Germans wary of electric vehicles; prefer natural gas to plugging in

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A study, conducted by technology research firm Gartner, reveals that German consumers aren't likely to consider purchasing electric vehicles over other advanced powertrain technologies.

Gartner's analysis shows the majority of German consumers prefer a gasoline-fueled vehicle, with hybrid technology coming in second. Even though diesels are hugely popular in Germany, consumer preference for these vehicles seems to have peaked. Oil-burning engines are the study's third-place technology, followed by natural gas vehicles.

Only 16 percent of Germans definitely want to consider purchasing an electric vehicles in the future, making it Gartner's lowest ranking powertrain option. Why? Well, as Gartner's study shows, nearly one fifth of German drivers are not willing to pay a premium for an electric vehicle and nearly half of those interested in buying an electric vehicle would only do so if operating costs were 70 percent less than conventional vehicles.

Despite the dim outlook in Germany, Gartner's long-term forecast says that plug-in vehicles, as a percentage of all automobiles sold worldwide using various propulsion technologies, will range from five to eight percent of sales by 2020 and from 15 to 20 percent by 2030.

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[Source: Gartner via Green Car Congress]
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Gartner Says Electric Vehicles Face Market Adoption Challenge In Germany Due To Unmatched Consumer Expectations

Survey Shows Electric Vehicles Least Preferred Powertrain Technology Choice in Germany
Egham, UK

August 3, 2011- 

A Gartner, Inc. study revealed that German consumer purchase considerations for fully battery-operated electric vehicles (EVs) remain relatively low compared to other powertrain technologies and that most current EV offerings miss consumer's EV purchase and ownership requirements.

The analysis of Gartner's latest EV readiness study conducted in Germany in the first and second quarter of 2011 showed that the majority of German consumers prefer a gasoline-powered vehicle for their next vehicle purchase, followed by hybrid technology which saw consumer interest increasing compared to 2010. Consumer preferences for diesel technology seems to have peaked, but still make it the third highest-ranked technology choice followed by natural gas powered vehicles. Only 16 per cent of Germans definitely want to consider an EV in the future, making it the lowest ranking powertrain option.

Nearly one fifth of German drivers interested in EVs are not willing to pay a premium price for an electric car vs. a comparably sized vehicle with a traditional powertrain technology, and only 8 per cent are willing to pay €8,000 or more. The survey also showed that nearly half of all German consumers considering an EV for their next new vehicle purchase would require 30-40 per cent operational cost savings from EVs compared with a conventional car.

"Although the majority of German consumers continue to see EVs' benefits in environmental and socioeconomic implications, broad adoption of EVs will remain low as long as current offerings don't meet drivers' practical usability and cost-saving requirements," said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "To expand from early to mainstream EV adopters in Germany, automotive companies must focus on technology innovations, offer pricing strategies that are aligned with established premiums for diesel and hybrid powertrain options and develop diverse EV model mixes targeted at younger consumer segments that have higher EV interest levels than older demographics."

According to Gartner, the German government must closely examine and potentially reconsider its current efforts and objectives regarding e-mobility. If the goal is to achieve substantial sales of EVs then the government must step up its funding of research and development programs for battery technology advancements and home-charging deployment efforts, rather than a large-scale public charging infrastructure that may not be needed to address short to mid-term consumer demand. If the goal is to reduce dependency on oil and address environmental issues the government must broaden its funding to include other powertrain technologies that offer reduced energy consumption and consider encouraging the use of public transportation and alternative mobility solutions, such as new usage-based business models and car sharing programs.

Gartner maintains its 2009 prediction that in industrialised automotive markets, the number of battery-powered vehicles (plug-in full-electric and plug-in hybrid EVs) as a percentage of all vehicles sold using various types of propulsion technologies will range from 5-8 per cent of all vehicle sales by 2020, and from 15-20 per cent of all vehicle sales by 2030.

"E-mobility will become a viable addition to future transportation scenarios in Germany, but automotive companies and the German Government must address marketability requirements of EVs, prioritise technology investments and continue to promote cross-industry collaboration," Mr Koslowski said. "Future mobility concepts will consist of diverse powertrain choices and business models that will leverage technology to satisfy consumers' transportation needs while challenging traditional car ownership."

Additional information is available in the report "Gartner Study: Strategic Market Considerations for Electric Vehicle and e-Mobility Adoption in Germany." In the first and second quarter of 2011, Gartner surveyed 3,000 adults in the US, Germany and China who owned or leased an automobile, using an online panel to analyse consumer preferences, requirements and attitudes regarding EVs and showing how preferences have changed since 2010. Previous-year comparison data is based on a representative EV online panel study conducted by Gartner in the second quarter of 2010 among 2,000 adult vehicle owners. The report is available on Gartner's website at

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