New Transportation Technology: Norm Activation Processes and the Intention to Switch to an Electric/Hybrid Vehicle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


Since humans' activities contribute to climate change it is important to change behavior. Switching to a hybrid/plugin/electric vehicle (HEV/PHEV/EV) for personal transport can be one way. In this study the intention to switch to a HEV/PHEV/EV is studied from the theoretical framework of the moral norm-activation theory of altruism (Schwartz, 1977) and the Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) Theory of environmentalism (Stern et al., 1999). Data was collected using a survey to three groups, alternative fuel vehicle owners (AFV, mainly E85/ethanol), fossil fuel vehicle owners (conventional vehicles, CV), and hybrid/plugin/electric vehicle owners (HEV/PHEV/EV). A SEM model was proposed, and tested on the subsamples of CV and AFV owners, of a hierarchical process of influence from the more general (e.g. values) to the more specific (e.g. beliefs, norms) and finally the intention. The results supported the proposed norm-activation model and showed that problem awareness was more influential in the AFV than in the CV group. In addition, a comparison between the three subgroups (CV, AFV and HEV/PHEV/EV) showed that HEV/PHEV/EV owners differed significantly from CV and AFV owners, in that they were more open to change, less conservative, showed a higher problem awareness, self-efficacy, and a stronger personal norm. The results from this study may have implications for future work of increasing the number of electric vehicles on the roads and thereby contribute to less direct emissions from car traffic.


External organisations
  • Umeå University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Psychology
  • Ethics


  • values, beliefs, norm-activation, intention, hybrid, plugin, electric vehicle
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Procedia
Editors Leszek Rafalskia, Adam Zofka
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes
EventTransport Research Arena - National Stadium, Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 2016 Apr 182016 Apr 21
Conference number: 6


ConferenceTransport Research Arena
Abbreviated titleTRA
Internet address

Total downloads

No data available