-emissions cars onto dealership lots.

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It’s not a competition, but it’s worth bringing up the contrast between the States and the EU because it shows that regulations work! Maybe not as much in the world of plug-in vehicles as a spike in gas prices would do, but I’ll take what I can get.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

Just tax gas.