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Electric cars set to stall: study

KPMG study surveys auto executives


February 13, 2012
by Fleet Management staff

TORONTO—Internal combustion engines are not going away anytime soon, especially as fuel efficiency and performance standards continue to improve, according to KPMG’s 13th annual Global Automotive Executive Survey.  However, automakers are expected to pump investment into electric technology as part of their long-term strategy.

“The need for new electric propulsion technology is still top of mind for auto executives around the world given the demand that will be felt in the emerging markets,” said Peter Hatges, partner, KPMG and lead of KPMG’s automotive practice.  “Automotive companies will continue to invest heavily in electric propulsion and will play a leadership role in the development of these emerging technologies going forward. The race is on, but there is no clear winner at this point.”

The Global Automotive survey found that:

  • Electromobility is not predicted to exceed 15 percent of new car registrations globally by 2025.
  • Executives in North America and Western Europe expect even less adoption of electromobility in the short-term, projecting e-vehicles will only account for 6-10 percent of global annual sales.
  • Nearly two-thirds say that optimization of the internal combustion engine offers greater efficiency and the most potential for carbon emission reduction than the current technologies over the next 5 years.
  • While the industry continues to weigh the benefits and challenges of various electrified fuel technologies, the ownership of the e-components space (battery management and chemistry, power electronics, e-motors, battery cells and packs, etc.) will draw intense competition among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers. Fifty-four percent of respondents said that electric component suppliers will gain a bigger role by 2025 and 40 percent of respondents predict that OEMs will lead in that area in addition to traditional power train technologies.

“Electromobility is a colossal issue for the industry,” said Hatges.  “The key automotive players should have a clearer vision on this, even though how and when fully electric cars will be a reality is dependent on a variety of complex and interrelated factors.”

For the KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey 2012, KPMG interviewed 200 C-suite global automotive executives, including 25 from North America, representing vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, from October through November 2011. KPMG has released an annual survey of automotive executives expressing their views on the state of the industry since 1999.