Electric vehicle : What consumers ‘want’ may not be what consumers ‘need’

What consumers ‘want’ may not be what consumers ‘need’

  • Concerns about electric vehicles
  • Root concern and ideation
  • Consumer needs beyond charging infrastructure

The survey was designed to understand (a) how consumers make decisions while buying passenger vehicles, and (b) the difference between the stated and inferred (if not revealed) preferences of consumers towards EVs

As per the survey, respondents were questioned on two aspects:

(a) on an average, how much do/would they drive per day

(b) how many times during the year do they drive for long distances?

As per the results, 82% of respondents drive less than 60 km per day. Today, EVs with a range of at least 100–140 km/charge range are available in the Indian market; these vehicles have a minimum practical driving range of about 80 km/charge.

On the second question, about 73% of the respondents said they drove for long distances up to
five times in a year, or always used hired vehicles for long journeys by car.

Concerns about Electric Vehicles

Based on the survey results, charging infrastructure, driving range and vehicle price were the top three consumer concerns pertaining to EVs.

Root Concern : The common underlying factor between charging infrastructure and driving range is the ability to reach one’s destination without running out of charge. Solving either of the two problems may alleviate the root concern.

Brainstorming and Ideation phase :

Ways to address concerns :

  • The first is assuaging consumer anxiety by providing adequate access to charging infrastructure.
  • The second one is reducing consumer anxiety by educating them about their own travel patterns and helping them understand what they need.


A tool may be developed to help consumers understand their fitment to EVs based on travel patterns.

Electric Vehicles vs Charging Infrastructure :

Except for China where charging infrastructure has seen unprecedented growth vis-à-vis passenger vehicle sales, the ecosystems in countries such as Norway, the US and France have evolved eventually along with passenger vehicle sales.

This is an indication that consumer anxiety can be addressed by providing adequate access to charging infrastructure.

Consumer needs beyond charging infrastructure

Improving access to charging infrastructure will definitely address consumer anxieties, but to an extent. Over and above access, consumers will require assurance.

Check following facts about consumer preferences to the EV. As a EV Ecosystem, start ups, manufactures, policy makers should address to these concerns to build traction in EV in India.

Hypothesis :

Respondents were asked if they have seen charging infrastructure in their cities, to test the hypothesis that consumers who had seen this infrastructure may have an improved preference for EVs

Facts :

Among respondents, who had seen charging infrastructure and were inclined towards EV, only 28% retained their preference for EVs.

Its important at this stage to understand that Why did 72% of this segment of respondents change their preference to non-EV ?

Major concern : Running out of charge

Ideation :

Improving information and data systems

Apart from increasing charging infrastructure, one way of addressing the gap between access and assurance is improving information and data systems. For example, a GIS-based system with the ability to book charging space ahead of time may not only improve awareness of charging stations, but also provide assurance and a sense of instant gratification.

Standardisation of chargers and batteries
Similarly, current efforts by the Government towards standardisation of chargers and batteries would reassure consumers by ensuring access to ‘anywhere anytime charging

Consumer to be made a Central Theme

To nurture the EV ecosystem, the consumer will have to be made the central theme while designing strategies and policies.

  • Show them value
  • Make value easy to comprehend
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve access and provide reassurance

Source : PwC, ASSOCHAM

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