The European Commission on Wednesday began investigating electric vehicles imported from China, a move that could lead to penalty tariffs above the standard 10% EU rate for vehicles in an aim to protect regional manufacturers. “Global markets are now flooded with cheaper electric cars. And their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies,” Reuters reported European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as saying. Chinese carmakers exported roughly 350,000 EVs to nine European countries during the first six months of this year, including Germany, Sweden, and Belgium, according to figures from the China Passenger Car Association. China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a Thursday statement that the investigation “is a naked protectionist act that will seriously disrupt and distort the global automotive industry and supply chain.” [Reuters]