3 Min Read • September 12, 2023
Talking About a Different EV Bubble
The elevation of electric vehicles (EVs) to the top of the automotive food chain has been taking its time. On some sides, it seems like the inevitable is already here while on others, we still seem far away. Some say that we’re in an EV bubble that may lead to a major bump in adoption.
That’s why CDK Global spends so much time researching this issue, and in our latest study EV Confusion Carries On, our team uncovered that not only are gas and hybrid car shoppers unsure about the benefits of EVs but even those specifically shopping for EVs are missing the mark.
One of the most interesting findings, in my opinion, was just how insulated each type of shopper was in their own vehicle world. While it wasn’t a surprise that 84% of EV shoppers knew a friend or family member who owned an EV, that number dropped to 54% for hybrid shoppers and was just 37% for gasoline-powered car shoppers.
This is possibly the key factor in EV adoption as 82% of these EV shoppers said friends and family members influenced their purchase decision.
Let that sink in for a minute and then go back to those other two groups of shoppers.
When I heard just how isolated gas vehicle shoppers are from people with different driving experiences, it reminded me of the country’s polarized political climate. Or to take it to less of a hot topic: sports fans. If you don’t know many golfers, you’re probably less likely to play golf or tennis or pickleball. This may explain the pickleball phenomenon.
Also, these siloed drivers aren’t all in the states you think. Yes, there are far fewer EVs registered in Montana (3,000) than California (903,000) but even in one of the most populated states of Pennsylvania, there are only 47,000 EVs registered. That means 0.4% of the population owns an EV versus 2.3% of Californians. And Pennsylvania is slightly ahead of Michigan where the domestic auto industry is centered and determined to bring EVs to the masses.
The dealer has always been a key fixture in whatever community they’re based whether that’s a mountain town in Montana or right outside Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. And as our new EV study shows, the dealer is where these siloed shoppers could get their first hands-on exposure. A sales rep might not replace that friend or family member in terms of influence, but they’ll have keys to an EV at hand. They’ll know the range, the benefits, the maintenance schedules and, of course, the cost.
If EV adoption is the goal, the American car dealer is going to be the one to burst that bubble.
Barb Edson is executive vice president and chief marketing officer at CDK Global.
Barb and her team focus on delivering successful marketing and commercial strategies that help strengthen connections across the automotive retail ecosystem for CDK, its dealer and manufacturer customers and the consumers they serve. She has more than three decades of business strategy and marketing experience in software and technology.