While German carmakers Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler are heralding their commitment to battery-powered vehicles and rushing to launch electric versions of their cars, German people themselves appear to be a lot less optimistic about the future of electric vehicles.
A survey commissioned by Germany energy company E.ON and research firm Kantar EMNID found that of the 78% of Germans currently planning to buy a car, just 16% will go for an electric option. Out of those who said they would not buy an e-car, the main reasons for deciding against it were battery range and purchase costs, according to E.ON.
One-third of Germans believe electric cars will never outnumber the amount of internal combustion engines on the streets of Germany, according to the survey. Additionally, only 13% of German respondents said they could imagine electric cars overtaking conventional ones in the next 10 years.
Electric cars only accounted for around 1% of new car registrations in Germany in 2018.
The survey canvassed 10,000 people in Denmark, Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Romania, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Hungary.
Despite the increasing variety of e-cars on the market, and a steady growth in the charging-station infrastructure, Germans are much more pessimistic than, for example, survey respondents in Turkey, where 43% said that electric cars will outnumber petrol ones in the next decade. In Italy, 37% of respondents believed that as well. Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic and Hungary were about as pessimistic as the Germans.
Germany needs a holistic approach to make the switch to e-mobility, E.ON board member Karsten Wildberger said in a statement. The country needs to bring together “the energy industry with its technical and network competence,” as well as “innovative offers from the automotive industry and government start-up support,” Wildberger said.
The German government recently said it wanted to extend its tax incentives for e-cars and hybrids for another 10 years. But the country has a long way to go before it catches up with neighbouring Norway, where — thanks largely to tax exemptions — e-cars accounted for nearly 60% of all new cars sold in March. Reuters reported this week that electric car sales in 2018 in Norway have hit a record 31% market share.