In 1900, a third of the cars on US roads were electric. It took Henry Ford’s mass production of petrol-powered cars to drive them off the road. Now a reversal of fortunes is under way. A revival in the popularity of electric vehicles (EV) means sales of internal combustion engine cars may well have peaked. The latest figures for EV unit sales show these racing away, as the rest of the industry plunges deeper into crisis. Even if overall car sales pick up a bit in 2019, the electric car market should grow fast enough to reduce the proportion of combustion engines sold. Largely driven by California-based Tesla and its Chinese rivals BYD and BAIC, EV sales increased two-thirds in 2018. Model choice will widen this year, with launches by BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and VW. Meanwhile governments are falling over themselves to announce curbs on petrol and diesel cars. As yet, the excitement is not reflected in valuations. Shares in Tesla, which expects to make a “tiny” profit this quarter, are...

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