The ELVITEN project conducted a public survey early this year to prepare the ground for the implementation of the project. The survey sought to collect and analyse data on public perceptions of Electric Light Vehicles (EL-Vs) by current vehicle usage and travel behaviour, age group, gender, etc. It also gathered information on mobility demands of citizens, fleet operators and fleet drivers in urban environments.
The survey was made available in English, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish and targeted citizens living in or near the six ELVITEN cities, namely, Bari, Berlin, Rome, Genoa, Trikala, and Malaga, however, answers from other European cities and countries were also taken into account. The survey, which was promoted via the ELVITEN website, partner websites (in particular in the targeted cities), emails and social media, collected a total of 7.390 valid responses.
Some of the most relevant findings of the survey were:
- All cities had a large observed interest in EL-V sharing schemes.
- Topography had some effect on travel behaviour, particularly on cycling, e.g. Genoa is very hilly and less suitable for cycling; Bari and Malaga are much flatter.
- When asked about their preferred type of light vehicle (if any), the most popular vehicles were bicycles including electrically assisted bicycles, except for Rome and Trikala.
- Three-wheelers were a less popular choice than 2- or 4-wheeled EL-Vs in most of the cities with the exception of Berlin, where it was most frequently selected option for work/education trips.
- Safety was a key consideration in selecting among different types of EL-V. In the majority of the cities, a greater number of respondents expressed an interest in using electric four-wheelers. This could be explained by a further finding of the survey which states that users’ perception of safety is increasing with the number of wheels.
- Comfort and luggage capacity was also one of the reasons that a greater number of participants selected electric four-wheelers.
- Berlin and Rome have the most comprehensive public transport: this is a likely reason for the lower than average enthusiasm for EL-Vs.
- Gender also made some differentiation, in Malaga, male participants seemed to be more willing to use a sharing scheme of EL-Vs whereas in Bari women were less keen to share EL-Vs.
- Men were observed to be more inclined to use EL-Vs for trips related to work or education purposes. A higher percentage of women and elderly declared “Don’t know” across almost all the attributes.
- Sufficient electric charging infrastructure was a major factor where improvements are needed in order to boost EV/EL-V use.
- Instead of owning EL-Vs, the majority of the respondents would prefer to use shared or rented vehicles, although this majority was smaller in Berlin than in the other five cities.
- A majority of respondents in all cities would consider using EL-Vs as part of a multimodal journey.
- Sufficient secure parking was also very important for most of the respondents, followed by the possibility of using bus and cycle lanes by two- or three-wheelers.
As part of the research, ELVITEN carried out a series of interviews to fleet managers and drivers. In total, 60 fleet operators, among which were delivery businesses, rental companies, and catering services, participated in the interviews. Their attitudes towards EL-Vs was overall positive. When asked if they were ready to change from ICE L-Vs to EL-Vs, 18 out of 20 respondents indicated that they would consider or have already considered shifting to electromobility. On the other hand, fleet operators and drivers listed a number of measures for an easier use of EL-Vs such as the creation of dedicated delivery spaces on the streets. Nevertheless, fleet operators pointed out some challenges in the implementation of the ELVITEN scheme, 93% of them showed some concerns about the lack of electric charging infrastructure.
As an overall conclusion, the majority of respondents would prefer to use shared EL-Vs instead of using their own. The public and fleet managers have positive perceptions of the use of EL-Vs which is essential to guarantee ELVITEN’s overall goal of incentivising the usage of EL-Vs for occasional, regular and business-related trips in the city.
To access the full deliverable that contains the complete survey results and the methodology click here. Please note that this document is pending approval from the European Commission.