Electric cars lack mainstream appeal, Peugeot CEO says

FILE PHOTO: Carlos Tavares, chief executive officer of PSA Group, speaks during the annual results news conference at their headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, France, February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Electric cars are only bought by “green addicts” and lack broader appeal needed to reach mainstream consumers, Peugeot Chief Executive 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 car show, which was canceled.

“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, Tavares said.

This is the reason Peugeot decided to develop vehicle platforms which are capable of including fully electric, hybrid or just combustion engines.

“So that we can adapt in a very agile way what the consumers are asking,” Tavares said.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Alexander Smith