What does an electric car buyer look like?

The average EV driver has been profiled by a group of economists, who found those ‘who love anything new’ are most likely to invest, while membership of environmental groups significantly increased likelihood of making the switch.

With more and more electric cars and vehicles being sold across the world as the race to reduce emissions continues, experts have set about trying to identify who is most likely to ditch combustion engines in favour of rechargeable models, with findings published in the Journal of Business Research.

In order to conduct the work, researchers ran bibliomatic and thematic analysis of 254 studies published between 1983 – at which point there were no EVs on the market but research was being conducted to ascertain their potential – and 2021. Among other things, those running the study noted that even as far back as the early-mid-1980s, consumer attitudes towards electric models were governed by battery run and charge times, overall performance and cost. 

‘When we talk about electric car customers, we’re talking about the so-called harbingers of change, people who love anything new, including technology,’ said Alberto Gerraris, Senior Research Fellow at the Ural Federal University Graduate School of Economics and Management, who co-authored the new report.

‘Electric car owners are increasingly concerned about the environment and air quality. They are becoming more environmentally conscious… While consumers in large part tend to behave rationally, the decision to buy and electric car is influenced by the consumer’s self-identification with the eco-society and concern for the environment.’ 

Researchers noted that although there are clear advantages of owning an EV, the current average price point still acts as a barrier to more people making the switch, and significant demand now exists for cheaper models that don’t sacrifice performance. Overall, ‘the fate of the electric car market rests on the price versus technological safety ratio’. 

The work also highlights that the majority of current research focuses on the advantages of EVs, essentially positioning this as one of the primary solutions to the environmental crisis. However, full investigation is necessary to make a critical assessment of their impact. 

‘The widespread adoption of electric vehicles may cause an unmanageable uptick in demand, which would then be followed by an increase in the cost of energy. It’s also important to keep in mind that electric car batteries, despite their energy efficiency, might release gas and other contaminants. In order to make conclusions regarding the efficacy of the decision to move from gasoline vehicles to electric cars, more study has to be done to analyze the association between purchasing an electric car and caring for the environment,’ added Ferraris.

Last month, research showed that just 12% of UK drivers would own an electric car by 2027 based on current and projected demand. 

Image credit: Stefan Schweihofer



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