A detailed report on the current state of the electric mobility market in selected countries in Europe, created in collaboration with Ipsos.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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. (!)
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.
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.
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. (!)
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.
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.
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. (!)
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. (!)
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 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 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. (!)
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. (!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. (!)
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. (!)
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%). (!)
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.
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. (!)
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.
General population, potential EV drivers and EV drivers.
Countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
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.
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.
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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.