WIT Press

Do Sparsely Populated Rural Areas Have The Potential For The Use Of Electric Vehicles?


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WIT Press


A. Mann, K. Klopsch, L. Bieker & M. Wölki


After a hundred years of developing combustion engines for cars, electric mobility is on the horizon of reaching a technological turning point in the history of the mobility sector. The gear’s electrification is a key element in sustainable mobility. The dependence on oil will be reduced and emissions will be minimized. Therefore, on May the 3rd 2013 the National Platform for Electric Mobility (NPE) was launched in Berlin, by the Federal Chancellor in order to boost electric mobility in Germany and accelerate the commercialization of innovative electric vehicles. By 2020, one million electric cars shall be driving in Germany. Demonstration activities, fleet trials and pilot operations are performed in various cities around the world. However, do sparsely populated, rural areas also have the potential for the use of electric vehicles? In applying the example of Germany, this study recorded the current situation of households and their needs concerning mobility in small towns and rural regions. These mobility requirements were compared with the capabilities of electric vehicles. Furthermore, the following questions were answered: How many people live in rural areas? How is the age structure? What is the modal split? Which patterns of commuting can be identified? Do the licensed driver’s quota, the level of motorization and the availability of private parking differ from the urban space? Finally, do these factors facilitate or impede the use of electric vehicles in small towns and rural areas? These considerations were followed by the development of possible sale scenarios, which are based on the cost structure and range of electric vehicles on the one hand, and conventional vehicles with combustion engine on the other hand. Finally, the potential use of electric vehicles in small towns and rural areas is assessed, as well the federal government to have one million electric vehicles on Germany’s streets by 2020.


electric vehicles, sustainable mobility, sparsely populated and rural areas, potential analyses, break even analysis, e-mobility.