A few years ago a major turning point in the automotive world took place. After Tesla’s massive success caught the eyes of the financially motivated, just about every auto manufacturer announced plans to make a transition towards electric cars. Contrary to their original cons, EV’s now have plenty of range, just as good (if not better) performance, and have even come down significantly in costs to both produce and purchase. The world was on track to make the next transition from the dated horse carriage to the future.
Late last year we caught whim of a deadly virus spreading throughout the world’s largest automotive market, China. Since then the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has become a global pandemic. Countries are on full lock-down with many afraid to leave there homes. Warranted or not, it has caused a stir within the worldwide economy.
Auto sales were already on a yearly decline with many stating we were amidst an automotive recession. New interest in electric cars was set to keep sales from declining further. Tesla alone sold 367,500 electric cars in 2019 with much more to come from other automakers entering the space.
Now, with Coronavirus in the air, sales are being crushed further. Over in China, February new car sales were down a massive 79% from the year prior. It’s uncertain which automakers took the largest hits but it would be unwise to assume electric cars were excluded from the demise.
The current electric vehicle landscape is limited with most not yet available for purchase. The timeline from conception to perfection can last a few years. Down the route automakers display their upcoming vehicles through marketing and auto shows. Thanks to mass pandemonium and local quarantines, just about everything has been canceled.
Arguably the most important auto show of the year, the Geneva Motor Show, was canceled a few weeks back. For most companies, the Geneva Motor Show is the first step in releasing new vehicles. Concept cars are displayed in order to see what consumers are attracted to. From there, vehicles enter the early stages and eventually get produced for mass consumption.
Heaps of electric cars were set to make their debuts this year, all of which have been canceled. The one notable electric cars set to make its first production ready appearance was the long awaited BMW i4. The new Fisker Ocean was also set to make their European debut. Instead of making public appearances, some auto makers have opted to schedule in a virtual reveal.
In the U.S., other new electric cars such as the Volkswagen ID.4 were set to be revealed at the New York Auto Show, another global sensation that fell to the wrath of the Coronavirus. The New York Auto Show has officially been delayed until August.
Rivian, a fan favorite, has been parading across the U.S. recently making public appearances at major cities throughout the states in order to drive enthusiasm towards their new electric trucks. Events in the following cities have been placed on hold until further notice:
- New York City
- Los Angeles
Tesla’s newest vehicle, the Model Y, was set to begin deliveries this month. With just a handful of cars delivered so far, whether or not they’ll continue or place a pause is up in the air. Ford’s first mass produced EV, the Mustang Mach-E had just entered production before panic ensued.
With unveilings delayed, automakers forced to halt current production, and sales at a nearly all time low, the electric car revolution has stopped, for now. Some analysts warn that we’ll see as much as a 20% decline in automotive sales this year with others worried about a more global economic recession. Only time will tell where we go from here.
The coronavirus panic is dumb
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2020