Report: EV market hampered by perceived lack of direct benefits
Globally, most car buyers see electric vehicles as too expensive to buy and maintain.
Despite electric vehicles growing acceptance and the Tesla Model S receiving Consumer Report’s and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s highest ratings, many consumers globally don’t see the direct personal benefits of EV’s, says a study by research firm, GfK.
Covering the USA, China, Japan, France, Spain, and Russia, the study shows that more than half (55%) of respondents have a favorable opinion of EVs and 43% are somewhat or very open to buying one. However, almost a third (31%) are ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ open to the idea of buying one.
In the U.S. in particular, the study found that only 36 percent of intenders have a favorable overall opinion of electric vehicles yet 45 percent are open to considering one, if it were offered in the type of vehicle they are planning to purchase. The main barrier, the report, is that they are seen as having a high purchase price and high maintenance costs. In essence, customers in the US are not willing to pay more for electric cars, and they would also like to see a wider range of choices.
Overall, the top three positive factors associated with electric vehicles are the indirect benefits of low emission / environment friendly (77%), innovative (76%) and quiet operation / less noise pollution (73%). Direct personal benefits of easy to operate (68%) and low energy/fuel cost (65%) come close behind. The top three negative associations are few choices available (67%), limited availability of service / repair locations (64%) and high purchase price and limited battery lifespan jointly at 61%. These were more widely associated with EVs than insufficient driving range (58%) and inadequate recharging infrastructure (57%).
“The different challenges and opportunity in each market become clear when we look at their perception of the main benefits that electric vehicles deliver,” said Don DeVeaux, GfK’s Global Lead for Automotive. “In Japan, which has by far the highest familiarity with EVs, it is the direct personal benefits that are most associated with them, such as ‘easy to operate’, ‘safe’ and ‘reliable’.
“But in the USA, China, Russia, France and, to a lesser extent, Spain it’s the other way around,” he adds. “In these markets, most respondents associate EVs primarily with the indirect benefit of ‘low emissions’ and have little perception of them as delivering direct personal benefits. If manufacturers focus on promoting the direct personal benefits of their electric vehicles in these countries, they will open up significant new opportunities.”