22 Oct 20

Europeans stick to ICE – and that’s not bad per se

According to a recent survey, 50% of Europeans still favour conventional vehicles over EVs and cannot imagine a life without cars. Combustion engines haven’t played their last trump yet, as Renewable Synthetic Fuels can make them climate neutral, says Bosch.

The representative survey was conducted in June 2020 by the market research institute Innofact and involved 2,500 respondents in Germany, France, Italy and the U.K. One of the conclusions is that if they had to buy a new car tomorrow, one in two would opt for a stand-alone combustion engine (ICE, so no hybrid) for their primary car and around one in three for their second car.

However, when asked what would be the most prevalently used powertrain in 2030, some 68% of those polled see the electrical powertrain in pole position, ahead of hybrids and combustion engines. Survey participants acknowledged the potential of fuel cell-powered cars, with around one in three seeing the fuel cell as the future of mobility.

“Electric mobility is on its way – and that’s good news. This year alone, Bosch is investing €500 million in this domain. At the same time, we’re also continuously refining the internal combustion engine – because it’s still needed,” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector.

Even cars with conventional engines can run in a climate-neutral way. The key to this is renewable synthetic fuels (RSF), which are made from renewable hydrogen and CO₂ captured from the surrounding air, says Bosch. On average, 57% of those taking part in the Bosch survey agreed that RSF should benefit from tax breaks. “There’s just no way around renewable synthetic fuels if we want to achieve our climate targets,” Hartung says. “Only with RSF can the more than one billion vehicles already on the road worldwide help contain global warming.”

In Europe, the status of the car and its importance for mobility is unlikely to change any time soon. Around 60% of the surveyed cannot imagine living without a car altogether. And a clear majority of the remaining 40% are only prepared to leave their car behind some of the time. The car’s approval rating in rural Europe is 77%. Incidentally, these findings are roughly similar among 18-to-29 year-olds, around half of whom also come out clearly in favour of a car. While 61% of those surveyed in Germany and 47% in the U.K. cited greater flexibility as the most important reason for having a car, 41% of French respondents indicated they need it mostly for work. In contrast, 55% of surveyed Italians prefer the car to other forms of mobility that they feel are less convenient.

Picture credit: Bosch, 2020

Authored by: Dieter Quartier