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Thesis hot topic in politicians’ social media

Electric car in urban environment
Photo: Andrew Roberts on Unsplash
Published Oct 19, 2020

"It is cheaper to own an electric car than a petrol-driven car." If you think you’ve seen this headline recently, you’re right: the research of Jens Hagman from KTH's Machine Design has made headlines in almost all news media.

Tweet by Isabella Lövin.
Tweet by Anders Ygeman

The fact that the electric car might be cheaper over a three-year period if you drive at least 1,500 km per year has also spread to our politicians' own social media – among other things, Isabella Lövin (Miljöpartiet) and Anders Ygeman (Socialdemokraterna) make knowledge of the electric car market a virtue.

Jens Hagman, what do you say about the attention?

"I was really surprised, it was not something I expected. But I am very happy that the result of the dissertation have found its way outside the research world, especially to car buyers and politicians where the knowledge can make a real difference".

What does it take for us consumers to choose a car according to the total cost instead of the purchase price?

"My results indicate, among other things, that increased knowledge is needed about why the total cost is important when choosing a car, especially in cases where consumers are considering an electric car. The attention to my dissertation has hopefully made some car buyers think about the total cost.

Increased knowledge is piece of the puzzle, another is to make the total cost analysis more accessible to car buyers – calculating the total cost yourself is both difficult and time-consuming. There is thus good potential to make it easier for the consumer through, for example, the development of cost calculation tools".

Jens Hagman, the Unit of Integrated Product Development.

What does the Swedish car fleet look like in 10 years, what type of cars do you think we have?

"My research doesn’t make forecasts, but if I have to guess it’s likely that battery-powered cars have large market shares at that time. This is driven by increasingly strict regulations in, for example, the EU and China, but also by declining production costs for batteries and other important electric car components.

During the first half of 2020, Sweden had the third highest market share for electric cars (also including plug-in hybrids) in the world. Probably this development will continue even if there are certain aspects that can counteract this, such as a lack of critical metals".

Text: Anna Gullers