03/27/2024 | Pressemitteilung

Why we buy electric vehicles - and why not

Electric vehicles are a promising option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. So far, customer acceptance has been limited. A new international study involving researchers from Kassel has investigated the reasons for this - with remarkable results. They provide recommendations for action for the transport sector and political decision-makers.

Image: Adobe Stock / Summit Art Creations.
Electric vehicle charging the battery at a wallbox.

Although manufacturers, activists and numerous media outlets emphasize the advantages and suitability of electric vehicles for everyday use, the transition to electric drives in road traffic is proceeding rather slowly. Even so-called "innovators" are reluctant to buy electric cars. This is the term used in psychology to describe people who are more willing to make decisions that challenge the current paradigm.

A group of international researchers, including researchers from the Department of Sustainable Marketing at the University of Kassel, has investigated the reasons for this reluctance to buy an electric car for the first time. They conducted representative surveys for Chile, Germany and Spain. "Social pressure makes the difference," says Dr. Katrin Zulauf, describing the striking result. Social value has the strongest positive influence on the purchase decision, followed by the perceived green value, i.e. the ecological benefits of the vehicles. However, skepticism towards green advertising reduces the willingness to buy an electric car.

The results suggest that an increased emphasis on corporate social responsibility and the role of consumers in combating climate change in advertising campaigns could increase the attractiveness of electric vehicles. "Transparency and honesty in their marketing messages could not only increase their credibility, but also counteract skepticism towards green advertising," explains Zulauf. Facts and measurable results can boost consumer confidence in the real benefits of electric vehicles. "Political decision-makers should also focus their efforts on raising awareness of the environmental and social benefits of electric vehicles," recommends Prof. Ralf Wagner. Subsidies and tax breaks could reduce the cost of electric vehicles, which would make them affordable for a broader section of the population.



Higueras-Castillo, E., Liébana-Cabanillas, F., Santos, M. A., Zulauf, K., & Wagner, R. (2024). Do you believe it? Green advertising skepticism and perceived value in buying electric vehicles. Sustainable Development,1-15.


Prof. Dr. Ralf Wagner
Head of the Department of Sustainable Marketing
Phone: +49 561 804-2133
Email: rwagner[at]wirtschaft.uni-kassel[dot]de

Dr. Katrin Zulauf
Department of Sustainable Marketing
Phone: +49 561 804-7404
Email: zulauf[at]wirtschaft.uni-kassel[dot]

Press contact:

Sebastian Mense
University of Kassel
Communication and Marketing
Phone +49 561 804-1961
E-mail: presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de