It’s been merely six years since the first modern electric car hit the streets, and the segment looks ready to take off.

Over 43,000 people residing in 52 countries all around the globe were asked whether they are considering buying an electric car in the next five years.

On average, four out of 10 motorists say they’re either very likely or likely to get one.

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31 percent of Americans surveyed are planning to go electric.

31 percent of Canadians and 39 percent of Mexicans answered “yes” to the question. Dalia Research’s survey suggests North America’s average is lower than the rest of the world’s.

Thailand tops the survey with 66 percent of participants seeking to give up gasoline in the coming years. The idea isn’t new; Thai officials have strongly promoted alternative fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for nearly 20 years.

BYD e6 electric taxi in service in Shenzhen, China

BYD e6 electric taxi in service in Shenzhen, China

Surprisingly, Japan sits at the very bottom of the list, with a predicted take-up rate of just 16 percent. Like several of that nation’s auto-makers, the buying public believes hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells-powered cars are a better way to reduce air pollution.

58 percent of people surveyed in China say they are likely to buy an electric car by 2022.

However, strict regulations aimed at curbing air pollution in major cities are expected to increase the actual number, perhaps beyond that percentage.

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In the press, Germany is leading Europe’s fight against carbon emissions.

However, only 22 percent of Germans surveyed say they’d consider buying an electric car, which is one of the lowest percentages recorded in Europe.

Last year, plug-in vehicles only made up about one percent of vehicle sales around the globe.

WAVE electric-car parade in Stuttgart, Germany.

WAVE electric-car parade in Stuttgart, Germany.

If the survey participants don’t change their mind, electric cars will represent a sizable chunk of the automotive landscape in 2022.

Range anxiety remains one of the top reasons why car shoppers are hesitant to go gasoline-free. Upcoming advances in battery technology and an ever-growing network of public charging stations will help alleviate it.

Image is an issue, though, and it will take a few years for overly expensive electric cars with less than 100 miles of range to disappear from motorists’ collective memory.

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The timing of the survey undoubtedly had an effect on the responses received.

Motorists say they are less likely to consider buying a vehicle with a plug instead of a fuel cap when gasoline is relatively cheap, like it is right now in the U.S.

And yet, a full 45 percent of Saudi Arabians say they’re ready to stop relying on oil – their country’s biggest export.

—Ronan Glon


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