But lack of public charging infrastructure prevents people from placing orders.

A new joint report by TNS Sinotrust and China Auto Finance magazine showed that 60% of all surveyed potential car buyers said they were either “plan to buy pure EV (electronic vehicle)” (14%) or “will consider to buy, but will not buy in near future” (46%).

The underpinning finding of the report suggests that the lack of public charging infrastructure is the most apparent bottleneck that prevents the massive potential of pure EVs from being realized.

In the key factors that influences the purchasing decision, “the range of battery, charging time and ease of charging” (87%) is on top of the list. In contrast, “brand, price, tax reduction/government subsidy” (48%) ranked only third, lower by nearly 40 percentage points.

For those who have actually driven in a pure EV, the biggest complaint is “there are too few public charging stations or piles in the city” (70%).

In terms of expectation for governments’ actions, “accelerate infrastructure construction” (62%) also outperforms “give bigger pure EV purchasing subsidy” (58%) to become the potential buyer/existing owners’ biggest appeal for the government.

And for those who are not considering buying an EV, two out of the top three reasons are related to driving distance and charging, ie. “battery range is too limited” (69%) and “no convenient to charge” (41%).

The report has also found that first-hand experience is the most efficient method to boost purchasing consideration. For those who have had driven a pure EV, the proportion of “planning to buy” is 10 percentage points higher than those who’ve never driven one (16% vs 6%), while that of “will consider to buy, but will not buy in near future” is 11 percentage points higher (55% vs 44%).

The major methods to get such a driving experience, except driving one’s own EV (29%), include “rent” (32%), “test drive” (24%) and “corporate vehicle” (15%).

Many consumers now hold a positive attitude towards pure EVs’ future, and its sales have had significant growth in general. But our research has shown that to enhance buyers’ purchasing intention further, automakers should encourage EV rental business, create more opportunities for people to test drive pure EVs and have their first-hand experiences.

As for the government, it should accelerate the construction of charging infrastructure, especially in public leisure venues, and roll out a unified standard for charging facilities. These measures can fully unleash people’s demand for EVs which has been held back for various reasons.