Electric Vehicle Consumer Research: Interest And Sentiment

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The latest research on consumer sentiment for the electric vehicle market (EV’s) offers some astounding insight based on the US and European markets. 

Electric vehicles is promoted as being good for the environment, notwithstanding the fact that Chinese owned Volvo reported a much larger carbon footprint in producing EV’s VS fossil fuel vehicles. Consumers however look at other factors such as their immediate environment and city air pollution affected by combustion engines and brake dust (PM2.5). 

As the Lexus / Toyota brand reclaims to top position for being the most trusted vehicle even in the EV space in America, with European consumers split between Volkswagen and Mercedes, the fact is that Tesla moved swiftly to be an early-mover also in the European market. But what is the current consumer sentiment surrounding preferred EV brands and adoption?

Newstrail conducted research among more than 9000 consumers in Europe and the U.S. with the results as follows: 

Research Snapshot:

There are real benefits in switching to electric vehicles
Real benefits in switching to EV 92%
Willing to spend an additional $10K for cleaner air in their city
Cleaner Air 35%
Does not agree with price disparity of EV's VS Fossil fuels
Price not rational 48%
Believes EV's should be made compulsory by 2025
EV's should be compulsory by 2025 22%
Tesla will remain the market leader in US
Thinks Tesla will remain the market leader in the US 30%
Tesla will become the market leader in Europe
Thinks Tesla will become the market leader in Europe 5%
Conventional Automakers With Distribution Networks Will Rule The EV Market
Believe that conventional automakers will rule the EV market 65%

Range & Charging

Range limitations and remote charging facilities represent a big perceived deterrant to consumers

Cost

The cost of buying, where often a $10K premium is charged for EV's, is also a deterrant to consumers

Research on EV’s revealed the following 7 interesting results based on specific questions posed to consumers:

Do you see real environmental benefits from driving an EV?

The majority of interviewees, 92% thought that there were real benefits notwithstanding claims by Volvo that it produces a bigger carbon footprint to produce an EV compared to a conventional car. Awareness of health issues like Asthma and other diseases linked to inflammation were particularly influential in reaching this decision. This was rather persuasive alongside climate change awareness, although for many correspondents, health concerns in polluted cities outweighed the issue of climate change. 

Are you willing to spend an additional $10K when buying a new vehicle in order to ensure cleaner air in your city?

35% Of respondents were willing to spend an additional $10K when purchasing a new car to ensure it has full EV capabilities and environmental benefits. The majority still believes the price tag is too heavy. 

Do you believe the price disparity between EV’s and conventional vehicles is justified?

Around 48% believes that it is justified given that it is new technology. A deeper analysis shows that not many are aware of the strategic importance of Lithium and how global powers are competing for the resource.  For example, the average consumer is not aware of the potential role that the Taliban, China and Russia may play in the future availability of Lithium – hence consumers do not necessarily appreciate the cost associated with EV resources.  

For the sake of health and the environment, do you believe all new vehicles should be EV’s by 2025?

Largely as a result of cost implications, only 22% of respondents believed that all new vehicles should be EV’s by 2025. A sub segment of users indicated that if no cost difference was present, the preference may have exceeded 80% among the general population. 

Do you believe Tesla will remain the market leader in the U.S? 

Around 30% of Americans believe that Tesla will retain it’s market dominance in the US despite the fact that conventional automakers such as General Motors, Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW and Toyota are switching to EV’s. The brand trust and distribution networks of conventional automakers were cited as a big reason for this. 

Do you believe that Tesla will become the market leader in Europe?

Despite the fact that Tesla moved early in the European market, due to it’s absence from the scene until recently, only 5% of Europeans believe Tesla will become the market leader in Europe. 

Do you believe that conventional automakers with existing distribution networks will rule the EV market?

65% Of US and European consumers believe that conventional automakers will simply transition to EV’s and that these brands will continue to command  the majority share of the general car market

Sentiment analysis:

Consumers are slowly becoming more aware of the strategic importance of Lithium in powering the future of EV’s. Whereas Chile, Australia and Argentina contain the worlds’ largest current lithium reserves, the untapped lithium reserves of the world is largely in Afghanistan. 

Health and environmental aspects of EV’s are the most persuasive in generating demand. Whereas climate change impacts are questioned due to the manufacturing carbon footprint of EV’s, clean air in cities where EV’s are driven but not produced, is becoming a predominant factor. 

Additional research sources:

Technology development for electric vehicles:

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/13/1/90

EV’s and carbon footprint reduction:

https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/13/10/2602

Big data and consumer sentiment towards EV’s:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0019850118307557

Disclaimer:

The following research was conducted by Newstrail. It is made available free of charge, and has not been sponsored by any automaker or government. It is not intended to guide any investment decision-making, and was only conducted with respect to Europe and the United States of America. 

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