DUNTON, ENGLAND - What will the young drivers of tomorrow want in a car? It’s a question that can’t really be answered until the next generation is mature enough to be behind the wheel, but Ford figured it would be a good idea to speak to a sample of children, aged between 8 and 9, to get some insight into their thinking.
The research was conducted in the UK and found that 49% wanted their future car to be powered by electricity, while 17% preferred petrol cars, diesel 10% and gas 7%. Of course, by the time these youths hit the road in 2030, the UK government will have introduced legislation that requires all cars to be electrified.
The Ford Go Electric Future Generation study, as it’s called, found that nearly four in five kids (79%) are looking forward to learning how to drive a car. In fact this generation is so eager to get behind the wheel, that they’ve set their sights on some ambitious features for their dream first car.
What features do they want?
When specifying their perfect wheels, the majority of those surveyed wanted a vehicle that can take to the sky and fly. Comfortable seats were a big priority (36%) as was a good sound system (27%), while almost a quarter (24%) wanted self-driving ability and environmentally friendly features (32%).
The youngsters’ wish list has been brought to life by Ford Senior Exterior Designer, Nedzad Mujcinovic in the form of the Ford Future Generation Concept Car. The electric-powered flying car shows what their dream spec could look like, illustrated in a striking red and black colour scheme which proved to be the most popular combination.
Today’s eight- and nine-year-olds are set to be the first generation of drivers to take their test when all new cars on sale will be electric.
Ford’s research has highlighted their desire to protect the environment as the motivation for embracing electric driving, with 78% agreeing that we have to try our hardest to look after the planet, by being as green as possible. Children ranked electric cars as by far the most environmentally friendly type of car (45%) compared to petrol (21%), while 19% considered electric and petrol as having the same environmental impact.
As Britain drives towards the 2030 electrification deadline, almost three quarters (71%) of young people felt that adults were encouraging them to be environmentally friendly, and conversely adults are aware of the need to be positive role models. Ford’s separate survey of adults aged 18+ revealed that more than 70% of British adults think they have a responsibility to lay the foundation of sustainable mobility for the next generation.
Today’s drivers still reluctant
However, research shows that many drivers of today are still reluctant to make the change to electric. One in five British adults think that the ban on petrol and diesel cars should not come in at all.
And while some cite missing going to a petrol station (1 in 3), the sound of the engine (45%) and changing gear (39%) as barriers to adopting electric, it appears that the need for more guidance is the main factor behind this reluctance. On this, over half of British adults admit they still don't know enough about how to switch to electric cars and almost 40% are worried they will struggle to understand how to drive an electric car.
However, some surveyed are ready to make the move but still believe that more needs to be done to educate the nation on electrification. When asked who should be responsible for this, over half of British adults wanted car manufacturers to educate them on making the switch by 2030, two thirds believe that the government should be educating the public on electrification and almost one in three believe the media has a role to educate the public on banning petrol and diesel.
Alice Swallow, Senior Innovation Engineer at Ford commented: “It’s clear that today’s children have their wonderful imagination, but they’re also sensible at the same time.
“They want their car to fly and be fun, but they’re also very keen on future mobility being sustainable and safe.
“We’ve mocked up how we think this dream car should look. It would certainly grab attention - but we’re not overly sure it will be appearing on our forecourts in the next decade or so.”