Nissan Leaf on scenic drives in Europe
Perhaps an even greater challenge than getting today's car buyers to switch to electric cars is predicting the rates of adoption among those who have yet to buy their first car.
But attracting younger buyers will be crucial for the mass adoption of electric cars in future years.
A new survey offers some encouraging results, at least for automakers selling electric cars in Europe.
More than half of European Millennials either own an electric car, or plan to use one as their primary means of transportation, according to a Nissan Europe survey (via WardsAuto).
The survey of 2,500 Millennials (aged 18 to 34) from the U.K., France, Italy, and Germany indicated that European Millennials are much more enthusiastic about electric cars than older demographics—or U.S. Millennials.
Of that group, more than 77 percent already own cars, although not necessarily electric ones.
2016 Nissan Leaf
Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they were likely to buy a hybrid within the next 10 years, and more than half said they were likely to buy electric cars within that period.
The survey found that Millennials are not only concerned about climate change, but make that a factor in their purchasing decisions.
Of the group surveyed, 53 percent said they were concerned about climate change, and 42 percent said they were concerned about air pollution.
At the same time, 62 percent said they were willing to switch to an energy provider that generated power from clean sources.
A further 53 percent said they would support brands committed to environmental responsibility.
Millennials' apparent willingness to change the products they use to help combat climate change is a particularly encouraging sign, said Gareth Dunsmore—Nissan Europe's electric-vehicle boss—about the survey.
2016 Nissan Leaf
Granted, survey results don't always serve as accurate predictions. A lot can happen in 10 years, after all.
It's also unclear whether U.S. Millennials will show the enthusiasm for electric cars their European counterparts did in this survey.
MORE: Millennials Own Fewer Cars, Seek Other Ways To Get Around: Report (Dec 2014)
Even if they don't flock to electric cars, U.S. Millennials may impact transportation-related carbon emissions in another way.
Their embrace of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft could reduce the number of vehicles on the road, if analysts' predictions about the growth of these services come true.