While proponents of electric vehicles are quick to tout the environmental benefits of switching to electric propulsion, this is a secondary benefit for a solid majority of buyers.
According to a new study commissioned by EV startup Polestar, 55% of those who have purchased a battery electric vehicle list technology, such as infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems, are their main reason for buying. connect.
“The idea of luxury defined by what’s ‘under the hood’ has been superseded in the electric age by the prioritization of seamless connectivity, integration into existing digital ecosystems and good UX design”, said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar North America. “People are turning to electric cars for more than just environmental reasons.”
help the planet
Hembrough said he thinks this is actually good news for the new brand, as it loads its products – such as the Polestar 2 – with a lot of technology.
Previous studies have found a direct link between the desire to help the planet and the purchase of a battery electric vehicle. But that has started to change as the technology expands beyond an initial niche to start becoming mainstream.
The study found that Gen Z buyers – those aged 18 to 24 – were the most likely to list environmental benefits as their top reason for considering an electric vehicle. But even then the figure was only 12%. And that was double the figure for millennials, and three times higher than for baby boomers.
EV sales on the rise
While true EV proponents may still see environmental factors as a key reason to move away from internal combustion technology, they are excited to see the demand for EVs rising for whatever reason.
As recently as 2019, electric vehicles accounted for just 1% of the US new vehicle market. This reached 5% at the end of 2021 – and it has continued to grow this year. Industry analysts, such as Bank of America’s John Murphy, predict that figure could reach 20% by 2025.
But to get there, industry watchers say the industry needs to find other factors that will appeal to potential buyers. It helps to have a broader product line in more market segments, Murphy noted in his annual Car Wars study. More affordable offers should also attract new customers.
But there are other factors that work in favor of plug-in feeding. Unlike the first electric vehicles, the latest generation of models are fast and fun to drive. The Tesla Model S Plaid, for example, is the fastest factory production vehicle ever, launching from 0 to 60 in just 2 seconds. Even mainstream offerings like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Kia EV6 offer launch times as low as 4-5 seconds.
Most new EVs tend to be loaded with technology, including navigation systems that are often only available as expensive options on comparable products. This is essential, as it makes it easier for battery car owners to find the still limited number of public EV charging stations.
Other studies have cited a variety of additional reasons motorists say they buy electric vehicles, including design, roomier interiors – and, in some communities, as a way to foster an image of being hip and cool.
Buyers open to new brands
In a summary, Polestar said the new research found electric vehicle buyers “are also more open to new brands and startups” than when buying conventional vehicles. That, if true, should be good news for Polestar – as well as EV-only rivals like Tesla, Lucid and Rivian.
About 46% of respondents said they have confidence in these new brands of electric vehicles, including 57% of millennials, but only 28% of baby boomers.
Polestar said it turned to an unnamed third-party research company to carry out the study. It was “put into service earlier this year with more than 5,000 electric and internal combustion engines in all 50 US states. The survey asked drivers about the state of acceptance of electric cars, charging infrastructure and the perception of electric car brands when buying a vehicle.
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