There is a gap between Italy and Europe in the market for the demand for electric cars, with sales that in 2020 represented 4% of the total against 10% of the European Union. This is also reflected in the presence of BEVs in the electric vehicle fleet, which in our country currently represent only 0.25% compared to 1.07% in Europe.
This is what was reiterated today in Milan during the presentation of the 2021 edition of Continental’s Mobility and Safety Observatory, which this year focused on the theme of electric cars. The large study – carried out together with the research institute Euromedia Research, directed by Alessandra Ghisleri, and Kearney – shows that in Italy the electric car is widespread for 68% in the North, in large cities, and that this choice is preferred by residents who have houses with boxes and who belong to generation Y (27-41 years) with high income.
This result, which is lower than the rest of Europe, is also affected by the attitude of Italian dealers, who are currently not very reactive to pushing electric.This – Continental reiterates – despite the fact that there are more and more electric models on the market (+ 89% of versions Bev) and the manufacturers’ production plans indicate an expansion in the segments where electricity is less present today.
The sales network is certainly behind due to limited knowledge and the generation gap, the best results in fact come from younger sellers. The dealer is therefore called upon to reinvent himself, transforming himself from a pure salesman to a mobility consultant. Furthermore, the integration of new services represents an opportunity to eliminate any concerns related to electric vehicle technology.
Continental’s Mobility and Safety Observatory also made a ‘portrait’ of consumers who are interested in Bev models. Those affected are males who own their own car (generally fueled by petrol) and drive between 11 and 50 kilometers a day. They have a garage where to install a wall box, they live in the South and in the Municipalities of the Province and belong to generation Y (27-41 years old).
They belong to the category of curious female consumers, belonging to generation Z, residing in the South and in provincial cities. 68.9% of respondents said they have not yet had the opportunity to drive an electric car but are interested in doing so as soon as they have the opportunity.
On the other hand, Baby Boomers (57-75 years) who live in provincial municipalities, particularly in the North West, without a garage and travel less than 10 kilometers a day, are disinterested. They have never tried to drive an electric car and would not be interested in buying even with incentives. They are the same people who think that in 10 years the vehicle fleet will still be with an internal combustion engine.
Although, as we have seen, 76.8% of Italians declare themselves interested in participating in the transition process, but at the moment they are not willing to open their wallet to buy an electric car. Consumers’ propensity to buy is therefore blocked by economic, infrastructural and product reasons which, at the moment, seem to be difficult barriers to overcome.
In addition to being interested, Italians are also informed: three out of four consumers (74.7% of the interviewees) correctly identify the Bev and hybrid proposals on the market; however, when it comes to a plug-in hybrid vehicle, the percentage of those informed falls to 47%. The most prepared remain those who have tried to drive the electric car and are willing to buy one.
The item ‘purchase’ is anomalous and represents the greatest brake on the transition to electricity. In Italy the incentives are among the highest in Europe but what penalizes the diffusion of electric models is the uncertainty about their duration and the non-homogeneous distribution on the territory, causes that negatively affect the purchasing process of the consumer who believes Bev cheaper than petrol and diesel cars. The automotive industry argues, on the contrary, that the high cost of an electric car compared to a thermal car is balanced by the purchase incentives and lower running costs of the electric car.
According to the Continental analysis, in the ranking of the weaknesses of the electric in the second position, after the cost, we find the problem of the limited autonomy of the batteries (declared by 38.7% of the sample), followed by the scarce diffusion of charging columns. recharge (declared by 37.4% of the interviewees) two important and closely related issues.
According to the Italians, the institutions must participate more actively in the change by allocating funds and making the best use of the money that will arrive from the PNRR for the construction of infrastructures suitable for electricity. In fact, 37.4% of the interviewees point the finger at the scarce distribution of the columns in the areas of their city and along the highways.
The theme of recharging points is very present in the lives of Italians: even 24.6% say they have never seen them, while 59.4% have seen few and only in some areas. The Italians, however, are confident that the problem can be solved: optimism is given by the implementation of the interventions envisaged by the PNRR regarding the installation of the columns which, for consumers, will also give a boost to the sale of electric cars.