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Pleasure or profit? Surveying the purchasing intentions of potential electric vehicle adopters in China


  • Sovacool, Benjamin K.
  • Abrahamse, Wokje
  • Zhang, Long
  • Ren, Jingzheng


China is a leading global market for electric mobility, inclusive of e-bikes (motorcycles and scooters) as well as electric vehicles (EVs). This paper provides a novel contribution to the field by examining the factors related to willingness of potential Chinese consumers to further adopt EVs. Much of the research to date has focused primarily on consumer perceptions in European countries, or within particular cities or urban provinces of China. Given that China also is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, and that transportation is growing in its contribution to China’s national carbon footprint, the potential for larger scale uptake of EVs by Chinese consumers is an important area of research. We therefore utilize a survey instrument among a fairly large national sample (805 respondents across all Chinese provinces) to solicit perceptions of Chinese consumers about their willingness to adopt EVs, and the importance of different types of motivations, controlling for socio-demographic variables. Using descriptive statistics as well as multivariate analysis and principal component analysis, we find that willingness to adopt EVs is associated with performance features of electric vehicles, the perceived benefits of driving an electric vehicle and policy support for the promotion of electric vehicles. We conclude by elaborating on the implications of our findings, namely insights for car dealerships and sales personnel, automotive manufacturers, local and national planners, and users and adopters.

Suggested Citation

  • Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Abrahamse, Wokje & Zhang, Long & Ren, Jingzheng, 2019. "Pleasure or profit? Surveying the purchasing intentions of potential electric vehicle adopters in China," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 69-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:124:y:2019:i:c:p:69-81
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2019.03.002

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    6. Manik Chandra Das & Abanish Pandey & Arun Kumar Mahato & Rajnish Kumar Singh, 2019. "Comparative performance of electric vehicles using evaluation of mixed data," OPSEARCH, Springer;Operational Research Society of India, vol. 56(3), pages 1067-1090, September.
    7. Wu, Yang Andrew & Ng, Artie W. & Yu, Zichao & Huang, Jie & Meng, Ke & Dong, Z.Y., 2021. "A review of evolutionary policy incentives for sustainable development of electric vehicles in China: Strategic implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 148(PB).
    8. Zhengxia He & Yanqing Zhou & Jianming Wang & Cunfang Li & Meiling Wang & Wenbo Li, 2021. "The impact of motivation, intention, and contextual factors on green purchasing behavior: New energy vehicles as an example," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 1249-1269, February.
    9. Rotaris, Lucia & Giansoldati, Marco & Scorrano, Mariangela, 2021. "The slow uptake of electric cars in Italy and Slovenia. Evidence from a stated-preference survey and the role of knowledge and environmental awareness," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 1-18.
    10. Xiaojian Hu & Nuo Chen & Nan Wu & Bicheng Yin, 2021. "The Potential Impacts of Electric Vehicles on Urban Air Quality in Shanghai City," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(2), pages 1-12, January.
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    12. Wang, Xiao-Wu & Cao, Yu-Mei & Zhang, Ning, 2021. "The influences of incentive policy perceptions and consumer social attributes on battery electric vehicle purchase intentions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).

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