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


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.