Shipley: EV Drivers Have a Different Mentality

Nov. 3, 2022

As electric vehicles continue to be a trending topic for the automotive aftermarket, it's important to know the demographic of those who own them and their thoughts about them.

In his afternoon session at AAPEX, Nathan Shipley of NPD shared data and statistical findings of automotive consumer habits and industry trends accumulated over the past three years.  

Perhaps the most interesting and noteworthy of those findings as it pertains to the automotive aftermarmarket, and one shop owners were encouraged to keep an eye on, was the attitude and perspective of EV owners. Given at some point the vehicles will break, or inevitably be sold to other consumers in the used car market down the road, what may this look like? 

Here’s a segment of his talk: 

The number of cars on the road that are EVs is less than 1%. It's about 1.8 million cars that are pure EVs, not hybrids. So, it's .63% of the roughly 284 million cars that are on the road today. Tack on hybrid so that number, and were sitting at a total of about 3.5% percent.  

I found it interesting that for the first half of this year 11% of new car registrations fell in this area. They were electric or hybrid, which is doubled from a couple of years ago. I think that's 11% number is a notable number. A simple majority of these registrations fell in California, and within that number, 38%, 40% of those were in the LA market. The majority of charging ports right now are on the West Coast.  And who's buying them? High incomes. Sixty-three percent are white, non-Hispanic consumers [with] home values.

The majority of EVs on the road today are less than five years old, when their batteries are less than five years old, they are likely still under some type of warranty from the OE. What does it look like in this market when we have a massive number of EVs hitting that 8-, 9-, or 10-year mark when batteries are failing? Is there a reinvestment that goes on with those individual cars of replacing the battery, which depending on who you talk to, could be $10,000, $15,000, $20,000.  What does that market look like?  

A sample size of one. The best brand ambassador Tesla has is the person driving the Tesla. They will tell you everything you want to know about it and more. [I asked one,] “What are you going to do with this car hits 8- or 9- or 10 years old and the battery fails? He says, ‘I'm not worried about that. When I bought it, I knew was going to last for 8 or 10 years, and I'm not worried about it afterwards.  

It’s a very different mentality than someone that drives a standard 10-year-old car that still has some type of market value in terms of a resale market. So, I think this will be one to watch what happens with EVs as they age.  

About the Author

Ratchet+Wrench Staff Reporters

The Ratchet+Wrench staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and mechanical repair experience.

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