Electric Trucks, Lower Prices, Familiar Brands, Fire Up EV Interest

More auto shoppers are considering electric vehicles, with the rise in electric trucks, electric vehicles from established “legacy” brands, and more-affordable EVs, according to recent research.

In a word, EVs and those who want to buy them are becoming mainstream, said K.C. Boyce, vice president with the Automotive & Mobility and Energy practices at research and data analysis firm Escalent.

“People who have bought, or who are very close to buying EVs — there are tradeoffs,” Boyce said, citing the latest results of an annual survey of auto shoppers called EVForward, which explores the motivations of auto shoppers.

“There’s range; speed of charging; quality and durability. Early adopters were willing to make those tradeoffs,” he said in a recent phone interview.

In return for tradeoffs in those categories, early adopters have gotten perceived value out of the electric powertrain, on innovation, and owning the latest technology, Boyce said. Mass-market EV shoppers also value those things, but not as the highest priority, he said.

“As we move from early adopters to more mainstream, they’re not willing to make those same tradeoffs. They want a good car or truck, that happens to have an electric powertrain,” Boyce said.

According to Escalent, 35% of survey respondents in this year’s survey would prefer purchasing an EV from a well-established automaker. That’s more than the 24% who said they would favor an EV startup. Remarkably, 41% are undecided, the survey said.

Tesla so far continues to account for the biggest market share of U.S. EV sales, but that could change as older, established brands roll out EVs in more popular, more affordable body styles — namely pickups, SUVs and crossovers, Escalent said.

“The idea that a new player to the automotive market will remain the leader as more and more established brands expand their EV offerings is far from a certainty,” Boyce said.

In a separate survey, J.D. Power says there is a bigger share of EV consideration among luxury owners. But that share is relatively flat, vs. substantial growth in EV consideration among mass-market shoppers.

According to the J.D. Power Electric Vehicle Consideration Study published May 26, about 37% of premium vehicle owners indicate they are “very likely” to consider an EV for their next purchase, vs. 21% of those who currently own mass market vehicles.

However, the percentage of luxury owners increased just 1% vs. the same survey a year ago, while the share of mass-market owners increased 6%, J.D. Power said.

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