EV and The Customer Experience
Purchasing an electric vehicle is more complicated than a traditional car purchase. Consumers do their research in order to make sure an EV will work for them. EV Box analyzed the obstacles to EV Adoption with consumers and found there were 3 main areas of concern: 47% of consumers are concerned with charging availability, 46% see electric vehicles as relatively expensive, and 37% believe charging is too time consuming.
Is all of this true or is it just perception? How can you engage and address these customers concerns using your dealer website? Let’s use a recent example from my own life. I was exploring the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 and decided to do the research to see if it was a good fit for my family. One of my big concerns is whether I can use it for frequent family trips. We regularly drive just over 300 miles to see family in a small town. The good news is the Ioniq 5 boasts over 300 miles of range, the bad news is that in this small town there is no charging station available. I had to find out whether it was possible to drive to and from my destination without running out of battery life. As I started researching, I could not find the information I needed on any dealer websites, or the manufacturer site. The best source of information turned out to be my local electric company. I was able to enter the vehicle I was considering and map out a trip.
Before this exercise I was unaware that there are different types of chargers and batteries. I have no desire to stop in the middle of what should be a 4-hour drive and sit for hours while I wait to charge my vehicle. I discovered that with the Ioniq’s charging capability I would be able to stop for 17 minutes to get back to full charge, and still have plenty of battery to drive around once I arrived all while just making one more short stop on my return home. With a child that is about the time I feel it takes for a bathroom break or a quick lunch or dinner. While it took time to find the data, I was now confident I could have an EV in my life, without major complications. The next question I needed to address was affordability.
By nature, I am an over analyzer and spreadsheet nerd. I started with just the price of the vehicle, which was comparable to others of the same size and class, but that was without considering incentives. The incentives related to EV are very complicated by city, state, zip, income level and other factors, but with these factored in, the EV it was a better upfront investment. I didn’t forget to consider the cost of ownership including buying a charger for my home, having an electrician install it, energy bill increases at my very specific address vs. what I would spend on a gas vehicle with my normal driving habits. Again, I found that my best source for this data was the local electric company. Based on analytics from ZappyRide who is looking at the data on many electric company sites, in the research phase I am not alone, people spend most of their time comparing electric to non-electric vehicles than they do comparing electric to electric.
When you consider manufacturers increased focus on electrification paired with consumers concerns, information needed to make EV buying decisions, how is your dealership preparing for and marketing EV? If you think incentives are difficult to navigate on the average new vehicle, start adding federal, state, and local EV incentives to the mix and the consumer may never know that electric will not only work for them but may be less expensive to own.
Perception is reality and if you don’t know or don’t have time to do the research as a consumer you may never explore EV. In 2022 and continuing to 2023 it is time as a dealer to become the source of truth for EV shoppers. We don’t want to lose them to an electric company website or some new third party who will get in the business of selling you to your customers because they provide the experience your customers need. This will take great partnerships of those who hold the data and your website provider who will have to turn the massive amounts of data into a great customer experience and workflow.
To get started on improving the EV customer experience on your website, work with your Digital Performance Strategist or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
Jason has proven record of designing and delivering winning solutions and products that propel business forward as well growing packaged software and cloud-based start-ups aligned with client requirements. When not working hard for dealers and partners Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, skiing, camping and fishing.