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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Global sales of electric vehicles are projected to drop by 43% this year as the technology faces a series of overlapping problems, the consultancy Wood Mackenzie finds in an analysis.

Driving the news: "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," they write.

  • They see worldwide sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrids at 1.3 million vehicles this year, compared to 2.2 million last year.

Why it matters: EVs remain a niche market, and the Wood Mackenzie report shows why COVID-19 means even more speed bumps on the path to the technology becoming mainstream — and for multiple reasons.

  • "The automakers’ response to the pandemic — suspending car manufacturing to focus on making medical equipment — is only going to delay model launches further," Wood Mackenzie analyst Ram Chandrasekaran notes in the report.

But, but, but: Chandrasekaran also says that pent-up demand is expected to help a bounce back in sales later in the year, and the long-term trend is slated to remain upward.

  • He points out that automakers have become more interested in climate-friendly product lines due to government policies and investor attitudes.
  • "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."

Go deeper: Tesla to cut employees' pay up to 30% and furlough workers

Go deeper

52 mins ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.