J.D. Power Survey Reveals Automakers Aren't Doing Enough to Draw Consumers to EVs
More automakers are coming out with electric vehicles and self-driving technology and even starting to market both of those emerging pieces of tech. It's a smart move to try to get the word out on electric vehicles and driver-assist features, as a lot of consumers don't know about either.
Investing billions into the technologies won't mean much if consumers don't understand why or how they work and don't see the purpose of spending a lot more money on modern cars with the tech. Unfortunately, automakers are in a gray area right now.
Scores Remain Stagnant
According to the J.D. Power 2019 Q3 Mobility Confidence Index Study, the Mobility Confidence Index is 36 (on a 100-point scale) for autonomous cars and 55 for electric cars. These scores aren't good and they haven't changed over the past three months.
"It was a little surprising to find consumer sentiment about self-driving vehicles and electrification has stayed flat, but it shows that consumers are really steadfast in their opinions about new mobility technologies right now, regardless of how close they are to being available for purchase," said Kristin Kolodge, Executive Director, Driver Interaction & Human Machine Interface Research at J.D. Power. "This isn't necessarily bad news for automakers; rather, it shows the areas where consumers need to be better-educated and gives manufacturers the chance to correct their course on the path to eventual production."
Electric vehicles are here now, so it's surprising to see J.D. Power's findings reveal that consumers don't test the tech. In J.D. Power's study, the organization found that EV ownership greatly affects whether consumers will consider an electric car to purchase.
Roughly 60 percent of consumers that have owned an EV stated that they were "extremely likely" or "very like" to get another one. Conversely, 59 percent of respondents that have never been in an EV claimed that they wouldn't purchase or lease an EV. Although, the survey revealed that tax credits or subsidies would factor into a decision to purchase an EV.
EVs Remain Mysterious
It's important to note that out of all the people that J.D. Power surveyed, only 4 percent have owned an electric vehicle. The majority of respondents, 68 percent have never even been in an EV. That itself is a major problem.
The organization found two challenges that electric vehicles face: affordability and trust. Consumers, according to J.D. Power, recognize that electric vehicles cost more than similarly equipped gasoline-powered cars and that a proper charging infrastructure just isn't in place yet.
While the survey didn't paint a hopeful picture for electric vehicles, it did find something good. Roughly two-thirds (63 percent) of consumers that were surveyed stated that electric vehicles are better for the environment. Approximately half of the respondents also stated that the cost of charging an electric vehicle will be advantageous compared to the cost of gasoline. The major issue, though, is the lack of charging stations.
"Charging, cost and range are unavoidable challenges for battery-electric vehicles when compared with traditional vehicles," said Kolodge. "Automakers should focus as much on developing some overriding advantages instead of just working on minimizing the disadvantages."
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