Observe, enlighten and decipher the evolution
of consumption patterns in France and abroad

Electric cars are taking centre stage… but raise new questions

5 minutes of reading


L’Observatoire Cetelem has long paid close attention to electric vehicles, and was among the first to announce their advent. However, this edition should be seen as something of a milestone, since this type of powertrain now tops the list of purchasing intentions for the very first time. This is a significant breakthrough for electric cars, but combustion engine vehicles are putting up a good fight. 1 in 3 people will opt to buy an electric car (Fig. 22). If we add to this figure the number of respondents who state their intention to buy a hybrid car (plug-in or other), it is safe to say that there has been a real shift in the market.

The Chinese and, to a lesser extent, the Norwegians consolidate their lead on matters electric, with purchasing intentions of 65% and 43% respectively. At the other end of the scale, France, Belgium, Austria and Poland are again the countries in which these intentions are the least pronounced, at around 20%.

Fig. 22

Fig. 23 / Context


However, the world of electric cars is not exactly a utopia towards which motorists are blissfully careering. Because if there is one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s all the negative factors that prompt potential buyers to put on the brakes.

As always, the main obstacle is financial. Almost half of those surveyed believe that the price of electric vehicles is too high, with the Dutch and French the most likely to stress this point. This is a view held by only 13% of respondents in China, which is home to many long-standing converts.

There is also reticence due to potential charging difficulties and range limitations. Both of these issues are a worry for around 3 in 10 people. Surprisingly, these issues are of greatest concern in China, in contrast to Mexico where they are seen as less of a problem. It should be noted that vehicle range is also a major concern in France.

However, one result will be a source of great reassurance for manufacturers. Barely 10% of motorists fear that they will struggle to resell an electric vehicle. This suggests that there is a real opportunity for electric cars to become a permanent fixture on the automotive landscape (Fig. 24).

Fig. 24

Fig. 25 / Context

Motorists are not the only ones who are in a fog. Uncertainty also reigns among manufacturers when it comes to choosing which batteries will equip their cars.
Currently, the two options are LPF (lithium- iron-phosphate) batteries and NMC (nickel- manganese-cobalt) batteries. The former are relatively cheap and allow the cost of vehicles to be reduced, but they are difficult to recycle. The latter are more expensive, but better integrated into the circular economy. They will also be able to use sodium and solid-state batteries within the next few years.
What to choose? That is the question…


The cost issue is not just confined to the initial purchase of an electric vehicle, but also extends to its day-to-day use. Having witnessed the recent rises in electricity prices and with the potential for more in the future, motorists are in a quandary. Three quarters of motorists believe they will be more expensive to run than a vehicle with a conventional engine.
In European countries, particularly Spain, this fear is very real (Fig. 26).

Fig. 26


Not only could electricity become more expensive, there are also question marks over its supply. Indeed, more even than the planned pre-eminence of electric vehicles, motorists question their very use, as they suspect that power generation will be inadequate in the future. Three-quarters of respondents take this view, no doubt influenced by the recent energy crises. This seems to exceed the boundaries of mere scepticism.

But if we look at the detail, opinions are again extremely variable. The Chinese, and to a lesser extent the Turks, are in very little doubt about the availability of electricity to power their cars. In Europe meanwhile, the concern is palpable, particularly in Austria and Belgium, with the Spanish and their Portuguese neighbours occupying the middle ground. The energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine has clearly left its mark (Fig. 27).

Fig. 27

Fig. 28 / Context

In many countries, charging points are being rolled out at an ever faster pace. In France, the milestone of 100,000 charging points has recently been reached. The fact remains that, in the minds of many motorists, the ability to easily charge an electric vehicle remains an issue that makes it hard for them to decide.

Fig. 29 / Context

Motorists are today questioning the use of EVs, because they fear that energy generation may be inadequate.

Sub-section 10
Faith in the future and innovation
The rise of the electric vehicle seems inevitable. And yet the idea still arouses a degree of suspicion. The energy crisis, particularly as it relates to electricity, has raised doubts as to Whet
Sub-section 12
Motorists would like support to switch to electric vehicles
The desire is there, but there are also obstacles. All that is missing is the nudge that could make all the difference. Almost 3 in 4 of those surveyed would like this nudge to take the form of g