Much has been said in recent months about the European Union’s decision to ban the sale of new non-zero emission cars from 2035. It is a decision that will effectively prevent the registration of new petrol and diesel cars. While initially the voices of politicians, opinion leaders and the media were all in the direction of affirming that this was a final and indispensable step, now the wind seems to have changed. Slowly but surely, the revisionists are coming out of the woodwork with their theories about how unnecessary this step is and how shoddy the way in which it will be implemented. But these are not just rumours. In fact, the United Kingdom, which had set the BAN at 2030, has already at least partially backtracked by updating the date to 2035. In short, a situation that may or may not have crystallised yet. It is certainly a confusing situation for politicians and manufacturers.

And for ordinary people? Since the beginning of this whole affair, there has been a lot of talk about the technological frontier, and then about legislation, but we end up forgetting those who should be making the revolution. We are not talking about the elites who can show off their status through the latest technological advancement, but the ordinary people. In this paraphernalia, the man in the street (in the literal sense of the word) has never been in the spotlight. No attention has been paid to his concrete motivation and his real desire to take to the streets. In this case, to go to the dealership and pay handsomely for a vehicle capable of reducing pollution. Or, more likely, just for a vehicle that will delocalise it. It is now clear that neglecting this player was a big mistake. Those who thought it was enough to produce electric cars in order to sell them have discovered that the equivalence is not immediate. Those who made decisions with one eye on reducing pollution and the other on increasing consensus also made a mistake. We would like to say at the outset that we do not intend to add yet another personal opinion to the debate that has now become radicalised between the proponents and opponents of electric mobility. Instead, we want to show what the citizens of Europe’s five largest countries really think, and give a measure of how much their decisions are influenced by this climate of constant uncertainty.

Between July and early August 2023, we conducted a new edition of our rEVolution – New Mobility Observatory, interviewing over 10,000 people aged between 18 and 75, evenly distributed across Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. For years, this ongoing survey has been designed to understand the needs, attitudes and behaviours of ordinary people when it comes to mobility. In this edition, we felt it was our duty to ask the public about their intentions when it comes to choosing the engine for their next car. Nothing seemed to us to be a better barometer of this revolution. No environmental credentials, no politically correct statements: just a little opinion on what you intend to do when you buy a new car… In response to the specific question “What type of engine will your next car have?”, 30% of respondents said it would be a petrol engine. A further 30% said it would be a mild or full hybrid, i.e. a hybrid without a cable for external charging. 22% said they would buy a diesel car. On the other hand, 23% said they would opt for a plug-in hybrid (with a cable for external charging) and only 17% for a pure electric car. Scelta motorizzazione

Source: rEVolution – New Mobility, Eumetra International, 2023

Although respondents were able to answer more than one type of engine, the resulting picture is very clear. Despite legislation, the inertia to go electric is very strong. And it is much stronger than the risk of ending up with a new petrol or diesel car that may only be used part of the time or that will lose value on the used car market. At least as long as the current product characteristics (range, charging times, purchase price, residual value) and charging infrastructure persist, cars with charging cables are destined to remain a niche product. This is what the numbers say, this is what the people say.

But not only is the current uncertainty having little effect on the future prospects of motorisation choices, it is also having a major impact on current purchase decisions. 44% of respondents agreed with the statement ‘I will keep my old car until things are clearer’. Put simply, even those who might buy a car today prefer to wait until there is less confusion about the rules, the market and the real environmental footprint of different vehicles. And that is not good for our economic paradigm. In short, revolutionaries yes, but not at any price. By the way, what engine will your next car have?

 

Source: rEVolution – New Mobility, Eumetra International, 2023

→ The full results of the new edition of the rEVolution – New Mobility Observatory are now available. Want to know more? Download the research presentation brochure and we will contact you to arrange a meeting.

Download the brochure