Volkswagen triples electric car sales ahead of climate rules

Volkswagen triples electric car sales ahead of climate rules
In this Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 file photo, Electric car ID.3 cars stand at the factory area during a press tour at the plant of the German manufacturer Volkswagen AG ,VW, in Zwickau, Germany. Automaker Volkswagen tripled sales of battery-only cars last year as its new electric compact ID.3 came on the market ahead of tough new limits on auto emissions. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)

Europe's push into electric cars is gathering speed—despite the pandemic.

Automaker Volkswagen tripled sales of battery-only cars in 2020 as its new electric compact ID.3 came on the market ahead of tough new European Union limits on . And Germany, long a laggard in adopting , saw more people buy electrics in December than opted for previously dominant diesel vehicles.

Those are early signs of what will likely be an upcoming year of increasing for electric cars as EU regulations drive their adoption, despite the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic that has caused the overall car market to shrink.

Volkswagen said Tuesday its namesake brand sold 134,000 battery-powered cars last year, up from 45,000 in 2019.

Including hybrids, which combine an and an , sales of electrified cars reached 212,000, up from 82,000 in 2019.

Volkswagen's ID.4 sport-utility vehicle made on the same mechanical base.

Demand has been held back by lack of places to charge electric cars, including for people who live in apartment buildings and can't install a charging box at home. Germany's auto association, the VDA, said there's only one publicly available charging station for every 17 .

Volkswagen triples electric car sales ahead of climate rules
In this Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 file photo, a worker completes an electric car ID.3 body at the assembly line, during a press tour at the plant of the German manufacturer Volkswagen AG, VW, in Zwickau, Germany. Automaker Volkswagen tripled sales of battery-only cars last year as its new electric compact ID.3 came on the market ahead of tough new limits on auto emissions. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)

California-based Tesla has been a major factor in the electric upswing with its Model 3 and its proprietary network of fast-charging stations.

The government in China, the world's largest auto market, is also pressing carmakers to lower emissions.

The uptake of electric vehicles has been slower in the United States, where regulatory pressure has been weaker and where gasoline costs as little as $2 per gallon, depending on the region. That compares to 1.30 euros per liter of gas, or $6 per gallon in Germany, much of which is taxes.


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