The BMW i3 electric vehicle from Germany

Economists have long argued that there's no better medicine for an ailing economy than a good old-fashioned war. Now, some analysts are arguing that the nascent plug-in vehicle industry is fulfilling the same purpose. Job creation, and not environmental benefits, is the primary reason why many countries are pushing for expanded plug-in vehicle production, according to a report from researchers at the University of Indiana and the University of Kansas. The study cites China, France, Germany and even California as examples where jobs trump ecology when it comes to EV support.

"Governments are primarily looking to establish a significant position – or even dominance – in the global marketplace for these emerging, innovative new technologies," says report co-author John D. Graham, dean of Indiana's school of public and environmental affairs. Specifically, a country like China is looking to corner the market on plug-in demand in a relatively nascent but rapidly-growing automobile market, while Germany's trying to protect its long-held market share. California and France are also examples where economics trump a relatively strong awareness of environmental issues.

Check out a more detailed explanation of the study here.