Has the electric vehicle run out of juice?

KPMG has released the findings of its 14th Global Automotive Executive Survey and the road ahead for electric vehicles (EVs) looks to be anything but smooth driving
 Internal combustion engine likely to still dominate sal..

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Surveying 200 auto-executives from over 30 countries, KPMG found the biggest barrier to EV sales to be the cost of batteries and concerns surrounding recharging the vehicle. Over 60 percent of participants stated consumers wanted their vehicle to last as long as possible, pointing towards a need for mature and sustainable technologies.

Responding to this, auto manufacturers say they plan to optimise the petrol engine further and increase investment in hybrid plug-in fuel systems over the next five years.    

KPMG’s UK Head of Automotive, John Leech explained:

“There is an increasing realisation that the petrol engine gas further scope for optimisation. This is quite a turnaround in direction and a sign that some of the newer technologies are taking longer than expected to emerge.

“This will benefit the UK, which is the second-largest manufacturer of petrol-engine-powered cars in Europe and especially UK suppliers of turbochargers and direct-injection petrol-engine components.”

Leech went on to state how, “it is a hugely transformative time for the global auto industry.”

 “In the past, automakers concentrated on just producing petrol-engine cars, now they must cope with a range of propulsion technologies, new trends such as car sharing, internet connectivity and the growing significance of emerging markets.”

“A critical consideration that the industry and public sector must address is when and to what extent an affordable infrastructure will be in place to address the recharging requirements of large numbers of electric vehicles or refuelling requirements of hydrogen-powered cars in the future.”

Leech concluded:

“The changing views on pure hybrids, plug-ins, fuel cell and battery-powered vehicles reflect the uncertainty as to which will be the dominant technology. In the short term, the individual driver is likely to prefer a hybrid, whereas urban fleets may opt for electric cars. However, it seems that pure electric vehicles will not prevail, at least in the next decade.”

The main findings of the survey were:

  • Enthusiasm over electric cars wanes, with petrol-engine-powered cars and hybrids set to dominate over the next decade
  • Fuel efficiency is the number one priority for cash-conscious consumers
  • Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) market share predicted to grow to 50 percent, with 4x4s the fastest growing segment
  • Car sharing or ‘pay on use’ could be the answer for growing urban areas, and an opportunity for new players
  • Emerging markets trend towards upscale vehicles, the reverse for mature markets
  • Traditional dealership model under threat as online activity grows

The report in its entirety can be downloaded here

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