How EV Companies Should Plan to Convince Buyers for Passenger EVs
EVs are a difficult sell. We’ve all got used to filling up in a few minutes at a fuel station and fuel stations are plentiful. For generations now, we’ve lived with combustion engine vehicles, and we know how they work, where to fix them if something goes wrong and what they will sell for in the future.
EVs are new, our generation is experiencing them for the first time and there are 3 big problems to solve in order to convince consumers to adopt EVs en-masse. Let’s explore these problems first and I’ll put forward my understanding on how to tackle them head on.
First, EVs are EXPENSIVE. In almost all cases, EVs are between 30-50 per cent more expensive than traditional petrol or diesel engines. This is usually after the subsidies provided by various governments. So, vs, your “normal” car/bike you’re going to incur a much larger upfront investment. You’ll benefit from total cost of ownership savings over the long run, however, most consumers doing normal commutes won’t actually see any savings for years.
To tackle this problem and enable mass adoption of EVs, companies need to look at alternatives to the traditional ownership model. Subscriptions and even longer-term leasing can bridge the gap. There isn’t a requirement for a large down payment nor the need to commit three to five year EMIs. EV start-ups are tackling this problem head on through an all-inclusive EV subscription model. Subscription models offer an alternative to ownership. With everything included from the vehicle, insurance, servicing and even breakdown support, consumers only need to pay a small security deposit and don’t have to commit to long tenures.
We then come to the second problem of Range Anxiety. This basically means will the vehicle actually do the km it says it’s going to do. This is a huge psychological issue. The reality is most people don’t think logically. The average commute is only about 25 km in metropolitan cities. Most EVs solve this problem easily. However, consumers think of the one time they need to go on a long journey and then shy away from buying one. Range anxiety can only be solved through an ecosystem of multiple players coming together. But before that manufacturers need to display REAL WORLD RANGE. The lab tested ranges shown by OEMs are seldom achievable. This can vary by 25% in some cases. So, if your stated range is 300km, the reality is you’re going to get 225 MAXIMUM! This already builds mistrust among consumers and decision making is delayed till a large range vehicle is available. To really tackle range anxiety multiple layers of effort are needed. Education of consumers through an understanding of their actual travel journey needs, vehicles with multiple battery pack options to cater for those shorter or longer journey requirements, a network of multiple connected chargers, from slow, fast to rapid charging facilities.
This brings us nicely to the third problem to tackle, Charge Anxiety. Another massive psychological issue. Where and how do I charge? Speak to anyone about an EV, and that’s the first thing they’ll say. Can’t charge anywhere! Again, not really true, any 5 or 15-amp socket is a potential “fuel station”. The problem however is that consumers are unaware of the different solutions out there and what they need to do. Consumer education on the various options available from slow charging (3.3KW or less), Fast charging (7Kw+) and rapid charging (>25Kw DC). They need to be part of a comprehensive handover process and not just a thank you very much for going to an EV, see you later that most dealerships adopt. Consumers also don’t want to sit and download 100s of apps, there is huge scope for a charging integrator and tech start-ups are best placed to make integrations. Now is not the time for everyone to build their own systems! For 2 wheelers where battery swapping is coming into place, there can’t be 100s of different battery types and adaptors. Imagine pulling up to a petrol station and finding that your car can’t fit the hose pipe! So, battery swapping needs uniformity. The government has to play a huge part in this to standardise and even standardise at a global level.
EVs will only work if there is an ecosystem around them. OEM’s, suppliers, charging providers, insurers, legislation, financiers and alternative ownership models coming together. Educating the consumers, making it easy for them to make the switch and enjoying the multiple benefits of going electric!
By: Sameer Arif, Founder and CEO SWYTCHD, Under Velocity Venture of IIMB-NSRCEL