Drivers want to accelerate shift to low carbon transport, says new research

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THE PUBLIC wants to reduce the carbon footprint of their transportation but the practicalities of owning an electric vehicle cause concerns, according to new research from transport and research consultancy SYSTRA.

According to On the move: Navigating the Future of Road Transport, EU consumers are concerned by climate change and a clear majority (72%) think we should reach net zero emissions by 2050, but this does not translate to an ability or willingness to adopt lower carbon forms of transport.

Katie Hall, SYSTRA Transport Planning Director, commented on the findings: “Our research demonstrates that to have a real impact we must incentivise consumers to make lower carbon choices through improved infrastructure, government and business partnerships and an integrated transport network.”

Whilst transport industry experts interviewed for the study anticipate the future of personal and passenger transport as a blend of autonomous, connected, electric and shared (ACES), consumers find this harder to relate to, with one in four unable to see any ACES technology commonplace by 2030.

Despite recognition by industry experts and consumers that a move from car ownership towards user-ship will reduce carbon emissions, consumers struggle to imagine a world in which they do not own a car, with just a third (38%) thinking they will be car-free in 2050 – about as many as those who expect flying taxis to exist (34%).

Two thirds of European consumers (69%) say reducing the carbon footprint of their journeys is important to them.

Electric vehicles form one part of the solution to lowering carbon emissions, but there are still key barriers identified in the study to their uptake: purchase cost, the availability of charging points, battery life and charging time.

These are the results from a 12,000-strong consumer survey across four European countries – UK, Germany, Spain and The Netherlands, 22 in-depth interviews with leading industry experts and 10 case study interviews in the UK and Germany.

The research was undertaken by SYSTRA and commissioned by BP.

Tufan Erginbilgic, BP’s Downstream chief executive, said: “As this research makes clear, there is no single solution for reducing emissions in road transport. Technology and energy businesses, governments and OEMs all need to work closer together if we are to make a real difference.

“At BP, we want to enable our customers to make lower carbon transport choices. That’s why we’re leading the way to roll out the UK’s largest public network of ultra-fast chargers – which will replicate today’s customer experience and help overcome the barriers to EV adoption – as well as growing biofuels businesses and developing more efficient fuels and lubricants.”

Read the whole report here.