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Ipsos Auto Global Study: interest in battery electric vehicles growing in the US

Ipsos’ new 2020 Global Mobility Navigator Study, focusing on Electrification, found global interest remained on par with the numbers from 2019. However, the study reveals there has been an increase in interest in the US and Chinese markets.


Source: Ipsos

Ipsos attributes this increased interest can be attributed to the greater level of familiarity with BEVs. For example, over the last few years Ipsos has found the highest level of knowledge about BEVs in China. Those consumers who are more familiar are more likely to consider a BEV.

Ipsos’ John Kiser, Senior Vice President, US Automotive & Mobility, said the same type of correlation between greater familiarity and greater interest can be seen in America.

In the US, knowing a fair amount about BEVs more than doubles consideration for them. Increasing future sales for BEVs will rely on companies improving awareness of their product. The auto industry has seen this need to improve familiarity in the past, with some advanced driver assist features such as ACC and even autonomous driving. A growing consumer awareness led to an increased desire to have them in vehicles.

—John Kiser

The Ipsos 2020 Mobility Navigator Study found 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.

If the winning formula is greater knowledge = greater consumer interest, electric vehicle manufacturers must focus their marketing on increasing familiarity with BEVs, Ipsos said. A critical component for messaging is tackling the key barriers preventing drivers from adopting a BEV.

The Ipsos 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, Ipsos said.

To counteract these concerns, companies should stress the following, Ipsos suggested: 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 own BEV, Ipsos concluded.


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