Automakers Give Up on EVs, Focus On Hybrids and Downsized Gasoline Engines image

Weak sales of electric vehicles made automaker scale back investments, just 8% of the companies planning to further focus on pure battery technologies.

The rest of the automaker will turn their investments towards downsized gasoline engines and hybrids, according to a recent survey on 200 car makers. Executives also expressed their doubts regarding the EVs saying that it will take a long time until these vehicles will reach their highest potential and become a main player in the efficient and clean engines market.

“The results show an increasing realization that the electric vehicle is not quite the savior many had hoped for,” KMPG’s report concluded.

Nissan’s Leaf is currently the top-selling EV in Europe, with 5,341 units sold last year, not managing to reach the company’s target of 9,000 units. From January to October 2012, only 15,272 EVs were sold in Europe, although governments have invested thousands of euro in incentives. The main impediments are the lack of recharging stations and the extremely high cost of the electric vehicle. In the UK, the Leaf costs 27,960 euro, after a 5,000 euro government-funded discount.

Audi announced it has replaced its all-electric E-tron version of the R8 supercar with a plug-in hybrid version of its A3 compact, expected to hit the market in 2014. The Renault Zoe EV begins at 13,700 euro after a 7,000-euro government subsidy.