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Car manufacturers invest a lot in electric vehicles, despite the still low demand

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Demand for electric vehicles remains low in the AMERICAN market, but the managers at the New York auto show this week said that they are busy with billions of dollars in investments even while preaching patience.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A Rivian R1S All-Electric SUV has been displayed in 2019, the New York International Auto Show in New York City, U. S, April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Officials said that their companies charging in advance with a flood of new electric vehicle (EV) models, with an indication of the increasing regulatory requirements worldwide.

Last year, only about 2 percent of the AMERICAN car-sales consists of full electric or plug-in hybrid models, with Tesla Inc good for more than a third of the turnover. The United States ranks seventh in the EV sales as a percentage of total revenue, according to the International Energy Agency.

Michelle Krebs, an analyst at online marketplace Autotrader expected EV sales remain relatively modest until the charging of the infrastructure, the prices and the performance of the battery improve.

“It’s going to be a fairly long job,” Krebs said, adding EV sales may for the first rise dramatically in the government and the corporate sector.

In New York, executives said they faced obstacles to the sale of EVs sustained low fuel prices, lack of awareness of the consumer, a lower residual value, higher direct costs as a result of batteries and worries of the consumer about the availability of charging infrastructure.

However, automobile manufacturers are showing a sportier, more creative EVs than the original plug-in models, which were mainly small cars.

Hyundai Motor Co’s luxury Genesis unit on the show showed an EV concept car, called the Currency, the state of the estimated 200 miles per full charge and a quick charge, while the Kia affiliate, unveiled a concept EV crossover with butterfly wing doors called the HabaNiro.

Mercedes-benz showed a new Mercedes-Benz SUV called the EQC Edition, 1886, that will go on sale next year “and then we have a whole lot of other electrics come in the next few years,” said Dietmar Exler, the head of Mercedes-Benz USA.

Jaguar Land Rover started with the sale of the electric Jaguar I-PACE, at the end of 2018 in the United States and is the sale of only about 200 per month. “It will be a long, long time until we see mass adoption,” said Joe Eberhardt, who is the head of the company’s North American unit.

The $70,000 I-Pace was named the World Car of the Year this week at the New York show.

There are almost 300 million gasoline-powered cars on U.S. roads, Eberhardt said. “No one will have to drive them in the ocean.”

He noted that the economic benefits of EVs are light on the current gasoline prices. He suggested an I-PACE, the owner would, on average, a saving of approximately € 500 per year by using electricity instead of gasoline, but they will also save on maintenance costs.

Germany, Volkswagen AG and its Audi unit, the introduction of a half-dozen new electric vehicles in the next two years and aggressive volume goals, aimed to have 20 to 30 percent of sales as EVs by 2025.

As part of VW’s $25 billion “dieselgate” settlement, the German automaker agreed to at least three electric vehicles, including an SUV, in California in 2020.

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Volkswagen’s U.S. chief Scott Keogh said the company, which showed off a concept-ID Buggy EV, is investing in EVs, not as a “guilt games” for the address of the previous diesel business, but to earn money.

Keogh says there will be a flurry of launches in the next three years, but it will still be a few years further. “I think 2025 is where you’re really going to see – is it to remember?” Keogh said.

Audi said this week that it plans to begin delivery of the new electric E-Tron SUV consumers in the U.S. next month. It is just supplied test vehicles to its 300 dealers, said Mark Del Rosso, the president of Audi of America, noting that many people who booked a E-Tron are new to the brand Audi.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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