Continental has carried out a study where it has delved into the three most important automotive markets worldwide, analyzing consumer sentiment regarding electric cars on several continents.
For Continental, “electric mobility will play an important role in the future, but the road to the mass market is still a long way off.”
Zero-emission mobility is a key concept in making private transport more sustainable. However, the sales volume of electric vehicles, both in Europe and in almost all other parts of the world, are well below the scale necessary to reach the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
During the Continental Mobility Study 2020 carried out by Continental, it was possible to determine the consumer’s predisposition to the new electric mobility, comparing China, France, Germany, and the United States.
Around a third of those surveyed in Germany said that they saw themselves buying an electric car in the future, increasing compared to 17% in 2013. Despite the willingness in Germany to consider purchasing an electric vehicle, the fact is that most people still cannot imagine taking a step towards an electric car.
Interestingly, the percentage of respondents who cannot see themselves buying an electric car in the future is higher in Germany than anywhere else at 57%.
France’s results are 56%, and in the United States, they drop to 50%, where half of the population cannot see or imagine themselves in an electric car. The situation worsens more in Japan, where the result drops to 46%.
What may seem, or be shown as negative data, shows (despite the results) a step forward in the right direction in a market where the supply of electric cars is very poor compared to that of internal combustion vehicles that are much cheaper and manufactured by the millions.
The manufacturers’ supply does not allow the supply of the potential demand of electric cars, which also predisposes the market to give a negative vote to the idea of the change.
On the contrary, China, the largest car market on the planet and where the supply of electric vehicles is greater, is a clear exception to the rest, where only 12% of those surveyed in the mobility study cannot imagine buying an electric car.
Why can’t you imagine driving a BEV?
One of the biggest major issues against electric cars for most people surveyed is range anxiety – that is, fear of running out of battery during a ride.
The three most cited arguments against electric conduction in Germany are the lack of charging stations (curiously, more in cities than in rural areas), low range, and the need for planning and longer breaks if available to cover long distances.
The lack of charging stations is also one of the most talked-about arguments against electric mobility in four of the five countries studied. Only in France is the price the most daunting factor when it comes to jumping electric.
Lack of information
One of the key aspects of making a massive leap to the electric vehicle is to increase the level of awareness and information available to the general public. This is one of the pending subjects in Spain, Europe in general, and the United States.
As previously noted, autonomy anxiety is one of the key arguments against buying an electric car in all countries. However, as the years go by, most people can already easily satisfy their needs daily mobility needs with an electric vehicle.
The distances to be covered are often short, and charging stations are increasingly available at home, at work, in public spaces, and in those places where a car is usually parked for a longer period.
However, the survey has other obstacles that cannot be overcome only with technological advances and respect for the environment. In Germany, a third of those surveyed said they would not consider an electric car as they doubt the technology is environmentally friendly.
In this case, the industry’s mantra and the misinformation of the general media influence, as we indicated above, doesn’t allow the buyer to understand the pros and others of the electric car objectively.
In France, a quarter said the same thing as German respondents. But the situation is entirely different in the other three countries included in the study, where the percentage of those who doubt the green credentials of electric cars is much lower, ranging from 11% in the United States to only 1% percent in Japan.
The German case stands out as a consequence of the interest on the part of the Teutonic nation’s government to increase the prevalence of electric vehicles through monetary incentives.
In 2020, aid with a 100% electric car had skyrocketed, significantly increasing aid for purchases as part of the economic stimulus package to overcome the coronavirus crisis.
The survey data shows, however, that the doubts are more structural and a consequence of the misinformation that society still has regarding the transition and the possibilities offered by an electric car. Something that represents a significant challenge for the market and a society that must do everything possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are harmful to the health of citizens.