Conclusions — “no regret” moves to create more EV-minded consumers
The message for OEMs and dealers looking to encourage more buyers into an EV is clear: The middle ground is likely to prove the most fertile. The segments that are most open to becoming more EV minded — and more likely to buy an EV for their next car — are the Persuadables and the Considerers, the two largest groups.
But while our data shows these consumers represent the easiest wins when it comes to “trading up” a segment, it is also important that attempts to woo buyers do not focus only on the middle ground at the expense of the extremes. EV Reluctants and Skeptics may be more cost-focused, more reluctant to pay a premium for an EV and have more entrenched views about the environment and climate change, but in the longer term, they still represent a substantial potential market. Likewise, at the other end of the spectrum, many EV Enthusiasts may already have made the jump, but they have a valuable role to play as evangelists and customer advocates.
There are three key areas in which “no regret” moves can be made to encourage consumers across the board to trade up to a more EV-positive mindset.
Low awareness of the day-to-day practicality of EVs – in the shape of concerns over usability, reliability and comfort – hold back many consumers, particularly those whose awareness or experience of current improvements in vehicle performance and infrastructure is limited or out of date: Skeptics and Reluctants.
Worries about inadequate battery performance and range are also a key negative influence for Considerers in particular.
Raising awareness by providing clear, accurate and impartial information about life with an EV, and how battery performance can be optimized through good driving and charging practices, should help these consumers to understand that they would be more satisfied with the performance of the latest EV models than they realize.
The view that access to EVs is limited to those who are happy to shoulder a greater cost burden is a key influence on Skeptics, Reluctants and Persuadables in particular. Perceptions of high up-front purchase costs and potentially large ongoing liabilities such as battery replacement make an EV look like a high-risk choice these budget-conscious consumers can’t afford to make.
OEMs and dealers can help address these concerns by offering alternative ownership models and “smart financing,” such as rental and lease to own, to provide greater certainty over the cost, affordability and low financial risk of joining the EV club. Many OEMs are also exploring offering subscriptions on EVs and even the batteries, aimed at encouraging the EV-curious to test the ownership experience with minimal financial commitment.
OEMs can further alleviate cost-of-access concerns by providing a wider choice of mid-market and budget EVs with “good enough” rather than market-leading performance.
All five segments are — to a greater or lesser extent — uncertain as to what to expect from life with an EV. Even consumers who are already among the more EV minded have lingering concerns over charging performance, range and cost. OEMs and dealers can help manage these expectations by providing transparent, realistic and granular information on the performance of all their models. What kind of ranges and charging times can owners realistically expect to achieve, and under what conditions?
The use of digital tools to help estimate range and to plan longer trips can also help establish clearer expectations and manage range anxiety, while consistent communications around the lower total cost of ownership of EVs in the long term can help alleviate cost worries among Persuadables and Reluctants in particular.
The EV sales victory will go to those who can stimulate demand by providing the appropriate nudges at each stage of the customer journey and encourage consumers to trade up a segment — so that an EV Reluctant becomes an EV Persuadable, an EV Persuadable becomes an EV Considerer and an EV Considerer becomes an EV Enthusiast.