Survey finds strong enthusiasm for EVs in China, obstacles for other world markets

Chinese car buyers are very enthusiastic about electric cars, something that can’t be said about other world markets, according to a new survey.

That survey is from Continental, a German automaker supplier that has some business interest selling EV components to automakers.

While the majority of Chinese consumers surveyed said they could see themselves driving an electric car in the future, about half of respondents in France (57%), the United States (50%), and Japan (46%) said they cannot yet imagine themselves driving an electric car.

Electric-car acceptance has at least improved over time, in some places. Since 2013, the share of car owners willing to consider an EV has increased 28 percentage in the U.S., 27 percentage points in China, and 18 percentage points in Germany, according to the study. However, increases for France and Japan were much smaller, at three percentage points and one percentage point, respectively.

2021 Polestar 2

2021 Polestar 2

Results also exposed a surprising lag in how Western Europe sees EVs as being a positive choice for the environment. One third of German respondents, and one quarter of French respondents, said they would not consider an electric car because “they doubt that the technology is an environmentally friendly,” a Continental press release said. In comparison, just 11% of U.S. respondents and 1% of Japanese respondents doubted the environmental friendliness of electric cars.

That comes even as sustainability is reaching mainstream acceptance in European countries, Continental noted, saying that, for many companies, environmental responsibility has gone from “an optional luxury to a central pillar of their business model.” That’s certainly the attitude of Polestar, which has accused other automakers of being opaque about the overall climate impact of their electric cars.

Those results hint at possible limits to currently-robust European EV sales growth. Electric cars significantly increased their market share in 2020, and surpassed registrations of diesel cars for the first time, in part because of stricter European Union emissions regulations.

However, an August 2020 report also showed that EV sales growth was largely limited to certain countries. Europe is moving at two speeds on EV adoption, the report declared, with poorer countries falling behind.

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