The Economist | April 17, 2019
From GM and Geely to Mitsubishi and Mercedes, giants of the industry are making battery-powered plans
In 1900 one in three cars on American roads ran on volts. Then oil began gushing out of Texas. Cheaper than batteries, and easier to top up, petrol fuelled the rise of mass-produced automobiles. Cost and worries about limited range have kept electric vehicles (evs) in a niche ever since. Tesla, which has made battery power sexy again in the past decade, produced just 250,000 units last year, a fraction of what Volkswagen or Toyota churn out annually. For every one of the 2m or so pure evs and plug-in hybrids, which combine batteries and internal-combustion engines (ices), sold in 2018, the world’s carmakers shifted 50 petrol or diesel cars.
EV sales are, however, accelerating as quickly as electric motors themselves. Some industry-watchers reckon that they will account for nearly 15% of the global total by 2025. By then, one in five new cars in China will run on batteries, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a consultancy.