Working Paper

Income, charging infrastructure, and other factors – What influences private battery electric car uptake in cities? A case study of Stuttgart, Germany

Cities play a major role in the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to battery electric vehicles (BEVs). To better support this shift, it is necessary to understand which factors might influence BEV uptake at a more granular neighborhood level from an equity perspective. This study evaluates the potential correlations between the share of BEVs—as indicated by total new vehicle registrations in city neighborhoods—with sociodemographic factors, charging infrastructure access, and environmental awareness.

Key findings include:

  • Private BEV shares in new passenger car registrations vary across Stuttgart’s neighborhoods. Between 2017 and 2021, the private BEV registration share rose in Stuttgart, however, high and low BEV uptake neighborhoods existed, showing a discrepancy in the transition to BEVs purchased by private individuals. In 2021, the distribution of new private BEV shares ranged from 0% to 66% across the 145 Stuttgart neighborhoods for which data was available. In general, the BEV share has not been equally distributed, with some neighborhoods having consistent levels of uptake and some never registering new private BEV shares above 5% between 2017 and 2021.
  • Neighborhoods with higher average income levels tend to see a higher private BEV share. We find a significant and positive correlation between the net income index (relative to the city average of 100) and the private BEV share. This is the only sociodemographic factor that shows a significant positive correlation.
  • Neighborhoods with better access to home charging (proxied by the share of one- and two-family houses) tend to see a higher private BEV share. The coefficient for share of one- and two-family houses is 0.17, which indicates a positive and significant correlation.
  • Neighborhoods with better access to public charging (proxied by public charging-point density) tend to see higher private BEV shares. A regression analysis shows that the density of public charging points, measured as charging points per square kilometer, also shows a significant positive correlation with the share of BEVs in new private passenger car registrations.