82% of Gen Z will buy a car with a combustion engine. 

This article is part of a series of articles titled “Environment in Danger? Opportunities and Risks From a Young Generations’ Point of View”. Even though 70% of the younger generation think that gluing yourself to the street is not the right way to deal with the current situation, the prevailing feeling is that something must be done about climate change. We asked GrECo’s youngest generation for their opinions.

Despite enormous technological challenges and great progress in the development of electric cars, according to the Ö3 youth study, two-thirds of Gen Z still want to buy the more conventional combustion engine car. This may be surprising to some since it is precisely the “young” or “last generation” that regularly clings to nostalgia and demands no more than “100 km/h on motorways” and “no new oil and gas projects in Austria”, for example. The study went on to find that only 24% of the respondents would be willing to give up their cars in the future (due to climate change).

E-mobility advantages for businesses and the economy

These findings raise the question as to how to sensitise today’s youth to the topic of e-mobility.  Particularly because it opens-up many new economic and occupational opportunities for businesses.   

The long-term environmental and health benefits of electromobility leading to cost savings is widely known, but the advantages go beyond saving the planet and reducing pollution.  From an economic standpoint, we can see that many different sectors are benefitting from the rise of e-mobility:  the sales market for electric vehicles is emerging and growing within the automotive arena, as is the rechargeable battery industry due to the increased demand for powerful batteries; and second-life and end-of-life batteries are offering an opportunity for the reuse and recycling industry. Companies and investors in the field of infrastructure are profiting from electromobility because there’s a tremendous growth opportunity in the development of charging station networks.  Whilst the integration of electric vehicles into the power grid supports the expansion of renewable energies.  What is more, electromobility is increasing the demand for technology and software development for advanced charging management systems and autonomous driving.  When it comes to jobs, all this growth means there are a wealth of new careers in these various industries as new specialised services are opening-up as companies adapt to e-mobility.

All-in-all, the growing trend towards electromobility points to a promising future in economic terms. However, e-mobility isn’t all roses! Alongside the plethora of advantages comes a flurry of new challenges and risks. 

New tech equals new risks for companies.

As with all rapid growth and significant change there are new challenges that arise that we must face head-on and overcome.  E-mobility is no different.  One such challenge is how much pressure the existing and new charging infrastructure will put on the electric grid.  With an increasing number of electric vehicles, the existing charging infrastructure could easily become overloaded, especially in densely populated areas or during large events. This could have a huge knock-on-effect with a power outage effecting businesses and members of the public alike.  It is essential for the energy industry to reinforce the power grid sufficiently to cope with the increasing demand for electricity.

Autonomous driving also presents new concerns. The electrification of vehicles often goes hand-in-hand with the emergence of autonomous driving systems. Still considered in their infancy, this new technology raises questions about safety on the road with some drivers driving manually and others autonomously. The risk of possible technology malfunctions whilst driving or the susceptibility to cyber-attacks are also causing trepidation. 

There has been much debate about the true environmental benefits of electric vehicles.  Yes, they commendably reduce CO2 emissions, but from a sustainability point of view are we causing more damage to the earth through the indiscriminate sourcing of raw materials?  The production of batteries requires the mining of certain raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Sourcing these materials poses environmental and social challenges, such as depleting already dwindling natural resources, pollution from the toxic fumes released during the mining process, the increased carbon footprint to deliver the batteries, and working conditions in the mines.

These risk areas show that the introduction of electromobility is not without challenges. It is important that governments, industry, and society recognise these risks and take appropriate measures to promote sustainable and safe electromobility. Society, particularly the younger generation, also needs to be better informed of just how these measures are being carried out to convince them of how these technological innovations are of a true benefit to the environment and the slowing down of climate change.

Almir Kudic

Account Manager

T +43 664 822 26 54

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