Electric Vehicles: Do Consumers Want Them?

Biden’s push for electric vehicles makes environmental sense, but Americans wants the cars to meet their needs.

The author(s)

  • John Kiser Senior Vice President of Automotive & Mobility
  • Mike VanNieuwkuyk Senior Vice President, Automotive Advisory
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On President Joe Biden’s first day in office he signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, reversing the Trump administration. Politics aside, this will have an impact on gas-powered vehicles and their popularity versus electric vehicles. Will the new direction lead to more consumers turning to electric vehicles and an investment in the infrastructure to support them?

Referencing new consumer research from Ipsos’ 2021 Mobility Navigator tracking study, we offer a deep dive into what it will take to drive EV desire and purchase. The good news is: Americans are open to the idea, but…


BIDEN’S PUSHING FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES. DO CONSUMERS WANT THEM?

Americans are open to the idea, but the cars must meet their needs. Here’s the key Ipsos auto data you need to know. 10 February 2021 • On President Joe Biden’s first day in office he signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, reversing the Trump administration. Politics aside, this will have an impact on gas-powered vehicles and their popularity versus electric vehicles. Will the new direction lead to more consumers turning to electric vehicles and an investment in the infrastructure to support them? The issues surrounding electric vehicles arise as Biden considers new MPG standards as targets for the auto industry. These targets will determine what automakers will need to build to meet the MPG requirements. While automakers strive to build vehicles that consumers’ desire and will buy, these regulations and legislations may require automakers to focus on making compliance vehicles.

BIDEN’S PUSHING FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES. DO CONSUMERS WANT THEM? | IPSOS AUTO & MOBILITY 3

These considerations could finally push electric vehicles into the mainstream—and there are other factors that may help this push:

  • Variety of electric vehicle choices across several mainstream competitors
  • More traditional styling of electric vehicles
  • Increase in the variety of electric vehicle utility, moving from sedans to now include SUVs and trucks
  • Affordable prices by automakers
  • Increased general awareness and knowledge of electric vehicles
  • Federal and state electric vehicle incentives
  • National and regional public electric vehicle fast chargers

It’s clear that this trend is on the move. But how do consumers feel about electric vehicles? Here are the main data points to consider. Globally, battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicle sales grew significantly in 2020 versus 2019. This is despite a 14% drop in global sales. We do see a gain of 43% in electric vehicles, with most of the gain coming from Europe. In the U.S., there was a gain of 4% in EV sales, while vehicles’ total sales declined by −15%.

BEV + PHEV sales and percentage growth

Each of these vehicles provides diverse solutions across multiple segments, mainstream and premium price points and alternative brands with a mix of established auto manufacturers and new manufacturers. This will only increase the interest among consumers, who will now have choices and competition in the market beyond the core BEV solutions. The range of choices the last five years included Tesla, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt as the most popular BEVs in the U.S. market. From our Ipsos Mobility Navigator, we observe an increase in electrification consideration by +14% globally from consumers in past and future BEV consideration, plus an increase of +15% for the U.S.

BEV Consideration

Fuel prices are a top issue for today’s consumers. After cratering at the start of pandemic lockdowns last year, gas prices have been rising steadily. As of February 22, the average price of gas in the U.S. was at $2.63 a gallon which is about fully recovered from before the pandemic began a year ago. This could yield a boost in demand for BEVs. Therefore we expect a boom in BEV sales in the next couple of years, based on the following factors: Consumer interest, growing education and availability of BEVs, improvements in charging infrastructure to be built across the U.S., U.S. governmental support with policies and incentives, auto manufacturers offering a variety of competitive BEVs and the rise in gas prices. Expectations are for at least 10% of automotive sales in the U.S. to be BEV and PHEVs in the coming years, with continued growth to over 50% vehicle sales to be a BEV or PHEV in the not-too-distant future. To achieve this growth, continued cooperation needs to happen across the industry and from the government in the form of infrastructure and legislation. Ipsos continues to study the influx and influence of EVs on today’s consumers and monitor the trends affecting the automotive and mobility industry. The 2021 Mobility Navigator will be the fifth year of tracking these key mobility developments and activities. We look forward to sharing our results from this syndicated study.

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The author(s)

  • John Kiser Senior Vice President of Automotive & Mobility
  • Mike VanNieuwkuyk Senior Vice President, Automotive Advisory

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