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July 31, 2019

Buyers Still Aren't Sold on Electric Vehicles

The inaugural J.D. Power 2019 Mobility Confidence Index Study shows that consumers aren’t exactly sold on battery-electric vehicles, despite car manufacturers spending billions to bring them to market. Confidence, in a 100-point scale for self-driving vehicle is just at 55 percent.

“Out of the box, these scores are not encouraging,” said Kristin Kolodge, Executive Director, Driver Interaction & Human Machine Interface Research at J.D. Power. “As automakers head down the developmental road to greater electrification, it’s important to know if consumers are on the same road—and headed in the same direction. That doesn’t seem to be the case right now. Manufacturers need to learn where consumers are in terms of comprehending and accepting new mobility technologies—and what needs to be done.”

The quarterly study will become the pulse of market readiness and acceptance for self-driving and battery-electric vehicles, as seen through the eyes of consumers and industry experts. Sentiment is segmented into three categories: low (0-40), neutral (41-60), and positive (61-100). J.D. Power is joined by global survey software company SurveyMonkey to conduct the study in which 5,270 consumers were polled about battery-electric vehicles.

While consumers, regardless of age, believe that battery-electric vehicles offer positive environmental effects, their level of confidence in them remain ‘neutral’ (overall score of 55). Attributes scoring lowest include likelihood of purchasing an electric vehicle (39); reliability of electric compared to gas-powered vehicles (49); and ability to stay within budget compared to gas, diesel or hybrid vehicles (55).

In addition, while 48 percent believe that the cost of charging electric vehicles compared to the cost of gas is advantageous, 64 percent are still concerned with the availability of charging stations, while 59 percent are concerned about range. 77 percent of respondents expect EVs to have a range of more than 480 kilometers, while 74 percent are only willing to wait 30 minutes or less to charge a vehicle to travel about 321 kilometers.

The survey reveals that experiential programs geared towards EVs is key to make them more widely accepted. Among consumers who haven’t driven or experienced a battery-electric vehicle, only 40 percent are willing to purchase or lease one. This number jumps up to 75 percent for those who’ve owned or leased one. Universally, 78 percent say that tax subsidies or credits would factor into their purchase decision.

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