A US study conducted by Cox Automotive has concluded that collaboration between Dealers and automakers is the key to widespread adoption of EVs.
The Cox Automotive Evolution of Mobility: The Path to Electric Vehicle Adoption Study reports that, without collaboration between the two groups, clearing up the common misconceptions facing electric vehicles (EV) could delay widespread adoption.
Almost 100 new electrified models are scheduled to arrive on the US market over the next few years.
Cox Automotive surveyed 2,503 consumers – divided into EV Owners, EV Considerers and EV Non-Considerers – as well as 308 franchised Dealers. The aim was to explore the gap between consumers’ and Dealers’ barriers and expectations with current EV realities in the US.
The study found that US Dealers do not feel a sense of urgency to sell EVs due to a lack of inventory levels, perceived profits and OEM support. Dealers said they needed more education, marketing and sales support from automakers to ensure preparedness to sell and service EVs, while greater public charging infrastructure was seen as critical to increase EV penetration.
“One third of Dealers pointed to the lack of OEM sales and marketing support and poor sales training as a challenge,” the report said.
“Among Dealers who are receiving support, only one-third of them find it helpful. Additionally, only nine percent of Dealers feel OEMs are exerting pressure to hit certain EV sales targets, decreasing the urgency for the dealership.”
The study did find, however, that “with the right education and technology in place”, EVs had a bright future.
Cost and battery remain the biggest consumer and Dealer barriers to EV adoption. More than three quarters (77 percent) of those considering buying an EV, and 87 percent of those who weren’t, believed the initial costs for EVs were “somewhat or much more” than internal combustion engine vehicles.
However, Cox reported that the difference in price between EVs and petrol/diesel-powered vehicles was closer than most people thought – and was getting closer.
“In tracking average transaction price, EV pricing has only minimally increased in the last seven years, while pricing for new internal combustion engine vehicles has spiked almost 19 percent,” the report said.
“EVs could become even more attractive and affordable with the application of new rebates and other EV-focused purchasing incentives.”
Almost all EV considerers (98 percent) believe it is less expensive to own an EV, with 65 percent thinking there are cost savings to fuel/charging and 54 percent thinking there are cost savings to maintenance.
“Consumer awareness and consideration are likely to rise with more inventory, more variety and affordability coming to the EV category in the next several years,” the report said.
“With these new models, consumers are also hoping for more performance and technology, particularly around autonomous and safety features.”