What do people really think of charging?
Alan McCleave, Region Manager UK & Nordics
The age of the electric vehicle has been a long time coming: since people first started looking seriously at how EVs might one day be our main way of getting from A to B, there have been decades of research and development to get us to where we are today. Now, we’re on the brink of EVs becoming mainstream, with car manufacturers laying out timelines to turn their production towards EVs and consumers around the world seeing an EV as their next vehicle of choice. NewMotion set out to uncover trends amongst prospective EV buyers and understand their fears and motivations for making the switch.
Here in the UK, after a very difficult year for the automotive industry, BEV sales rose by two-thirds in 2020 to over 108,000, and EVs overall outsold diesel cars for the first time. For our climate targets, this is not a moment too soon: the British government is expecting to phase out sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, and the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow at the end of the year is expected to level up everyone’s emissions targets.
After speaking to 2,000 British drivers, we identified six clear buying groups with their own different attitudes to charging, from Happy Optimists focused on safety and practicality to Responsible Organisers focused on cost and reliability. Through identifying their motivations for buying an EV and charging solutions, and combining these with their lifestyle and habits, we can see strong trends appear.
The average buyers of EVs and charging solutions are changing and for the first time, they are not a technology enthusiast or someone with a consciously climate-friendly lifestyle, but just someone who wants the best way of getting to work, doing the shopping, and taking their kids to school. But there is a knowledge gap around how much of a behavioural change will be required for drivers switching to electric.
The next million EV drivers will probably not have thought about how EVs will change their driving habits more than any other vehicle they’ve ever bought. Moving to an EV means moving to a new way of thinking about your vehicle, and how it is powered, while recognising this can be an improvement: less time spent filling up at petrol pumps and considerable savings on fuelling costs. Getting home charge points right, and talking to people about on-the-go and destination charging, will be important in making the EV switchover as smooth and fast as possible.
To fill this need drivers will require education, help, and advice on charging and from the research it’s clear that drivers can benefit from different approaches to the charging discussion. For the much larger EV market now opening up, this work gives us real data that shows how best to speak about charging. For OEMs, it shows how charging raises its own set of questions, even after a consumer has bought into the idea of EV ownership. For dealerships, it shows how they are expected to take the lead on enabling charging and the opportunity they have to add value for their customers. And for charging providers like us, it gives us fresh insight into how we can help guide people to a cleaner, smarter energy future.
If you would like to read our full findings and see what the consumer perspective on charging might mean for you, you can find our report here.