Ural Federal University: Main Reason to Buy an Electric Car – Belonging to the Eco-Community

An international team of scientists has created a portrait of the modern electric car buyer and driver. The researchers found that belonging to environmental communities and active participation in them suppresses reluctance to buy an electric car, despite the lack of appropriate infrastructure, such as a sufficient number of charging stations. The economists published the findings in the Journal of Business Research.

“When we talk about electric car buyers, we first of all mean the so-called harbingers of change, fans of everything new, including technology. In addition, electric car users are more conscious of the environment and air quality. They are developing a particular environmental awareness. At the same time, although in general consumers tend to behave rationally, the decision to buy an electric car is influenced by the consumer’s self-identification with the eco-society and concern for the environment,” explains study co-author Alberto Ferraris, Research Associate of the Ural Federal University Department of International Economics and Management.

The scientists conducted the research through a bibliometric and thematic analysis of 254 studies published from 1983 to 2021. Even though there were no electric cars on the market in 1983, there were studies about the use of electric batteries. The issue of low battery performance even then determined the three main factors that guide electric car buyers’ decisions today: battery run and charge times, the dependent performance of the electric car, and its final cost.

“Our research allows to look at consumer behavior from several perspectives. The most important is consumer habits. The high cost of an electric car will not encourage the purchase of an electric car, despite the other benefits. Consumers prefer electric cars with high driving range, the shortest charging time, high speed, low pollutant emissions, and yet the lowest price. It is one thing to buy clothes, for example, and another thing to buy an electric car that will drive you and your family around. The ratio of affordability variables to technological safety could cause the electric car market to either collapse or flourish,” adds Alberto Ferraris.

Economists note that most research now focuses on the positive side of electric vehicles. For this reason, electric cars now seem to be one of the main ecological solutions for future generations and for maintaining mobility. However, a comprehensive analysis is needed, including a critical evaluation of the solution to the pollution problem.

“The active use of electric cars could lead to an uncontrollable increase in demand, followed by a rise in energy prices. It should also be remembered that despite their energy efficiency, electric car batteries can produce gas and other pollutants. More research should be done to examine the correlation between buying an electric car and caring for the environment in order to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the decision to switch from fuel cars to electric cars,” explains Alberto Ferraris.

The researchers add that the market for electric cars is now most strongly developed in the European Union, where the transition to a “green course” has become a major challenge for all areas of the economy and for younger generations. For countries that are just beginning to explore this issue in terms of production and sales of electric cars, including countries in the East and Russia, consumer portrait studies can be useful for the development of this sphere. In addition, given the high cost of the final product, scientists recommend initiating partner production processes and developing internal motivations for private and corporate consumers, based on an analysis of global practices.