Toyota small EV 2012.automotiveIT

Toyota is one of many automakers planning an EV next year (Source: Toyota)

Germans aren't ready to buy battery-powered electric vehicles yet, according to a recent Gartner study.

The market researchers said a study conducted in Europe's biggest car market in the first half of 2011 showed that a majority of consumers prefer gasoline-powered vehicles for their next purchase. Hybrid vehicles came second, while diesel-powered cars ranked third.

Gartner said only 16 pc of Germans definitely want to consider an EV in the future, but among these potential buyers, a sizeable number expressed reservations about the higher purchase price. Nearly half of consumers who would consider buying an EV would be looking for cost savings of 30 pc-40 pc compared with a conventional car, Gartner said.

"Broad adoption of EVs will remain low as long as current offerings don't meet drivers' practical usability and cost-saving requirements," said Gartner Vice President Thilo Koslowski. He added in a press release that carmakers should focus on technology innovations and align their pricing strategies with diesels and hybrids. They should also target younger customers, Koslowski said.

The Gartner analysts urged the German government to step up funding for battery technology research and home-charging technologies to boost electric-vehicle sales.

Despite the short-term difficulties in the market, Gartner is sticking to its 2009 forecast that battery-powered vehicles will represent 5 pc-8 pc of mature car markets by 2020. That percentage is projected to rise to 15 pc-20 pc by 2030.

Said Koslowski: "E-mobility will become a viable addition to future transportation scenarios in Germany, but automotive companies and the German government must address marketability requirements of EVs, prioritize technology investments and continue to promote cross-industry collaboration."