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Consider how long it has taken something as simple as battery-powered vehicles to carve a niche for themselves. After a couple of decades, hybrid and electric vehicles still account for no more than 2% of new-car sales in most countries. Battery prices and storage capacities are finally approaching a point where sales could feasibly take off. But even under the most optimistic of assumptions (say, electrics accounting for half of all new-car sales), it would be 2035 at the earliest before they represented half the vehicles on American roads. Expect fully autonomous vehicles to face an equally long and winding road.

What's the meaning of 'sales could take off' in that sentence? and does 'sales' in that sentence mean general cars' sales?

  • The sales (of battery-powered vehicles), the phrasal verb take off can easily be found in a dictionary. – Laure May 28 '17 at 7:51
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    @Laure thank you but I'm not sure if 'take off' here means 'to become successful or popular very quickly or suddenly' or 'discount' of 'to stop sth from being sold'.. :( – dbwlsld May 28 '17 at 10:56
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    OK, when you ask a question it is usually better to show you have searched and say why what you found in the dictionary did not help you. – Laure May 28 '17 at 12:07
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    Dictionary definitions often do a poor job of explaining the meaning of a word, especially to someone who isn't fluent in the language, but it still helps to tell us what you found in the dictionary. If you can also explain why the dictionary definition didn't satisfy you, that's even better. This information helps people write you a helpful answer. – Ben Kovitz May 28 '17 at 12:20
  • Please wait at least a day before accepting an answer. See this meta post for more information. – Ben Kovitz May 28 '17 at 12:43
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Take off means:

to suddenly start to be successful or popular

(Cambridge online dictionary)

The sentence means that because batteries are now cheaper and can store more power, more people might want to buy of battery-powered vehicles, so the sales of these vehicles would grow considerably.

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