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Electric car, Italians like it but excessive costs slow down purchases

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From 2035 Europe will say goodbye to endothermic cars to make way for electric ones with the banning of diesel and petrol engines. The primary declared objective of the European Union to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55% is now upon us: the road to electricity seems to have already been drawn. But the question is: are Italians ready for change and sufficiently informed?

Continental research
The third Mobility and Safety Observatory organized by Continental Italia highlights the perceptions, information, judgments and expectations of the Italian people regarding electric mobility. The Observatory gives an overview of an Italy interested and intrigued by the electrical turnaround but not yet ready to rely completely on this new frontier. The data that emerged show how the most favorable to transition are young people, while the older generations, who however have the greatest purchasing power, are the most hostile to change. The experience behind the wheel is essential to understand the product To date, only one in eight Italians has tried to drive a Bev (Battery Electric Vehicle) in the face of different potential market segments such as those who live in the province, in an autonomous house with space for a column and they travel less than 150 kilometers a day, equal to about 71% of the interviewees. In this transition process, if car manufacturers, renters, dealership networks and electricity suppliers will work in synergy to provide, for example, rents rather than price lists, including wall boxes at attractive conditions and including traditional cars for long journeys or for at the weekend, great strides could be made towards the goals set by Europe.

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Interest and information
The Italians seem to be quite interested; in fact, on a sample basis, made up of 3,000 units (within each geographical area, the relative demographic proportions presented by Istat were respected) of citizens aged between 18 and 75, 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.The propensity of consumers to buy is therefore blocked by economic, infrastructural and product reasons which, at the moment, they 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 best prepared remain those who have tried to drive the electric car and are willing to buy one.

Who are most interested in change
Two out of three Italians, or 66.1% of the interviewees, declare themselves potentially interested in buying an electric car (55.5%) or claim to have been informed or even already own one (10.6%) ). Much will therefore depend on how the protagonists of the mobility ecosystem move, who have before them the great opportunity to change people’s approach by bringing them closer to electric. The most interested are men between the ages of 27 and 41 who live in the south of the province, have a garage where they can install a wall box and own a petrol-powered car with which they travel between 11 and 50 kilometers a day.

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How the market reacts
There is a gap between Italy and Europe in the Bev demand market. In our country, total sales of electric cars in 2020 were 4% compared to 10% in the European Union, for a total of the electric vehicle fleet at 0.25% compared to 1.07% in Europe. Italian dealers are currently not very reactive to pushing electric, despite the fact that there are more and more Bev models on the market (+ 89% vs. H1’20) and the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) production plans indicate an expansion in the segments where today the electric is less present. 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.

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