dena survey: keen interest in electric vehicles

One in four potential new car buyers want to choose an alternative form of propulsion / Many consumers feel that they are not adequately informed / Car ecolabels ensure transparency about energy consumption and fuel costs

More and more people are planning to buy a car with an alternative drive system. The level of interest in buying diesel on the one hand, and electric vehicles, including hybrid engines, on the other, are practically equal at just over 20 per cent. These are the findings of a representative survey of potential new car buyers carried out by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency.

According to the survey, 11 per cent of those questioned intend to buy an all-electric vehicle, while a further 12 per cent lean towards electric-hybrid engines. Moreover, there are individual groups interested in buying hydrogen, natural gas or liquefied gas – 4 per cent in all. Only about 21 per cent intend to choose diesel. At 49 per cent, most are still inclined to go for petrol.

These figures are in stark contrast to previous sales figures for private buyers: alternative forms of propulsion – from electric to natural gas – combined made up just 1.6 per cent of new registrations last year. By contrast, petrol driven vehicles totalled 66 per cent, with diesel vehicles at 33 per cent. Interest among new car buyers seems to be shifting increasingly towards alternative drive systems, especially electric.

Essentially, considerably more consumers can see themselves driving new cars with alternative forms of propulsion. 46 per cent of those surveyed are generally open to the idea of electric vehicles, while 23 per cent can see themselves driving a natural gas vehicle. As reasons for ultimately deciding against the purchase, most mention the high purchase price, the inadequate infrastructure or doubts about the practicality of the technology. In addition, two thirds feel generally inadequately informed about the various alternatives.

Important for buyers: the car ecolabel

The car ecolabel offers guidance when buying a car. It shows at a glance which energy efficiency category a new car falls into, how much fuel it consumes, and the costs of energy and vehicle tax. Therefore dena recommends that consumers pay attention to the car ecolabel when buying a car. As far as fuel costs are concerned, the alternative drive systems, contrary to current preconceptions, are even more reasonable than diesel or petrol.

The Information Platform for Car Ecolabels is a dena initiative funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. More information on the results of the survey and on car ecolabels can be found at

About the survey

The survey was commissioned by dena under the auspices of the ‘Information Platform for Car Ecolabels’, and was carried out by TNS Emnid. In November 2016, 1,088 potential new car buyers and 300 new car dealers were surveyed by telephone.

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