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

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Decarbonizing transport
  • Electric mobility
  • Electric vehicles
  • Pro-environmental behavior
  • Purchasing intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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