Concerns related to driving range were shown as the main barrier for electric vehicle (EV) buying, says a study.

Kantar, an analytics and brand consulting company which conducted a self-funded multi-country study to understand consumer sentiment towards the high-potential market, said in a statement that 43 percent respondents have shown “range anxiety” in the study.

From a practicality standpoint, EV considerers named driving range (46 percent), battery durability (43 percent), charging speed (42 percent) and availability of charging stations (41 percent) as the top four triggers that will determine their switch, and selection of brand/ car model.

In foreign markets, including US and Germany, another important barrier towards the switch to EV, is the significant higher price compares to non-EV (42 percent).

This indicates the limited choice of EV in the more affordable price car range in some countries, and the importance of government subsidies to accelerate adoptions of EV, as shown by the successes in the Nordic countries, such as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

In terms of purchase motives, EV owners expressed key reasons for buying EV is to keep up with advanced technologies and trends.

The investigation gathered the opinions of 4,620 consumers through an online survey, using LifePoints online communities in United Sttes, China, Hong Kong, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

It explored several related topics, including purchase motives & barriers; purchase journey and touchpoints; market positioning of Chinese EV brands domestically and their potential to win internationally.

Despite information is increasingly digitalized, when it comes to the consideration phase of potential EV buyers, the study discovered that not all online information channels are equally important or necessary.

For example, it found that there is good acceptance towards more neutral/UGC (user generated content) alike information.

The study also found that an average EV buyer will use up to eight information channels (online and offline) before making a purchase.

It believed only prudent selection of channels that best fit the brands’ DNA and target audience will optimize marketing efficiency, and therefore purchase conversion.

It is also noted that offline store experiences and car exhibitions/events are among the top three information channels as rated by our respondents, and with no surprise, a good test drive experience is still utmost important to make that final conversion (47 percent).

An interesting finding though, was that EV owners or intenders in mainland China shows better acceptance towards newer retail experiences than other countries researched (64 percent in mainland China compared to 41 percent in other markets).

For the awareness of EV brands among our respondents in mainland China, Tesla came top (75 percent), followed by BYD (73 percent), Xpeng (65 percent) and Nio (64 percent). Six of the top ten aware are Chinese brands.

When it comes to Chinese EV brands that are already available outside of China, the top two aware brands are Xpeng and Nio.

It indicates that Chinese consumers are open to both local and foreign EV brands, while Chinese EV brands such as Xpeng and Nio are generating good awareness and interest in certain countries, despite only being a relatively newcomer.

It is also noted that value for money is perceived as the top strength of Chinese EV brands outside of China.

“With the world being ever more environmentally conscious, combined with heightened fuel prices and advancement in technologies, I believe the prosperity of EV is at all-time high,” said Jeff Tsui, Managing Director of Kantar Profiles, Greater China.

Cited another study conducted by Kantar Profiles recently, he said 38 percent of those who intend to buy a car this year, will consider buying an EV.

“Such prosperity is no longer restricted to the traditional automotive manufacturers, but others who are keen to invest in this space and have the right brand or product DNAs to be successful,

“The good examples are Baidu’s EV project Jidu Auto; the Sony Mobility Vision-S etc, all having different and strong reasons why I think it could be a success,” he added.

While the findings of this study indicated that Chinese EV brands, under the value for money proposition, have the potentials to fill the gap in certain countries, he said it is also important for these companies to continue their advancement to create more sustainable comparative advantages on a product level, and to play a more pivotal role in the ecosystem / infrastructure surrounding the adoption and use of EVs globally, to truly win the heart of consumers.

Meanwhile, Kantar Chief Executive Officer Chris Jansen said he sees a substantial growth opportunity to be addressed in the EV space.

“Our Mobility Futures research clearly indicates that hybrid and electric vehicles are entering more consumers’ consideration sets thanks to their environmental reputation,

“The findings from our Covid-19 Barometer work also showed us that the pandemic further increased consumers’ prioritisation of environmental issues,” he said.

He said also Kantar BrandZ illustrates very clearly that improving the EV portfolio is enormously beneficial for automakers’ brand valuations.

Besides, although Tesla is currently the clear leader in this space, he sees both disruptors and incumbents making considerable progress.

“From the work we are doing with automakers around the world, it is clear the EV space and the urban mobility space more broadly will be incredibly dynamic over the next few years,” he added.

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