Municipalities as promoters of electric mobility? A survey study in Germany
The use of electric vehicles (EVs) has the potential to make the transport system more sustainable and to improve the quality of life in local communities. Municipalities are an important player in the market diffusion of EVs as they can promote and implement electric mobility in various ways, e.g. in their own fleets or municipally-owned companies. They are also in a position to create the conditions that make electric mobility more attractive, not only to local companies, but also residents. This includes supporting the development and expansion of infrastructure, e.g. charging stations. Furthermore, they can act as information brokers and thereby enhance levels of awareness and knowledge. We conducted a survey of 540 German municipalities with 5,000 inhabitants or more, including all major cities in Germany. The survey aimed to examine which fields of action are the most promising from the point of view of municipalities, and which structural factors influence their decision to engage in this topic. We found that electric mobility is an important topic for German municipalities: More than 80% are already active in this field, another 10% are planning activities. To analyse the degree of activity in more detail, we developed an activity index comprising different fields. This indicates that the majority of municipalities are classified as having only an intermediate or low level of activity. Electric mobility is primarily an environmental and transport issue as well as an image issue. The expansion of charging infrastructure and the electrification of municipal fleets are the dominant fields of activity. We identified several structural factors that can help to predict the activity of municipalities in the field of electric mobility. These include variables concerning population, population growth as well as urbanisation and density indicators.