Canadian Manufacturing

Despite low demand, zero-emission vehicles still in automakers’ plans

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said hybrids combining internal combustion and batteries will serve as a bridge to zero-emissions vehicles



GENEVA—Top automakers are vowing to press ahead with weak-selling electric vehicles and zero-emissions technology, even as they unveil powerful, expensive luxury cars aimed at a growing global automarket.

At the Geneva International Motor Show, BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer said his company “cannot do without” battery powered vehicles such as its i3 urban compact.

He said that “in the future electric drive vehicles will be in demand” and that the Munich-based automaker could not meet its targets to reduce emissions without them.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said hybrids combining internal combustion and batteries were “truly attractive cars that represent the best of both worlds” and serve as a bridge to future no-emissions vehicles. He cautions that the long-life batteries needed for electrics to conquer the market are at least five years off.

The calls come even as high-end sports cars take pride of place at the show. Lamborghini, Ferrari, Audi and McLaren all are unveiling high-speed machines costing hundreds of thousands, while Daimler has the Maybach Pullman stretch limousine, worth more than US$561,000.

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