Insights into EV Consumer Behavior

Insights into EV Consumer Behavior

J.D. Power published their study on the slow adoption to consumers purchasing battery electric vehicles (BEVs). While consumer demand is improving and automakers are providing supply, it’s still compared when compared the overall retail market. The study data shows that BEVs only make up 2% of new vehicles sold in the US last year.

The study is aimed to assist the automobile industry in understanding the slow uptake in owning or leasing all-electric cars. The survey offered insightful results into consumer behavior and consumer knowledge in EV awareness, right down to EV models. The research found that about 27% of US consumers would likely purchase an EV within the next 4 years but the same tally of people have no intention to the next four years, while almost the same amount have no intention of becoming future EV owners.

People who do own electric owners are great ambassadors for promoting electric vehicles and they will play a strong role in expanding consumer acceptance. Early EV adopters have high levels of satisfaction with their EVs, regardless of quality issues that surface. But broader market adoption needs deeper understanding by manufacturers.

So, what are the critical components that affect EV ownership? The study lists the initial cost outlay of EVs, range anxiety, and charging accessibility as the key factors that strongly affect consumers’ decisions to purchase EVs.

At the top of the list, the availability and convenience of charging stations that are the biggest obstacles. However, even as public EV charging networks are expanding, a lot of EV owners have shown preference to home charging. But a lack of Level 2 home charging is seen as a big roadblock in getting widespread enthusiasm.

Tesla was the first carmaker to realize the significance of home charging as part of the EV ownership experience and now other automakers are starting to acknowledge this too. Audi and General Motors are making moves in this area to provide and/or subsidize home charging installations for certain model purchases.

J.D. Power’s study also found that over a quarter of consumers who are considering getting an EV would choose Tesla as their first choice. The only reason they would look at other brands would be because of better performance, a cheaper purchase, or better features.

J.D. Power’s Senior Director, Stewart Stropp, said, “Right now, the projected BEV supply outweighs consumer interest. And for every new-vehicle shopper seriously considering BEVs, there’s another at the opposite end of the spectrum. To avoid a potential ongoing inventory surplus, it behooves manufacturers and retailers to identify why shoppers in the middle ground aren’t completely sold on the technology, and how to get them over the hump into the ‘very likely’ consideration camp.”

The study also identified that a consumer’s first impression of an EV is key to their purchasing decision. Survey respondents who had an opportunity to ride in an electric car are about 3x more likely to purchase an EV compared to those who have never been in one. Tesla Technoking, Elon Musk must have had foresight into this and so offers incentives to Tesla owners in referral programs.

Stropp said, “Anything stakeholders can do to get more people into electric vehicles, whether it’s experiential events, take-home test drives or other proactive efforts, will help break down the preconceptions people have about BEVs and drive higher consideration.”

The study was driven by Plugshare, the company that has an EV app to collection experience ratings by EV owners. So, part of the study looked at the overall experience with using public charging stations, as well as the location of the charger, convenience, speed, and payment processing.

The US Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study is a new industry benchmark for gauging EV shopper consideration. Survey respondents for the study included 9,030 U.S. new-vehicle intenders in market to purchase or lease within 12 months. The survey was fielded December 2020-January 2021.