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PHOTO CAPTION: Daimler E-Cell battery electric car prototype.

Daimler Chief Sees Only Small Market Segment for Electric Cars

Also sees need for investment in electric car technology to remain competitive in 10 years time.

Published: 12-Nov-2010

FRANKFURT—Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said Thursday that expectations for the development of electric cars are over-optimistic and predicted returns for companies will be small.

"In 10 years' time, the overall market share of electric cars is likely to be still in the single-digit percentage range," Mr. Zetsche said during a Daimler event in Stuttgart, according to a prepared statement. "In principle it's similar to [U.S.] President [Barack] Obama—first, expectations are being raised externally and then people are surprised they don't get fulfilled. From today's perspective it's already clear [that] we won't earn high returns with electric cars in the years to come. And that's the optimistic wording."

Mr. Zetsche added, however, that major investments in research and development are needed now to be competitive in 10 years because "in the long run there's no alternative to electric driving."

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