Eastlink’s Annual Victorian Self-Driving & Electric Car Survey: Latest Results
By Doug Spencer-Roy, EastLink Corporate Affairs & Marketing Manager.
In late 2022, EastLink conducted its sixth Annual Victorian Self-Driving & Electric Car Survey. More than 11,000 motorists who use Melbourne’s EastLink participated in the latest survey, confirming the EastLink tracking survey as the largest of its kind in the world.
The survey shows that hybrid is currently the most preferred power option (across all motorists) and will continue to be the most preferred for the next few years, while 100% electric becomes the most preferred beyond 5 years.
However, purchase cost continues to be by far the largest barrier to owning a 100% electric vehicle, with an increasing proportion of motorists citing this as a barrier from year to year. This is despite the apparently declining price of 100% electric vehicles.
More than two thirds of motorists think that governments should provide incentives to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles.
The survey indicates that while usage of most of the latest driver assist functions is increasing strongly, there are some functions – in particular active parking assistance and automatic lane changing – that are much less popular and not increasing in popularity.
The question now arises, is the reported increase in the usage of most driver assist functions resulting in improvements to road safety statistics such as the number of vehicle collisions and the severity of collision outcomes? And to what extent have previously anticipated road safety improvements been achieved? Further research is needed at a state and national level.
In terms of fully self-driving cars, the results suggest that there is still a significant and increasing amount of scepticism and uncertainty among motorists about the safety and feasibility of these vehicles. For example, there has been a significant decline in the number of motorists who would use hands-off driving on a freeway. The proportion of motorists who would travel as a passenger in a fully self-driving car has steadily declined from year to year. And one in three motorists have the probably unrealistic expectation that fully self-driving cars should be 100% safe and will never be involved in a collision.
This indicates that fully self-driving cars may not be widely adopted, at least until trust in the technology improves.
On the other hand, the results regarding vehicle connectivity suggest that there is strong latent demand for cars that are connected to data networks for various applications such as traffic warnings, road condition warnings, vehicle security, automatic emergency assistance, and entertainment. This suggests that future cars are likely to be increasingly connected and equipped with various features that can enhance safety, convenience, and entertainment for drivers and passengers.
In summary, the EastLink survey indicates that hybrid power will continue to be a more preferred power option than 100% electric over the next few years, with 100% electric becoming more preferred in the longer term. Motorists are rapidly adopting most of the latest driver assist functions. Motorists want future cars to be more connected and equipped with a range of new features and capabilities. However, fully self-driving across a range of formats and driving scenarios will take longer to gain widespread acceptance and adoption.
EastLink is proud to be a member of CCAT. As the findings show, there is still much to be done to bring the public along for the journey when it comes to self-driving technologies in particular, and we support CCAT’s work as a public champion in this space.
More detail about the survey findings is below.
The survey shows that hybrid and 100% electric vehicle power options are becoming even more preferred by motorists as compared to petrol and diesel. Hybrid is the most preferred power option for the next few years, while 100% electric is expected to become the most preferred power option for vehicles beyond 5 years.
However, purchase cost, lack of charging facilities away from home, and vehicle range before re-charging continue to be the main barriers to owning a 100% electric vehicle. More than two thirds of motorists think that governments should provide incentives to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles.
Overnight charging facilities are seen as a less significant barrier. Most motorists said they park their car overnight in their private garage or on their private driveway, leading to two thirds of motorists having these as their preferred charging locations.
Driver assist functions
The survey provides important insights into the usage and desirability of driver assist functions.
The findings suggest that while the usage of most driver assist functions is increasing strongly, there are some functions – in particular active parking assistance and automatic lane changing – that are much less popular than others.
Meanwhile, speed sign recognition stands out as the only driver assist function that motorists have said they increasingly want each year since 2017.
Fully self-driving cars
The survey indicates that there has been little change in motorists' knowledge of self-driving cars since 2017, with half of all motorists continuing to think they have no knowledge or very little knowledge.
However there has been a significant decline in the number of motorists who would use hands-off driving on a freeway. Motorists are less likely to want their next vehicle to be able to drive itself across a wide range of scenarios. And the proportion of motorists who would travel as a passenger in a fully self-driving car has also declined from year to year – even if the vehicle has a driver constantly monitoring and ready to take control.
These factors suggest that in relation to self-driving cars, motorists’ remain firmly in the Gartner Hype Cycle’s "trough of disillusionment."
Furthermore, one in three motorists have the unrealistic expectation that fully self-driving cars should be 100% safe and will never be involved in a collision. This is virtually unchanged since 2018, and is a significant barrier that will need to be overcome.
The survey shows that the majority of motorists want their next car to be connected to a data network for traffic and road condition warnings, as well as vehicle security applications.
Half of motorists want their next car to have automatic emergency assistance, and 40% want it to be connected to a data network for entertainment, toll information, and payment.
This reveals a latent demand for future applications that can be enabled through vehicle connectivity.
Further results can be found at Annual Victorian self-driving & electric car survey: latest results (eastlink.com.au)