Electric vehicle sales worldwide could drop from 2.2 million in 2019 to 1.3 million by the end of this year, according to a new projection. Market researchers attribute this expected 43% drop in part to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which is affecting automotive manufacturing.
The recent analysis by Wood Mackenzie noted that “the coronavirus outbreak, potential delays to fleet purchasing due to lower oil price, and a wait-and-see approach to buying new models have all contributed to this decrease in projected sales.”
Traditional automakers that plan to manufacture electric vehicles have pushed their upcoming model launches back by years, according to the firm. For example, Ford’s Mustang Mach E was introduced last November but won’t become available until the first half of 2021, said Ram Chandrasekaran, Wood Mackenzie principal analyst.
General Motors still has a goal of selling 1 million electric vehicles annually over the next five years, but Chandrasekaran pointed out that the automaker’s new EVs won’t be available until late 2021.
Both GM and Ford are working to produce ventilators at their US plants, Reuters reported. The FCA Group, which was slow to embrace EVs, recently started making protective face masks for first-responders. Electric car company Tesla delayed production of its Model 3 earlier this year, and just announced staff furloughs and pay cuts, CNN Business reported.
The covid-19 pandemic presents a major hurdle for electric vehicle production, but it’s not necessarily insurmountable.
“Despite the potential delays in EV adoption, several automakers have expressed a desire to be carbon neutral due to government policies and a change in investor attitude,” Chandrasekaran said. “The shift towards sustainability is the driving force behind the electrification of transport. Uncertainty caused by the oil price war and global catastrophes will only serve to strengthen that resolve, not deter it.”