Study Reveals EV Owners Lack Brand Loyalty
April 19, 2019—While the rise of electrification continues, plug-in vehicles still cause serious concerns among American car shoppers. Cars.com recently surveyed consumers to uncover what aspects of electric vehicles are sparking the most hesitation.
The Cars.com survey revealed non-EV owners ranked the least appealing aspects of EVs in the following order:
- Limited range/travel distance
- Limited battery life span
- High initial vehicle price
- Lack of charging/service centers
- Charging times
"When it comes to electric vehicles, range anxiety is a real thing, so we weren't surprised to see that the cars' limited range was a top concern among consumers," said Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief of Cars.com. "It's important for car shoppers to know, however, that the top-performing EVs can handle anywhere from 50 to 300 miles between charges, showing they are more than capable of taking drivers wherever they need to go without losing their charge. Consumers should worry more about their garage's infrastructure than limited range."
Nearly one-third of the survey respondents reported traveling 11-25 miles per day on average, and the models on Cars.com's list of top-performing 2019 EVs have an estimated range of anywhere between 58 miles for the 2019 smart EQ For Two coupe to 335 miles for the Tesla Model S 100D.
Taking the most popular Tesla Model 3 out of the mix, 11 percent of car sales were attributed to EVs in 2018, growing 81 percent over 2017. While hesitation still persists among new EV shoppers, Cars.com's research supports EV growth: 95 percent of current EV owners say they would purchase again, up 14 percentage points year-over-year. As trusted brands such as Kia, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi and Jaguar prepare to launch new mass-market EVs, it's clear the trend toward electric is not going away.
"Our research suggests that once consumers take the plunge into EV ownership, they're happy with their purchase," said Newman. "The most appealing aspects of EV ownership cited in the study include the reduced fuel cost/dependency, environmental impact and tax incentives."
Consumers citing tax incentives are referring to a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for all electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased during or after 2010.
However, the study also suggests that automakers are going to struggle with brand and model loyalty issues. Most consumers are not tied to a single make or model besides Tesla owners, with 64 percent committed to staying within the brand.