Will Ferrell’s 2021 Super Bowl ad for General Motors Co. makes bleak viewing today. The actor’s comic fury at being “out-EV’d” by Norway hit at a truth that was a point of pride for Europe: When it comes to electric-vehicle sales, the U.S. has been a laggard, lacking the regulatory and investment push seen in China and Europe. “Don’t hate, imitate,” Volkswagen AG-owned rival Audi replied.

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