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Green revolution: 82% of people in the UAE are considering an EV as their next vehicle

New research by digital transformation consultancy Publicis Sapient investigated how the attitudes and behavior of people in the UAE are changing towards electric vehicles (EVs) and green energy.

70% of respondents would choose to purchase green energy from their utility providers if available 77% of UAE respondents report to be planning to install solar on their homes in the next two years 82% of UAE respondents are considering an EV as their next vehicle, whilst 90% are considering a hybrid;

At a time when cars are becoming increasingly more expensive to buy and own a car, people are looking to the alternative. For many, that option is electric vehicles (EVs). 

Additionally, more people are looking for greener sources of energy like solar power. 

It’s more expensive than ever to own a car

According to Market Watch, quoting data from US travel and leisure organization AAA, 2019 was the year where it was most expensive to own a car – ever. 

“Finance costs rose 24% this year, sending the average annual cost of vehicle ownership to $9,282, or $773.50 a month, based on 15,000 miles driven a year,” MW reported. “That’s the highest since the organization began keeping track of such costs in 1950.”

AAA found that depreciation remained the single, most significant cost of ownership, accounting for more than a third of the average annual cost. 

Conversely, AAA noted that EVs had the lowest maintenance and repair costs, which brings us to our next point: more people are considering EVS as their next vehicle of choice, at least in the UAE. 

82% of people in the UAE consider an EV as their next vehicle

According to new research by digital transformation consultancy Publicis Sapient, the changes in how and where people work will be lasting, shifting both domestic energy usage and mobility patterns. Whilst for the majority, consideration of greener energy is high, cost is a main barrier to widespread adoption; whether for home utilities, or the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs). As people change how they move through the world and the types of vehicles they drive, they expect retail energy, and by extension, fuel stations, cross-category services, expanded product offerings, and digital experiences to evolve with them across the board.

Key takeaways from the survey

  • 70% of respondents would choose to purchase green energy from their utility providers if available;
  • 77% of UAE respondents report to be planning to install solar on their homes in the next two years;
  • The trend towards more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles continues but concerns about battery range and price will slow the widespread adoption of EVs;
  • 82% of UAE respondents are considering an EV as their next vehicle, whilst 90% are considering a hybrid;
  • Those in the UAE are more likely than any other country surveyed to pay more for better fuel efficiency; the UAE is also the most willing region to pay more for connected technology features in their next vehicle, although 77% believe the tech they have access to on their smartphone should come as standard;
  • Whilst nearly all (96%) of people in the UAE have done at least some of their vehicle-buying journey online, the dealership still remains the preferred purchase channel;
  • Expectations for vehicles pre-fitted with connected tech is now mainstream, with almost all people (93%) desiring at least one connected feature in their next vehicle.

Teresa Barreira, CMO of Publicis Sapient, stated, “The study reveals that most people are primed to switch to greener energy at home and in transit. Businesses that ramp up easy and accessible solutions will be best positioned for the future. With the Index giving us a unique lens into consumers’ lives, we’re ready to help companies understand and respond with data-driven insights heading into 2021.”

Barreira added, “When it comes to buying a car, people feel comfortable conducting most of the initial transaction online. As people revert to dealerships for the transaction’s final steps, creating contactless platforms is critical. Digital experience will be top of mind both in transactions and consumer expectations for vehicular technology.”

Read: 6 myths about electric vehicles debunked

Barriers need to be overcome to achieve widespread adoption of cleaner energy

Cost is a deciding factor for consumers’ home energy choices, whether adopting green energy such as solar, switching utility providers, or using a smart meter.70% of people said they would choose to purchase energy from green sources, showing a widespread commitment to sustainability. 37% of people surveyed currently have solar on their homes, although 77% report that they plan to install it in the next two years. 

When considering switching home energy providers, a good app experience is the main priority according to half (50%) of respondents, with those providers offering transparent pricing also appealing to 47%. And while the use of a smart meter is currently split at 50/50, those that do use a smart device for managing or tracking home energy, 59% do so to save money.

During 2017, the UAE launched the ‘Energy Strategy 2050’, which aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25% to 50% by 2050 and reduce carbon footprint of power generation by 70%, thus saving AED 700 billion ($190 billion) by 2050. It also seeks to increase consumption efficiency of individuals and corporates by 40%. 

The UAE government aims to invest AED 600 billion ($163 billion) by 2050 to this end. 

Connected tech is increasingly important to car shoppers

Almost all people in the UAE want at least one connected tech feature in the next vehicle. Familiar and common features such as back up cameras, navigation and Bluetooth top the list of connected tech wants. UAE shoppers want an average of 4.5 connected features in their next vehicle, more than any other region surveyed. 

Although the majority of UAE respondents (77%) feel that connected tech features should come as standard, they are the most willing region to pay a premium if necessary. The shift to digital is slower when it comes to physical car purchases; 81% of people are still reliant on their dealer. However, a growing number will increasingly prefer to complete the initial steps of their purchase journey online, with 96% of people in the UAE having done at least some of their vehicle-buying journey online, more likely to learn or compare vehicles.

Read: Electric Vehicles 101: Understanding the 3 basic types