Fuel economy regulations, especially in the light of current problems with Diesel emissions, are playing a major role in pushing hybridization and electrification of the vehicle fleet. The European Union, China, and the United States, in particular, have set aggressive targets for automakers. Car companies are responding to this pressure by increasing the number of plug-in and full electric vehicles (EV) they intend to offer over the coming years. Global EV sales have risen quickly over the past five years, stimulated by generous purchase subsidies, falling battery costs, fuel economy regulations, growing commitments from car companies, and rising interest from consumers. However, in most large markets, EVs still represent less than 1% of the total vehicles sold.

The main obstacles impeding the development of EVs are the limitation of the infrastructure for recharging EVs, consumer concern about battery range and life, and the vehicle cost. The long-term success of EVs is dependent upon improving the cooperation of governments, electricity providers, and automotive OEMs to develop a viable vehicle charging infrastructure and strategy. Further transparent communication with customers is also needed to build trust in the benefits of EVs and increase the demand for these cars.

These challenges need to be addressed if the industry is to encourage customers to change attitudes toward all types of electric vehicles as noted in a survey commissioned by the DAT Group in October 2016. This survey shows that only a small number of customers in Germany take alternative drive concepts into consideration while buying or leasing a car.

Do customers consider the environment when buying a car? The results presented in DAT Report 2017 show that environmental friendliness is among the lowest concerns for new-car or used-car buyers. The main considerations are still vehicle reliability and design, as well as purchase price. Fuel consumption also plays an important role in the car-buying decision. If customers are offered EVs at an attractive price, with extended range and easy access to fast recharging, EV sales would significantly increase. These factors invigorate the current race to offer customers a well-designed EV equipped with the latest technology.