EV Consideration is Up but Skepticism is a Challenge

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on EV Consideration is Up but Skepticism is a Challenge

The first Lightning was a fast V8-powered gas guzzler. The EV is a hit, but limited in sales because of supply chain issues.

New EV entries are responsible for much of the added consideration by shoppers in the US  who are now more likely than ever before to consider buying a fully electric vehicle. These new entries, many from long-established automakers, are turning EV skeptics into likely EV considerers, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study,SM released today.

The percentage of shoppers who say they are “very likely” to consider an EV for their next purchase or lease climbs to 24%, four percentage points higher than a year ago. Several elements are at work in the increase, but the introduction of new electric models, some of which are in an important and largely untapped segment such as pickup trucks, is a primary reason for the increased consumer interest.

“In fact, several new models from perennial mass market brands are at the top of that consideration list. Even so, more remains to be done in terms of transitioning from early to mass adoption. Though the study findings show a shift in favor of EVs, about 76% of new-vehicle shoppers say they are not ‘very likely’ to consider buying one. With new EV model introductions coming at a rapid pace, automakers must continue their efforts to persuade more shoppers to give these vehicles a try,” said Stewart Stropp, senior director of automotive retail at J.D. Power.

One barrier to EV adoption is a shoppers’ living and working environments. There is a substantially higher ratio of shoppers who own their home who say they are “very likely to consider” an EV (27) than those who rent (17%). Not only are homeowners more affluent, on average, but are more likely to be able to charge an EV at their residence. However, 34% of those who indicate they are unlikely to consider purchasing an EV say they lack access to any charging capabilities at home or work.

AutoInformed notes once again that Republican Party opposition to the Build Back Better Bill, which has substantial funding for charging stations needed to help automakers sell EVs, is yet another puzzling position reversal for a party that is now against supporting business?

The Power study, now in its second year, finds that the more vehicle owners drive, the more they are likely to consider an EV. While daily commuters who are encountering higher fuel prices are logical candidates to switch to EVs, those who take frequent vacations and road trips might be assumed to be less likely to adopt EVs. But, like heavy commuters, heavy road-trippers have a higher EV purchase consideration tendency than those who use their vehicles less often for this purpose.

“It could be an indication that frequent drivers are increasingly seeing the advantages of EVs compared with their gasoline-powered counterparts,” observed Power.

auto manufacturers  sales will depend on the ability to convert the large percentage of EV shoppers who say they are “somewhat likely” to consider into actual customers. The study claims there is a key opportunity to accomplish that: expose EVs to those shoppers who have never driven, ridden in or even sat in such a vehicle.

This is also supported by last year’s findings, the 2022 study reveals that firsthand experience with EVs plays an important role in purchase consideration. Only 11% of study respondents who had no personal experience at all with EVs say they are “very likely” to consider an EV. That percentage more than doubles to 24% among those new-vehicle shoppers who have simply been a passenger in an EV and rises to 34% among those who have driven an EV. Owners of EVs are embrace the technology, as 48% of them say they are “very likely” to consider another EV for their next vehicle purchase.

Findings, Recommendations of the 2022 study:

  • EV consideration stronger among premium buyers: Since purchase price continues to play a prominent role in the vehicle purchase process, and because EVs often have higher price tags than their gas-powered counterparts, it is surprising that EVs are finding more favor among premium buyers than mass market buyers. Some 37% of premium vehicle owners indicate they are “very likely” to consider an EV for their next purchase vs. just 21% among those who currently own mass market vehicles.
  • EV consideration by owners of mass-market vehicles on the rise: Though premium vehicle owners remain more likely to consider EVs than owners of mass market vehicles, the owners of mass market vehicles increasingly register an interest in buying an EV. The year-over-year increase in those who say they are “very likely” to consider an EV is up six percentage points among owners of mass market vehicles and up one percentage point among owners of premium vehicles. This suggests some owners of mass market vehicles are receptive to more affordable EVs.
  • More information engenders more consideration: The study reinforces findings from a year ago that a lack of information about EVs is a key factor in shoppers’ rejection of them. Nearly one-third (30%) of rejecters cite a lack of information as a reason for their lack of consideration. Because firsthand experience with EV technology is still not entirely commonplace, shoppers need to be better informed about the ownership experience they offer.
  • EV consideration by geographic location: It is not surprising that new-vehicle shoppers in the West region show the highest proclivity for EV purchase. Some 31% of those in the West say they are “very likely” to consider an EV. The South (26%) tops the Northeast (22%) among those who say they are “very likely” to consider an EV. The North Central is at 22%.
  • Legacy automakers turn in strong showing: Owners of numerous mass market brands express an increased interest in EVs from a year ago. At the same time, owners of several premium brands, including Tesla, express somewhat less interest in making their next vehicle an EV. “Tesla remains a dominant player, but new-vehicle shoppers are proving quite willing to consider EVs from legacy brands,” Stropp said.
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