WINDSOR, ONT. -- Automotive insiders are noticing a spike in interest for environmentally-friendly vehicles during the pandemic.

“Electric vehicle sales have gone up by 40 per cent,” according to Narayan Kar, founder of the Centre for Hybrid Automotive Research and Green Energy (CHARGE).

The University of Windsor engineering professor says at the same time, demand for gas-powered vehicles has dropped, by 14 per cent.

“We saw that the pollution went away, because we are not driving, or we are driving less,” says Kar.

Fueled by anxiety in using public transit and ride-sharing services, also saw a spike in online traffic.

“We saw a record-high of 25 million visits in a single month,” says Jodi Lai, editor in chief. “Our data has shown a huge increase for searches in electric vehicles and hybrids and plug-in hybrids.”

Lai believes this interest in electric is driven by new models coming to the market, not to mention, decisions by policy-makers and influence by government.

“Quebec has committed to stop selling new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and I believe BC has a similar commitment and so a lot of automakers are kind of being forced into changing their strategy,” says Lai.

Kar agrees; sales, motivation by automakers and government policy all go “hand in hand” with the increases in the EV market.

“But there are challenges, in terms of cost, in terms of driving range, in terms of charging time, in terms of charging infrastructure, so the challenges are there,” says Kar.