On the heterogeneity in consumer preferences for electric vehicles across generations and cities in China

Youlin Huang, Lixian Qian*, David Tyfield, Didier Soopramanien

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


China is currently the world's biggest electric vehicle (EV) market, in which mostly mature consumers in first-tier cities are buying EVs. However, the changing market and policy environment are challenging the sustainability of this trend. This study conducts a nationwide stated preference (SP) experiment in China to examine preference heterogeneity towards EVs across (1) different generations and (2) different tiers of cities. Discrete choice analysis reveals that the tier of cities has a significant effect on adoption preferences for EVs. Surprisingly, consumers in smaller cities exhibit stronger preference for EVs, while an insignificant difference in preference is found between consumers of different generations. The interaction effect between the tier of cities and the generations further demonstrates that younger consumers in small cities most prefer EVs. This can be explained by their evaluations of the psychosocial advantages of EVs and their aspiration for a future of EV-based mobility. This research contributes to the broad literature of technology adoption, but more specifically, the research offers new insights on consumers’ EV preference heterogeneity with respect to geographic and demographic dimensions. The study has important business and policy implications relating to the EV transition in China in consideration of the two tested dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120687
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • China
  • City
  • Electric vehicles
  • Generation
  • Preference heterogeneity


Dive into the research topics of 'On the heterogeneity in consumer preferences for electric vehicles across generations and cities in China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this