LONDON – Citroen’s premium brand DS will use electrification for its range-topping models because it believes the technology is becoming more attractive to consumers.

“We will always make the electric and hybrid models the top-of-the-range car for each model,” DS Director General Yves Bonnefont tells WardsAuto on the sidelines of a meeting of the Fleet Street Motoring Group.

“In the case of the DS7 Crossback, the plug-in hybrid will be a 300-hp version and all-wheel drive which will clearly be the flagship of the range,” he says. “We will always take this approach because…I believe the electric powertrain will offer the best features for being a pleasure to drive.

“It offers lots of torque from very low speeds and excellent acceleration. It also offers sophistication with no noise or vibration.”

However, Bonnefont dismisses the likelihood of the DS brand becoming exclusively electric in the near term. “A carmaker (today) would have a problem going all-electric, because Tesla already does that and was born electric,” he says. “However, at DS we believe we will reach one-third of our sales in hybrid- or full-electric in the early 2020s.

“This is five years ahead of what we used to think because I believe the uptake will become faster.”

Bonnefont also sounds a word of caution for automakers considering the hydrogen fuel cell as an alternative to battery-electric technology.

“The question of hydrogen is not yet resolved,” he says. “Today it raises issues on cost, which we can expect will go down when the volume goes up.

“Then there is the important issue that although it is the most abundant element in the world, it doesn’t exist by itself – it’s always in something else like water, air and hydrocarbons. So we have to use something to obtain hydrogen and then use it to produce electricity to convert into motion. So if you take the full cycle, the energy yield is not so good... I do not think we will look at it in the short term.”

Automakers must take a global approach to any technology to ensure it meets the environmental ambitions of both governments and consumers, Bonnefont adds.

“If you look at the automotive challenges of the future, you have to consider end-to-end,” he says. “It’s the same with electricity – if it’s coming from coal it’s not very clean; if it’s coming from hydro production, then it’s cleaner and more effective. The key is to look for the right solution for cars in the future.”