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We’ve told you about the struggles in the auto industry lately – microchip shortages, supply chain issues – but despite all of this, sales of electric cars keep growing.

Electric vehicles accounted for nearly 5% of light vehicle sales in the United States in July, according to consulting firm Atlas Public Policy. This is almost double the sales of the previous July.

Tesla still dominates the market, but Ford told us this week that it is opening electric vehicle factories in Kentucky and Tennessee. Then there are the buyer incentives and infrastructure financing in the budget reconciliation bill in Congress.

Let’s not lose sight of this: sales of electric vehicles, excluding hybrids, still only represent a little over 2% of sales. But their growth is strong.

There are a number of reasons for this, such as climate policy and industry investment, but ultimately automakers are responding to market demands, said Chris Harto of Consumer Reports.

“Until about a year ago, if you wanted an electric vehicle that cost less than $ 50,000, all your options were compact cars,” Harto said. This class size, he said, is not very popular, even for cars with combustion engines.

Over time, Tesla had competition, while Volkswagen and General Motors introduced cheaper SUVs. And Ford said it has 120,000 pre-orders for its EV F-150 truck, which is slated to launch next spring.

“We are really seeing an explosion in consumer choice, and it’s only just beginning,” Harto said.

Automakers who invest in the variety of electric vehicles are certainly important, but we should not overlook the importance of government policy in the evolution of transportation, said Paul Bledsoe, consultant to the President’s Department of Energy. Barack Obama. He now works for the Progressive Policy Institute think tank.

“Tax incentives are crucial in getting people into the EV driver’s seat,” Bledsoe said.

The budget reconciliation bill in Congress would add even more tax incentives, bringing the total possible credit up to $ 12,500.

But for all the convenience, this change in the auto industry comes down to what people want, according to Stephanie Brinley of consulting firm IHS Markit.

“Cars always tend to be an emotional buy. There’s a ton of choice out there, so we’re definitely doing a lot of streamlining for what we really want, ”she said.

What some people want right now, she said, is to feel good about the environmental consequences of what they’re driving.

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