Press release

20 Jul 2021 London, GB

Four in ten consumers plan electric vehicle purchase as market moves into high gear

LONDON, 20 JULY 2021. Electric vehicle (EV) sales are expected to boom in the coming 12 months, according to the latest EY Mobility Consumer Index (MCI), a survey of more than 9,000 respondents from 13 countries.

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Related topics Automotive Mobility
  • 41% of consumers surveyed plan to buy an electric vehicle (EV) as their next car, up 11 percentage points since November 2020
  • Environmental concern is the top driver for purchasing an EV
  • 66% of all consumers would be willing to pay a premium for an EV

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are expected to boom in the coming 12 months, according to the latest EY Mobility Consumer Index (MCI), a survey of more than 9,000 respondents from 13 countries. More than four in ten (41%) of those looking to buy a car in the next year say they will be buying an EV – an increase of 11 percentage points on November’s MCI – and nearly eight in ten (77%) of those who already own an EV say their next car purchase will also be an EV. Overall, 50% of those surveyed say they expect to buy a car (EV or combustion engine), up 17 percentage points increase from the November findings, with 65% saying that they would buy one in the next 12 months.         

The survey also reveals that concern about the environment is the top reason for buying an EV, with 78% also stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness and concerns about environmental issues. Fifty-three percent of those looking to buy an EV feel that it is their responsibility to reduce their personal environmental impact, and 54% feel that buying an EV is one way to achieve this.

Sixty-six percent of all consumers say they are willing to pay a premium for an EV, increasing to 91% among those who are looking to buy an EV as their next car. However, cost of ownership emerges as the top detractor for those who do not plan to buy an EV (50%).  

Randall Miller, EY Global Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Leader, says:

“This really feels like a tipping point to me, but I can’t say it is surprising looking at the recent EY Mobility Lens Forecaster results, which shows that EVs are expected to dominate global sales by as soon as 2033. After a bumpy year, it is clear that not only is there a global appetite for people to get back on the road, but that demand for EVs is continuing its meteoric rise. One crucial point is that most consumers are willing to pay a premium for an EV, either due to environmental concerns or an understanding that the long-term costs will likely be lower. This is a fundamental shift in attitudes, which will ultimately be beneficial for the consumer and the planet.”  

Connect the watts

While the EV market is set to accelerate, uncertainty around charging infrastructure looms, and features as a top three concern among those not looking to buy an EV (32%). Forty-seven percent of all respondents believe there are not enough charging points available for them to comfortably invest in an EV.    

Prospective EV buyers have similar concerns, with 38% stating that there are not enough charging points available. And for EV owners, charging locations (84%) and speed (78%) are cited as key concerns when it comes to charging.

Miller says: “People often claim that if you build it they will come, but EV-buyers are already on their way, and our utilities, government and infrastructure planners are playing catch-up. It would also benefit manufacturers to get involved in this effort as they need to be ready to provide key infrastructure in communities and at the pumps and deliver innovative offerings when it comes to charging and using EV batteries to help power the home. It would be a huge setback if EV adoption were to be hindered because the pieces around it weren’t in place to meet consumer demand.”

Cars bounce back

While the MCI shows the number of journeys taken by consumers is expected to decline by 5% compared to pre-pandemic levels, traveling by public transport is least favored among respondents (with uptake set to  decline by 11%), while the car emerges as the favored mode of transport for consumers. Most respondents who own or intend to buy a car say that constant access to a personal car is important to them (56%), and that their safety and wellbeing is best served by a personal car (52%).

Additionally, while the survey shows non-work-related travel is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels, work travel is expected to decline by 14%, representing a significant shift toward remote working.

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About the EY Global Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Sector

Urbanization, changing consumer expectations and emerging digital technologies are reshaping what’s possible, from the production and distribution of goods to the transportation of people. To succeed in this new world of mobility and smart manufacturing, incumbents must transform themselves at unprecedented speed — to think like an innovative startup, tap into new talent and engage the customer. With experience across the value chain and key technology alliances, our teams show clients how to create efficiencies now while adopting digitization and optionality for long-term growth. Automotive, transportation, aerospace, defense, chemicals and industrial products companies can draw on the strength of our network of cross-industry players and put our diverse range of approaches to use today to equip their businesses for tomorrow.

About the Mobility Consumer Index

The EY Mobility Consumer Index (MCI) provides unique insights on the shifts being witnessed in journey patterns, modal choices, vehicle buying and transition to electric mobility in the post-COVID world. Based on a global survey of more than 9,000 consumers across 13 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, UK, and US) during June 2021, MCI also aims to assess the consumers’ car buying journey while offering insights around their attitudes towards mobility choices and sustainability. The last iteration of the survey was done in September 2020 for more than 3,300 consumers in nine countries.