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Factors Affecting the Uptake of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in the European Union

Abstract: 

This paper explores the factors affecting the uptake of hybrid and electric vehicles in the European Union (EU) using data from two extensive cross-sectional surveys. Each survey consists of 26,500 responses to a questionnaire that combines socio-economic and behavioral aspects. The share of respondents across the EU stating that they would certainly or probably consider purchasing a hybrid or a battery-powered electric vehicle (H&EV) in the near future rose from 32% in 2014 to 37.4% in 2018. There is, however, a high variability among EU member states, as well as across different socio-economic groups. Propensity is highly correlated with income, educational attainment, and urbanization level. In order to address the high degree of collinearity, we applied a machine learning classification model to analyze and explain the interaction between the variables that affected the expressed propensity to purchase such a vehicle. The findings highlight something largely missing from the literature, namely that local conditions and regional variation are a major, if not decisive, factor regarding purchasing choices. Seen from a policy perspective, this conclusion may provide guidance regarding how to support the take up of H&EVs through measures that are tailored to the specific needs at the local level.