Around 13% of cars in Europe could be hybrids by 2015, according to a new market study.

French market research institute, L'Observatoire de l'automobile Cetelem, said, by then, hybrid technologies would have broken through, facilitating the combined use of internal combustion and electric engines.

The proportion of diesel vehicles would fall from 57 to 51% while vehicles with petrol engines slipped from 42% of the market to just 30%. Pure electric cars would account for 4%, according to the study, reported by Agence France Presse (AFP).

Researchers found that 48% of customers in Germany did not know what type of powertrain their next car would have. Surveys were conducted in six countries.

One finding was that customers could not tell which future technologies would prevail and were likely to delay purchasing new cars, further holding back the market [GM president Carl-Peter Forster talked about this in Paris today - ed]. At the same time, however, environmentally-friendly technologies were a good opportunity to boost the market, said one report author.

Another study by the Centre of Automotive Research (CAR) in Germany forecast that, by 2025, no new cars would be sold without electric or hybrid technologies.

Conventional petrol or diesel cars would soon start to disappear, according to CAR head Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, who predicted the market for electric and hybrid cars would start to take off from 2010 in response to rising fuel prices and increasing environmental problems such as global warming.

"It's a big revolution that is taking place," Dudenhöffer told AFP. He said pure electric cars would remain a niche product in the next few years until there is a breakthrough in battery technology.