Social isolation and lockdown measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have caused significant disruption in the automotive industry. However, automakers' quarterly results showed increased Electric Vhecile (EV) sales compared to 2019, and major announcements show that companies operating in the EV industry are moving forward with their electrification plans despite the pandemic. In March 2020, GRIDSERVE announced that its electric vehicle charging forecourt, which is powered by zero-carbon solar energy and the United Kingdom’s first, is under construction and should open this summer. The forecourt, located in Essex, England, can charge 24 vehicles at once with superchargers that can deliver 350kW, and it is the first of a nationwide network plan of over 100 forecourts. Later in April, the Japanese petroleum company JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation announced that it has invested in Virta, a Finnish EV charging platform provider, as part of a plan to create a new mobility business. JXTG plans to utilize Virta's Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) communication and smart charging technologies in its nationwide network of 13,000 stations in Japan. Moreover, despite the decline of 25.6% in new vehicle sales in Europe during 1Q 2020, EV sales increased by 7%. Lower new vehicle sales revenue will invariably force companies with lower liquidity to reduce Research and Development (R&D) expenditure. For instance, Audi recently abandoned plans to upgrade its Audi A8 sedan with Level 3 autonomy. However, technologies required by a mandate, such as electrification, should remain a priority in the likely scenario of investment rationalization.
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