New York, NY, 08.12.2021

30% of likely auto buyers say they are unfamiliar with or do not understand electric vehicle technology – GfK

Just as electric vehicles (EVs) seem poised to make a leap into the mainstream of auto sales, new research reveals that a simple lack of familiarity or understanding may be standing in the way.

The latest GfK AutoMobility™ AutoTech Insights report shows that nearly one-third (30%) of auto “intenders” – those who are planning to buy or lease a new car – say they have not heard of or do not understand EV technology. The lack of understanding is higher among women, Generation X, and those who plan to buy non-Luxury vehicles. (See Chart 1.)

Click here to learn more about the AutoMobility AutoTech Insights Report

Chart 1. Auto intenders who say they have not heard
of or do not understand EVs

GfK’s Julie Kenar (SVP, AutoMobility™) and Eric Wagatha (SVP & Director, GfK Consumer Life) will be presenting insights from the new report at the CES Research Summit on January 4th, in a session titled “The New Faces of Techno-Mobility.”

The new research also found that Luxury model intenders are nearly three times as likely as non-Luxury (38% to 14%) to report high levels of interest in buying an all-electric car. Intenders coming from households with children (35%), Generations Z and Y (30%), and men (24%) are also more likely to be very interested in all-electric vehicles.

Those who are only slightly interested in an EV, or not interested at all, are also much more likely to say they “don’t know enough” about the technology (28% vs. 16%), and more than twice as likely to report that they “don’t trust” EVs (22% vs. 8%).

Overall, just 8% of intenders who expect to buy or lease a new car in the next year say they plan to get an all-electric vehicle – up from 2% in 2016, but still a small percentage of the total market. Conventional (ICE) engines still account for roughly 70% of all US vehicle intentions.

“Making the leap from early adopters to mainstream auto buyers is the greatest challenge facing EVs today,” said Kenar. “Our research points to a significant awareness and messaging gap among those most likely to buy or lease a new car – and that lack of understanding may be leading to low levels of interest and trust. While Luxury buyers are highly engaged with the technology, the story is much different among non-Luxury and other intenders. The industry clearly has work to do in raising consumer awareness of and comfort with EVs.”

GfK AutoMobility is the leading auto intenders brand and attitude insights research in the US – revealing unique opportunities for positioning brands, makes and models. Since 1982, GfK’s Automotive Purchase Funnel has been the bedrock for analysis and insights throughout the automotive industry, tracking performance throughout each stage of the purchase process.

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