What Makes Chinese Citizens Buy Electric Vehicles?

A new study has revealed that monthly income and the number of cars a family owns are factors that strongly influence whether Chinese customers buy electric vehicles.

AsianScientist (Nov. 23, 2016) – Cost is a major factor deterring more Chinese from owning electric vehicles, say researchers from the Beijing Institute of Technology. Their findings have been published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Many Chinese cities are suffering from deteriorating environmental quality, particularly due to air pollution that contributes to fog and haze. Air pollutant levels now far exceed safe limits established by the European Union, caused in no small part by the rapid increase in automobile ownership and usage.

Despite the impact of poor air quality, sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) are relatively low in China. In 2014, the 74,763 NEVs sold accounted for only 0.3 percent of total automobile sales in China that year.

“China has a responsibility to make efforts to reduce the pollution for fossil consumption,” said Hao Yu, an associate professor in the School of Management and Economics at Beijing Institute of Technology.

Driven by that conviction, researchers from the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at Beijing Institute of Technology, the Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, and the Sustainable Development Research Institute for Economy and Society of Beijing set out to find out what motivates or influences consumer to purchase electric vehicles within seven cities in China.

The group’s work is based on a carefully designed questionnaire and an empirical analysis of its data to determine the main factors influencing NEV purchases.

“Our studies revealed that monthly income, the number of cars a family owns, sustainability, and vehicle comfort are the factors that most strongly influence customers’ purchasing behavior,” Hao said.

They also found that factors such as age, marital status and city of residence also play a role in consumers’ decision-making process.

Based on their findings, the researchers recommended that the Chinese government should consider scaling up effective targeting of financial support and subsidies, while improving the financial incentive system for NEVs.

Beyond that, “companies within the NEV industry should also be encouraged to increase their research and development investments,” Hao added. “Ultimately, the government ought to encourage citizens to raise their awareness of the environment and sustainable development.”

Hao and his team are now further exploring how these differentiated policies may affect consumers’ purchase intentions in an attempt to improve corresponding policy recommendations.

The article can be found at: Hao et al. (2016) What Influences Personal Purchases of New Energy Vehicles in China? An Empirical Study Based on a Survey of Chinese Citizens.


Source: American Institute of Physics; Photo: Hao Yu.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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