Representative survey:
Next car - majority of Europeans want to buy an electric car

Spend less and live more consciously to avoid having to give up too much. This is the European motto in times of an energy crisis and inflation. One in three people are restricting their mobility and plan to make fewer car journeys. However, individual mobility remains essential and owning a car is important. These are the findings of a representative survey carried out by mm customer strategy. With support from Volkswagen, the consulting company surveyed more than 7,500 people in the five countries of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.

One of the most significant findings is that more than half (53 percent) of Europeans looking to purchase a car in the next twelve months plan to acquire an electrified car – that is, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV; 36 percent) with a petrol and battery engine, or a fully-electric powered car (BEV; 17 percent). Looking at the individual countries, there is slightly more interest in electrified cars in Germany (54 percent). 32 percent of Germans planning to make a purchase have their sights set on a PHEV, while 22 percent are looking to buy a purely electric car.

This confirms that e-mobility is accepted by the majority – and with almost no dependency on income. That being said, 30 percent of households with the highest income in Germany account for 45 percent of those interested in a BEV. The reasons for this are higher financial capability and the often better infrastructure for charging at home. To meet the current demand in all income brackets, Volkswagen offers a wide range of electric models in various vehicle classes.

Volkswagen has the widest e-portfolio of all manufacturers

From entry-level e-car with a target price of under 25,000 euros, to the new flagship ID.7 –each segment will have the perfect option in the coming years. “The majority are open to the idea of e-mobility,” says Imelda Labbé, Board Member for Sales, Marketing and After Sales at the Volkswagen brand. “As automobile manufacturers, we are tasked with offering an even wider selection for varying customer requirements. Volkswagen is ramping up with ten new e-models by 2026. This is our contribution to meeting the fundamental need for mobility.” In doing so, Volkswagen is aiming to become the most desirable brand for sustainable mobility – and will only be offering electric models in Europe from 2033 at the latest.

The survey also shows that the current crises are only affecting individual mobility for some people. According to the survey, 39 percent of European car owners have recently started – or will soon start – to make fewer car journeys. 34 percent are driving more efficiently and thereby more economically. The main factor here is the high fuel costs.

Saving money during the energy crisis is also the order of the day in other areas: looking at the five European countries as a whole, changes are being made in many areas. People are making cutbacks when it comes to heating (43 percent), purchases (42 percent), as well as electricity and hot water (41 percent in each case). Cutbacks are also being made when it comes to car journeys. Looking at the individual countries, the United Kingdom has the highest value in this area, at 46 percent, while Germany has the lowest value, at 33 percent.

98 percent of those surveyed said that they plan to maintain or increase the number of cars in their household over the next twelve months. Only one percent of car owners will get rid of their car, despite wanting to keep hold of it. The values for this statement are very similar across all income brackets, highlighting the fact that individual mobility remains important in Europe.

E-mobility gaining ground in rural areas

The results show that e-mobility is also making headway outside of urban areas. Almost half (45 percent) of BEV drivers surveyed live in small towns with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants, or in rural communities.

In Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia is something of an e-stronghold: according to the federal office for motor transport, on 1 October 2022 there were more than 180,000 fully-electric cars registered in the federal state with the highest population. This accounts for 1.7 percent of all cars. Hamburg and Hesse have the highest percentage share of BEVs in the overall vehicle fleet (2.1 percent in each federal state).

Number of electric cars is rising noticeably in Germany

The national trend is promising in light of the mobility revolution: in 2022, 31.4 percent of new registrations of cars were for electrified vehicles. 362,093 newly registered plug-in hybrids accounted for a share of 13.7 percent – an increase of 11.3 percent compared with the previous year. The number of new registrations for BEVs was 470,559 – which represents a share of 17.7 percent, and thereby a remarkable 32.2 percent more than in 2021. With the current number of fully-electric cars on German roads standing at more than 840,000, the threshold of one million vehicles is within reach. Analysts expect there to be approximately eleven million BEVs on German roads in 2030 – which would be almost a quarter of the current total number of cars in the country.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is expediting its e-journey: the brand strategy “ACCELERATE” is advancing the company’s current transformation process into becoming a software-driven and data-driven provider of sustainable mobility. The aim is to increase the share of purely electric cars in sales in Europe to more than 70 percent.

About the survey

For the representative opinion survey on mobility during the energy crisis, a total of 7,518 people in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain were surveyed between 28 October and 10 November 2022. At this point in time, in October 2022, the rate of inflation in the European Union was 11.5 percent. The survey was carried out by mm customer strategy, with support from Volkswagen. The consulting company with offices in Munich and Bremen specialises in market research and data-based strategy projects.

This article was originally published by March 2023