EV buyers are more likely to trust established automakers based on new EV startups such as Tesla and Rivian, but the current crop of product expectations is falling short, according to a new Escalant survey.
More than a third (35%) of survey respondents favored buying an EV from an established automaker, with only 24% indicating that they would look to one of the new specialist EV firms to purchase their first electric car. A further 41% of respondents were undecided.
According to the survey, the top five features that consumers want in an EV are: reliability, good value for money, latest security technology, cheap maintenance and innovative features and technology.
2022 Kia EV6
However, only 5% to 31% of respondents felt that any automaker was providing in any one of these five features. Respondents were also more aware of specific brand specific EV models than established automakers.
We should keep in mind that these data come from national samples of “mainstream car owners” and “luxury car owners”, which are not necessarily weighted to reflect the actual population of ordinary EV buyers.
One of the major differences between these responses and past surveys is the lack of range between the top-five features that customers value the most. Range has been named the top priority in most surveys in the past.
2022 Tesla Lineup (Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.)
Tesla buyers also have a well-known reputation for brand loyalty, although an earlier survey found that they also cross-shop. That said, Tesla sold 78% of its battery-powered electric cars in California in the first quarter of 2022, so the positive perceptions consumers have about other automakers have not yet translated into sales growth.
EVs are more than just the vehicles themselves rolling out. Part of the issue may be charging or education charges. Tesla’s mature network of public charging stations remains a major advantage for the company.
All car manufacturers must address a large number of customers who have never experienced an electric car. A 2020 survey found that 70% of Americans had never been to an EV, and that many similar obstacles persisted almost 25 years after General Motors launched the EV1 in the 1990s.