People who are ready to buy an electric vehicle share certain demographic, lifestyle and consumer traits. Drive EV adoption in your region by targeting them now. In the first of this 3-part series on EV Readiness, we show you how. Learn what distinguishes them from Emerging and Roadblocked customers, where to find them and how to engage them with effective messaging.
Our research into consumer EV readiness shows that people farthest along the adoption curve share some key characteristics and tend to engage with particular kinds of media. Whether you work in the utilities industry, retail, OEMs or any other commercial sector that’s interested in the transportation revolution, our data shows that to drive EV adoption in your area, seek and engage customers who exhibit the following traits:
- Earn middle-to-high incomes,
- Have attained college degrees,
- Own multiple vehicles already,
- Live in single family homes,
- Show high engagement with online accounts.
Learn more about them and how best to engage them below, in Part 1 of our 3-part EV Readiness series.
Ready to Buy EV Customers: Demographic Profile
Most Ready to Buy EV customers already own more than one vehicle. They may be in the market for a replacement or additional car to accommodate their family’s needs. Perhaps an older teen is preparing to head off to college, a grandparent has moved into the house, or Mom is reentering the workforce and needs a commuter vehicle now that the kids are old enough for school.
Households that are Ready to Buy an EV live in single-family homes that very likely come with garages or driveways. This makes the installation of EV charging units simple. That’s because no barriers to home charging exist for these families the way they do for people who live in multi-family housing complexes or city neighborhoods that offer only on-street parking or shared parking lots.
Ready-to-Buys are typically professionals working in white-collar careers. They’ve attained college-level or, often, advanced degrees. This means they have the income and buying power to make purchases and investments.
Quarantining at home during the pandemic has likely meant they’ve made fewer, and shorter, trips in the last year. This may be causing less range anxiety than it ever did before, since they’re picking up groceries just once in a while but no longer driving long distances for work or vacations. However, when (or if) workplaces fully reopen, Ready-to-Buy customers will typically have long commute times to get to their offices.
Still, as EV battery life has improved over the years–and as they’ve watched a few of their neighbors adopt electric vehicles–these households have crossed the threshold from ‘EV curious’ to ‘EV serious.’
Ready to Buy EV: Lifestyle & Values
Ready-to-Buy EV customers show concern over the environment, but it may come as a surprise to learn that ‘being green’ is often not their number one priority when it comes to transportation.
Instead, this group shows somewhat higher interest in energy affordability. They recognize the costs associated with staying comfortable despite extreme cold or heat. But this group is willing to, for instance, drop the thermostat’s setting by a degree if it will mean reducing their monthly heat bill. Cutting emissions while doing so is, for them, an added perk.
This suggests that sending information about the cost benefits that come with EV ownership (i.e. lower fuel and maintenance costs) will resonate as much as, or even somewhat more than, simply focusing on the environmental benefits (lower tailpipe emissions, better regional air quality, e.g.).
The great news is that when this group learns something new–about, say, an EV tax rebate, local drive event or other incentive similar to the ones our friends at Duquesne Light Company list on their website–they’re highly likely to launch into action. We’ll see why in the next section.
Ready to Buy EV: Consumer Behavior
Digitally savvy, technologically dialed-in, Ready to Buy EV Customers show high engagement rates with digital platforms, especially when it comes to service providers like their electric utility. They’re active online shoppers (and have likely become internet ordering experts through the pandemic) and are accustomed to checking accounts online or via mobile.
These folks are likely enrolled in their bank or gas company’s paperless statement programs, autopay or direct debit programs, for example. They like the convenience these programs provide (i.e. the ‘set it and forget it’ effect) as well as the savings in paper and postage.
Moreover, this group are what companies might refer to as ‘good payers,’ because they typically keep their billing accounts in check, with few if any late payments.
Ready-to-Buys are also fairly active on social media. They use it, however, to network professionally more often than they do to share selfies of what they ate for lunch. Look for them primarily on platforms like LinkedIn, where they’re likely to be exchanging work-life news, career advancement tips and sector-specific information.
Because Ready-to-Buys are highly educated and actively engaged professionals, they’re aware of the biggest challenges facing society today. They stay up-to-date on current events and have the capacity to make change happen.
All of this means they are ripe for receiving information on how to purchase, maintain and enjoy an electric vehicle.
Ready to Buy EV: Community Preparedness
Ready to Buy EV customers most often live in communities where electric vehicle ownership is already underway. This means it’s not uncommon for someone to see a Chevy Bolt parked in their neighbor’s driveway that’s hooked up to an outlet.
It also means stores, museums, restaurants, workplaces and gas stations have already installed EV outlets for public use in these areas. We know that when public charging is visible and available, EVs get normalized, and they become ubiquitous on our roads and parking lots.
That’s the viral nature of all technology adoption. Seeing the earliest adopters use it successfully inspires and persuades the rest of us to follow suit. So, for EVs to become the norm, access to public charging that creates ease-of-use will need to advance.
As such, Ready-to-Buy customers are most likely to make the leap into EV ownership if and when they see plentiful charging stations at the places they visit most.
This phenomenon also suggests that communities where EV readiness is poised for growth are areas that businesses in the EV ecosystem should look for commercial partners to drive infrastructure.
Retail outfits, restaurants or hotel chains may want to connect with local electricity providers, community groups, municipal governments, EVSE manufacturers and installers to coordinate buildout. It’s important for these entities to work in tandem so that everyone benefits from electrification. Ideally, they’ll be able to avoid fragmenting infrastructure that leaves important stakeholders out.
Ready to Buy EV: Predictive Personas
At this point you may be thinking, “I wish I knew which of my customers fell into this category!” Predictive modeling will tell you. Some data cleansing and integration with third-party insights may be in order first, however. (If you need help with that, please let us know.) Now a 360-degree view of the people you serve really starts to crystalize.
If that’s not enough to help you meet your business goals, take things a step further by applying A.I and machine learning, such as the predictive modeling we perform for our business customers. This will let you do things like build customer personas, and sort, rank and score every customer in your database, depending on the initiatives you’re working on. Learn more about that process here.
With predictive modeling outcomes, you’ll understand which households are ready to buy an EV (or any other product or service), who needs more education to proceed along the customer journey, who is simply not ready to adopt, and why. Moreover, you’ll get to find out your customers’ best communication channels and the kinds of messaging that will resonate with them most, so that targeted engagement can truly take place.
If you’re ready to make it happen, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here, sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook! Check out EV Readiness Part 2: Emerging EV Buyers and EV Readiness Part 3: Roadblocked EV Buyers to learn more about these customer segments.