Leading the charge: the acceleration of the EV market

Anila Siraj, Head of Data Strategy, explain why retailers will need to pay close attention to EV drivers' behavior as it continues to evolve.

You don’t need to tell me about the electric vehicle (EV) revolution — I already own one, and I’m not alone. More people than ever are opting to ditch traditional cars in favor of more sustainable electric transport.

It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. EVs represent a monumental shift in the automotive industry, and are set to make a huge impact on our roads, our cities, and most importantly, on the way we drive.

But the ripples of this change will be felt far beyond the automotive industry. EVs bring with them a whole swathe of new opportunities and customer behaviors that forward-thinking business can leverage.

And one of the biggest opportunities is ‘refueling’.

This presents an opportunity for retailers in particular. EVs have changed when, where, and for how long, owners refuel. By anticipating how this behavior will continue to evolve, and adapting their model accordingly, retailers can position themselves to meet EV owners’ needs.

Kalibrate recently conducted in-depth research into retailers, EV owners, and prospective EV owners, and published the results in our Electric Opportunity report. In this series of two blog posts, I want to outline a few of the report’s key takeaways, and discuss how retailers can make the most of the opportunity.


Owner motivation

Firstly, consider buyers and prospective buyers. It’s crucial for businesses to fully understand customers, and a great place to begin is their motivation for buying an EV.

It will come as no surprise that our research shows the main motivation for buying an EV is the environment. In fact, 60% of owners say reducing their carbon footprint was the biggest reason for making the purchase. Furthermore, 67% say mass EV adoption is essential for developing a more sustainable way of life – showing owners really do believe electric is the way of the future.

These findings dovetail with the fact that, more than ever, people expect businesses and governments to be doing more about the environment. An opinion held by 66% of EV owners and prospective owners.

But there’s another motivation: savings on refueling.

Savings are the second most common reason for switching to EV. And judging by the fact that 63% of owners say purchasing an EV has delivered good value, this reason has proved mostly justified. This insight will be significant to retailers thinking of adding EV charging points to their locations, as they ensure they continue to deliver this value to their EV driving customer base.


Changing behaviors

Knowing when and where owners want to refuel is key for retailers.

66% of drivers say they’re always looking for new places to charge their EVs. Will future drivers prefer to refuel at home? At work? While out shopping? Will their behaviors change the longer they own their EV for? At this point, it’s hard to say.

With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that 57% of retailers find it difficult to anticipate where EV charger infrastructure would be most useful.

Our report delves into this in much more detail. But for now I’ll say that understanding as much as possible about what motivates owners will be hugely useful in anticipating their future behavior. Businesses wanting to leverage the EV opportunity should be looking to get all the insights they can, and begin to form a strategy as soon as possible.

To get more insights and read our full research, click here to download our free report: The Electric Opportunity – Mapping the habits, preferences, and needs of electric vehicle drivers.

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