Consumer scepticism and infrastructure failings are likely to hamper the sale of electric cars for some time to come.
That is the conclusion of the Electro-mobility Index study published in Germany by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and an automotive research institute based at Aachen University.
Experts say manufacturing all-electric cars is still not an attractive financial proposition for carmakers and point to a lack of progress in establishing an adequate charging infrastructure for electric-propelled cars.
"The margins on electric cars are not as high as those which can be achieved with vehicles powered by conventional drivelines," the study authors noted. The index compares how the world's leading car-making nations - Germany, France, Italy, the United States, Japan, China and South Korea - fare in terms of electro-mobility.
The limited distance range of contemporary electric vehicles is another bugbear, say the experts who do not anticipate significant improvements until 2020.
Industry observers say E-cars are being held back by the sector's inability to obtain more powerful and sustainable batteries.
South Korean manufacturers are currently investing the most in electric vehicle technology, followed by Germany, where BMW is poised to launch an all-electric car, probably later this year.
With the exception of China the other automotive nations are actually reducing expenditure on electro-mobility.
Germany's government has set itself the ambitious task of getting 1 million electric cars onto the country's roads by 2020.
In 2012 a total of just 3,000 new e-cars were registered. Economics Minister Philipp Roesler has stressed that industry must stand by its pledge to invest heavily in electric-car technology.
The European Union is currently embroiled in a row over new limits on C02 emissions and to what extent cars with alternative propulsion could be exempt.
Matthias Wissman, head of Germany's influential VDA car manufacturer's federation, recently warned Chancellor Angela Merkel that "excessive" C02 regulation in Europe could indirectly cost jobs at German carmaking plants.
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