Internal combustion engine has more of a future than all-electric, according to internal report.

A report commissioned by the French government has concluded there "isn't much future" in all-electric cars, at least before the year 2030. The 129-page report, drawn up by Jean Syrota, one of France's leading energy experts, was originally destined to be unveiled at the Paris motor show in September. The government, though, has so far refused to publicize the report, due to the unfavorable nature of the conclusions.

High battery pack costs, limited range and speed, and the absence of any battery charging infrastructure all combine to make all-electric vehicles unviable, according to the report. It predicts these factors are all unlikely to change significantly over the next two decades.

For French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the conclusions are a bitter pill to swallow. Sarkozy, who also currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has pushing hard for a deal on member nations to cut carbon emissions by 20%.

The Sarkozy Administration has not publicly commented on the report, but it seems unlikely it will ever be officially published.

In what may come as a surprise to some, the Syrota report concludes that the internal combustion engine still has a lot of life in it. With advances in engine design, lighter materials, start-stop technology, and expanded use of electric-gas and electric-diesel hybrids, fleet mileage could be made to double.

The report cited "stop-start" technology such as that recently introduced by Bosch, as well as improvements in tire design -- like Michelin's new ultra-low rolling resistance "energy saver" series, as other areas for improvement in conventional auto efficiency.

The timeline of 22 years to viability was based on extrapolation of current rates of progress in battery cost and energy density improvements. However, technological innovation has proven very difficult to predict in advance, with many fields often progressing much faster than anticipated.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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