Italy among the slowest in the transition to electricity

More interest in electric mobility. This is the data that emerged from the third edition of the eReadiness survey by PwC Strategy &, which investigated the purchase intentions and behavior of over 4,600 licensed consumers in seven European countries: Italy, France, Germany, Norway, Great Britain, Spain and Switzerland.

In Italy, around 65% of those interviewed declares its interest in buying a plug-in hybrid (Phev) or full electric (Bev) car in the next two years. Lower operating costs, reduced environmental impact and the ability to recharge the demand for driving.

“Compared to last year, interest in e-mobility among defined consumers is growing pragmatic, or those who demonstrate a practical approach to their lifestyle and mobility choices, looking for the best value for money and combining car journeys with shared mobility solutions”, explains Francesco Papi, strategy and partner and head of the automotive sector of PwC Italia. ” The growing interest in e-mobility among these consumers, who represent around 30% of total demand, highlights how the market is growing even in the more traditional and less innovation-prone segments of the population. The average age and income of electric car owners has decreased slightly, reflecting the fact that the e-mobility business is gradually assuming the characteristics of a mass market”.

The infrastructure is lacking

However, the propensity to buy indicated by Italian consumers has not yet been reflected in a strong penetration of low-emission vehicles on sales volumes. In the first six months of 2022, the percentage of sales of fully electric or plug-in hybrid cars in Italy and Spain. around 9% of total registrationscompared to 88% in Norway and between 20 and 25% in the other analyzed countries.

Consumers are held back by the lack of adequate charging infrastructure and the high cost of cars, only partially mitigated by the impact of government incentives.

Norway in the lead

For the first time, PwC is launching the Strategy & eReadiness Index, which measures the maturity level of each country surveyed in the transition to electric mobility. Each country is rated on four dimensions: support for public incentives, charging infrastructure, supply of electric models and consumer demand.

Norway is first in the ranking, with the highest score in all four study areas. Switzerland ranks second with a decent level of public charging infrastructure (1.8 points for thousands of cars in circulation), albeit with an improved spread of fast charging stations (> 150 kW). The UK and Germany follow close behind with around 1.3 charging points for thousands of cars on the road. Germany, compared to the United Kingdom, shows a greater penetration of electricity, 24% against 21%, also favored by the higher incentives from the government.

To close the ranking we find Italy and Spain, mainly due to the scarce availability of charging infrastructures. To encourage growth in electricity penetration, the Spanish government has pursued an incentive policy second only to Norway’s, guaranteeing contributions at the purchase stage, exemptions from VAT and reductions in the annual owner tax.

The purchasing experience of electric car owners

The preferred purchase channel is still the dealer, but the online channel and the purchase between private individuals of used cars is growing. About six out of ten respondents they would be willing to buy the car online guided by convenient and transparent prices.

Customer satisfaction with the EV shopping experience continues to decline due to the management of the charging process for wall box installation and the limited ability of dealers to fully respond to the doubts and needs of new owners.

Furthermore, approx 20% of consumers has purchased products and services connected to the car in addition to private charging solutions, such as renewable energy supply contracts, solar panels to be integrated into the home and solutions for smart home management, to optimize consumption and exploit the benefits of electric mobility.

Opportunities for manufacturers

“For the manufacturers and their distribution networks, the timing of the purchase of the electric car can represent an additional business opportunity as well as a lever to improve the overall buying experience”, emphasizes Papi. “ONE value proposition more comprehensive, and possibly integrated with traditional services such as financing solutions, would make it possible to solve a number of customer problems which, even if they appear after the car is collected, have a negative impact on the brand experience”.

The market ofused electric it is still in its infancy, with around 20% of owners buying a used car. Over the next three years, this market will gain more importance, as over 50% of customers interested in electric cars declare themselves willing to buy a used car. Owners of used electric cars have a similar profile to new car buyers, but with a slightly lower income.

30% of respondents remain skeptical

Consumers who are still skeptical about purchasing electric cars make up about 30% of the sample. “The main barriers to purchase remain the high initial cost, the limited battery life and the time it takes to recharge,” says Papi. “The latter, when read together with the reduced availability of private parking by consumers who are still skeptical about purchasing electric cars, highlights how the public charging infrastructure is a key issue for the spread of e-mobility”.

Compared to the results of the previous edition, there is a greater propensity to use the public infrastructure, with more than 25% of customers using it regularly as their primary charging solution. Satisfaction with the charging speed and the services available near the charging stations is also growing. On the other hand, satisfaction with availability and waiting time to start charging fell slightly, a sign of greater saturation of the public charging infrastructure as a result of the growth in the number of electric cars in circulation.

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