OViewed superficially, the increasing sales figures for electric cars suggest growing sympathy among new car buyers. Studies by national and international market researchers, however, speak a different language. In unison, they register dwindling enthusiasm for this drive variant. For example, in a representative survey of 1,050 German vehicle owners by the management consultancy Deloitte, only 41 percent preferred electric drives; in 2019 it was more than half. The market observer Deutsche Automobil Treuhand (DAT) comes to similar conclusions. According to this, 43 percent of motorists are considering an electric car their next purchase, four percentage points less than in the previous year. The decreasing euphoria of potential new car buyers is not a specifically German phenomenon. According to Deloitte, sympathy is also falling by a similar amount in the USA, China and Japan.
The cause of the change in mood may result from a higher level of information. The DAT found out that the lavish subsidy of up to 9,000 euros has led to more intensive preoccupation with the topic of electromobility. If this question was answered in the affirmative last autumn by 29 percent, a year later it was 39 percent. However, as the level of knowledge increases, so does the skepticism regarding known problems such as insufficient charging infrastructure, short range, long charging times or questionable environmental benefits. 78 percent of those surveyed see the disposal of disused traction batteries as critical, 66 percent fear being asked to pay for it.
The generous bonus when buying is offset by follow-up costs anyway, which bargain hunters only recognize with a delay. The repair of accident damage, for example, according to the Allianz insurance company on electric cars is on average 30 percent more expensive than that of vehicles with a conventional drive. As the number of electric vehicles increases, insurance premiums will rise as a matter of time.
There is also a risk of disillusionment with resale. Surprisingly, the depreciation of used electric cars has developed in inverse proportion to that of combustion engines, as the DAT reports. In September 2020, the average residual value for a three-year-old electric car was 52.7 percent of the previous price, but a year later it fell to just 47.4 percent. In the same period, however, the residual value of gasoline models rose from 56 to 58 percent and that of diesel models from 52 to 55.2 percent.
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