Bosch survey: Europeans prefer drive diversity

Europeans are open to different types of drive. At the same time, 70 per cent of respondents would also like to see a purchase premium for internal combustion engines and 57 per cent would like to see e-fuels promoted.
Whether electric car with battery or fuel cell, petrol or diesel – according to a representative Bosch survey in four European countries, conducted in June 2020 by the market research institute Innofact, all types of drive remain relevant. If they had to decide on a new car tomorrow, half of the more than 2,500 respondents in Germany, France, Italy and the UK would still choose a pure combustion engine for their first car and around a third for their second car. However, when asked about the most-used drive system in 2030, around 68 per cent of those surveyed in Europe believe that electric drives will be the most popular, ahead of hybrids and internal combustion engines. Potential is attributed to electric driving with the fuel cell. About one in three see it as the technology for the mobility of the future. “Electric mobility is coming – that is a good thing. Bosch is investing 500 million euros in this area this year alone. At the same time, we are also constantly developing the combustion engine because it is still needed,” says Stefan Hartung, member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of the Mobility Solutions division.

Purchase premiums desired for all types of drives

The respondents’ openness to different types of drive systems is also evident in another issue: when asked whether they are in favour of purchase premiums for vehicles that run exclusively on internal combustion engines, in addition to the state subsidies often granted for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, 70 per cent of the Europeans surveyed said yes. Approval of a state subsidy for the purchase of a car with conventional drive is highest in Italy (83 per cent) and lowest in the UK (60 per cent). In France, 77 per cent are in favour, in Germany 62 per cent. Just under a third of Europeans would even like to see a subsidy of at least 9,000 euros. This corresponds to the current maximum subsidy for electric cars in Germany. Two things are interesting: first, 72 per cent of the city dwellers in the four European countries surveyed consider the combustion engine worthy of support. Secondly, a majority (80 per cent) of the 18 to the 29-year-old age group is also in favour of a combustion engine bonus.

Achieving climate targets with e-fuels

Even cars with conventional engines can be driven climate-neutrally. The key to this is synthetic fuel, the so-called E-Fuels – these are produced from renewable hydrogen and with CO2 from the ambient air. On average, 57 per cent of the participants in the Bosch survey agree with the statement that the policy should promote e-fuels through taxes. “If we want to achieve the climate targets, we cannot avoid e-fuels,” says Hartung. “Only with synthetic fuels can the more than one billion vehicles already on the roads worldwide contribute to climate protection”.

Europeans do not want to do without their own cars

The role of the car and its importance for mobility in Europe will not change so quickly. Around 60 per cent of those surveyed in Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain cannot imagine doing without a car. And the clear majority of the remaining 40 per cent or so are only prepared to do without a car in part at best. In rural Europe, the approval rate for a car is 77 per cent. By the way, the same applies to the generation of 18 to 29-year-olds, about half of whom also give a clear vote for a car.

While all respondents in Germany (61 per cent) and Great Britain (47 per cent) cited high flexibility as the most important reason for a car, the French (41 per cent) need it above all for work. In contrast, the Italians surveyed (55 per cent) prefer the car to others, for the more cumbersome forms of mobility.