Observe, enlighten and decipher the evolution
of consumption patterns in France and abroad
Section 1 - The mystery of the electric car

A lack of competitiveness

6 minutes of reading
Given its specific features, the EV is technically suited to the driving habits of a large number of motorists. To be fully embraced, there still remains one obstacle to be overcome, i.e. competitiveness Most households will only opt for the electrical solution if it is financially advantageous.

Purchase price that is deemed more expensive

For 86% of those who responded, an electric vehicle costs more to buy than its fuel-powered equivalent.



This is actually true, given that an electric vehicle is still generally more expensive than a fuel-powered vehicle, mainly due to the cost of the battery. For motorists, this is the number 1 argument for not wanting to buy an electric vehicle, and this applies in the 16 countries surveyed.



Regarding this issue, the Chinese and Norwegians stand out somewhat (65% and 64%). Their more moderate viewpoint is probably influenced by the strong financial incentives they receive for the purchase of an electric vehicle. Yet China and Norway are not the only countries to offer such financial incentives. But surprisingly, 49% of those who responded do not know if subsidies or incentives to buy an electric vehicle are available in their country, and only 32% say yes.



With 65% and 55% respectively of those who responded declaring that they are aware of the financial assistance available for the purchase of an electric vehicle, the Chinese and French believe they are properly informed, reflecting the commitment of their governments to communicate widely on this subject.

Running costs that are more appealing

But the cost of running an EV restores the financial balance. Whether it is installing a charging station at home (if needed), maintenance, energy, insurance or the battery rental (if needed), all the costs are much lower than those of an equivalent fuel-powered vehicle. Given that electricity is cheaper than fossil fuels, the biggest saving comes from the energy supply. Motorists are well aware of this financial benefit. 68% claim that an electric vehicle requires less maintenance than a fuel-powered vehicle



and 77% deem that it is economical to run.



Motorist quotes

« There’s no comparison when it comes to the running costs of an electric vehicle. I use the vehicle and recharge it for nothing, all from my own home. »


The need for financial assistance

However, even this advantage in using an EV is not enough to win over motorists for good. The purchase price, which is deemed to be prohibitively high, outweighs all the other arguments. When all the costs associated with an EV are taken into account, 38% find it a bit more expensive and 35% much more expensive.



As a result, 42% of those who responded would not pay any more to buy an EV and only 28% would agree to pay 10% more than they would for the fuel-powered version.



Financial incentives are therefore essential to reduce the purchase price and the difference in the total cost of ownership (TCO) between electric and conventional cars. They are particularly critical in the current phase of the technology’s deployment in order to trigger and facilitate a virtuous circle.
A circle based on increased sales, increased production volumes and improved technology, including battery performance, which will help to reduce the financial barriers.

Doubt regarding the life expectancy of batteries

Once again, we come back to the issue of batteries that crystallises the problems of the EV. 71% of motorists believe that their lifetime is too short.



27% believe that they last 3-4 years, 20% claim that they last 5-10 years and only 4% claim that they last beyond the age of 10 years.



Although batteries do indeed lose capacity, it is gradual. After completing a set number of charging and discharging cycles, they do not lose all of their capacity, but a significant part of it. Below 75%, they are no longer really suited for use in a vehicle. For a lithium battery, the initial results show a lifetime of about ten years. The manufacturers offer a guarantee of about 5 years for motorists who wish to buy them (8 years at Tesla). For those who prefer to hire a vehicle, the manufacturers replace them when they reach the 70% threshold. Although this provides some security, it comes at a cost for those who are concerned about the obsolescence of their battery.

Used batteries can be sold, but to who and at what price?

When adopting a new technology, it is reassuring to be able to estimate the residual value of your vehicle and sell it easily. However, 84% of those who responded believe that we cannot yet foresee the development of the second-hand market over time, hence their second-hand value.



Such an assessment is particularly challenging because about a third of the value resides in the battery whose capacity is gradually decreasing and because there are so few EVs on the market. 74% of the motorists surveyed agree about this scarcity.



Unsurprisingly, the Norwegians stand out in this respect (49%) because the greater maturity of the local market has created a second-hand market for EVs earlier than elsewhere.

What’s more, the extremely fast progress being made on new models is having the effect of rapidly reducing the value of electric vehicles, which is generating additional uncertainty among future buyers. As an example, the latest generation ZOE, which was marketed in early 2017, offers almost twice the range. This has the effect of making the first models less attractive.

In order to reassure potential buyers, manufacturers are creating specific brands or offers that are entirely dedicated to the resale of a UEV (used electric vehicle), such as the Nissan Club and the Renault ZE Occasion. This is to encourage motorists to take the plunge by partially avoiding the high price of a new EV while being able to count on the manufacturer’s brands to guarantee the reliability of their used vehicle.

Car leasing, which has been around for a long time in the English-speaking countries and is becoming increasingly popular elsewhere, also offers a solution to the anxiety surrounding battery durability. Indeed, by renting an EV or its battery for 3 or 4 years as is often the case, the risk and worry of driving long distances with an outdated battery can be managed effectively. Similarly, because it is negotiated beforehand, the uncertainty surrounding the residual value of the battery disappears.

The electric vehicle for all those who responded

It is…It is not…
SilentA second vehicle
Requires access to a charging stationReserved for car sharing
More expensive to purchaseA trend
Few models availableA woman’s car
Sub-section 5
EVs are for the city!
The electric vehicle has several advantages that make it suitable for city motorists. Indeed, this is the opinion of 68% of those who replied.  
Sub-section 7
Find out more
In terms of mobility, the electric vehicle has many advantages. Economically, under certain conditions, and a within a relatively short timeframe, there is no doubt that there will be some good argume