We are witnessing a real revolution on the road, as electric mobility is intended to be the future of the automotive sector. Its accelerated development is being supported by public administrations, which have launched different aid plans to favor its implementation. In Spain last year, 17,920 pure electric vehicle (BEV) registrations were registered, compared to 10,041 registrations in 2019, according to data from Anfac. This represents an unprecedented growth (+ 70%) if we compare it with previous years, although the COVID crisis has also impacted sales in this market, causing growth to be a little slower than expected. So far this year, we continue to see this acceleration: the BEVs registered between January and May have reached a total of 6,681 registrations, which is a 52% increase compared to 2020.
Tesla was the top seller of 2019 with a 20% market share, while other brands such as Renault, Hyundai, Peugeot, and VW have jumped onto the electric market and have occupied the top positions in sales in 2020. Tesla continues to lead with the most transactions of 2021, followed by Renault and Kia, which occupies third place on the podium thanks to its e-Niro model, which has also become the best-selling electric SUV so far this year. More and more brands are betting on this new technology, incorporating 100% electric or label 0 vehicles in their stock.
European Policy 2035
In a more general context, Spain has had a slower development than other European countries, which have experienced this evolution in a more advanced way. According to data from the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO), Norway is the country with the highest share of BEV registrations in 2020 (51.6%), followed by the Netherlands with 20.2% and Sweden with 9.3%. In comparison, Spain had a share of 2.1% in the same year. These differences also apply in terms of infrastructure: in 2020 in the Netherlands, there were 66,665 charging points, followed by France and Germany with 45,751 and 44,669 charging points respectively, while Spain had 8,173 points.
A new policy paper from EAFO for the European Commission highlights the current uptake of electric passenger cars and the rollout of public recharging infrastructure in Europe. “On the electrification path: Europe’s progress towards clean transportation” https://t.co/KiGaWISucR pic.twitter.com/cvlpO3YKKt— European Alternative Fuels Observatory (@EAFO_news) March 3, 2021
Faced with this revolution in the automobile market, it is very important to understand the buyer and driver of the electric car: who they are, what their motivations are for buying, their experience with the electric car, what role do brands play, etc. And with the annual survey carried out by All Media Consulting to EV owners and drivers, we can dig a little deeper into the trends of this emerging market.
What is the profile of the Spanish EV buyer?
Regarding the profile of the EV driver, there is still a strong gender disparity: women continue to represent a small minority of EV drivers compared to men (8% vs. 92%). The average age of the respondents has increased compared to previous editions, with more than 64% of the ones polled over 45 years old, while the population between 35 and 44 years old represents less than 30% of respondents.
Regarding the type of vehicle, the second-hand market (26% of EV drivers) and renting market (6% of EV drivers) still represent a minority of the population compared to new vehicle owners. However, market indicators point to an accelerated increase in second-hand purchases, as a result of the renewal of vehicles.
In this survey, we also see how profitability and efficiency (82%), as well as driving experience (71%), are two main factors for buying an EV with almost 2/3 of the responses. On the other hand, brand image still does not have much weight in the electrical market, because many brands still do not offer electric cars or have not done so until very recently, but this notion has been gaining relevance in recent years.
EV profitability and efficiency more important than design
Two in three drivers believe that interior and exterior design is important or very important in an EV, but when it comes to purchasing, profitability, and efficiency, as well as a commitment to sustainable mobility, these factors weigh more. While in the case of combustion cars, aesthetic attributes such as design and brand image weigh more, although the price is also important to drivers.
Although the electricity market is indeed evolving very fast, 9 out of 10 drivers are still very dissatisfied with the charging points available, as well as the purchase price and the autonomy of the batteries. The positive aspects that they value most about electric driving are environmental factors, low maintenance costs, and the driving experience.
However, the negative perception that drivers have about the autonomy of the batteries or the scarcity of EVs has decreased between 4 to 6 percentage points if we compare this data with previous surveys. These movements are to be expected since the market is growing, and each year offers a wider variety of vehicles with more autonomy.
Spain must further improve its charging infrastructure
As we have seen, Spain is still behind other countries when it comes to electrical development and infrastructure, but has seen rapid evolution in recent years. This has also caused drivers’ preferences to change: public roads (29%) and the workplace (21%) are now the most demanded places for installation with around a third of the responses, while installation at home is increasingly common.
Although there is still a long way to go in terms of infrastructure, regulations, prices, and technology, drivers are overcoming the skepticism created by these exposed barriers and are more understanding of the gradual development of the electric vehicle market, since we are facing the future of driving.