One in four Germans can imagine buying an electric car next, but more than half will stay with the combustion engine. Surprising: more and more people are avoiding public transport. This is shown by a mobility study by TÜV.

The traffic change of the traffic light government has clear guidelines: Electric cars are to replace petrol and diesel engines, buses and trains are to be greatly expanded and bicycle traffic has priority in cities. Above all, the Greens, who set the tone in the coalition, want to restrict private driving. However, a survey of the current mobility behavior of Germans shows how far the traffic light is in many of their plans from the wishes and needs of the citizens.

It starts with the electric car, which is growing in popularity but is not an alternative for the majority. “Despite the current sales boom in electric vehicles, there are still many reservations about electromobility among the population,” says Dr. Joachim Bühler, Managing Director of the TÜV Association, presenting the Mobility Study 2022.

“Compared to our last survey two years ago, the concerns have hardly changed, despite the technical development and state subsidy programs,” explains Bühler, “the fear of range in combination with the charging problem can have a toxic effect on electromobility.”

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According to the TÜV, the currently high sales figures could prove to be a flash in the pan if politicians and manufacturers do not take countermeasures now. Joachim Bühler: “We need an offensive for more charging stations, more targeted funding and more affordable e-cars for everyone. And we need to provide better information about the contribution electromobility can make to environmental and climate protection.” For TÜV, one thing is beyond question: the range of electric cars is already more than sufficient for the mobility needs of most people.

In addition to better conditions for electric mobility, citizens are in favor of various measures. 80 percent call for an accelerated expansion of local public transport and even 82 percent want free public transport. In addition, 70 percent of those surveyed call for an accelerated expansion of the infrastructure for bicycles and 49 percent would like financial support for cargo bikes and e-bikes.

With 56 percent, the majority of the 1000 respondents over the age of 16 spoke out in favor of a speed limit of 130 km/h on motorways – although this result differs when only drivers are surveyed. 49 percent are in favor of tightening the emission limits for cars and even 40 percent are in favor of a speed limit of 30 km/h in cities. However, 55 percent of those surveyed spoke out against it, and a majority also rejected a congestion charge or zero-emission zones.

According to the results of the TÜV survey, the corona pandemic has significantly strengthened the position of the car as the most important means of transport. 72 percent of Germans use a car on a normal working day. This corresponds to an increase of seven percent compared to the beginning of 2020, before the outbreak of the pandemic. 32 percent cycle every working day (plus three points). The bicycle has thus pushed public transport out of second place. 25 percent use public transport on weekdays, a minus of seven points and only five percent drive a motorcycle or scooter. It is interesting that although many of those questioned advocate greater support for public transport, they use it just as much or even less than before.

“Individual transport by car, bicycle or motorbike is winning. On the other hand, many people avoided buses and trains during the pandemic for fear of infection,” says Bühler. But if you ask what is particularly important to people when it comes to their own mobility, flexibility, speed and reliability take the top three places. This is followed by the factors of security, costs, movement and comfort. Protection of the environment comes last – here, too, there is a clear contrast to politics, which almost exclusively talks about the environment and climate when it comes to the topic of “transport turnaround”. Many activities such as shopping or excursions are too difficult for those surveyed without their own car, according to 55 percent of car owners.