At the Paris auto show last week, everyone was thinking electric. At least all the manufacturers and politicians.
Most of the high-end brands were busy displaying battery electric vehicles, none of which were inexpensive. It seems particularly appropriate that this was being done in France, where the government has made noises about banning petroleum-powered vehicles in the not-too-distant future.
If a vehicle has a great-looking shape, it really does not matter to folks attending a car show what the vehicle has for a power plant. Great looks will be enough to get lots of attention.
But I am not sure if any of these companies have bothered to ask their customers, or potential customers, whether they are interested in purchasing a battery electric vehicle.
Companies all around the globe are investing billions of dollars in this new power source without spending a lot of time finding out whether there is real interest in what they are developing. It is not just one or two companies developing electric vehicles. It seems that everyone has committed to it, and no one knows for certain whether there is a market.
GM seems to have the right approach — making available both a plug-in and a hybrid at the bottom of the range rather than developing very expensive vehicles with no idea about the market volume.
If the Paris show is any indication, there will be a lot of competition at the high end, thus plenty of choices for few customers.
Time will tell if there is a sizable market for luxury-brand electric vehicles.
Meanwhile, the investments are still staggering. It is an uncharted market for most companies. Consumers are not rushing to buy EVs now, although admittedly there has been limited selection.
With the amount of investment that many companies are making, it looks like they are all playing double or nothing.