UPDATE 1-German automakers shift focus to high-end electric cars
* Audi launches revamped R8 e-tron at Geneva show
* Daimler CEO says investigating high-end electric cars
* Audi still treading carefully in electric cars - analysts (Recasts with Daimler, analyst comments)
By Andreas Cremer and Edward Taylor
BERLIN/GENEVA, March 4 (Reuters) - German carmakers are shifting their focus towards high-end electric vehicles such as the Audi R8 e-tron and away from cheap city cars, in the latest effort to revive environmentally-friendly but unpopular zero-emission vehicles.
At the Geneva auto show, Audi unveiled an emission-free version of its 165,000-euro ($184,619) R8 that can drive 450 kilometres (280 miles) before needing to recharge, which takes less than two hours.
It marks a new departure for Audi, which has agonized over whether to launch a range of electric vehicles.
Battery-powered cars have failed to live up to their initial hype, with drivers put off by the slow rollout of recharging stations, and limited range -- despite generous sales incentives in some markets.
Because the batteries, cabling and cooling systems for electric cars cost more than a conventional combustion engine, electric vehicles have struggled to gain widespread acceptance among price-sensitive customers, particularly if the same model is available cheaper with a more conventional powertrain. Continuación...