Hanover, Germany – A new international study by automotive supplier Continental has found that consumer acceptance of hybrid vehicles is increasing internationally, especially when government incentives are offered. A total of 36.0 per cent of those surveyed were willing to buy a car with hybrid drive, while 45.8 per cent were interested in an electric car. More than 8,000 motorists were surveyed in eight major international markets in China, Germany, France, the U.K., Japan, Austria, Switzerland and the U.S.
The study focused on the motorists’ current state of knowledge and opinions of hybrid drive systems, their driving styles and their views on battery-powered cars. Of those surveyed, 45 per cent reported that increasing fuel prices have forced them to change their driving behaviour to lower their fuel consumption. At 62.6 per cent, Japanese drivers have changed their behaviour the most in response to higher prices, followed by the Germans at 55.2 per cent and Americans at 42.8 per cent. However, 60.0 per cent of British and 48.9 per cent of Chinese have not adjusted their driving behaviour at all, even with rising costs.
Overall, about one in five motorists think immediately of hybrid drive when asked of their knowledge of alternative vehicles. Hybrids are best-known among the Japanese at 46.9 per cent; only 6.6 per cent of Americans and 3.9 per cent of British surveyed are aware of hybrids. Electric cars had an average recognition of 16.8 per cent, with Austrians at 33.3 per cent and French at 31.7 per cent naming electric more frequently than hybrid drive. Other alternative fuel systems included diesel, with 14.1 per cent recognition, and natural gas, at 11.4 per cent. The study also found that 81.7 per cent of Chinese knew nothing of fuel-efficient drives.
“Urban and short-route drivers can reduce their energy consumption by more than 25 per cent using hybrid drives, while also reducing CO2 emissions,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Chief Technology Officer of Continental AG. “There is also tremendous potential for American drivers: almost two-thirds of all motorists there drive in urban traffic and/or on short routes.”