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A mechanic maintains an electric vehicle in Germany. Photo: Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images

Cheaper gasoline thanks to the oil price collapse isn't expected to badly undercut electric vehicles, but the overall economic dislocation from coronavirus is a hurdle, analysts say.

Why it matters: EV sales have grown in recent years, but they're still basically a niche market and tiny percentage of overall vehicle purchases, so any new headwinds are worth watching.

What they're saying: "For many years the theory is that low oil and gas is not good for EV demand from a high level," Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives tells me. But he adds...

  • "I believe on the margin some customers will stay away from EV in light of cheap gas, but overall the environmental movement and next generation technology and design behind Tesla neutralizes most of this dynamic."

The big picture: He's not alone. Morgan Stanley analysts gamed out the effects of gasoline prices at $2.37-per-gallon — where it was a few days ago — compared to $3.50-per-gallon.Yes, that lengthens the "payback period" from switching to an EV from a traditional car on fuel savings alone to roughly seven years rather than four.

But, but, but: They say that while lower oil prices put a "dent in economic paybacks," their note adds...

  • "[W]e strongly believe the next burst in BEV adoption will not come from individual consumers waiting for their Model Y or Cybertruck… bur rather megafleets (think e-commerce final mile delivery vans and ride sharing fleets in dense urban cores) moving rapidly (either voluntarily or with regulatory encouragement) into all-electric fleets."

And a piece yesterday in Barron's quotes UBS analysts who say that in China, the world's largest EV market, "we believe continuous efficiency gain and cost cut along the EV supply chain is much more predictable than oil price fluctuations."

  • The UBS note adds that in Europe, industry compliance with carbon emissions rules will drive sales.

Go deeper: What the oil market's collapse means for the climate

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker