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Strategies for Expanding EV Acceptance, Adoption

Renee Stephens, Vice President, Automotive, We Predict
By Renee Stephens Vice President, Automotive, We Predict

Automotive analysts project nearly 50 new electric vehicles will enter the market in the next three model years, with an additional 50-plus EVs in the pipeline. From traditional and new automakers, those new models will help boost global EV sales from 8 percent to more than 25 percent by 2025. 

With increasingly stringent emissions and fuel-economy standards in many major markets, and with countries like the U.K. banning petrol and diesel vehicles by the next decade, the automotive industry is tasked with increasing consumer acceptance of EVs.

Addressing four key areas will boost EV adoption:

  1. Range anxiety
  2. Battery and part reliability and cost
  3. Charging infrastructure
  4. Offering low-risk ways to experience EVs

Addressing Range Anxiety

We’ve already seen improvements in the range EVs can travel between battery charges, yet continued advancements in battery technology are critical to overcoming range anxiety. 

Published estimates on the Tesla Model S indicate up to 370 miles between charges with the next-generation Tesla Roadster boasting a 620-mile capability. The Chevrolet Bolt achieves a range of 259 miles and the 2020 Nissan Leaf reports a range of 226, more than double the range of its 2017 predecessor. General Motors Co. recently announced its all-new modular platform and Ultium batteries destined for all future models and offering a range of 400 miles.

Battery and Parts Reliability and Cost

How long will an EV battery last and how much will it cost to replace it? What else can go wrong?  These are questions from consumers concerned with potential high out-of-pocket expenses for high-powered batteries.

Manufacturers also are asking the same questions as they consider warranty coverage for EVs.

We Predict’s Deepview, a cross-industry study of predictive automotive repair frequency, finds overall repairs are lower for EVs at 811 problems per 1,000 vehicles (PP1,000) compared with their gas counterparts (841 PP1,000). However, results vary by model – some better and others worse than competitors.

Deepview projects electrical repairs on EVs will increase over the next few years, moving from 262 PP1,000 for 2016 models to 438 PP1,000 for 2019 models – more than 100 repairs PP1,000 higher than for gas models.

Furthermore, battery repairs in the first three years are projected to rise 70 percent for 2019 and 2020 models compared with 2014 to 2018 models. And for EVs, battery repairs increase six-fold by year 10.

To boost consumer confidence in EVs, manufacturers, suppliers and repair facilities need to address these electric- and battery-related problems – especially outside the warranty period –before they multiply. Having a wider view of field performance will enable manufacturers to address areas in their product development and customer care practices. 

Creating, Expanding Charging Infrastructure

With range expanding, the next obstacle for EV adoption is the ability to re-charge. Home charging is the most dependable and affordable option. But depending on the individual’s commute, recharging at work or along the way may be necessary.

Business and public parking lots are increasingly offering charging stations. Several additional options are under development, from wireless charging along the freeways to streetlight charging stations for road-side parking.

Many automakers, suppliers and utility companies recognize the importance of developing a stable, reliable infrastructure and have invested in charging start-ups and solutions. Shortening the time to charge, along with increasing the charging options, will make EVs a more viable option.

Bridging Strategies for EVs

A bridging strategy to support EV adoption efforts can ease consumers into the right framework to not only accept, but ultimately enjoy their EV experience. Providing a low-risk way to experience an EV is a great way to expose consumers before making the long-term commitment of purchasing or leasing. EVs in rental car and carsharing fleets, or even providing an extended test drive, allow consumers to experience the vehicle and determine if they’re ready to make the investment.

As automakers have learned, the concept of “build them and they will come” is fraught with loopholes. Consumers vote with their wallets and have high expectations when it comes to safety, quality, convenience and usage. Continuing to address these four areas of range, reliability, infrastructure and bridging strategies will provide a positive experience on the EV road ahead.

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