JD Power Suggests Outreach & Education To Build EV Demand

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As Race to Build EV Demand Heats Up, Automotive Industry Should Focus on Consumer Outreach and Education.

Editor's Note: This article comes to us as an exclusive byline from JD Power, authored by Stewart Stropp.

A broader pool of consumers must be developed quickly over the next few years to expand the market and ensure demand is in place to absorb projected electric vehicle (EV) production capacity. This is one of the central conclusions of the inaugural J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study.

Achieving a critical mass of demand will require joint commitment from all stakeholders in the automotive value chain. Manufacturers and retailers will have to work together to better educate consumers by creating a clear, unified message that resonates with typical consumers. Moreover, the industry would be well advised to move beyond a “going green” message to clearly describe the practical benefits EVs can deliver to enhance the day-to-day lives of those who make the switch from conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) to EVs.

The good news is consumers are receptive to engagement activities and messages about the positive attributes EVs offer. Two key points stand out from the inaugural J.D. Power study:

1) Consumers who experience EVs for themselves are much more likely to buy. Approximately 50% of the car-buying population has never been in an EV. Among those, only 7% indicate a serious interest in replacing their ICEs with EVs. By contrast, when consumers have an opportunity to gain first-hand experience with an EV, their consideration shoots up to 20%.

Almost any experience counts. If a consumer rides in a friend’s EV, an EV taxi or goes for a test drive at a retail location, interest rises. And the numbers are even more impressive among people who have owned an EV. Their consideration jumps to 46%.

2) Lack of information is holding EV sales back. One-in-three respondents in the study state their reason for not considering an EV purchase is a lack of knowledge. Many shoppers are unaware of or understandably confused by the many financial incentives available to encourage EV acquisitions (e.g., tax credits and utility rate adjustments). Nor have they been exposed to the growing infrastructure emerging to enhance the ownership experience, like charging accessibility and capacity.

Strategies to Increase Consumer Education and Advance EV Adoption

 There are several courses of action OEMs, retailers and other stakeholders can take to increase engagement and, ultimately, adoption of EVs.

If the industry expects consumer demand to catch up with the growing EV supply, creative efforts to get potential buyers into these vehicles will be the key to moving beyond early adopters and aficionados.

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Stewart Stropp is a Senior Director of Automotive Retail at J.D. Power and is the author of the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Electric Vehicle Consideration (EVC) Study.

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