A few weeks ago YouGov, the renowned market research company based in London, published its research on the development of the electric car market. A market that influences, on one side, the construction industry with the need for new access points for recharging cars, and on the other side, and in a much more important way, the urban planning and design trends of the cities in which the electric cars will move around.
The research points out that the pandemic has created a deep crisis in the traditional car market, also affecting consumer confidence: the countries involved in the analysis were Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
In the coming months, the specific implications for electric cars seem uncertain: oil prices collapsed during the pandemic, providing an incentive to opt for petrol or diesel cars, yet emissions regulations are still in place, car manufacturers still have incentives linked to the production of electric cars in many European markets, and the specific context of the European market will continue to influence consumers.
The weight of recommendations among users, linked to a greater awareness of the environmental impact of oil derivatives and urban traffic, increased in percentage terms during 2020 in favour of electric cars, which were recommended in different percentages but all increasing in the countries surveyed (from 4 to 8 percentage points in the area examined), reaching peaks of +46% in Spain. This recommendation can be interpreted in terms of purchase intentions and considers both full electric and hybrid cars.
Hybrids are more recommended than electric cars in all European countries surveyed.
This is partly explained by their perceived reliability: Europeans are more likely to believe that hybrids are more reliable than electric cars (30% vs. 11%). Another factor that may represent an advantage for hybrids is their inherent versatility: in countries with relatively underdeveloped charging networks, a car powered solely by batteries may be a less attractive option for drivers than a vehicle that can comfortably switch between electric and another type of fuel.
The key to making the electric car market more attractive seems to be developing, implementing and offering efficient and rapidly available charging networks: the lack of availability of charging stations is the first real reason for uncertainty when choosing a car for 62% of respondents.
Although there are reasons for uncertainty, there are also good reasons for buying electric cars: for 51% of the respondents the main reason is environmental awareness, and 20% expect an evolution in the parking system that takes into account the needs and expectations of electric car owners.
So what can we expect from the automotive market and how can parking management support and sustain the paradigm shift, of which we are only seeing the first signs?
Parking facilities will increasingly be one of the most important elements of smart cities. An organically designed plan that takes into account the needs of all stakeholders, as a key factor in the highly acclaimed eco-sustainable mobility, will be the main asset for anyone working in the sector.
Prior to Covid-19, most parking operators had engaged or were about to engage in significant investments to conform their approach to the market driven by new trends, also looking at new supply chain logics. They are now, after a difficult period, ready with renewed enthusiasm for a new vision of the parking sector, a new challenge characterised by the long-term perspective inspired and driven by new digital technologies.
CAME has created the "ZeroKMService" project, designed to support parking managers in a renovation and redesign phase driven by new digital technologies and a strong focus on market demands, illustrated in the article by Renato Berto, Vice President CAME Parking Division.
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