Former Volvo CEO Jacoby shows the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid concept at the 2012 Detroit auto show (Photo: Volvo)

Stefan Jacoby sees only a niche role for electric vehicles in the next 10 to 15 years.

The former boss of Volvo Cars cited range anxiety and costs as the major factors that will hold back any EV revolution.

"If the battery goes down on their cell phone people feel really bad. If it's your car in the middle of a traffic jam you will feel even worse," Jacoby said at a media lunch organized by headlineauto.

Jacoby, who was replaced as head of Volvo by Hakan Samuelsson last October, said the industry is addressing the key EV issues, but that won't mean they will be sold in big quantities.

"I don't believe EVs will have a major role in the future," Jacoby said. "They will have some sort of role, for example, in cities as taxis or urban delivery vehicles, but for a normal household, no."

And he predicted that "for the next 10-15 years we will see various hybrid solutions, mated to the conventional internal combustion engine playing the dominant role."

Jacoby said he sees an increasing role for the internet in the  car-buying process, but he added there's still room for traditional dealerships."Although they will do all their research online, and in many cases be better informed than salesmen, customers still want to drive the car at some point before making a commitment," he said.

Dealers will still have to move with the times, however, and re-think their business model, Jacoby added. "Taking the car to the customer rather than waiting for them to walk through the showroom door. There is no reason why you can't do away with expensive city-center dealerships and have out-of-town service centers with a showroom element attached."

-From headlineauto