At a car show where headlines are made by super cars able to go over 400 km/h and models draped over SUVs dominate the picture galleries, it is no surprise that eco-friendly hybrid or electric cars rarely get much in the way of column inches.

Granted, a few companies were bucking the trend at the Motor Show this week. We had Chinese manufacturer Lifan singing the praises of its full and plug-in hybrid models, car rental firms specialising in electric vehicles and even a carbon offset company.

But to say these companies are in the minority is an understatement. At a table full of smokers, no one wants to hear about how bad cigarettes are for your health. The same goes for cars — it might be true a four-litre SUV is bad for the environment, but it sure feels good hairing it down the Emirates Road at 140 km/h.

And therein lies the problem. Hybrids are all very well in our increasingly eco-conscious world, but other than a small sense of entitlement and the odd nod of approval at the petrol station, a volcano-orange McLaren endorsed by Lewis Hamilton is always likely to trump a weird-looking electric car endorsed by Al Gore.

After all, I'd rather feel like a racing driver than an ex-presidential candidate who, if we're honest, few of us really listen to and — if we're even more honest — fewer still have sat all the way through An Inconvenient Truth.

There are practical reasons, too, that hybrids are not getting many excited at this year's show. This is a region where long, straight, fast motorways are part of life for many drivers and anyone doing the Dubai-Abu Dhabi commute are putting in three full hours behind the wheel every day. Hybrid cars, by the current specifications, simply can't cut it.

Take Lifan, for example. Company vice-president Mark Timber told Gulf News at the end of last week it was looking at opening a showroom in the UAE, and that among the products it is hoping to promote is its recently-launched EV260 electric car.

This car, he said, is capable of doing 200km on a six-hour charge. Well, that will get commuters halfway to Abu Dhabi, but what about the way back at the end of a long day? And what about finding somewhere to charge your electric car for the drive home? I wouldn't fancy running out of juice on a 40 degree day.

The vehicle can reach a top speed of 100 km/h an hour, which is fine if you want to spend your daily commute battling it out in the truck lane, but unfeasible — if not dangerous — anywhere else on a four to eight-lane highway. I don't want to pre-empt Lifan's marketing strategy in the UAE, but I imagine it will be the X60 SUV model which is most attractive to Gulf buyers.

Lastly, it's fair to say like green buildings, people will only start feeling comfortable using green cars when there is so little difference between them and their regular, petrol-run rivals to render the difference irrelevant. Where petrol is cheap and the infrastructure is geared towards oil cars need to be fast and hard-wearing, it will be a long time before we see a proliferation of green cars.