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Article
30th March 2022
As fuel prices rise, nearly half of French owners of combustion-powered vehicles are ready to switch to electric vehicles.

In the current geopolitical and economic context, the owners of combustion-powered vehicles have been strongly affected by increasing fuel prices and many of them are now considering other transport solutions. This is the conclusion of a survey carried out by OpinionWay on behalf of Electra, a specialist in fast charging for electric vehicles.

Infographie Electra X OpinionWay
Infographie du sondage OpinionWay, réalisé avec Electra.

As fuel prices rise, nearly half of French owners of combustion-powered vehicles are ready to switch to electric vehicles.

In the current geopolitical and economic context, the owners of combustion-powered vehicles have been strongly affected by increasing fuel prices and many of them are now considering other transport solutions. This is the conclusion of a survey carried out by OpinionWay on behalf of Electra, a specialist in fast charging for electric vehicles.

Infographics from the OpinionWay survey, conducted with Electra.

Due to inflation, nearly half of French people who own a combustion-powered vehicle could consider replacing it with an electric vehicle (43%)

This shift to electric vehicles in the years to come could bring about a major change in the automotive market. Today, most French people still own a petrol or diesel vehicle (85%, among which 53% petrol and 46% diesel). If 43% of them were considering switching to electric vehicles, this would mean that 37% of all French people could switch to electric vehicles in the next few years.

This observation is more blatant in urban areas

50% of people living in urban areas of 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants and 45% of those living in urban areas of at least 100,000 inhabitants say they are ready to take the plunge (compared to 35% in rural areas); and as many as 51% of respondents living in the Paris region.

The appeal of electric vehicles is significant and imminent

Concretely, nearly one in five owners of combustion-powered vehicles says they aim to replace it by 2025 (18%). Specifically, of those with a diesel or petrol vehicle, 5% would be ready to switch by the end of the year, 8% within two years and 5% from 2025. One fourth of combustion-powered vehicle drivers expresses the wish to do so but do not say when exactly they will make the switch (25%).

People under 50 are more likely to switch to greener energy sources for their vehicles by 2025 (21% of them versus 14% of those aged 50+). Most notably, nearly one fourth of those under 35 wish to do so within the next three years (24%).

The wealthy socio-professional categories, whose purchasing power is certainly greater, are also more willing to make the switch (24% versus 15% of people belonging to the working class).

However, there are still some obstacles for more than half of the owners of petrol and diesel vehicles

People living in the Paris area are also the most likely to be interested in faster charging times (50% complained about how long it takes to charge, compared to 33% of people living in the countryside).

  • The fears that may have been present when electric vehicles first got marketed are no longer relevant now. Only a minority of respondents criticize the lack of choice in the electric vehicle market (9%) and fear that the batteries will set themselves on fire (5%).

  • Practical and economic reasons are the primary obstacles mentioned. The cost of purchasing an electric vehicle can range approximately between €20,000 and €90,000. This cost still holds back a majority of respondents (69%). Households with low incomes (less than €2,000 per month) are more reluctant to invest in electric cars (78% against 66% of households with higher incomes).

  • The battery is perceived as one of the main downsides of electric cars. Half of the owners of combustion-powered cars who do not want to switch to electric vehicles blame its lack of range (51%).

  • The lack of charging points is also a source of frustration for more than a third of respondents (40%) and as many as 46% of respondents living in the Paris area.

  • Finally, the battery charging time also appears to be an obstacle for one third of respondents.  Although charging time is perceived as a difficulty by one third of diesel or petrol vehicle owners who do not wish to invest in electric vehicles, it nonetheless appears to be a future lever for switching to electric vehicles.

Aurélien de Meaux, Founder of Electra, explains: “Electric vehicles will make their way into French homes, certainly more quickly than expected. We are aware that, in order to support this energy transition, it is crucial to increase the number of charging points, especially fast and reliable ones. This survey also backs up our intention to focus on developing fast charging hubs primarily in urban areas.”