According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, by 2030, no matter where your home is located – remote, rural, or urban – you will have greater access to EV chargers. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the nation is investing $7.5 billion towards this initiative of “Electrifying Transportation to Benefit Every American.”
“Every American” is a large demographic to target, which could make implementation difficult when considering electrifying transportation. Ask yourself, while thinking about your own community, do you know how many public EV chargers exist? Or, where are they located?
If you can answer these questions, you are likely an EV owner. You probably fit some of the following statistics: live within or just outside a major city, earn a middle-to high income, own multiple vehicles, and reside in a single-family home (just to name a few). As an early adopter of EVs, you are engaged, educated, and have embraced the EV age. Needless to say, you are not the primary focus of this article.
The demographic focus of this article is the “every American” outside of city centers. The ones that have little to no EV charging stations within their communities. The low-income Americans who live in rural and remote areas, who are more likely to carpool or use public transit, and who prioritize paying their electric bill today rather than saving for an electric vehicle in the future.
What we are curious to know, and answer, is how do we increase engagement with Americans who are not ready to embrace EVs into their lifestyles? When the infrastructure begins to spread, drying up “EV charging deserts,” how do we increase engagement now while lessening the gap between communities trying to embrace their EV future?
While this is a much larger topic that’s being addressed at many levels of government, we cannot wait too long to begin the introduction at the local level. In this article, we share how customer intelligence can help community-based companies and organizations engage, educate, and expand EV initiatives to help their communities embrace the EV transition.
Essential Community Businesses Drive Engagement
Across the country, state-level government offices offer investment incentives for residential and/or commercial EV charging stations. These are great opportunities for business owners, fleet operators, and residential EV adopters. However, they don’t really have the intended impact necessary to draw the attention of low- to moderately engaged consumers.
When essential businesses offer money-saving rebates or incentives to customers, they pay attention! Not only that, it has been seen that when those businesses provide products that can save their customers money, they see both higher customer satisfaction and increased engagement.
For instance, PWC Fayetteville in North Carolina participated in Electricities of North Carolina’s Customer Satisfaction Survey and found that between “28-29% of their customers are primarily engaged with their energy supplier on environmental issues.” In response, PWC Fayetteville established Strategic and Environmental objectives that include promoting carbon-free resources, like EVs, while lowering customer bills.
“Knowing what the customers are interested in, we can then target much more effectively the information they want to see about the things we’re doing that will help them get what they want, which drives our customer satisfaction.”
-Mark Brown, CCO, Fayetteville PWC
Much like PWC Fayetteville utilized data to begin mapping their strategy, so too can other essential establishments that are prominent within their communities.
Community-based financial institutions like credit unions can identify which of their members are likely to adopt EVs in their communities. Then, they can offer educational pieces of information that reflects potential cost savings between EVs and combustion engines.
While credit unions only “hold a sliver of EV loans” according to CU Times, we know a large portion of their members make purchases based on societal and environmental impacts. Knowing this, offers an opportunity for credit unions to develop meaningful messaging that resonates with young members, while pairing it with their products.
Meanwhile, retail and/or franchise establishments can help their customers reduce range anxiety by offering charging stations within their lots. In fact, by doing so they can actually increase their bottom line! Data has shown that customers spend more time – and money – at establishments while their EVs charge. Even those who are reluctant to invest in a charging station can partner with companies seeking to reach EV owners within the area. Therefore benefitting the establishment, third-party EV charging company, and the vehicle owner.
Case Study: Identify Commercial Partners to Expand EV Charging Infrastructure
ATCO, a utility provider in Canada, wanted to get ahead of the EV adoption curve and saw an opportunity to partner with numerous commercial businesses in their region to achieve that goal. Rather than wasting resources, and risking door-to-door sales techniques coming up short, they sought a streamlined data-driven approach from BlastPoint.
After segmenting potential partners into data-driven commercial personas, ATCO was enabled to target businesses within their territory most likely to adopt. Read about their journey by downloading the case study below.
Expanding Job and Workforce Development
Workers are needed far beyond just EV manufacturing plants. They are needed for infrastructure development, sales and support, maintenance, and so much more. Building a new industry takes people of every skill level to design, build, maintain, inspect, deliver, etc. When thinking about it, it is almost impossible to consider any limit to opportunities.
How can we engage with community members to have them embrace EVs? By offering an opportunity to be a part of building its future.
The infrastructure plan aims to create or save 15 million jobs over the next 10 years, while also increasing the share of jobs in the industry from 11% to 14%. These jobs will require a wide range of training and educational experiences.
While large manufacturing companies are heavily investing in their own futures to find and train new workers, community-based organizations can deploy their own programs to ensure the vitality of EV in their local area.
Like large multi-national companies, CBOs don’t have to create programs alone either. Cross partner relationships can be built with local community colleges, trade associations, service training centers, creating mentorship opportunities with local businesses, etc.
For instance Vehya, a Detroit-based startup, recruits, trains, and deploys electricians who are needed to install and maintain EV chargers across the country. Their commitment is to “create more than 100,000 new EV charging and electrical professionals in the US by 2030.” Not only are they educating a workforce for the future, they are making EV adoption easier as those trained technicians will be available to service the infrastructure.
Job and educational opportunities for communities provide a chance to revitalize the local economy, while being an integral part of its future. Therefore, EV partnerships across sectors need to collaborate effectively, so they can set about the work of electrifying transportation in a more widespread and equitable way.
Start the Conversation Now, In the Right Way with the Right Tools
According to Pew Research, about half of adults who are aware of electric vehicles say they are unlikely to purchase one. They cite reasons that include high purchase prices, limited driving range, and lack of a sufficient charging infrastructure. Until the infrastructure is built-out and more EV cars flood the market, these concerns are valid as the impacts will be the highest.
However, if we do not begin to address these concerns now, communities will continue to lag behind in accepting new technologies.
Americans show higher trust in information that is shared from their local government. This makes sense! Local governments are responsible for a community’s essential public services. If we want our difficult-to-engage customers to embrace EVs, it is our job to communicate the current state of EVs and infrastructure within our community on a regular basis to ease concerns.
Furthermore, public utilities, financial institutions, and local businesses can also impact their community’s EV concerns by integrating consistent messaging across their social channels. The more we get comfortable talking about EVs, and the positive impacts they can have on our economy, environment, and public health, the higher the likelihood the community will embrace it.
Data is the foundation for successful customer experience campaigns.
The good news is that you have the tools to engage with your customers to help them embrace EVs – and everything that comes with it. And, you won’t need to overhaul your systems to do so.
Knowing what data is important, acquiring it, and strategically utilizing it, is the foundation of successful customer experience campaigns. The trick is using the right data, to target the right people, through the right channels, with the right messaging to achieve customer engagement. When your business fails to check these boxes, it can lead to lower returns through mismanaged resources.
What begins with some very basic data analysis puts businesses, governments, and all other stakeholders in the EV Ecosystem on the road to achieving our zero-carbon goals.