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Trends ADAPT Reports

Who is Most Likely to Purchase an EV?

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Sept. 22, 2020—Shop owners would do well to identify their target customer. They might even create an ideal customer with attributes that help owners target and tailor marketing materials to their audiences.

That was the case for Revolution Auto, a repair shop in Norwood, Mass. Owner Alan Symmes created an “avatar” that, as it turned out, met the same attributes of his wife, according to a Ratchet+Wrench story.

The same thing is happening with automakers and parts manufacturers, who are trying to determine the trajectory of EV sales into the future. To do that, they need to figure out who is buying them—and who’s most likely to do so.

That’s work that Escalent has been doing. Mike Dovorany, vice president of automotive and mobility at Escalent shared some of those findings in a recent webinar hosted by the Center for Automotive Research.


Range of Acceptability

Escalent surveyed 10,000 vehicle buyers as part of its research, Dovorany says. On one point, the consumers mostly agreed.

“There’s basically been a coalescence in the consumers' minds around the idea that electrification is the future,” he says.

Not only that, but that is a sentiment that’s growing in acceptability over time. But it still hasn’t translated into a boom of sales. Dovorany says that purchase intention remains low, as around 2 percent of new vehicle buyers say that their next purchase will be a battery electric vehicle.

Another 17 percent in the survey said that they’re pretty much sold on the idea of an electric vehicle, but they’re still holding out for the right one. Dovorany says that could be due to a number of factors. Consumers could be waiting for their preferred brand to come out with an EV in their preferred model. They might be waiting for a suitable truck, which is still very rare in EV forms. Or, they might simply be waiting for more affordable options.

Some 45 percent from Escalent’s survey said they aren’t interested in purchasing an EV for their next vehicle.


Personas (or Avatars)

Back to that idea of a customer avatar. What kinds of people are lining up to purchase EVs?

First, Dovorany says that is a growing group. In past years, EV buyers tended to be higher income consumers who had multiple vehicle already and were willing to sacrifice a bit for an EV—spending more, dealing with low range travel, or other factors. 

Now, consumers are expecting EVs to perform much like their internal combustion counterparts. Escalent created avatars for consumers based on qualities that make them more or less likely to purchase an EV.

The group who is interested remains smaller, but it’s growing.

“What we’ve seen in that time is there's a shift in the people who are attracted to it,” Dovorany says. “You end up with much more mainstream values and expectations about how these vehicles are being used.”

persona escalent

Image: Escalent


The Takeaway

What does that mean for your shop? Following the trends of EV purchases is a surefire way to plan for investments and training for EV repair and maintenance. Being able to service vehicles in that category will start as a potentially lucrative niche, but it will become more common in short order.

Another trend to keep an eye on is that OEs will be launching a bunch of new EV models in the coming years. It will be important not only to study potential repair opportunities on EV drivetrains, but also being trained in how those systems integrate with other mechanical parts and electronic features.

“We’re on the cusp of having literally dozens of vehicles coming in the next few years,” Dovorany says. “It’s exciting.”

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