Alleviate range anxiety
While EV adoption has taken off in other countries, the U.S. is showing more resistance. There could be a simple reason for that.
Historically, there haven’t been enough charge points. Potential EV customers are concerned with keeping their vehicle juiced up for long trips. For some journeys in the U.S., the lack of charging stations makes this impossible.
Publicis Sapient figures indicate that this remains an issue, with the distribution of the 113,600 charging stations in the U.S. unevenly concentrated in areas where uptake of EVs is already comparatively high, like California.
It’s not that American car drivers are not willing to consider EVs. In September 2020, the VW website famously crashed due to high demand from customers when it launched pre-orders for its ID.4 EV. But American consumers are still concerned that an expensive electric car could leave them stranded.
This sentiment is reflected in the recent Automotive Customer Research Report conducted by Publicis Sapient and Epsilon. According to the data provided by survey participants, charging – both at home and away from home – is the number one concern for potential EV buyers in the U.S. Participants are more concerned about charging electric vehicles on the go (74 percent) than about options for charging electric vehicle at home (26 percent). Close to half of consumers surveyed believe that EVs cost more than gas powered vehicles to operate. Around 50 percent of those aged 35 and above believe that electric costs more than gas powered vehicles to operate, which is higher than the perceptions among 18–34-year-olds (38 percent).
While the figures may look a little bleak for now, there is progress. More imaginative solutions are emerging that will work for the American lifestyle, like locating charging stations at fast food outlets and grocery stores.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Volkswagen has made the jump to new industries entirely to address customer concerns. Elli is VW’s foray into energy utilities, providing domestic energy, home charge point access, as well as access to thousands of charging locations at work, home and VW dealerships. Elli aims to become as ubiquitous as the smartphone, creating an ecosystem that alleviates the anxieties and answers the questions raised by electric car owners and potential owners.
Tesla has also found success with potential EV customers by offering additional services such as charge point installation and access to supercharger stations. In January 2022, the American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Austin, Texas, posted a record fourth quarter for 2021 and full-year earnings, calling it a “breakthrough year” despite supply chain bottlenecks and chip shortages that have beleaguered the entire car industry.
There’s no doubt that Tesla is winning in the EV space in the U.S. EVs are being promoted as a way for people to reduce their individual carbon output, so consumers are more willing to purchase an EV and the go-to brand right now is Tesla. A good reason for the company’s success is that it can change its software and parts configurations quickly, depending on which components are available. Flexibility around car components and customer worries can go a long way to make any EV brand well positioned against competitors.