As the electric mobility market grows and is more widely adopted by the general public the stage in which we operate changes. Combating climate change is still an important topic for (potential) EV drivers. However, the high-cost perception of EVs, range anxiety, time to charge, and the limited charging infrastructure remain key barriers to EV adoption. Next to this, fast charging has a lot of potential, but is not yet widely used or available in preferred locations.
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In this episode, we dive deeper into how EV drivers think, what they truly care about, and what they expect from EV charging.
Driving electric is perceived as one of the key ways to combat climate change.
It is crucial to address the needs of a broader audience and diversify communication.
EV adoption barriers
Initial EVs price and charging infrastructure are the main obstacles to EV adoption.
Fast charging is seen as a way to convince people to switch to electric mobility.
The four main takeaways
1. Acknowledge environmental concerns
Driving electric is seen as one of the key ways in which individuals can combat climate change. Due to the new laws and regulations made by the European Union, and (potential) EV drivers’ climate-conscious mindset, it is important to address the link between the environment and electric driving. There are especially possibilities to expand this narrative in the business-to-business (B2B) segment (e.g., regarding the amount of charging stations at the workplace and/or businesses offering the opportunity of electric driving).
2. Adapt communication to the expanding market
Over the past few years, the demographics of EV drivers have started to resemble the general population more than before. As a result, the profile of a (potential) EV driver has evolved beyond predominantly highly-educated and climate-conscious young men. For businesses trying to reach (potential) EV drivers, it is crucial to address the needs of a broader audience and diversify communication.
3. Address the barriers to EV adoption
Two of the key obstacles that are avoiding the take-up of electric vehicles amongst the general public are (1) the perceived price of EVs and (2) charging infrastructure.
(1) An EV is a long-term investment that is, in many cases, less expensive than a petrol or diesel car in the long run. However, many among the general public are unaware and still see price as a barrier to start driving electric. As an industry, we need to clarify that even whilst the initial costs of an EV compared to a petrol or diesel car may be higher, the maintenance and charging costs of EVs are significantly lower. (2) The battery life of EVs and charging infrastructure is developing rapidly. As an industry, we must take away concerns regarding charging possibilities, so people know where to charge, and how many kilometers an electric car can drive before recharging is needed.
4. Recognize fast charging as a solution
For consumers looking to buy an EV, one of the main barriers is the fear of not being able to charge their car fast enough. Expanding fast charging infrastructure is essential to reduce this anxiety. The findings in this report highlight that EV drivers are willing to pay more for fast charging, and show that there is sufficient demand for fast charging capabilities in a variety of locations, next to service stops and fuel stations on highways.
Current and potential EV drivers
In terms of demographics, both current and potential EV drivers generally have similar characteristics; even though potential EV drivers tend to resemble the general population more closely than current ones. The key takeaways of this chapter are:
EV drivers are predominantly highly-educated men.
EV drivers tend to be employed.
Most EV drivers have a big household.
EV drivers are more likely to own a car.
Profile of EV drivers
Current EV drivers are predominantly male, highly educated, and working full-time. They are represented almost equally across all age groups and often drive a private (lease) car and/or a business purchase/lease car.
Potential EV drivers are also fairly divided across all age groups, they work full-time, but they are slightly lower educated than the EV drivers. In addition, the proportion of men is only a bit larger than the proportion of women. The majority of this group drives a private (lease) car while around 1 in 6 does not own a car (anymore).
Men are overrepresented among EV drivers
In all countries, there are more male EV drivers than female EV drivers, which is especially the case in the Netherlands. Among German EV drivers, the proportion of women has greatly increased since 2020. Among potential drivers, the male-female distribution is almost equal and comparable to the general population.
EV drivers are of all ages
Youngsters tend to drive electric slightly more than the others and this is especially the case in the United Kingdom, while in the Netherlands and France they tend to be older. The age group of 55+ has grown in all countries compared to 2020.
EV drivers are often highly educated
EV drivers are more highly educated than the average citizen, especially in the United Kingdom and Germany. However, French middle-educated EV drivers exponentially increased during the last two years and now represent the majority.
Among potential EV drivers, these tend to be more middle-educated rather than highly educated, and it is especially the case in Germany.
Both EV drivers and potential EV drivers are often full-time employed
Compared to the general population and potential EV drivers, current EV drivers are most often employed. Yet, there is an increase in the share of unemployed EV drivers since 2020. However, in the UK and Germany EV drivers are significantly more often employed compared to other countries.
EV drivers tend to have a partner
Current EV drivers are more likely to have a partner than the general population. This is especially the case among German and French EV drivers, even though among potential EV drivers in Germany and UK, there is a greater tendency not to have a partner as well.
EV drivers are more likely to be part of a bigger household
EV drivers have on average a larger household, especially in the UK and Germany, while the household distribution of potential EV drivers is more similar to the general population, and therefore it tends to be slightly smaller.
Most people own a car, especially EV drivers
The vast majority of EV drivers do own their own car. Whilst this makes sense—if you drive electric, then you probably own a vehicle—what is significant here is that compared to 2020, the percentage of people that do not own a car (anymore) decreased, especially among potential EV drivers.
Petrol and diesel cars are still the most common, but the share of EVs is growing
Petrol and diesel cars are still the most used vehicles but in the two years since our last survey, the number of hybrid cars increased among the general population. Moreover, EV drivers that in 2020 used to prefer hybrid cars but are now generally switching to BEVs. This shows a slight decrease in consumers opting for vehicles that rely on traditional fuels.
The expanding EV market
Compared to the general population, current and potential EV drivers feel more involved with climate change and expect governments to encourage electric mobility. In particular:
EV drivers feel personally involved with climate change.
Reducing CO2 in transportation is considered crucial for EV drivers.
EV drivers are perceived as environmentally conscious.
EV drivers feel involved with climate change personally
Around three-quarters of drivers (72% of EV drivers and 77% of potential EV drivers) consider climate change an important topic, compared to two-thirds (66%) of the general population.
In particular, the French seem the most involved in climate change matters, while the importance that EV drivers attach to climate change has generally slightly decreased since 2020 and in the UK this difference is particularly significant.
Potential EV drivers expect governments to prioritize environmental policies
Both potential and current EV drivers are more likely to say that the government should prioritize policies that protect the environment, even though this belief slightly decreased among EV drivers compared to 2020.
Potential EV drivers want more governmental tax credits
Far more (potential) EV drivers (71%) agree that their government should give more tax credits to people who buy electric cars, especially among potential EV drivers of the UK and German EV drivers. On the other hand, the general population is much less likely to agree with this statement. This is especially true when it comes to the opinion of German EV drivers and the German general population, which are very different.
Most potential EV drivers think businesses providing electric mobility should receive more tax benefits
67% of potential EV drivers and 64% of current EV drivers feel that businesses that provide electric driving should receive tax benefits from their government, while 48% of the general population agrees on this.
People feel that reducing CO2 emissions in transportation is important to them
Except for the Netherlands, clear majorities say reducing CO2 emissions in transport is important. In particular, potential EV drivers are more inclined to say so than members of the general public—and even current EV drivers.
7 out of 10 EV drivers say environmental considerations are/were important when buying a car
In all four countries, environmental considerations are important when buying a car for both potential EV drivers and EV drivers, even if it is slightly less pronounced among potential ones. While potential EV drivers from the Netherlands have strengthened this belief since 2020, among the EV drivers in the UK, the contrary is true.
Potential EV drivers perceive EV drivers as environmentally conscious
Amongst the general population, only 4 out 10 people consider an EV driver to be environmentally conscious. The majority of (potential) EV drivers view those who drive electric as environmentally conscious (especially in the UK and Germany).
The European Green Deal
While most people are generally unaware of the European Green Deal, potential and current EV drivers know most. Moreover, EV drivers are more optimistic about a complete phase-out of combustion-engine vehicles and believe that electric mobility plays an important role in combating climate change. The main highlights from the chapters are:
EV drivers are most aware of the European Green Deal.
Half of all EV drivers believe that a phase-out of fuel cars is possible.
People are generally optimistic about charging infrastructure.
*Since the UK is no longer part of the EU, we didn’t include UK respondents in this chapter of the survey.
EV drivers are the most familiar with the European Green Deal
The knowledge of the European Green Deal has increased among the general population and potential EV drivers since 2020, while it has slightly decreased among EV drivers overall. Potential EV drivers from France and then German and Dutch EV drivers now have a better understanding of the European Green Deal compared to the other countries.
The “Fit for 55 Package” is still relatively unknown, but EV drivers are most familiar
The “Fit for 55 Package” is poorly known to almost all groups and countries, with an exception of 49% of German EV drivers who have a fair knowledge of the program.
Potential and current EV drivers believe that a complete phase-out of petrol/diesel cars is possible
Potential and current EV drivers believe in the feasibility of a complete phase-out of petrol/diesel cars by 2030. While the general population is not generally optimistic regarding a complete petrol/diesel cars phase-out (only 32%), both potential and current EV drivers are more confident about it. This is especially true in Germany.
Most people are confident about the feasibility of an improved charging infrastructure
A large majority of potential and current EV drivers believe in the feasibility of a bigger and better EV charging network. Even amongst the general population, 1 in 2 respondents believe that EV infrastructure will continue to improve.
Potential EV drivers mostly believe in an adjustment or removal of incentives for fossil fuels
EV drivers and especially potential ones think that tax exemptions and incentives for fossil fuels should be adjusted or removed. Among them, almost 8 out 10 German EV drivers are confident about the feasibility of an adjustment or removal of fossil fuels incentives.
Requirements for standardized smart charging are feasible for a vast majority of people
Across the board, people believe in the feasibility of smart charging requirements, but those who further support this idea are especially French and Dutch potential EV drivers.
6 out of 10 (potential) EV drivers believe that electric cars can combat climate change
The belief that electric cars can be part of the battle against climate change is supported by only 4 out of 10 people in the general population but has more approval by potential and current EV drivers. In Germany, this difference in perception between the general population (36%) and EV drivers (74%) is even more visible.
The proposed climate and energy laws make potential EV drivers more enthusiastic about driving electric
The general population is hardly inclined to switch to electric vehicles given the proposed climate and energy laws (28%), especially in Germany (24%). This data changes when we look at potential EV drivers where 60% of them are more enthusiastic about modifying their mobility habits given the proposed climate and energy laws.
Charging at the workplace
The majority of respondents would like to have an electric business car and believe that employers should provide charging stations in the workplace. In particular, most current and potential EV drivers believe that this would make a future employer appealing. The key points here are:
More employees would like to have electric business cars.
Businesses should provide charging stations to visitors.
Future employers with business EVs are more appealing.
More employees would like to have (or already are driving) an electric business car
Among the general public, there has been a huge rise, since 2020 (from 20% to 57%), in the view that businesses should offer (or already offer) an electric car to their employees. This number jumps up to almost 3 in 4 people for potential and current EV drivers (respectively 73% and 71%). In particular, over 4 in 5 EV drivers from the UK believe workplaces should offer an electric business car.
Offering electric business cars would make a future employer more attractive
In the UK, 7 out of 10 EV drivers would find an employer more attractive if it would offer the possibility to have an electric car. However, in the Netherlands, fewer EV drivers agree with this statement (from 61% to 42%) in comparison to 2020.
Employers should cover charging costs for a business electric car
Amongst all segments asked, the majority believes that employers should cover the charging costs for a business electric car. Especially potential and current UK EV drivers, respectively 73% and 74%, expect their employer to pay for the costs of charging electric business cars at the workplace.
Employers should cover charging costs of a business electric car at their homes
Slightly less people think employers should cover charging costs of a business electric car at their homes in comparison to at the office. Still, 60% of both potential and current EV drivers agree that the employer should cover the charging costs for their business electric car at their homes.
Most (potential) EV drivers believe that businesses should provide customers with EV charging stations
Across the board, the majority agree that businesses should provide EV charging stations to their customers and clients, and this is especially the case among potential (83%) and current (82%) EV drivers.
The state of EV adoption
The major barriers for the general public are the cost of an EV, uncertainty about the availability of charging infrastructure, and that charging an EV is too time consuming. However, the vast majority of electric vehicle drivers say they would opt for an EV again. The following are the chapter's key takeaways:
The barriers to EV adoption are mainly price, charging possibilities, and charging times.
Most EV drivers would choose an electric car again.
Charging stations should be efficient and easy to use.
8 out of 10 EV drivers would opt again for an electric car
The percentage of enthusiastic EV drivers that would reconsider electric driving is very high (79%). However, compared to 2020, there are slightly fewer EV drivers who are willing to opt again for an electric car, especially in France.
The main barriers to EV adoption are price, charging location, and time
In all four countries, those who say they would not opt for an electric car list price as the main reason. Concerns about being able to find a charger have decreased in France and the Netherlands, but for 52% of the German and 46% of the UK’s population, this still represents an important barrier. Moreover, the charging time is significantly more often a reason for the Germans not to opt for an EV than for the general population of other countries (especially in the Netherlands this does not represent an obstacle).
EV drivers’ reasons not to opt again for an EV vary
Among EV drivers, charging locations and prices of electric cars are less important reasons not to buy an electric car, with an exception in the Netherlands where 71% of EV drivers think that electric cars are still too expensive. The major concerns are generally charging time and battery duration. In particular, those who worry the most about charging time are Dutch EV drivers. (!)
The general population is mostly worried about the price of an EV
Especially in the Netherlands and the UK, people would not opt for an electric car because of the price. However, the fear of not being able to find a charger anywhere has decreased across all countries.
Potential EV drivers are mostly worried about the charging infrastructure
In the Netherlands and the UK, almost 7 out of 10 potential EV drivers would not opt for an electric car due to the price. Concerns about charging costs, particularly among French and German potential EV drivers, have decreased, as have concerns about not being able to find enough charging stations when needed.
Current EV drivers see fewer barriers in electric driving than other groups
Although data differ between countries, current EV drivers are generally more inclined to continue electric driving, because they perceive fewer barriers than other groups. The main uncertainty in the UK and France is not being able to find enough charging stations, the Dutch are mainly worried about the charging time and Germans care more about battery life. (!)
Around 2 out of 10 potential EV drivers worry about not being able to pay hassle-free at charging stations
Dutch potential EV drivers are most confident about being able to pay to charge their electric car hassle-free, while French potential EV drivers are the most worried about it. However, among German and UK’s current EV drivers 21% of them are not optimistic about being able to pay without difficulties.
Nearly half of all potential EV drivers do not know where to buy a charging station
Just under half of the potential EV drivers (48%) from almost every country do not know where to buy a charging station if they would need one. Current EV drivers, especially in Germany and the UK, do know.
Priorities when purchasing a charging station vary
Energy efficiency and an easy-to-use interface of a charging station are generally the most important priorities when it comes to purchasing a charging station. However, there is a variety in priorities among the different countries as well. The long warranty is significantly more important for the French general population, while clarity about charging session fees is the most relevant aspect for the Dutch. (!)
EV drivers care the most about energy efficiency of charging stations
In all countries, EV drivers are mostly focused on energy efficiency when purchasing a charging station, especially in Germany (71%), while it is slightly less crucial in the Netherlands (58%). However, the second most important aspect for EV drivers across all countries is the ease of the charging station interface. (!)
Even though current EV drivers mainly charge their EV at home, the demand for workplace charging is growing. However, more charging stations at supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels would also be appreciated by EV drivers. This is because the main issue for many EV drivers is still the availability of charging stations. The main takeaways of this chapter are:
Most EV drivers charge their car at home.
The demand for workplace charging is growing.
Most EV drivers do not experience problems when charging.
The majority of EV drivers charge their cars at home
The majority of EV drivers still currently charge their vehicle most at home. The next most common place to charge is the workplace, with 34% of EV drivers charging at work, followed by service stations or fuel stations along the highway (29%). (!)
EV drivers want to charge at supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels
EV drivers would like to charge their car more at the supermarket, at restaurants, and when staying at hotels. This is especially the case in Germany, where the supermarket is the most mentioned place where EV drivers would like to charge their electric car. (!)
Around 4 out of 10 EV drivers do not experience problems when charging
Around 40% of EV drivers don’t experience challenges when charging at all. Those that do state that the most common problem is that they have to wait to charge their car because the charging station was occupied. This was a particularly prevalent problem in the Netherlands, where public charging is common. (!)
There is a demand for more charging stations at the workplace
EV drivers want to charge at work. However, only 32% of EV drivers indicate that there is a sufficient number of charging stations at their workplace. This number is up from 27% in 2020, indicating that demand for workplace charging stations is growing. (!)
Around 1 out 4 EV drivers is still worried they will not be able to charge their car along the road when they need it
Whilst the general population is still concerned about the availability of charging stations, over half of all UK, German, and Dutch EV drivers asked were confident in their ability to charge when they need to. The exception here are the French, who were most concerned about the ability to charge their electric car.
Thanks to their early EV infrastructure buildout, the Dutch population is least concerned about the ability to charge an electric car whenever they would need one.
Electric vs conventional driving
When it comes to considering the maintenance costs of an electric car, the perspectives of (potential) EV drivers and the broader public differ. While EV drivers believe that maintaining an EV requires less effort than maintaining a fuel one, the general public does not. However, the idea that an electric car does not perform as well as a fuel-powered vehicle is common for all categories of respondents. The key highlights from this chapter are:
For EV drivers, the maintenance costs of an EV are perceived to be lower.
Many respondents are still skeptical about EVs performance.
EV drivers believe taking care of an electric car costs less effort than in 2020
Overall, less people believe taking care of an electric car costs more effort than a petrol/diesel car compared to 2020. This is particularly true for those who actually drive an EV.
However, there is still a great deal of division: Almost half of the EV drivers in the UK think an electric car costs more effort, while the Dutch EV drivers are most likely to say that taking care of an EV costs less effort.
EV drivers are divided on whether an electric car performs as well as a petrol/diesel car
German EV drivers are the most pessimistic about electric cars, as just over half (52%) think electric cars don’t perform as well as their petrol/diesel counterparts. This is significantly higher than the EV drivers of the other three countries.
Fast charging as a possible solution
EV drivers are the most aware of the distinction between normal and fast charging and two-thirds already use fast charging at least once a month—especially at fuel stations. Since fast charging is seen as key for the adoption of EVs, demand is increasing and almost half of the (potential) EV drivers are willing to pay more if their car is charged faster. However, there are other aspects to consider when it comes to fast charging. To sum up, the main points of this last chapter are:
EV drivers generally use fast charging once a month.
The demand for fast charging is growing.
The interface and fee structure of fast charging stations must be clear.
Around 4 out of 10 EV drivers believe the charging infrastructure in the country where they live is not suitable for electric cars
As the EV infrastructure rollout continues, 7 out of 10 EV drivers are familiar with the differences between normal electric charging and fast charging. However, the positive view on charging infrastructure for electric cars has decreased for almost all countries since 2020, except for German EV drivers, who have become more positive about the availability of charging infrastructure.
Almost two-thirds of EV drivers use fast charging at least once a month
Whilst fast charging is not widespread, almost two-thirds of EV drivers use fast charging at least once a month. However, 1 in 3 EV drivers never use fast charging and the use of fast charging has declined sharply since 2020 overall.
There is a great difference in fast charging use between countries as well: Almost half of the Dutch EV drivers never use fast charging, whilst the Germans are the most likely to heavily use this emerging technology. (!)
Service stops/fuel stations are the most commonplace for fast charging
Fuel stations and service stops are the most used places for fast charging, followed by public, and commercial parking spots, jumping from 54% in 2020 to 61% this year. (!)
In most countries, there is a division where they want to see more fast chargers
EV drivers want to see more fast charging stations at service stations and fuel stations along highways (38%) and Public and commercial parking spots (38%), followed by supermarkets, shopping malls, and workplaces (all 35%). (!)
Almost half of the (potential) EV drivers are willing to pay more if their car is charged faster
Drivers are prepared to pay more to use fast charging. In particular, (potential) EV drivers from the UK are willing to pay more for fast charging. However, this willingness is lowest among French EV drivers, where 40% stated that they weren’t.
Clear charging fees and user-friendliness are key for fast charging
A clear indication of charging fees and user-friendliness are the most important aspects of fast charging amongst respondents. However, the aspects of fast charging that are considered important vary a lot per country. (!)
Ultra-fast charging would positively influence potential EV drivers to invest
The existence of ultra-fast charging would increase the willingness of potential EV drivers to buy an electric car—especially amongst respondents in the UK. The difference between potential EV drivers and the general population is also significant, with 66% versus 42% (strongly) agreeing respectively.
Research set up
1. Target group
General population, potential EV drivers and EV drivers.
Countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
2. Sample size
General population samples: n=1,010 France, n=1,010 Germany, n=1,005 the Netherlands, n=1,003 the United Kingdom.
Total penetration of EV drivers within the general population is: 8% in France (4% in 2020), 8% in Germany (2% in 2020), 11% in the Netherlands (6% in 2020) and 7% in the United Kingdom (4% in 2020).
EV driver boosts to n=110 France, n=110 Germany, n=121 the Netherlands, n=107 the United Kingdom.
3. Field work
The surveys were conducted by means of an online questionnaire.
Respondents were selected from the Ipsos i-Say Panels. Fieldwork was carried out between February 7 and February 16, 2022.
The general population sample matches the profile of the target population on the variables: age, gender, region, and education. Weighting was applied for small corrections with very high efficiency, reflecting the accuracy of the sampling procedures. Weighting efficiency score per country (0-100%) below: France: 88% Germany: 98% The Netherlands: 97% The United Kingdom: 89%
Potential EV drivers are a subset of the general population; those who currently do not drive an electric car, but say they would probably or certainly opt for an electric car in the future.
EV drivers are those who currently drive an electric car (hybrid, PEV, and/or BEV)*.
*PEV: Plug-in hybrid electric car, you can charge your car at an electric charging station *BEV: battery electric car, 100% electric *Hybrid cars: combination of using electricity transformed by fuel
In some cases, we’ve asked (follow-up) questions to a selected audience, based on an earlier answer or the type of car they drive, respectively. As a result, the total base of observations is lower compared to other more general questions, when this is the case you can see a (!) at the end of the finding.