Consumer Adoption of Electric Vehicles
Decarbonization of transport is central for fulfilling global climate goals. The electrification of passenger road vehicles has, currently, the largest potential to help achieve these goals. Policymakers and increasingly so industry actors have thus been promoting battery electric vehicles (EVs). Although EV market share is finally growing, it needs accelerating. With largely overcome technological barriers and conducive contextual conditions, consumer adoption has become decisive for further EV diffusion. We thus need to better understand how adoption intentions of consumers that are currently entering the market are formed, what mechanisms they operate on and what are their determinants so that targeted, more effective strategies to foster EV purchases can be proposed. This dissertation contributes to this endeavor with three research papers that each address one of the above aspects of adoption intentions through original empirical research. Paper I studies the formation of adoption intentions by investigating the vehicle purchase process. It generates a novel conceptual framework that includes five stages, both pre- and post-purchase, and that is determined by differentiated decision-making strategies. The validity of the framework is tested and confirmed in an online survey with Swiss consumers. The study identifies the most important external influences and appropriate touchpoints at relevant stages of the process within which targeted interventions to promote EV adoption are proposed. Paper II analyzes product bundling and the mechanisms, namely those of familiarity and convenience, that operationalize its effect on EV adoption intentions of Swiss consumers. The between-subject design experiment finds that bundles of EV and charging services can increase EV purchase willingness, however only of those consumers with low familiarity with relevant components. A choice experiment identifies three segments within current adopters. The largest one prefers a convenient bundle of an EV with a plurality of additional services. Paper III investigates the role of culture and symbolic meanings of EVs pertaining to gender as unconscious determinants of EV adoption. A regression analysis finds that countries whose cultures are characterized by relatively high femininity based on Hofstedes cultural dimensions have a significantly higher EV market share. The online survey applying an implicit association test (IAT) concludes that German consumers unconsciously associate EVs with femininity. This association is particularly strong among male EV non-adopters, showing that excessive femininity of EVs might represent a barrier to EV adoption among certain consumer segments. Based on these insights, this dissertation provides recommendations to policymakers and industry actors how to promote EV adoption among consumers that are currently entering the market and thus to foster further EV diffusion.
bundling of charging services
culture and symbolic meanings
HSG Profile Area
Universität St. Gallen