Perspectives of Commuters on Electric Vehicles, Charging Infrastructure, and Communication Measures

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Lorena NiebuhrEva-Maria Jakobs

Abstract: The German government's climate protection targets from 2021 require changes in the transport sector. By 2030, the transport sector must reduce its emissions from 164 to 95 million metric tons of CO2 [1]. One of the measures to save CO2 emissions is to replace vehicles with combustion engines with those powered by electricity from renewable energy sources.In Germany, the diffusion of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) has increased from 4500 in 2012 to 840,645 in 2022 [2]. However, the widespread use must further be promoted. Commuters are a major BEV user group. They account for about one fifth of German passenger traffic [3]. Although they represent an important group, only few studies address their perception of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure [4]. This paper presents an interview study addressing commuters and their perspective on BEVs, charging infrastructure. Commuters were asked about their views on BEV use, including the reasons that led them to use BEVs, their expectations of BEVs, charging infrastructure and charging management, as well as the need for communication measures and change to motivate more commuters to switch to BEVs. The study was conducted in 2022. The interview guideline consists of 33 questions. It focuses on usage motives and barriers, requirements concerning BEV design, charging costs, and expectations for the expansion of charging infrastructure. Participants were given a questionnaire on demographic data, their occupation and commuting behavior (means of transport, distance to workplace, type of roads used). The interviewees are commuters who already own an electric vehicle (n=20) or plan to purchase a BEV (n=11). Seven are female, 24 are male. The average age is 42 with a span of 24 to 64 years. Data were recorded as audio files, transcribed, and analyzed qualitatively as well as quantitatively using content analysis methods.Results show that commuters prefer charging at home. Workplace charging is the second most important option. Yet, they see the need for an area-wide expansion of the charging infrastructure in the public space and the increase of DC charging options. Here, they are calling for more and better accessible public charging stations. To ensure that they use the service, charging fees must become more transparent - billing must be simple and clear. Digital support needs to be updated and standardized. Commuters perceive the provision of information on BEVs and charging infrastructure as sufficient, yet reporting should be more transparent and neutral. This involves the planned expansion of the charging infrastructure, sufficiency of power supply, and technical aspects of BEVs such as their real world range.The broad implementation of electromobility requires concepts that take the needs of the target group into account (similar to [5]). In further studies, employers should be interviewed about BEVs regarding the obstacles of setting up charging infrastructure. This way, appropriate measures can be taken to increase the willingness to offer and use workplace charging. Transparent and complete communication between all stakeholders must be ensured throughout the transformation process to promote the diffusion of this innovation.[1] Bundesregierung (2021). https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/klimaschutz/climate-change-act-2021-1936846[2] Statista (2022). https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/265995/umfrage/anzahl-der-elektroautos-in-deutschland/[3] Agora (2022). https://www.agora-verkehrswende.de/veroeffentlichungen/pendlerverkehr-in-deutschland/[4] Wolbertus, R., Jansen, S., Kroesen, M. (2020). Stakeholders’ perspectives on future electric vehicle charging infrastructure developments. Future. Vol 123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2020.102610[5] Niebuhr, L., Jakobs, E.-M. (2020). Stakeholder Profiles of Commercial Electric Vehicle Users. Similarities and Differences between Taxi Companies and Care Services. Spatial Research and Planning, Vol. 78, 5. https://doi.org/10.2478/rara-2020-0030

Keywords: Electric Vehicles, Charging Infrastructure Planning, Workplace Charging, User Requirements

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003791

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