Car study 2020

What moves the drivers in Germany

05. Mai 2020, 14:12 Uhr   |  Irina Hübner

What moves the drivers in Germany
© obs/Targobank/Stockfotos-MG -

According to the Autostudie 2020, 37 % of drivers of internal combustion engines plan to switch to an alternative drive system.

For the Autostudie 2020, the Forsa survey institute interviewed more than 1000 motorists in Germany on behalf of Targobank. The focus was on criteria for the purchase of a new car, the attitude of motorists towards alternative drives and current transport policy measures.

One result of the representative study was that even in 2020, alternative drive systems will continue to be very popular with consumers when it comes to their next car purchase. This is particularly true for the hybrid engine, which is the first choice when buying a new car for 23% of the study participants. Last year, only 17% of car drivers shared this view. In general, 73% of those surveyed consider hybrid vehicles a good compromise between low environmental impact and range.

While the gasoline engine is now only the first option for 29 % (previous year: 43 %) of those surveyed, the trend is also at the expense of the diesel, which is preferred by just 14 % (previous year: 17 %). Hydrogen propulsion, too, can - at a low level - gain 2 percentage points to 6 % in the favour of motorists. Currently, 8 % of those surveyed would choose the pure electric vehicle (previous year: 6 %). However, only 49 % of those surveyed still consider electric vehicles to be more environmentally friendly than vehicles with combustion engines. In 2019, 57 % of motorists still said so.

All in all, more than one in three drivers of internal combustion engines plans to switch to an alternative drive. »As in previous years, we see an increasing trend towards lower-emission drives. Since these alternatives to the internal combustion engine are generally more cost-intensive at the time of purchase and are not yet available in relevant numbers on the used car market, we expect to see an increase in requests for financing,« says Markus Häring, head of Targobank Autobank.

But for this trend to remain stable, politicians also have a responsibility. Federal, state and local authorities must invest more in a nationwide charging infrastructure. Currently, the range of electricity or hydrogen fuel pumps is simply not competitive.

Controversial view on inner-city speed limit and environmental lanes

Traffic congestion in city centres has been the subject of repeated discussions in recent years. Particularly with regard to air quality, the issue of health protection has increasingly moved into the focus of political measures, which include speed limits and environmental lanes, for example. The statement »A general speed limit of 30 km/h should apply in city centres« was agreed by 41% of the participants in the study, 58% reject this statement. However, if speed limits could prevent driving bans due to excessive emission levels, two-thirds of the respondents would support them.

In the case of environmental lanes, which were introduced in many places as an attempt to solve the problem, the respondents throughout Germany are divided: about half of each group consider them sensible or not sensible. In Düsseldorf, where this measure has been discussed repeatedly since its introduction, two thirds of motorists do not consider environmental footprints to be sensible.

Higher fines for speeders demanded

The issue of speed limits on motorways has also been controversially discussed in recent years. It is clear that acceptance of the German special route is declining. Meanwhile, 62% of those surveyed are in favour of a general speed limit, compared with 57% in 2019. On average, supporters consider 130 km/h to be the appropriate speed limit. This goes hand in hand with the desire to increase the fines for speeding: 77% of the participants in the study are in favour.

Car remains indispensable on the way to work

For many people, the car is not just a pure status symbol, but an indispensable means of transport to get to work. According to the survey, three out of five employees always drive to work by car, one in five occasionally, and only 18% can do without it altogether. The experience of congestion is correspondingly widespread.

Every fourth person is caught in traffic jams at least once a week.So-called job bikes are an alternative to the car. However, only 15% of employers currently offer these to their employees. While around 50 % of those surveyed have already heard of job bikes, 34 % are completely unaware of them.

Are e-scooters an asset for inner-city mobility?

Last year, the e-scooter supplemented the sharing range in numerous major German cities. Although several providers are now active in this mobility niche, the offer has not yet had a lasting effect on those surveyed - quite the opposite, in fact: only 2% of the study participants use it more often, almost 90% have never stood on an e-scooter.

The image values are also mixed: Although 44 % of those surveyed generally see the scooters as a useful means of transport and 28 % as a way of reducing inner-city car traffic, the image values are mixed. At the same time, many consider them to be dangerous (77 %), disruptive to the cityscape (67 %) or basically annoying (61 %).

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