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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Europeans are generally positive towards e-mobility


Close up of charger plugged into EV Photo: Ampcera
An accelerated take-up of electric vehicles will be key to the European Union achieving its goal of cutting transport greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050

Photo: Ampcera

A recent survey of drivers in 12 European Union (EU) member states suggests Europeans are generally positive towards a switch to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), although a separate survey, also new, finds more mixed sentiment in the UK. Meanwhile, a separate report suggests that data centres and EV expansion in the US could lead to a 300 TWh increase in the nation’s electricity demand by 2030.



Survey highlights climate benefits and cost efficiency as main EV advantages

Despite price being a hurdle, 57% of non-electric car drivers in Europe would consider the purchase of an EV in the future, according to the 2023 Consumer Survey on EV Driving undertaken by the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO). With over 19,000 respondents*, the EAFO survey is one of the largest on consumer attitudes towards electromobility in the world. It surveyed both drivers of battery electric cars (BEV drivers) and drivers of conventional vehicles (non-BEV drivers).


While BEVs are now a mature mass-market technology, vehicle take-up and maturity of markets differs considerably among EU member states, according to EAFO.  


Survey respondents highlight climate benefits and cost efficiency as the main advantages of EVs. Price remains a major obstacle, with nearly two-thirds of all respondents citing it as a barrier. However, despite this, a third plan to buy an electric car within five years. The survey responses indicate that key consumer information includes cost comparisons with fossil fuel cars, as well as driving range. Many non-BEV drivers want a range of at least 500 km. In contrast, 80% of BEV drivers find a range of 201–400 km sufficient.


BEV drivers prefer fully operational recharging stations, minimal waiting times and clear price information. Some 40% have travelled abroad with their BEV multiple times. The most common issue when travelling abroad was the lack of recharging stations.  


Looking ahead, nearly half of BEV drivers are aware of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies (in which the grid not only charges the vehicle battery, but can also be charged by it), and 68% are interested in buying a V2G-enabled vehicle.  


Following the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the EU aims to cut transport greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050. The EU’s new Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation addresses issues around a reliable cross-border minimum recharging infrastructure.


UK drivers split over switch to EVs

Meanwhile, it appears more needs to be done to change motorists’ perceptions and accelerate the adoption of EVs in the UK. According to a recent survey of 2,000 drivers by tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, 51% declared that they would be buying an EV in the next five years, up from 40% in 2023. However, over a quarter (27%) stated that they will ‘never purchase’ an EV car – up 5% in two years.  


Barriers to adoption include a lack of access to charging points (64%), initial cost of purchase worries (63%) and ‘range anxiety’ (47%).


Bridgestone says the findings tie in with similar studies, including a 2024 Which? report claiming that 68% of EV drivers were not happy with the UK’s charging network. Meanwhile, a 2023 WhatCar survey revealed that 42% of motorists would opt against an EV for cost reasons.  


Bridgestone also notes that according to recent Department for Transport data, 27% of motorists believe that most public charging points have long queues, up 18% from 2022 (although a similar proportion of respondents, 26%, claim the complete opposite). Perhaps surprisingly, the survey also indicated that 45% of respondents had ‘low’ to ‘no knowledge’ of EVs, compared to 37% who rated their knowledge as ‘high’, which may be holding back sales of EVs in the UK.


EV expansion and data centres to accelerate US electricity demand

Meanwhile, a new report from Rystad Energy suggests that the build-out of data centres and more widespread adoption of EVs in the US is expected to increase electricity demand in the country by an additional 290 TWh by 2030. Total US electricity demand has remained relatively stable at around 4,000 TWh since 2010.


The growth in electricity demand for data centres will be heavily driven by those focused on artificial intelligence (AI), which consumes more electricity than traditional computing, notes the market analyst. Overall, the combined expansion of traditional and AI data centres, along with chip foundries, will increase demand cumulatively by 177 TWh from 2023 to 2030, according to the report. Although data centres currently represent a relatively modest portion of total electricity demand in the US, this marks a more than two-fold increase compared to 2023 levels, which stood at 130 TWh. The expected growth highlights the efforts of the US to position itself as a global data centre hub, says Rystad.  


EVs will emerge as the second major catalyst for power demand growth in the US market up to 2030, it says. In 2023, electricity consumption in the transportation sector totalled 18.3 TWh. By 2030, this figure is projected to soar to 131 TWh.


In absolute terms, the growth in US electricity demand from just these two segments, EVs and data centres, is equivalent to the total electricity demand of a country such as Turkey, according to Rystad. ‘This growth is a race against time to expand power generation without overwhelming electricity systems to the point of stress. If you envision cleaner roads and sustainable AI for the future, renewable energy is the key to meeting this demand and providing the scalability needed for US power systems to endure,’ comments Surya Hendry, Analyst, Rystad Energy.


Alongside these predictions, Rystad forecasts that total US power demand across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors will grow by 175 TWh between 2023 and 2030, bringing the country’s demand close to 4,500 TWh. To support this growth, renewable energy capacity will need to continue to expand at a strong rate, aided by incentives from the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), it says.


*The EAFO survey included 19,080 respondents from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Detailed country reports are also available as part of the survey.