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Photo by picture alliance via Getty

Analysts and investors are getting ever more bullish on electric vehicles, but with little regard, it seems, for consumer attitudes.

Why it matters: Tightening regulations around the world could indeed shove the vehicle market toward electrics more quickly than expected. But if consumers are reluctant to buy, automakers will have to slash prices and absorb the losses, erasing investors' rosy hopes.

What's happening: Morgan Stanley raised its forecast for battery electric vehicles this week, saying they'll account for 31% of global auto sales by 2030.

  • IHS Markit says EVs will be 60-80% of cars sold by 2050.

Yes, but: While a new report from Resources for the Future finds 57% of future car buyers are willing to consider buying an EV, it also uncovered significant sources of hesitation based on perceptions that aren't necessarily accurate:

  • Batteries may catch on fire
  • Maintenance costs are higher
  • EVs have weaker acceleration than gas-powered cars
  • It's difficult to replace batteries
  • There aren't enough EV mechanics

Of note: 65% of respondents said they have not driven nor know anyone who has driven an EV. 

The bottom line: Automakers have a serious education challenge ahead.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

GM plans to end sales of gasoline powered cars by 2035

GM CEO Mary Barra at the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles in Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors is setting a worldwide target to end sales of gasoline and diesel powered cars, pickups and SUVs by 2035, the automaker said Thursday.

Why it matters: GM's plan marks one of the auto industry's most aggressive steps to transform their portfolio to electric models that currently represent a tiny fraction of overall sales.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

General Motors puts Trump in its rearview mirror

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

General Motors (GM) is racing to prepare itself for a president and a world that takes climate change more seriously — and putting the Trump era behind them in the process.

Driving the news: GM yesterday announced an ambitious plan to end global sales of internal combustion vehicles by 2035. It's part of their wider new pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

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