New-car buyer appetites for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are evolving and connected vehicle technology is becoming a key selling point for BEV adoption, according to new study findings from Escalent, a top data analytics and advisory firm with experience counseling the world’s largest automotive companies.
Connected vehicle technology is becoming more of an expected BEV benefit, rising from 26% in 2022 to 33% in 2023 for EV Intenders, consumers who are over 15 times more likely to purchase a BEV than the average new-car buyer, according to Escalent’s research.
“There has been a notable shift in what new-car buyers want in a BEV, and state-of-the-art technology is rising in importance,” said Ben Lundin, insights director with Escalent’s Automotive & Mobility practice. “We’ve seen this trend blossom since launching our EVForward study in 2020, and as a result, we’ve updated our EVForward algorithms to reflect technological appetite, instead of environmentalism, as a key driver of BEV intention for future EV buyers.”
Those are the latest findings from Escalent’s EVForwardTM research program, the largest, most comprehensive study of the next generation of EV buyers that provides insight into the minds of today’s and tomorrow’s EV shoppers.
The study also found that 60% of EV Intenders and 54% of EV Owners spend more than three hours per week in their vehicle, compared with approximately 48% of all new-car buyers. This is important because consumers who spend more time in their vehicle are more likely to be familiar with vehicle connectivity, connect their phone to their vehicle every time they drive, use existing connected car features, and use OEM-provided apps.
Additionally, approximately two-thirds of all EV Owners, EV Intenders and luxury car owners say they will not consider a BEV unless it has connected car technology.
“Nowadays, consumers expect BEVs to fit seamlessly into their preexisting tech ecosystem, which is largely driven by smartphones and their home technology preferences and attitudes,” said Rich Clarke, vice president at Escalent and vehicle connectivity expert who leads the company’s new study on future adopters of connected vehicle services, Connectivity ForwardTM. “If a BEV doesn’t interact seamlessly with future EV buyers’ connected life, it may become a barrier to purchase. On the other hand, given the growing tech orientation of future EV buyers, there is greater opportunity for connected vehicle services among EV buyers than among the general new-car buyer population.”
Additionally, connected car technology can help shoppers overcome some key BEV purchase barriers. The EVForward study found features such as range alerts, range estimators, battery level status updates, battery diagnostics, and charging finders/routing tools can help alleviate consumer concerns about range, battery life, access to public charging and more. Beyond addressing BEV barriers, 44% of shoppers believe connected vehicle services would make BEV ownership more convenient.
As automakers ramp up production of new BEV models and BEVs make up a higher percentage of new-car sales than ever, the findings also reveal that EV Intenders make up a larger portion of the new-car buyer marketplace, now sitting at 25%, up from 21% in 2022. Meanwhile, the share of EV Open has fallen from 40% in 2022 to 35% in 2023, reflecting how new-car buyers who are receptive to purchasing an EV may to be climbing up the EV adoption ladder, with EV Owners increasing from 1% in 2022 to 3% in 2023.
This trend is likely to continue as more consumers are becoming familiar with and more likely to consider BEVs:
“We’re seeing new-car buyers increasingly recognize how a BEV can fit into their life. This is likely tied to increased awareness of public charging, the national EV infrastructure buildout, and the release of new and compelling BEV models,” said K.C. Boyce, vice president with the Automotive & Mobility and Energy practices at Escalent. “Consumers not only expect a certain level of innovation in BEVs, but there’s a growing number who consider connected car technology to be a key element for making BEV ownership more reassuring and rewarding. The takeaway for industry players is that delivering BEVs to the early majority goes hand in hand with integrating cutting-edge connected vehicle services that address specific BEV barriers and enhance the overall BEV driving experience.”
To learn more about the study, visit escalent.co.
Data reported within come from Escalent’s EVForward core study conducted among a national sample of 10,418 new-vehicle buyers age 18 to 80. The data were weighted by age, gender, race, US state and vehicle segment to match the demographics of the US new-vehicle purchaser population. Findings also come from the EVForward Connectivity DeepDive report conducted among a national sample of 1,493 new-vehicle buyers—78 EV Owner, 376 EV Intender, 573 EV Open and 466 EV Resistant respondents, as identified by Escalent algorithms—from February 10–19, 2023. These respondents are a subset of the EVForward core study.
The sample for this research comes from an opt-in, online panel. As such, any reported margins of error or significance tests are estimated and rely on the same statistical assumptions as data collected from a random probability sample. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.