Hispanic, African-American Consumers Most Excited About Electric Vehicles

Purchase interest in an electric vehicle among new vehicle intenders is 52%, according to a recent study. 

Those most interested are often tech-savvy, high-income, liberal-leaning males, ages 27-42, who identify as non-white, according to Getwizer, which surveyed 1,010 respondents Aug. 21-29. 

The self-funded study from Getwizer looks holistically at battery electric vehicle (BEV) interest for product development and marketing teams alike. The study aims to understand what specifically drives interest in purchasing a new BEV and identify key barriers to EV adoption.

Criteria for respondents included that they must intend to purchase or lease a new vehicle within the next four years -- and not currently own an EV.

The study examines some of the more controversial topics surrounding EVs, including whether the government should be investing in EV development, attitudes about the grid’s ability to handle the switch from gas-powered to electric vehicles, perceived battery safety and recycling, whether EVs are actually better for the planet, and potential per-mile road taxes to offset the government’s shortfall in gasoline tax.



Millennials will propel EV sales in the near future, per the study. They are high-income, tech-savvy, urban households that lean left politically, who largely believe that current technology is achieving their desired range needs, per the study.

This group is significantly more likely to believe that EVs are better for the planet than fuel-powered vehicles, there are sufficient charging stations for their needs, home charging is accessible, and that there is a long-term plan for battery recycling.

Across-the-board, Gen Z is attitudinally more aligned with Gen X.  Purchase interest for these groups is behind that for millennials. The most prominent barriers are charging time, the number of public charging stations and the cost of EVs.

"The OEMs that have seen the results are surprised by Gen Z's rather lukewarm interest in BEVs," says Dean Macko, vice president of strategy and growth at Getwizer. "As the youngest cohort entering the new car market, one would guess they'd be even more excited than millennials. But they aren't. They are much more pragmatic. They'd like to see the cost benefits of BEV ownership clearly explained, and have serious doubts about the industry's plan for recycling expired batteries and if these cars are even better for the environment."  

Many are concerned with range, and need to be reassured that battery disposal has been addressed. The environmental benefits are still something that auto manufacturers need to do a better job explaining, as only 56% believe EVs are better for the planet, according to the study’s authors. 

"Automakers need to focus on range in advertising -- I would put it front and center," Macko tells Marketing Daily. "MPC (Miles Per Charge) is a purchase driver, it's a barrier, and frankly, potential customers are underestimating what the industry is delivering."

Men are significantly more interested in purchasing an EV than women. This may be due in large part because they are twice as likely as women to self-identify as early tech adopters. They are also more likely to agree with the government’s push toward EV awareness, incentives and public-sector investment.

That said, their identified barriers are nearly identical to women, though men are significantly more likely to note they can install a charger at their home without having to upgrade their home system, and that the number of public charging stations near them is sufficient.

"There is an opportunity for the industry to demystify the whole ownership experience for women," Macko says. "Batteries are a huge concern. The industry needs to speak to questions about their safety, how raw materials are sourced, how long they last, whether they are actually worse for the environment, and of course, range. Women also want help with home charging. I think Hyundai's new program offering a free home-charging system plus an installation credit with a new BEV purchase is a home run."

Consumers identifying as African-American and Hispanic are more excited by EVs than whites, per the study. About two-thirds are interested in purchasing an EV as their next new vehicle, compared to only about half of whites.

Compared to whites, African-American and Hispanic buyers more strongly believe that EVs are better for the planet, that there are enough public charging stations near them, and that the industry/government has a long-term plan for battery recycling. That said, half of African-Americans cite availability of public charging stations and charging time as their top barriers to adoption, while Hispanic are most concerned with charging time and price. 

The study identified a massive misalignment on expected vs. anticipated vehicle range. The vast majority believe that offerings fall short of the 300 mile average that EVs currently deliver. Almost one in five respondents say they want a range of 500-plus miles.

Purchase drivers include miles on a full charge, fuel saving and vehicle price. Environmental benefits are secondary, and in fact, air quality is more important than slowing global warming.

Charging (time and availability of public stations) and vehicle price are the top barriers, though almost four in 10 don’t have the resources/ability to install a home charger, which is seriously impacting interest.

Almost two-thirds want the government to aggressively expand the charging infrastructure as well as address the nation’s grid to handle EVs. Few believe the industry has a plan for recycling batteries. Only four in 10 agree with proposed government programs that would monitor EV mileage and charge a per-mile-driven fee to offset lower gas tax revenues.

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