Daimler Hints That Electric-Vehicle Sales Would Collapse Without Subsidies

Automakers in the US and Europe that have dedicated vast resources to developing electric or hybrid vehicles are slowly waking up to an uncomfortable reality: The market for electric vehicles in the West would simply not exist without subsidies.

Even with the generous tax credits and rebates, received more often than not by wealthy buyers who treat their Teslas like expensive playthings, sales of these vehicles have lagged expectations at every turn. And now one German car maker is proving that effective state sponsorship of the EV industry still isn’t enough for auto manufacturers to hit lofty sales targets.