By on April 29, 2015

Kia Soul with Lyftstache Circa September 2013

Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified.

The biennial Continental Mobility Study found in 2015 that 84 percent of those between ages 16 and 25 state that driving matters greatly to them, with 76 percent of the group driving their vehicles every day, AutoGuide reports.

Regarding the aforementioned iPhones, consumer electronics still rule over the group, as 91 percent placed a high importance on their smartphones, tablets et al. When it comes to automakers bringing that experience to their offerings, 73 percent stated they would like a connected vehicle. However, Continental AG board member Helmut Matschi cautions automakers to take a shotgun approach to implementing said tech, with data security being at the top of the list.

Ownership matters to all who were surveyed: 94 percent said they owned their vehicles, while only 1 percent preferred to use car-sharing services. The figure follows a similar trend in Europe, where 83 percent surveyed also stated that they own their cars. Matschi said he was “a bit surprised” at the outcome, thinking behavioral changes should have occurred by now, but that both young and older drivers alike “see driving as sustainable and fun.” Industry experts add that 65 million millennials will buy a vehicle over the next five years, fueling technological advancements in connectivity and autonomy in so doing.

One of those behaviors – going for greener, electrified motoring solutions – isn’t highly regarded among the group, let alone among all those who were surveyed by the supplier. While 71 percent of all Americans surveyed found EVs did wonders for the environment, only 31 percent said EVs were a joy to drive, 38 percent loved their designs, and 27 percent believed they were sporty.

Going from bad to worse for EV proponents, 21 percent of 31- to 59-year-olds said they thought EVs were a viable solution for transportation, while 24 percent of 16- to 30-year-olds stated they would use an EV to get around over the next decade.

The 2015 edition of the Continental Mobility Study contacted 2,300 non-drivers and 400 drivers in the U.S. for representative and qualitative sampling respectively during the second half of 2014.

[Photo credit: Raido/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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47 Comments on “Study: Millennials Love Cars, Not So Much EVs...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “going for greener, electrified motoring solutions – isn’t highly regarded among the group”

    Yeah, GTFO with your electric BS. And take the pink mustache with you. I will have a large car with large engine which I will ride alone in, and not use Bluetooth.

    But I’m not a standard millennial, thank fack for that.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      These kids are going to shat themselves when the EMP hits and they can’t figure out how to do anything in life without their electronic cancer machine attached to their hip.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That made me think of the War of the Worlds movie where the alien-style EMP fried all the solenoids in every car.

        And when Dakota Fanning got out of that brand new Land Cruiser and banged the door against the telephone pole. I’d have got loud at that point.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        If you’re trying to endear yourself to anyone of my generation, you’re doing a hell of a job. And “shat” is the past tense, BTW. You want the present tense.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The EMP threat is why I’m invested in Bic pens, paper companies and manual typewriter manufacturers. Hmmm. Spell-check, Google, and wiki will be down. Maybe I should get into printed dictionaries and encyclopedias.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’ve been thinking seriously about getting a Focus BEV. My regular commute is now under 20 miles round trip and I can lease one for under $200/month with $0 down. But then i think i should just get something with the most horsepower possible because WTF do I care about gas now.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The cure for considering the Focus BEV is a used Navigator or Expedition two-tone. And your wife will be pleased!

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          She’s keeping her MkT. It would be a C-Max replacement (even though I like the C-Max). I want a Mustang, but I dunno if I want to eventually have to put two car seats in it.

          Her next car will probably be a 2015-16 Expedition or Navi. The refresh updates are good ones.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh are you having kid #2 soon?

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            You know in the interests of buying a stupid amount of horsepower, you can fit car seats in a Charger Hellcat pretty easily :).

            Secondly, where did you find this mythical $200/mo Focus EV lease?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            A-plan lease in the Detroit area. It was a leftover 2014 Focus EV. The dealership I usually go to quoted me $237/month with $0 on a 2015. That’s low mileage A-plan lease though.

            Corey, the wife has the baby alarm clock going again. I’m trying to wait until next year because I want to minimize daycare expenses. Ain’t nobody want to pay $24K a year for daycare.

      • 0 avatar
        highrpm

        @bball, I’m thinking exactly like you. If my house move happens like I plan, then I will have less than 20 miles to commute. My wife will have 5 miles (also northern Detroit suburbs).

        The destination I’m looking at is a mile away from a BMW dealer. I’ve been driving by their i3 and thinking that it would make a sweet ride for my wife.

        But then I think, just like you, that what will it matter if she’s doing a few thousand miles a year?

        Another story – an older co-worker of mine had a 10 mile commute to work. He bought a new Camaro SS when they first came out. He didn’t want to commute in it so he bought a new Prius for the commute. A 5-mile-each-way commute. And the Camaro sat in the garage. Crazy.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The dealership on Maple and Telegraph?

          They have an orange one I see once in awhile. It’s so goofy looking that I am starting to like it. But then I see the 435i near it…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Having noticed the 4-Series lately, I’m really into the coupe version. I still maintain that the only BMW coupe to get is the 6, though. Because it’s the largest, and closest to the PLC.

            The new S-Coupe works as well, it has no pretensions of sport, and that’s pretty excellent. It’s point in life is to be large and selfish – a mission which the CL lost in later years.

            In other coupe notes, I saw an A3 cabrio yesterday and I had no idea they made such a thing. It’s fully a car for women who don’t want a Miata or a 1-Series cabrio (does that exist?), but there you go.

          • 0 avatar

            I love my FWD Volkswagens, but at $38K and up, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t buy a Mustang cabriolet. It’s just a much better car than the A3 cabriolet.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s a lot of money for such a small car! At least it’s only slightly more than the Eos was though? Lol.

          • 0 avatar
            highrpm

            @bball, the BMW dealer I drive past is on Dequindre just north of M-59. They usually have a few i3’s sitting outside.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Two unrelated theories:

    Young people need and want range. Urban rats meet ex urb sweeties, schools are far from friends and families, concerts are in the next city, job interviews are wherever you can get one, etc.

    Cars are old school anyway. Might as well go with the theme and get an engine in it.

    • 0 avatar

      Re theory #1: Exactly.

      I’m surprised 24% of millennials think they’ll be driving a BEV in the next decade.

      As for greenitude, personal transportation devices only account for ~15 percent of US greenhouse emissions anyway, and what with the range and refueling time problems, there’s a lot of much lower hanging fruit to be harvested. Both in terms of non-automotive CO2 and ways of reducing ICE emissions.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “personal transportation devices only account for ~15 percent of US greenhouse emissions anyway”

        That isn’t relevant. The issue is one of what can be done to reduce total emissions. If reducing vehicle emissions can make a meaningful contribution to reaching the target, then the effort should be made.

        In any case, there is no need to speculate about the study. It concludes that people think that driving should be enjoyable and that EVs aren’t. According to this, the desire to drive is largely emotional and that EVs will need to appeal to those emotions in order to become popular.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Surprise! Just like their forebears, young people need cars to work, shop, socialize and ex-scape crowded places. Some even like driving them.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      There is another issue that can be tacked on to that theory:

      People need somewhere to charge their EV. Most young people (myself included) live in apartments and can’t just plug their car into an outlet.

      Most young people also can only afford one car, which is a big reason why range is important as well.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Time for you to enter extensive mortgage debt then, and join the property owner’s club.

        On another note, this millennial and younger generation’s fear of ownership and maintenance (combined with historic low interest rates on borrowed moneys) makes it a great time to invest in rental properties of 4+ units (hard to make money on individual family structures).

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          I’ve been looking into that, and I really thought it was a good idea.

          Not so much. Either your peers like bigger complexes, or their is a glut on the market. Apartment for lease signs are legion around here.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yeah, the real kiddies my age like the big complexes with granite and stainless, with included tanning and gym. They’re perfectly happy paying $1700 a month for a two bedroom as long as there’s a pool with other people to show off at.

            However, I don’t think here in Ohio there’s a glut on the market, it seems like places which are -any good- get filled quickly in the smaller apartment building/complex realm.

            My second apartment before my house was 1,000 sq. ft and had a dining room and attached garage underneath the house (4-family). It was from the 40s and had the original doors and woodwork (parquet). I liked that place, except for the laundry in the basement – two washers and two dryers for 4 apartments.

            Water was included, and it was $630/mo.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Really good point on apartments, but having millenials answer the questions is really going to take the fun out of this!

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Exactly. They’re a lot of things, but thrifty is one of them. A car with such compromised logistics is not a good use of money.

          On a side note, think electric cars are good for the environment? Sure, the batteries maybe clean but those cars have a crapload of copper wire in them. Where oh, where does copper come from? Places like China, Afghanistan, etc where there is no regard for the environment.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll second the charging comment. I’m a year too old to be a millennial, and I am a homeowner – but it’s a townhouse, so I still don’t have a place to plug in an EV.

        I’ve actually toyed with idea of buying one, because between state and federal tax credits I’d get like 10 grand back, plus be able to use certain carpool lanes, maybe. But that doesn’t help without a place to plug it in, and I’m sure my HOA isn’t going to appreciate me running a bunch of extension cords across lawns to my parking spot.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          As I see it, Electric cars have 3 barriers to cross before they become viable alternatives to regular cars.

          1. Range is 400-500mi (comparable to 1 tank of gas)

          2. Electricity stations are as ubiquitous as gas stations and have as many pumps.

          3. Charging takes a comparable amount of time to gassing up a regular car (5min).

          Until those are met, they simply aren’t viable. That doesn’t even take into account cold climates, AWD, etc.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Oh look, once Millennials start making money, they start buying cars because there’s no other way to get around in suburban ‘Murica. They start marrying and having kids, and now ridesharing with strangers is no longer fun or “safe” by their new family standards.

    And then a portion of them discover that driving can be fun, and the rest find out that EVs outside of a top-spec Model S are still hampered by range.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Curious what percentage of those who said that EVs weren’t fun to drive have actually driven one. Customer satisfaction surveys of EV drivers show that their owners love them.

    I’ve been driving a PHEV for the last year, and I’d bre very reluctant to go back to a non electrified drive train.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think it’s sort of like plastic surgery in that regard. A lot of people who haven’t tried it are against it. But once they have, they like it and go back often.

      Both plastic surgery and electric vehicles get you feeling good about yourself. Both plastic surgery people and electric vehicles have lots of polymers inside.

    • 0 avatar

      I think a lot of those people are like my brother. He never evinced any interest in driving, over decades. Then, in his early 60s, he got a Prius. He claims to like driving that Prius! But I think it’s a placebo effect from the fact that he’s got greenitude. He loves getting 50 mpg. But he’s never even asked his best friend if he can try his best friend’s Boxster.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Or they just see how impractical fun cars typically are. My brother enjoys driving. He and I used to auto-x our, shared in college, 2001 Impreza 2.5RS. He is now a physician in Pittsburgh now and I’m an engineer in WV. He is pretty sure he’s going to get an EV for his next car because he slogs through Pittsburgh traffic every evening. I drive a RWD sports coupe. If I were in his situation, I wouldn’t even think about owning a sporty car with a 6MT. What is the point to go through expensive tires, premium gas, high insurance premiums, poor outward visibility, invisibility to others on the road, etc just to sit in bumper to bumper traffic? Trying to get the best MPG possible makes that bumper to bumper nonsense a little more interesting. Those conditions in a fun car are basically taunting you that you have a capable machine that you can’t use.

  • avatar
    redav

    Lots of problems:

    “Continental AG board member Helmut Matschi cautions automakers to take a shotgun approach to implementing said tech”
    – The source says: “Automakers and suppliers can’t simply take a shotgun approach and blast all kinds of electronic features and add-ons at their vehicle lineups.”

    “behavioral changes should have occurred by now”
    – I wonder what he’s smoking. Just because technology advances quickly doesn’t mean social inertia goes away. Personal car ownership is a fundamental part of modern culture. There’s no reason to expect attitudes, much less behaviors, to change quickly.

    “going for greener, electrified motoring solutions – isn’t highly regarded among the group”
    – The data reported by the sources says that’s for the population, not for younger drivers. It does not compare the attitudes of EVs between older & younger drivers. Furthermore, the numbers are deceptive:
    “joy to drive”: 31% Yes, 21% No, 30% In between, 18% Unable to say
    “loved designs”: 38% Yes, 25% No, 30% In between, 7% Unable to say
    “sporty”: 27% Yes, 35% No, 28% In between, 10% Unable to say

    “contacted 2,300 non-drivers and 400 drivers in the U.S.”
    – The source says: “representative sample of 2,300 drivers in the U.S.” The 400 number is for the qualitative survey (400 ea. in France, Japan, China, U.S., & Germany).

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Where are the studies about the folks with actual cash to spend?

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    EVs make sense once you have a multiple-car household and your own garage. That’s not the young people market.

    Around here, in the SF Bay Area, the urban housing that everyone would love to be in has become too expensive for most people. Back to the suburbs we go, and therefore back to car ownership. But renting means no EVs.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    Most millenials are too young/poor to own houses and thus don’t have a garage spot to charge an EV in so this study is gibberish. I street park in a town where the only electric charger is at the Nissan dealership so how exactly am I supposed to consider an EV?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Dogs bark, news at 11.
    Seriously is this really a surprise to anyone? Most EV and PEV owners I see have gray-hair, it’s more about old people wanting to feel “in” than it is about wanting to drive an EV in my experience. The bigger surprise is the less than 100% figure for people that find car ownership important.

    • 0 avatar
      z9

      Given that ICE cars are obviously inferior in every respect to EVs, ICE drivers must be living in fear of social rejection, clinging to archaic dino-juice technology in a desperate attempt to feel “in.” They couldn’t possibly *want* to spend time in poison-spewing vibrating chambers burdened with huge tanks of highly flammable liquid, could they? There must be some kind of social conformity involved.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I think the older folks (that lived through the oil embargo) have come to the realization that EV’s and PHEV’s are more efficient, and usually have a garage to plug them in. They are also making shorter drives, and enjoy the quiet power that EV’s provide.

      The young’uns don’t have outlets readily available, and (generally) don’t qualify for the maximum federal tax credit, won’t get a good lease deal without a credit history, etc.

      So, the “millennials” aren’t all that dumb, they’re making the rational decision to drive ICE cars.

      And, it’s up to the Gov’t, EV makers, enviro groups to either make EV’s more practical, affordable, etc or encourage alternate forms of “commuter” transportation to reduce GHG emissions by the very group who will first start to suffer its effects.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I have to agree with shaker on this. Most of the EV drivers I see are like me, over 50. My kids (in their 20’s) are just getting enough money to make it on their own and EVs don’t really fit into the equation, yet. They really aren’t pulling down the money to buy any new cars, alone ones that need a fair amount of infrastructure at their living quarters to support. Used cars are the way forward for them, at least for now.

        Myself, I’m starting to downsize and want to change houses. I’ve been thinking about moving to a tax-free zone in the downtown area, but there are no hookups for EVs in the places I’ve been considering. I too, will be driving ICE cars for a while yet…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Thisdoesnt bode well for the Model 3, Bolt, et al…

  • avatar
    Chan

    The only EV I would have gone out of my way to buy was the Aptera 2e. Too bad that thing never made it.

    The mass-market EVs currently available would never interest me because they look deathly boring and have less than 100 mi range.

    I am a millennial, and my DD gets 24 mpg (I blame the traffic), my wife’s car gets 34 and my toy gets 10.

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