Survey reveals factors determining whether Lithuanians buy an electric car: environmental protection not in the first place


Researchers from the ISM University of Management and Economics discovered factors that would encourage our country’s residents to purchase and drive electric vehicles. Environmental concerns ranked second. State support also plays a role in the decision of whether to buy such a vehicle.


Over the past two years, the number of EVs in Lithuania has grown rapidly: from 2020 it increased fivefold (from 1434 to 7162 electric cars). However, this growth rate is still too slow to achieve the goal set by the Lithuanian Ministry of Energy: to increase the number of EVs to 230.000 by 2030.


In order to find out what has the most significant influence on the Lithuanian residents’ decision to purchase an EV, ISM researchers Dr. Lineta Ramonienė and Goda Montvidaitė distinguished five groups of factors: demographic, financial, psychological, infrastructural, technical and state support. During the representative survey, Lithuanian residents who are considering buying or changing a car in the next three years were interviewed.


It turned out that for Lithuanians the vehicle’s technical characteristics have the greatest influence on the intention to purchase an EV. The characteristics include the electric vehicle’s speed from a standstill, the ability to overtake other cars, and the pleasure of driving. All these factors have the greatest influence on Lithuanians when choosing and planning to purchase an EV.


“When considering buying an electric car, customers appreciate not only operational characteristics but also specific parameters, such as the driving distance with a fully charged battery. Although in most cases the worry about the range covered on a single charge is unfounded and eases after the car has been used for a while, it is still one of the main obstacles for Lithuanians to purchase an EV. The results of the study revealed that consumers who realize that the distance traveled by an electric car and its operational characteristics meet their expectations are more likely to intend to purchase such cars,” says Dr. Ramoniene.


Dr. Lineta Ramonienė


The purchase price of an EV, operating costs, and the buyer’s income were assigned to the financial factors. The price and income do not have a significant impact on Lithuanians when it comes to considering purchasing an EV.


“Previous studies have shown that the cost of operation has a significant influence on consumers’ intention to purchase an electric car. Quite the contrary: consumers seem to be willing to pay more for an electric car if they know they will save some money running it and it will pay off faster compared to gasoline cars. We confirmed this assumption,” says ISM researcher Montvidaitė.


Goda Montvidaitė


The second important factor in the decision to switch to an electric vehicle is the psychological aspect, which includes social influence, the desire to master new technologies and environmental concerns. Lithuanians are more inclined to purchase an EV if someone in their immediate environment has already done so. In addition to social influence and environmental awareness, such psychological characteristics of buyers as the desire to apply new technologies in everyday life are associated with the intention to purchase an EV. Lithuanians usually perceive the purchase of organic products as a pursuit of innovation. It is remarkable that daily habits, such as sorting garbage and choosing more sustainable packaging, do not seem to have a significant impact on respondents’ inclination to buy an EV. Lithuanians are more influenced by their psychological state than by sustainability-related behavior.


In Lithuania, government support is one of the most important factors when purchasing EVs. It was surprising that this factor ranked only in third place for Lithuanian consumers. Many countries aim to increase market penetration of electric vehicles, however, initiatives at the national level vary from country to country. Generally, governments announce various policies to achieve this goal, including financial and non-financial support. In many cases, in order to bring the price of an electric car closer to that of a traditional car, VAT benefits and monetary compensations are used as financial instruments. Both of these measures positively affect the population’s intention to purchase an EV. For example, a survey conducted in Norway revealed that approximately 80 percent of financial support from the government was the main motivator for respondents to buy an EV. Along with financial measures, governments also offer drivers additional benefits, such as the possibility to use bus lanes or free parking for EVs. ISM researchers found that financial support from the state has a greater influence on the intention of Lithuanians to purchase an electric car compared to non-financial state initiatives.


The study confirmed that charging infrastructure is a significant factor for Lithuanians when deciding whether to purchase an EV. Consumers who assume that the public charging infrastructure in their cities is well developed and have the ability to charge their cars at home or at work are more likely to purchase EVs. Charging infrastructure is an important factor influencing the intention of Lithuanian residents to purchase an electric car, but it is not as important as technology, psychological aspects and government support.