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Encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles is a high priority for many policymakers and environmentalists concerned with how to limit carbon emissions. President Joe Biden in August signed an executive order setting ambitious new targets for the sale of hybrid and electric vehicles, and Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposal included a $174 billion investment in electric vehicle production and adoption along with charging infrastructure.
Consumer demand for EVs has already been trending upward as the technology behind electric vehicles has improved. The total stock of electric vehicles worldwide hit 10 million in 2020, a 43% increase over the prior year. And while much of the auto market took a hit during the pandemic, demand for EV was more resilient than for other vehicle types.
Most of this growth in the industry has happened very recently. While electric vehicles were a competitor to the internal combustion engine when automobiles were first manufactured in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they fell out of vogue and were uncommon on the market until the last few decades. The 1990s saw the introduction of some new hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle models from major manufacturers like Toyota and GM. After Tesla emerged in the mid-2000s, offering longer-range, luxury models that proved popular with drivers, more major manufacturers began to offer new EV models. Over just a decade, the number of EV models on the market rose from only one in 2009 to 72 in 2019, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.