Jaguar i-Pace

Millennials – the generation that came of age as the last century ticked over into a new one – will be the driver of the shift to electric vehicles, luxury carmaker Jaguar says.

A survey commissioned by the UK-based Jaguar Land Rover has revealed nearly 50 per cent of young Australians would like to buy an electric car over an ICE vehicle.

That’s over twice as many drivers than baby boomers, says the report, which recorded less than a quarter of the older generation as being interested in purchasing an EV – despite access to more disposable income.

In comparison, less than a third of the intermediate Gen-Xers showed interest in buying an electric car.

The new figures released from Jaguar’s “Driving Australia Forward” report also show that barriers to going to EV are less of a consideration for Millennials.

The higher price, range anxiety and penetration (or current lack thereof) of EV charging stations – which stop a higher percentage of baby boomers from going electric – are less of a worry to the younger generation.

“Australian Millennials are excited to jump on the electric vehicle movement, with many enticed by the environmental benefits and the convenience of not having to stop at a petrol station,” said JLR Australia marketing director Kevin Nicholls.

According to The Driven’s very own millennial male, Sam Parkinson, the idea of being able to ditch the high costs of fuel and car maintenance associated with ICE vehicles is a winner – as is the opportunity to actively contribute to the fight against climate change.

“I would be keen to buy an EV,” Parkinson says. “From a social perspective, I like the idea of having a method of transportation that I believe represents progress, and a shift towards more sustainable transport.”

Although Millennials are less likely to be concerned by the higher price of EVs than baby boomers (49% against 57%), it is still an issue for the foreseeable future, however.

“My impression is that it’s not so much the initial price-point that puts us off purchasing a car, it’s the on-going costs associated.

“We are probably more likely to spend bigger on purchases such as a car, or a holiday because property prices have gone up so much they are completely beyond reach for most of us, at least in the greater Sydney area,” Parkinson says.

Buying a car is not a priority for all Millennials. For example, those living in inner city suburbs, with smaller distances to work and other transport options, are likely instead to choose cycling, catching the bus or train, or walking.

However not all Millennials do live in cities, and private transport is still a consideration for others – but how to choose the right EV (particularly as there are not yet many options on the market) can pose difficulties.

“I think for people like me who have had a car already, or feel like a personal car is a necessary item to have, EVs sound much more palatable, but detailed information about them and whether they are worthy investments requires specific research, and is not really widely reported, and so there is a definite unknown quantity about them,” says Sam.

“The general perception is they’re luxury items, that like property, is currently unobtainable.”

Nicholls says that Jaguar – which is set to release its iPace all-electric SUV in Australia before the end of the year – is looking for ways to help EVs become an integral part of Australian life, and in that vein, help deal with the issue of range anxiety.

“Millennials are looking for a good car that suits their needs; specifically, for EVs, they are interested in the environmental benefits and the convenience of not having to stop at a petrol station,”Nicholls told The Driven.

“As the first of the mainstream automotive companies to develop an EV, Jaguar is leading the way in the EV revolution. In addition to the I-Pace, we are also committing up to $4 million rolling out 150 changing stations across the country.”

Sam says that for people like him, range anxiety and finding somewhere convenient to charge can still be an issue.

“There is a perception that owning an EV will require a garage to charge. No one I know in inner Sydney has a garage. Even myself who is a little more read up on EVs than some of my friends, worry that if I had an EV, where would I charge it?” he says.

“Finding a park within 100 metres of my house is hard enough, let alone having a garage to let it charge overnight.

“I know that traveling up and down the east coast of Australia with a Tesla would be no issue, but driving to Broken Hill for example? Not many of us would do that trip in an EV without a little range anxiety. For that reason, hybrid vehicles are present as a good compromise.”

Nicholls says that Jaguar will build on its own efforts for a low emissions future and add electrified options to its stable of vehicles by 2020.

“Electric vehicles are undoubtedly the future of motoring, and the response of the next generation of drivers demonstrates this in the clearest possible terms,” he said.

Bridie Schmidt

Bridie Schmidt is staff writer for www.TheDriven.io, and RenewEconomy.com.au. She specialises in writing about new technology, as well as using her technical skills in managing our websites.

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