Are Car Companies Looking in the Wrong Place, When it Comes to Electric Car Buyers?

Are Car Companies Looking in the Wrong Place, When it Comes to Electric Car Buyers?

David Hunt 24/12/2020 6
Are Car Companies Looking in the Wrong Place, When it Comes to Electric Car Buyers?

My good friends at the Fully Charged show, along with "Which?" just conducted a comprehensive survey on attitudes towards electric vehicles, and their future transport opinions, it made for interesting reading.

The key results are below. I'd be interested in your own thoughts, whether already in the eMobilty space or not.

Are electric car consumers really who the carmakers think they are? 

Naturally, car companies will always look to their loyalists in the first instance: but what if those customers are so captivated by combustion engines, that they are last to switch?

If the 'pioneers' and the 'early-adopters' were the 1st and 2nd layers of EV buyers, we are now starting to peel away at the 3rd layer of EV buyers in the UK; the 'early mainstream'. 

These are the ‘EV-curious’ that are actively looking to leap – like the 62.11% of the Fully Charged audience that have yet to convert to a pure EV - and for whom, YouTube videos have quickly eclipsed traditional TV to become 'the test drive, before the test drive'.

After all, why waste valuable resources trying to convert the 4th layer ('late mainstream'), and the 5th layer ('the laggards') when they are not easily persuadable? And in many cases are simply not ready to say goodbye to their gas-guzzlers?

Here are some of the standout statistics from the Fully Charged survey, as sponsored by EV Box and Liberty Charge:

  • The survey was promoted by Fully Charged and Which?
  • 13,181 responses were received over 10 days in late November
  • 1,107 of respondents were unaware of Fully Charged
  • 12,074 of respondents were aware of Fully Charged
  • Only 37.89% of Fully Charged viewers have a battery electric vehicle; while 96.34% intend to purchase a battery electric vehicle as their next car
  • The average Fully Charged viewer is male (95.4%), a medium earner (50.59.%), aged 42, and owns his car outright (69.71%)
  • Fully Charged is a consumer channel, but 14.32% of viewers work within the energy & transport sectors; notably though 25.44% work within technology
  • 96% of Fully Charged viewers are interested in electric cars, 91.62% in clean energy and 89.53% in future technologies
  • The survey asked about changing attitudes in a post-COVID world: of those that said their attitude had changed 96.86% were ‘more/much more’ concerned about their personal environmental impact: 61.42% confirmed they were now ‘less/much less’ interested in train travel;  87.81% ‘less/much less’ interested in flying for business; 80.56% ‘less/much less’ interested in flying for holidays; and 79.34% ‘less/much less’ interested in flying for family reasons.
  • Furthermore, the survey also highlighted changing attitudes to cars; 96.49% are now more/much more interested in electric cars & vehicles; 70.13% of those surveyed saying car usage should be reduced somewhat; 68.98% stated we should switch to smaller or much smaller cars. Additionally, 91.28% confirmed that they were ‘more/much more’ interested in electric bikes.
  • In terms of influence, 54.81% and 62.51% confirmed that their switch to clean energy and electric vehicles respectively was influenced by Fully Charged; 82.22% cited the channel's independence as being of key importance
  • When asked the most important factors to consider when buying an electric car, range, price, speed of charging and technology ranked highest respectively. aesthetic design, brand and acceleration ranked lowest respectively.
  • Of those with pure EVs, 83.03% rated their overall experience of charging EVs as easy or quite easy; pure EV owners confirmed that 84.81% of charging is currently conducted at home; however, only 23.81% charge on a daily basis
  • Furthermore, 50.75% of pure EV owners that charge at home confirmed that they had changed their energy supplier and/or energy tariff as a direct result
  • 54.87% of ALL respondents cited 'environmental' concerns as the primary motivation for switching to electric; ahead of ‘economic benefits’ 18.44%
  • 88.94% of ALL respondents admitted that the advent of electric cars could mean they choose an entirely new brand to those that they have previously preferred

Share your thoughts below.

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  • Adrian Munn

    Electric cars are expensive this is why customers are hesitant to switch.

  • Dan Rowlinson

    Tesla is the only electric car manufacturer that has a strong fanbase.

  • Paul Ritchie

    Production issues are harming the growth of the EV sector.

  • Corey Rawlinson

    Thanks for sharing these findings.

  • Jim Low

    Car companies should improve their pricing strategy to attract more people.

  • Rob Dunn

    Covid-19 changed my perception of electric cars. My next car will be an EV.

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David Hunt

Energy Expert

David Hunt is a prominent figure and thought leader in the clean energy sector. Hailed as a leading green entrepreneur by the Financial Times, David also presents at industry events such as EcoSummit, Energy Storage Europe and Fully Charged Live. David is a frequent contributor to trade publications such as Energy Storage News, Solar Power Portal, PV Tech, Clean Energy News and Smart Cities World. His industry insights have been quoted in UK broadsheet newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph and the Sunday Times. Being well versed in business and economics, he has also lent his voice to the likes of BBC Radio Four and ITV’s 6 O’clock news. A cleantech expert and industry insider, David specialises in the clean energy and eMobility sectors. His drive to accelerate these growing markets led him to set up Hyperion Executive Search Ltd, a talent acquisition company specialising in the clean energy space that incisively places talent where it’s needed. Hyperion has been helping businesses grow and succeed since 2014 and recently expanded its operations in Europe with a new office in Munich. David’s headhunting team now operates across EMEA and the US. Before this, David co-founded an award-winning multi-technology renewable energy installation business, sat as a policy board member with the UK Renewable Energy Association, and was a member of PRASEG (Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group). The ‘This week in cleantech’ podcast is a platform for David and invited experts to share and review the biggest, and most interesting news stories in the cleantech sector each week, providing expert opinion, analysis and insight. It is anticipated that the podcast will be a catalyst for the further growth and development of the cleantech revolution.

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