Electric Vehicle Consumers Worldwide - Statistics & Facts
The global electric vehicle market has adapted to increasing environmental concerns from consumers and governments alike. Estimates for plug-in electric light vehicle (PEV) sales worldwide report that the market more than doubled between 2020 and 2021. The PEV market reached around 6.7 million and is regionally diverse. Model availability to consumers depends on geography, with countries like Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom recording a more comprehensive range of available models. This market diversity impacts consumers differently, contributing to their opinions on electric vehicles and the factors incentivizing PEV purchases.
Consumers’ perception of EVs depends on the national context—such as governmental incentives for EV purchase, charging accessibility, and information available to end-users—and international advances made by automakers—such as extended driving ranges. Observing consumers’ opinions and behaviors in a few specific countries thus helps nuance the global picture of the EV consumer.
Range Anxiety and Charging Accessibility Tend to Be Consumers’ Leading Concerns
The lack of range was also the driving concern in Norway—where 86 percent of new vehicle sales were EVs. However, vehicle prices and the lack of charging stations did not rank among the top three consumer concerns. This difference in the Norwegian market was partly due to extensive financial incentives for purchasing an EV provided by the Norwegian government until January 2023—when VAT cuts are projected to be reduced. Norway also recorded a good ratio of charging locations per 100 kilometers of roadway in 2021, with 13.6 stations per 100 kilometers of road. In Germany, only 2.7 charging locations were available across the same distance. That volume dropped to 0.8 stations in the United States.
Better EV Information and Environmental Consciousness Can Help Increase Consumers’ Interest
Consumers’ level of information mitigates disincentivizing factors like range anxiety. In France, 46 percent of consumers mentioned EVs with a range above 500 kilometers (approximately 310.7 miles) would perfectly meet their mobility needs, and 54 percent of the same respondents communicated being poorly informed about EV driving range. An April 2021 survey also found that previous EV knowledge impacted U.S. consumers’ likelihood to purchase an electric car. Over half of respondents reported having heard a lot about EVs being very or somewhat likely to buy an electric propulsion vehicle compared to 13 percent of those having heard nothing about EVs.
As well as consumers’ access to information, environmental concerns were the leading reason motivating an EV purchase according to worldwide consumers, as highlighted in a March 2022 survey. The COVID-19 pandemic led to greater environmental awareness from the public as commuters were increasingly looking to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. For example, 34 percent of EV car drivers in the United Kingdom in November 2021 started driving their EVs in 2020. In the U.S., 67 percent of survey respondents believed EVs to have a better effect on the environment than traditional internal combustion engine cars. Fifty-five percent of U.S. participants in another survey who believed climate change impacts everyday life intended to purchase an EV or hybrid vehicle—compared to 24 percent of respondents who thought climate change had no impact on their daily life. French consumers also cited the lack of particle emissions, smoke, or hydrocarbons as the main advantage of electric powertrains—though 54 percent reported being poorly informed about EV’s environmental impact. However, despite increased ecological awareness impacting consumers’ purchasing intentions, most U.S., Chinese, and German consumers intended to use their countries’ regular power grids to charge their electric vehicles. The different electricity power mixes available to and chosen by consumers influence the environmental impact of EVs.
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