Survey: EV Interest Varies Wildly Between Nations, Ditto for Shared Ownership

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
survey ev interest varies wildly between nations ditto for shared ownership

If you follow the automotive industry at all, you’re undoubtedly aware that the United States is a region that hasn’t quite embraced automotive electrification on the same level as the rest of the developed world. Americans travel longer distances and have particular tastes, making EVs more popular in places like Europe and China. It also hasn’t passed the same sweeping regulations to ensure their advancement.

Whatever the cause, a new survey from London-based OC&C Strategy Consultants attempted to tabulate the disparity — asking 2,000 consumers (apiece) in the U.S., China, Germany, France and United Kingdom between March and April of 2019.

Their findings? Only about half of the surveyed Americans felt EVs were worth their consideration as a potential successor to their current ride. In China, 90 percent said they would seriously consider buying electric. Between 64 and 77 percent of respondents in Europe said the same (depending on country).

This disparity could help explain why so many automakers hellbent on electrification are also deeply interested in expanding their footprint in China. Considering the market’s extremely strong interest in EVs, which doesn’t mesh perfectly with the country’s recent sales headaches, we wonder about the validity of the data coming out of the PRC. Still, John Evison, one of the survey’s co-authors, told Reuters the group did not receive any outside funding for its study. No shenanigans, apparently.

OC&C also noted that the Chinese are overwhelmingly okay with the idea of “fully-shared mobility options.” That concept doesn’t seem to fly in other parts of the world where communism hasn’t taken hold. Customers in the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom all want to retain private ownership of their vehicles. But over 90 percent of Chinese respondents said widespread sharing was absolutely fine.

From Reuters:

Ride-hailing companies Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc say they aim to reduce private car ownership.

But survey respondents in Western countries, including younger generations, said owning a car remained an important status symbol offering convenience and reliability not matched by car-sharing or taxi services.

The survey results also put a damper on companies working on robotaxis, with a vast majority of all respondents saying they would strongly prefer owning a fully automated car, as opposed to sharing it.

Some of this could be the result of geographical differences. Drivers in the United States tend to cover more miles and live in places where ride-hailing services and electric vehicle ranges can’t always cover them. Americans, however, are also more prone to seeing individualism as a virtue and like to maintain their personal freedoms whenever possible — which could be why they’re also not as stoked for autonomous vehicles.

The survey found that roughly one third of Western consumers are dubious of self-driving cars, while only 4 percent of the Chinese respondents hold similar feelings. This all adds up to a split global market with major industry players chasing trends that really only seem to be going over big in China. OC&C recommends automakers stop dumping all of their money in an attempt to create “the next shared mobility revolution” and invest instead in electrification and services that cater more to individual owners.

[Image: Xujun/Shutterstock]

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  • AnalogMan AnalogMan on Dec 08, 2019

    If the goal is to save our planet from global warming - which I think is an excellent idea, because it’s the only one we have - then electric cars are not the 'answer'. The real answer is not so much to switch cars to electric, but first to change how electricity is generated. ‘Electricity’ is not a primary energy source (unless you’re going to try and capture lightening). It’s a way of transmitting energy. It doesn’t come out of a hole in the ground. Some other primary source of energy must first generate, and then be converted into, electricity. Preferably that would be solar, wind, or tidal, but in this country, about 85% of energy still comes from either fossil fuels or nuclear – Unless this country, and the world in general, makes major moves to generate electricity from renewable sources, the harsh reality is that most ‘electric’ cars today are really just powered by natural gas, coal, or nuclear energy, whatever was used to generate the electricity in the first place. Electric cars are not honestly ‘zero’ emissions (smug bumper stickers notwithstanding), they’re remote emissions. The emissions simply come from the plant that generated the electricity, burning whatever they did to do it. It’s different if you happen to live ‘off the grid’ and generate all your own electricity with solar panels, or live in a place like Oregon that generates 76% of its electricity from hydroelectric - But that’s not the case for most people in most of the country. If we really want to save our planet, we need to elect leaders who will actually move us off of fossil and nuclear fuels and take the hard, expensive, and politically painful steps of creating a renewable energy infrastructure. Only then will electric cars make broad sense for the country, and world, at large. Otherwise, simply driving an ‘electric’ car often doesn’t accomplish much, especially if you happen to live in one of the 18 states that uses coal as the primary source of energy to generate electricity -

    • See 1 previous
    • AnalogMan AnalogMan on Dec 08, 2019

      @dal20402 Any electric car is only as ‘clean’ as the power source used to generate the electricity that charged it:

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Dec 08, 2019

    This news probably doesn't bode very well for the climate change cult in the US. Anyway, I've long thought that Danish child and the other climate protesters should go to China and protest there. China uses four times the coal we do, and that their public is more inclined to embrace electric cars shows they might have more sympathetic ears there.

  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
  • Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
  • Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.
  • El scotto Tesla has one team making EV's because that is all Tesla does. Farley -rolls eyes- decided to split Ford into two huge warring factions: ICE vs EV. Hey Jimbo, it says "FORD" on the buildings.Lord only knows what GM did internally because it's GM. I'm betting it's like Ford pitting ICE vs EVs. With GM being GM every existing division will be divided.Stellantis will keep building Challengers and Rams. Someday they may figure out that Jeep is the fugu fish of the automotive sushi world and unload to some Chinese. EV's? no, not really.If this site was The Truth About HVAC (TTAH) some on here would tell us that central heating and air causes unknown illnesses, will be bad, and cause a degradation of our nation's moral fiber. By golly they shoveled coal and carry ash buckets and that shouldn't change.