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Who is Most Likely to Purchase an EV?

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Sept. 25, 2020—As OEs plan big rollouts of EV models in the coming years, they're looking to estimate who is going to buy them

In determining the trajectory of EV sales into the future, they can find target audiences for advertising, sales pitches and the designs of vehicles themselves.

Firms like Escalent has been doing research into this field. 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.



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.”

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