Electric cars lack mainstream appeal, says Peugeot CEO

04 March 2020 - 12:35 By Reuters
Carlos Tavares, CEO of Groupe PSA.
Carlos Tavares, CEO of Groupe PSA.
Image: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Electric cars are only bought by “green addicts” and lack the broader appeal needed to reach mainstream consumers, Peugeot CEO Carlos Tavares said on Tuesday.

“When some markets are cancelling some subsidies, demand collapses,” Tavares said about electric car sales during a conference call arranged to replace a roundtable discussion at the Geneva International Motor Show.

The show, which was due to start on Thursday, was cancelled because of concerns about coronavirus.

“The battle from now on is that zero-emission vehicles become affordable between now and 2025,” Tavares said.

“We are selling our electric vehicles to green addicts. We didn't move to the pragmatists,” Tavares said, referring to Peugeot's difficulties in selling electric cars to mainstream consumers.

The lack of a dense charging network, the limited operating range of electric cars, as well as uncertainties surrounding the long-term price of electricity, are hindering a broader adoption of electric cars, he said.

This is the reason Peugeot decided to develop vehicle platforms which are capable of including fully electric, hybrid or combustion engines, “so that we can adapt in a very agile way what the consumers are asking”, Tavares said.