Past its peak? Battered oil demand faces threat from electric vehicles

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LONDON (Reuters) – Oil companies may be facing uncertainty as the coronavirus pandemic triggers a collapse in demand for their products, but auto makers are betting the crisis will help accelerate an electric future.

FILE PHOTO: Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its factory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

With economies reeling from lockdowns to curb the virus, the sharpest plunge in oil prices in two decades has slashed the cost of filling up a tank of gas, eroding some of the incentive to make the switch to cleaner fuels.

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China’s battered Tesla rival Nio brushes off coronavirus impact

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The NIO Inc. ES6 electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) stands on display at the Auto Shanghai 2019 show in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

For Chinese electric vehicle company Nio, the worst of the coronavirus impact is pretty much over, CEO William Li said Wednesday.

“Nio hasn’t lowered its annual forecast as a result of the virus,” Li said in a call with reporters, according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks. “There was certainly some impact in the first quarter, but for the second quarter, right now we don’t

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Battered automakers lure buyers with steep incentives

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U.S. car sales in 2020 were expected to be slightly below the near-record levels seen in recent years. 

Then the coronavirus struck the United States. 

Auto sales forecasts have fallen by millions of units from where they were in early 2020, sparking automakers to roll out unprecedented deals and adopt new tech-heavy methods of selling vehicles to shoppers stuck at home. 

The pandemic is something the U.S. auto industry has never faced before, but analysts see in it hints of the past. Carmakers are confronted with supply chain challenges, restrictions on production, and, perhaps most worrying, severe dents in consumer

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