Electric vehicle (EV) sales have declined as the market becomes saturated because most of the technology’s “early adopters” have purchased their first or second vehicle. Here are five ways that automakers can revive, rejuvenate, and boost EV sales:
Educate Consumers About EV Benefits
Most consumers don’t realize that EVs are more technically advanced and less mechanically complex than their combustion counterparts. This means they offer more innovative conveniences (e.g., digital displays, adaptive cruise control, etc.), require less maintenance, and are more reliable than gasoline, diesel, or hybrid vehicles. Plus, EVs heat up instantly on cold mornings (no need for oil and coolant to warm to provide hot cabin air), don’t require break-in periods, and can be fully charged at home — owners may never need to visit a public charging station. Automakers must stress the EV advantages — add a strong value proposition — not sell with incentives and rebates.
Improve Charging Infrastructure
Coast recently completed a study about EV charging versus gas station density in the United States. They found that “the U.S. averages about 104 gas pumps per 1,000 road miles, compared to just 22 EV charging ports.” In some states, such as New Jersey, there are more than 17 EVs for every public charging port. Considering that the typical EV needs about 25 minutes at a high-powered charger to restore 80 percent of the battery, that’s a long wait for an EV owner to tolerate. (EV owners in North Dakota have it much better, as there are just over 2 EVs for every public charging port.) EV shoppers won’t be pleased until the charging infrastructure rivals combustion refueling convenience — a station at nearly every offramp.
Increase Vehicle Range to 400 Miles
Most combustion-powered vehicles offer fuel ranges of 300-450 miles per tank. In 2021, the average EV offered a range of 234 miles, according to the Department of Energy. Today, that number hovers just below 300 miles — an improvement, but still not enough to eliminate the dreaded “range anxiety” that most shoppers fear. If automakers could bring the range of the average EV up to 400 miles, “range anxiety” would be a thing of the past. If all EV owners had Level 2 chargers at their residences, allowing owners to wake to a full battery each morning, the range would be a moot point for nearly all owners.
Provide Special (Longer) Financing
MarketWatch says, “The average auto loan interest rates across all credit profiles range from 5.07% to 14.18% for new cars.” As the average electric vehicle carries a $12,000 premium over its combustion counterpart, and with steep interest rates, an EV adds a significant additional financial burden when shoppers calculate their payment. Most auto loans today have 72-month terms, which aligns with the typical service life of a combustion car. EVs last much longer and require less maintenance, so there’s no reason that automakers (and lending institutions) can’t offer 120-month loans on EVs. Combining extended terms with tax incentives and rebates could make purchasing an EV a very attractive — and value-leading — proposition to the typical new car shopper.
Appeal to Women with Increased Safety
A recent study by Geotab, a global leader in connected vehicle technology, surveyed more than 1,000 men and women in Canada and the United States. In Canada, men account for 74 percent of EV owners, while in the US, 72 percent of EV owners are men — revealing that there are barriers for women in embracing EVs. Geotab found that 30 percent of Canadian women and 43 percent of US women had safety concerns about EV charging locations. More specifically, they found that “the importance of accessible, well-lit charging stations in less remote areas would influence their EV purchase decision.” More than 20 percent of the female respondents said that “increased security around charging stations is a convincing factor for their next vehicle purchase.”