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Visitors look at a Chevrolet XTS Hybrid Prototype Platinium at the carmaker's booth during the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: It's being billed as the 'greenest car show ever.' The Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland even features an electric Rolls Royce concept car. Other carmakers have debuted electric and hybrid models. But a senior Ford executive says, don't get carried away, there won't be an electric car craze anytime soon.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: Ford's Chief Financial Officer says don't expect a big surge in electric car sales. These vehicles are still very expensive. Even with government subsidies they can cost double what a regular vehicle costs. And he says those subsides must be in doubt as western governments struggle to cut their spending. The Ford executive warns that electric cars may remain a plaything of the rich.

Professor David Bailey of Coventry University agrees that we're not on the threshold of an electric revolution:

DAVID BAILEY: It's still coming. But it's going to be slow. And I'll think we'll also see very big improvements in gasoline engines which will get their costs down as well. So consumers may well stick with that technology.

He says the brightest future for electric vehicles may be in China where government and manufacturers are pouring billions into the new technology.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.