Despite pandemic, interest in battery electric vehicles growing in the U.S. and China

A new Auto Global Study reveals consumers are looking for added convenience, advanced technology and nice-looking electric vehicles.

The author(s)

  • John Kiser Automotive & Mobility Development, US
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Ipsos’ new 2020 Global Mobility Navigator Study, focusing on Electrification, found global interest remained on par with the numbers we saw from 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many things to slow down, however, the study reveals there has been an increase in interest in the U.S. and Chinese markets.

This increased interest can be attributed to the greater level of familiarity with battery electric vehicles (BEVs). For instance, over the last few years we have found the highest level of knowledge about BEVs in China. Those consumers who are more familiar are more likely to consider a BEV.

An interesting consumer insight from the 2020 Mobility Navigator Study is that the perceived top benefits of the BEV and the top consumer drivers do not all necessarily align. Globally, vehicle owners and those considering purchasing BEV agree the top benefits of going electric are improving the environment, adding convenience and reducing ownership costs. However, what drives someone to make the purchase is beyond these benefits. Ipsos conducted a regression analysis to reveal the benefits that are most impactful for BEV consideration. The top driver focused on convenience, such as access to public transport / express lanes (carpool, HOV, etc.). After convenience, a nice-looking vehicle proved to be very important. This was followed by a BEV which uses more advanced technology.

By establishing the winning formula as greater knowledge = greater consumer interest, electric vehicle manufacturers must focus their marketing on increasing familiarity with BEVs. A critical component for messaging is tackling the key barriers preventing drivers from adopting a BEV. The study uncovered the top five issues: driving range, affordability, access to charging stations, overall ownership cost and battery life. It is imperative manufacturers address these barriers, because only in doing so, can they increase familiarity and remove any myths and negative perceptions about BEVs. To counteract these concerns, companies should stress the following: many new BEVs on the market do have substantial driving range and are affordable with attractive gas ownership better than gas counterparts, and there is also easy access to charging - especially with home level 2 chargers on the market. After addressing the barriers, the benefits of owning a BEV can be highlighted. These benefits can be presented as a best of both worlds for potential owners. Drivers will not only have the functional benefit of going green, they will also have the emotional benefit of owning a great looking vehicle with advanced technology.

Adopting new technology is a challenge for most consumers, and the bigger the purchase the bigger the challenge for manufacturers. There are few bigger purchases that a consumer will make than that of a vehicle. In order to overcome the unknown of BEVs, consumers need to be educated on the product so they will feel comfortable and confident. Companies should focus on what truly matters to potential buyers and present that information in a consumer-friendly manner. Things like how many miles per charge do you get, how quickly can it charge, how many charge stations are there in my city and how much would the average driver save on gas in one year. This is all relevant information consumers want to know upfront, before considering getting behind the wheel of their very own BEV.

Our Mobility Navigator study provides further insights on what is required such as range limits, charging speeding requirements and what is needed to be competitive in the market. The next 10 years in the automotive industry will see a significant number of new BEVs launched across key vehicle segments and regions. Ipsos can help navigate this highly competitive marketplace to maximise the opportunity for new BEVs coming out.

Look for our next installment in December 2020, which will focus on Shared Mobility. We will measure the impact of COVID-19 on vehicle and mobility usage, as we know ride hailing/public transportation usage has been reduced during this pandemic. Will it increase by December?

For this survey, Ipsos interviewed a total of 22,003 new vehicle owners aged 18-74 in the United States of America, China, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Russia and India.

The author(s)

  • John Kiser Automotive & Mobility Development, US

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