Is there a way to ensure a smoother ride for new electric cars?
Electric vehicles and self-driving cars are becoming all the rage, thanks in no small part to support from dominant manufacturers and developed nations alike. And yet EVs are still not dominating roads worldwide in a way their proponents would like.
Is there a way to ensure a smoother ride for new electric cars in the interest of a more environmentally friendly future for transport? A new survey explores just that question, offering EV manufactures some important insights for their upcoming marketing campaigns in the process.
“Consumers lack confidence in the future of self-driving vehicles and their outlook isn’t much better about the influx of battery-electric vehicles that manufacturers are spending billions of dollars to bring to market in the next several years,” explain the authors of J.D. Power’s inaugural Mobility Confidence Index (MCI) based on a survey of more than 5,000 consumers and experts.
The MBI is divided into consumer confidence segments from low (0-40) to neutral (41-60) to positive (61-100). When it comes to EVs, consumers seem to have partly accepted that they are here to stay, giving them a 55 confidence score. However, most consumers are more positive in their attitude about EVs than in their readiness to actually buy one.
While environmental benefits of EVs are already clear to most consumers, they tend to stay unsure about the reliability and economic viability of EVs as compared to gas-fueled, diesel or hybrid vehicles.
According to the survey, both consumers and experts agree that even a 10% of market share might take EVs another five years to reach while it might take them at least another decade to compete with gas-powered vehicles as equals. Other reasons for this rather conservative estimate might be relatively undeveloped EV infrastructure, concerns over range and long charging times. All of these are critical factors in today’s fast-paced societies.
While two-thirds of those surveyed have never even driven an EV, 75% of those who have say they would consider purchasing an EV. This finding is particularly encouraging as it might mean an exponential curve once EVs gain wider adoption. These findings complement those by the Global EV Outlook 2019 published by the International Energy Agency.
When it comes to self-driving cars, popular views are far more conflicted. With an MCI score reaching just 36, such vehicles have a long way to go until they gain widespread acceptance. Most consumers are concerned about the prospects of technical failures, while many are also worried about cybersecurity and potential collisions.
Kristin Kolodge, executive director of Driver Interaction and Human Machine Interface (HMI) at J.D. Power, says the findings are both timely and relevant. “As automakers head down the developmental road to self-driving vehicles and greater electrification, it’s important to know if consumers are on the same road — and headed in the same direction. That doesn’t seem to be the case right now,” she says.
Kolodge thinks that manufacturers ought to pay more attention to consumer concerns and needs in the emerging technological landscape.