Europe: 40% of Drivers Say Next Car Will Be Electric

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©. Nissan

If true, that would be an insane growth in demand.

Adoption rates for new technology are weird. For the longest time, it felt like the only people with cell phones were yuppies and drug dealers. And then, all of a sudden, your mom starts texting you emoji-filled missives about your extended relatives.

The same may be true of electric cars.

While sales have been growing by impressive amounts, they still represent only a small percentage (about 2%) of overall new car sales—and an even tinier fraction of the total number of cars on the road. But Business Green reports that all that may be about to change, with a new Ipsos Mori poll suggesting that a whopping 40% of drivers expect their next car to be electric.

There's reason to take any such self reported intention with a grain of salt. It's relatively easy for folks to say they want an electric car, only to decide later that it won't quite work for them once they understand the limitations of what models are available, how much they cost, and what their range might be. Yet while I'd be shocked if a full 40% of correspondents really do get an electric car next, I feel confident in saying that it won't be too long before 40% of new cars are indeed electric and/or plug-in hybrids.

Indeed, Norway has already exceeded that threshold and seen oil demand drop as a result. And, anecdotally at least, the sheer number of people who ask me about electric cars and electric car ownership would suggest that there is significant pent up demand that should be released once consumer choice increases, awareness grows, and prices come down.

With cities and even entire countries planning restrictions and/or outright bans on gas- and diesel-powered cars, we also have to factor in policy making. If I'm considering a new car purchase, and I am not sure if I'm going to be able to drive that car in the cities around where I live, it surely does concentrate the mind and lead me to research alternatives.

Whether or not the specifics of this particular survey turn out to be accurate, I do believe they are broadly predictive. The public knows which way the technological paradigm is shifting. And their expectations of their own consumer behavior are shifting that way too.