Expanding the electric vehicle experience
How can the automotive industry drive broad-based consumer adoption of EVs?
This question of how to spur consumer adoption was at the heart of our latest Ignition series, which consisted of events in Los Angeles and Brussels. The debate in the sessions began with the premise that the success of EV adoption is no longer dependent on battery technology, concept vehicles or demonstration projects.
Rather, adoption will occur as consumers are able to insert this transportation solution easily into their lives.
Four EV adoption themes
To gain insight from the EV community into what needs to be done to accelerate EV adoption, the Ignition series discussion agenda was built on four major themes:
- Articulating a net positive value proposition for EVs that will accelerate consumer adoption. A comprehensive value proposition for electric vehicles (EVs) has not yet been articulated to potential buyers. To date, the current value proposition, focused on “greening” automobile transportation, has sparked sales to early adopters but has failed to encourage mainstream consumers to embrace EVs. The industry needs a competitive, net positive value proposition that will allow EVs to win in the market.
- Aligning sales and marketing approaches with the needs and culture of the consumer. As a new product category, EV purchases tend to be even more emotive and cultural than those of traditional ICE vehicles. The EV industry has an opportunity to design and market products in new ways to tap into the broader consumer market. Our ignition session participants pointed to fundamental strategy gaps and flaws in marketing the current generation of EVs. It’s the marketing, not the machine, that is holding back wider consumer adoption, they said.
- Addressing consumer range anxiety and recognizing greater control in fueling. Lack of standardization in areas such as EV-charging infrastructure, billing, software, and definitions of fuel economy and vehicle range is creating consumer uncertainty that inhibits sales. Common standards and definitions are needed to help the EV sector grow, both by increasing consumer confidence and demonstrating the vehicle’s total cost of ownership advantage. Equally, the concept of control in fueling enabled by EVs has not been fully exploited. Consumers have more control of time, infrastructure and, in some regions, cost when charging an EV than when fueling a conventional ICE vehicle at a gas station.
- Improving stakeholder knowledge sharing to promote the dissemination and implementation of best practice developed worldwide. EV deployments are taking place around the globe, yet successes and lessons learned are not being widely shared. Connecting the wider EV community to disseminate leading practices can speed deployment and help to avoid potential setbacks. So can creative partnerships across the EV value chain.