German drivers now consider plug-in hybrid vehicles to be more attractive and practical than conventional hybrids, according to a survey commissioned by GKN Driveline has revealed. The poll of motorists showed that 75% preferred the idea of plug-ins, with 61.2% agreeing that an electric range of 50 km (31 miles) would meet their daily needs.
The independent online survey asked more than 1,000 German motorists for their views on driveline technologies such as hybrids and all-wheel drive as well as issues ranging from the environment to their vehicle preferences.
The survey found that although 96% of drivers say they are environmentally conscious to some degree, when it comes to cars, the environment takes a back seat to more practical considerations.
Around 81% say they are wary of hybrids, with 62.8% citing “poor value for money” as the main reason. Conversely, just 25% described all-wheel drive vehicles as “expensive” to purchase or run, with most associating the technology instead with off-road capability (73%), safety (37%) and higher performance (36%).
These attitudes seem to translate into higher expectations at car dealerships. Around half of people (49%) expected their car dealership to offer a plug-in hybrid option and 52% agreed that their perfect car would combine plug-in charging with all-wheel drive.
The survey also indicates that the factor most likely to persuade drivers to consider a plug-in hybrid was greater availability of charging points (52%), followed by tax incentives (45%). Performance improvements (33%) scored slightly higher than environmental concerns (32%).
It’s clear that for many drivers, making future vehicles more rewarding to drive is as important as protecting the environment. At GKN, we believe that driveline innovations must do both. We are developing a new generation of plug-in hybrid systems that will make personal mobility more sustainable and enjoyable for decades to come.—Theo Gassmann, GKN Driveline Senior Director Product Technology Advanced Engineering
The survey correlates with Germany’s current vehicle parc, with 2.3% of people using a hybrid as their main vehicle, 23.4% driving diesels and 72.6% driving gasoline. Just 0.3% of those surveyed currently drive a pure electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.
More than a third (37%) of drivers still believe gasoline engines provide the best driving experience, hybrids came second in the poll with 13.5%, just beating diesels with 12.8%. Twice as many male drivers chose hybrids (17% compared to 9%). Twice as many women stated they were unsure (37% compared to 17%).
Opinion Matters surveyed 1,002 German motorists on behalf of GKN in the final quarter of 2015.