Half of global auto executives say electric cars will fail. Here's why: KPMG

Juxtaposed against a growing electric-vehicle market in China and increasingly stringent carbon-emission limits, a survey by KPMG has revealed a majority of global auto executives believe electric vehicles are a fool’s errand.

Those executives believe electric cars will eventually be leapfrogged by fuel-cell vehicles due to the infrastructure challenges of both public charging and DC fast-charging for long-distance travel.

The report, which uses data collected from 953 senior executives, paints an interesting picture of future automotive trends as predicted by the world’s auto-making C-suites.

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The main takeaway remains: 62 percent of decision-makers at automakers and their suppliers have a dim view of electric cars.

But the KPMG report is filled with contradictory data points.

As well as the prevailing negative view on EVs, 50 percent of executives nonetheless believe battery-electric vehicles will be the key automotive trend as we drive forth into 2025—mostly because a regulatory environment will dictate it.

Global automotive light vehicle production (< 6t) by drive technology, KPMG

Global automotive light vehicle production (< 6t) by drive technology, KPMG

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Muddying the waters further:, 76 percent of automotive executives that believe internal-combustion engines will continue to be the dominant drivetrain for many years to come.

But as we move toward a lower- and zero-emission future, 78 percent of respondents think hydrogen fuel cells will be the breakthrough technology of the future.

“The faith in FCEVs can be explained,” the report explains, “by the hope that FCEVs will solve the recharging and infrastructure issue BEVs face today.”

READ MORE: 2017’s most important green car story: internal-combustion engine ban in China

The same report also used survey data collected from consumers to gather their thoughts on future trends.

Actual car shoppers were asked which drivetrain technology they’d consider for their next car.

The option that received the most respondents was conventional hybrid-electric vehicles, coming in at 36 percent, followed by internal-combustion vehicles at 21 percent.

Hyundai ix35 (Tucson) Fuel Cell for H2 Aberdeen car-sharing service, Scotland [Intl Man of Mystery]

Hyundai ix35 (Tucson) Fuel Cell for H2 Aberdeen car-sharing service, Scotland [Intl Man of Mystery]

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Plug-in hybrids

 

“Over the next 5 years, 53 percent of executives are planning to highly invest in plug-in hybrids and 52 percent in ICEs and full hybrids,” the report says.

KPMG has made available a PDF version of the report for those of you who like to print things off to read them.

However, it also has an interactive version of the report you can view online that lets you drill down into the data.

 

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