Electric charging, children GettyImages-185716558

Children are already driving the EV revolution, despite not yet being able to get behind the wheel themselves, a new global survey has found.

Conducted by ABB E-Mobility, which describes itself as a world leader in EV charging solutions, the survey revealed that children not only educate their parents on environmental issues and admonish them for their lack of eco-friendly behaviour, but also contribute to discussions around major purchases such as electric vehicles.

The study comprised 2,500 parents (with children aged 8-16) and 2,500 children (aged 8-16), of which 10% were from the UK. The other international participants represented ABB E-mobility’s nine other largest markets: Canada, China, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US.

Its key findings, released for the recent World EV Day, reveal the crucial role that the next generation has to play in helping reduce emissions and enable a more sustainable future.

Oliver Johnson, business development manager for ABB’s EV charging solutions in the UK, said: “It is encouraging to see that young people in the UK feel excited to drive electric vehicles when they are old enough, and that they feel they have a say in their parents’ choice of car.”

“In 2030, the UK will stop sales of petrol and diesel vehicles and 300,000 public chargers will be available, as well as countless private chargers. That’s only eight years away, the same age as an average car, which makes buying an EV an investment in the future as well as being the right thing to do, which is why we have committed to an all-electric fleet under our ABB Sustainability Strategy 2030.”

With over eight out of 10 UK parents (82.8%) and three-quarters of UK children (75.6%) considering the current global environmental situation to be bad – more than the global average – the company said the survey revealed a good deal of intergenerational interaction over the causes of climate change and the steps towards mitigating it. To that end, 49.8% of UK parents said that they have been educated by their children on environmental issues.

Three in five UK children (60%) say that they want to drive an electric vehicle when they are old enough and have passed their driving test. This is more than the global average of 52.4%. Around a quarter of UK children (26.8%) want to drive a hybrid and just 13% want to get behind the wheel of a petrol or diesel car.

With 70.8% of UK children responding that they believe they influence their parents’ purchasing decisions over big ticket items like changing the family car, it is perhaps unsurprising that 80.2% of parents said they would switch to an electric or hybrid model if they were to buy a new car in the next three years. More than half of UK parents (52.4%) also believe that an EV is a better financial investment than a petrol or diesel car.

Other topics covered in the global survey further revealed both the momentum towards e-mobility and areas in which work remains to be done. More than 8 out of 10 UK parents (82.6%) said that having an EV charger – such as ABB’s Terra AC wallbox - installed would make them more likely to buy a property, demonstrating the importance of facilitating easy and convenient charging.

Room for improvement remains, however, with 56.6% of UK parents revealing that their company’s policies do not support a switch to EVs. As the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that EVs will represent 30% of vehicles sold globally in 2030, it is expected that charging at home and the workplace will be critical in meeting much of the overall demand in addition to a ninefold expansion of public chargers to over 15 million units worldwide by the end of the decade.

With the next generation already excited about the journey to electrification, and their parents increasingly coming on board, it is clearly vital that older generations in positions of influence catch up and take the bold decisions needed to support change now.

For its part, ABB has committed to transitioning its entire global fleet of more than 10,000 vehicles to EVs by the end of the decade as part of its 2030 Sustainability Strategy. In the last year alone, the number of charging stations installed at ABB sites increased by almost 100%, from 545 to 1,082. These are split globally across 146 locations in 27 countries. Additionally, in 2021, EVs or plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) accounted for 44% of ABB’s global new vehicle orders.