Gen Y, Z Lead The Way With EVs

It has to be music to the ears of General Motors, Tesla, Rivian and other electric-savvy automakers.

One in four Gen Y and Z auto intenders say electric vehicle technology is a “must-have” in their next car, per just-released research that GfK AutoMobility is sharing first with DriveTime

Desire for EVs has grown 150% in just two years among  these key buyer groups. Interest in EVs among Gens Y and Z is 11 percentage points higher than among intenders as a whole (15%). 

Basically, if Gen Y and Z represent the future of auto buying, then electric EVs are positioned for exponential growth in the years to come.

General Motors is on its way to an all-electric future, with a commitment to 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025. 

The GfK AutoTech Insights study also confirms that luxury car intenders are now driving interest in all-electric cars. 

One in three (34%) lux intenders say they are interested in an all-electric vehicle – up from 24% in 2018. By contrast, the non-lux interest level is just 13%, after dropping 2 percentage points (from 15%) in the past two years.   

Even if you are extremely green-friendly, there are practical considerations to be considered, like the ever-present “range anxiety.” How do I get from point A to point B if it exceeds my battery life? 

That’s why fast-charging stations are a key draw for potential EV buyers. Six in ten (59%) intenders who are “mostly interested” in an EV -- and two-thirds (68%) who are “somewhat interested” -- say that the availability of free fast-charging stations would raise their interest levels.

Free installation of fast-charging stations at buyers’ homes is another big draw, appealing to 54% of those who are “mostly interested” in an EV and 62% who are “somewhat interested.” 

GM’s Chevrolet division acknowledges this, and recently announced plans to cover standard installation of Level 2 charging capability for eligible customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV.

GfK also found that attractive styling and third-row seating were the only features selected significantly more often by the “mostly interested” intenders versus the “somewhat interested” ones.

“There is no question that EVs are powering auto innovation right now,” says Tom Neri, commercial director for marketing and consumer intelligence at GfK North America. “The question is, can they expand beyond the upper echelons of car buyers and gain true mainstream acceptance? Strong interest among younger intenders is definitely a positive sign – but we will have to see if that translates to sales and loyalty in the years to come.”

In some respects, the pandemic-inspired lack of a commute (which could become permanent as more and more businesses reduce their costly office space) could work in an EV’s favor.  

If the majority of trips is around the neighborhood, going to the grocery store, picking up the kids from soccer practice, etc., then an EV makes perfect sense. 

The practicality of road trips in a pure EV remains a concern since it adds an extra element of planning for stops to recharge should the day’s driving exceed the battery range.

If the availability of charging stations continues to expand and if technology continues to lessen the amount of time necessary for recharging, EV ownership should become more and more attractive to more people. Time will tell. 

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