11 Summary

The electric vehicle is not far from occupying its rightful position in the market

Between the 2012 issue of l’Observatoire devoted to the EV and this 2019 survey, the technologies, infrastructures and regulatory framework of EVs have progressed. The perceptions and intentions of households have also changed.

With the passage of time, the communications and the first models on the roads, people are gradually becoming familiar with the novelty. As evidence of this, the lack of confidence in the technology, which was the third reason for not buying in 2012, now ranks sixth.

As for the standard required by motorists in relation to the EV, it has not changed in recent years, particularly in terms of purchase price and range, which remain the main obstacles to adopting an EV. However, some interesting positive changes regarding the undeniable savings in terms of running costs have been noted. Perceptions have significantly improved, probably accompanied by a rise in the allure of EVs, since the share of those who responded who are willing to spend more in Europe to buy an EV has increased by 7 points compared to 2012.

Whichever way you look at it, there can be no doubt that progress has been made and the EV is advancing. In some parts of the world, sales are increasing noticeably, but for the upsurge to become more widespread, the efforts will need to be sustained by all the stakeholders. States must continue to subsidise purchases, support the development of the charging infrastructures and the electric car-sharing fleets. Car makers and parts manufacturers have to innovate further and make progress on battery technologies. As for the energy companies, they have to adapt energy production and the networks to the EV.

The future of the EV is everyone’s business, but the extra effort to be made probably rests with the buying public. Until now, the inability to compromise on the range has meant using batteries that are increasingly complex and heavier, hence more expensive.

By abandoning the idea of the all-singing, all-dancing vehicle and accepting to buy a car that covers 95% of their needs, they will overcome both obstacles as well as the vicious circle of the «price/range» that is holding them back. And once this milestone has been passed, the Norwegian experience shows that there is no turning back. The local figures show that only 1% of EV owners do not plan to replace them with another EV.

When everything comes together, the EV will take off and deliver the promised economical and ecological benefits.

Then, it will occupy its rightful position, nothing more, nothing less.

It would be unrealistic, futile and even dangerous to expect or demand that the EV completely take over and replace fuel-powered vehicles entirely. Once again, the instructive case of Norway – where all the economic and technical conditions as well as those of society have come together for several years to maximise EV sales – shows that non-rechargeable fuel-powered vehicles still appeal to one out of every two motorists.