The Vehicle Classes, Range, & Features in High Demand with EV Drivers — New Report

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Below is a segment of our new report, Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams (2019)*. In the charts used in the article, “EV Drivers” represent non-Tesla fully electric vehicle owners, “PHEV Drivers” represent plug-in hybrid owners, and “Tesla Drivers” represent Tesla owners (surprise, surprise). The data come from thousands of survey respondents in the USA, Canada, and the UK.

For years, we have asked respondents what vehicle body type they prefer for an EV. The answers may surprise you. Despite the crossover and SUV craze, our respondents in North America indicated they prefer a sedan or hatchback.

In the UK, Tesla drivers mostly preferred a vehicle in the D-segment, and secondly in the E-segment. Other EV-driving respondents were much more likely to choose the C-segment, but also commonly chose the D-segment. PHEV drivers mostly preferred a vehicle in the D-segment, and secondly in the C-segment.

How about range? How much range to EV drivers want and expect in their next EVs? Generally speaking, they expect more than 200 miles (300 km) and less than 340 miles (550 km) of range. However, a sizable portion of Tesla drivers in North America, and to some extent in Europe, expect more range from their next EV. A key factor to keep in mind here is that Tesla leads the market in range offered and keeps increasing this spec over time.

When it comes to specific features EV drivers want in their future cars, a long-lasting battery takes the cake. Other popular choices include level 3 fast charging (and Tesla Supercharger access in the case of Tesla owners), and a range of over 250 miles (400 km). Interestingly, a high safety rating was notably more important to non-Tesla EV drivers in North America, which is surprising since Tesla vehicles recorded the best NHTSA safety scores in history.

In the UK, over-the-air software updates were also especially important to Tesla owners.

Given how important a battery with long life and long range is to buyers, it seems important or at least interesting to evaluate these EV early adopters’ battery brand awareness and preferences.

The first thing to note, however, is that battery brand is not important to the majority of buyers. In North American, 49–64% of respondents said it was not important. Since “unsure” was an answer option, though, the inverse of those numbers doesn’t capture how many thought battery brand was important. That answer is 15–35.5% in North America.

In the UK, the results were even more apathetic regarding battery brand. 62–78% said it didn’t matter to them, while the highest share of an EV group who thought it was important was under 15%.

In the UK, we also asked which battery brands the respondents thought were most trustworthy. The EV drivers were supposed to choose up to three from the long list of options. The clear winner was Panasonic, which surely benefits from its association with Tesla. Other top options were Samsung SDI and LG Chem. Toshiba, BYD, and CATL also performed moderately well in some surveyed groups.

For more, see: Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams (2019).

Others articles highlighting segments of Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams (2019):

*CATL and Volta generously sponsored this report. However, they did not have any influence over what was written in the report. Here’s a bit more about these two EV-related companies:

CATL EV Batteries LogoContemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (“CATL”) is a global leader in the development and manufacturing of lithium-ion power and energy storage batteries, with businesses covering R&D, manufacturing and sales in battery systems for new energy vehicles and energy storage systems. In 2018, the company’s sales reached 21.31 GWh worldwide, which was leading in the world (according to SNE Research).

Volta Charging LogoFounded in 2010 out of a passion for advancing transportation, Volta has mastered the art and science of developing cutting-edge electric vehicle charging networks. Volta is accelerating the electric vehicle movement by providing seamless, simple, and free charging experiences. Thoughtfully located along the paths of our busy lives, Volta chargers are the most used in the industry. With the support of forward-thinking brand partners, Volta delivers free charging solutions to real estate owners, power to the electric vehicle community, and impactful brand stories to everyone.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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