Understanding Why People Will or Won't Buy Electric Cars

nstitute for Carbon and Energy Reduction in Transport researchers are challenging assumptions on why people buy hybrids and electric cars.

Published: 04-May-2012

When it comes to reducing energy in vehicle transportation you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. Policy assumptions that began to see electric vehicles and hybrids as a silver bullet solution to the decarbonisation of transport are being challenged by early research findings from Martino Tran and colleagues at the Institute for Carbon and Energy Reduction in Transport. They have shown that when you factor in consumer behaviour and the performance of different technologies, you do not get the highly optimistic uptake rates for electric and hybrid vehicles that a lot of policy documents had predicted.

The transport sector is currently 99% dependent on the use of fossil fuels and takes up roughly a quarter of the total share of carbon emissions in the economy. With statistics like these it is no surprise that transport has been flagged by policy makers as an important sector to decarbonise.

Tran’s research is looking at innovative, integrated ways of achieving this decarbonisation; so, not only looking at the technologies involved, but also analysing consumer preferences and behavioural influences. In other words, can more informed understanding of how people adopt and interact with new transport technologies lead to greater carbon reductions in the transport sector?

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