The recent gas shortage inevitably led to an increase in decisions to buy an electric vehicle (EV), and the top brand people are looking at is Tesla, according to a survey from AAA. A Forbes article citing the survey noted that during the time the Colonial Pipeline was offline, the national gas price average increased by 7 cents; pushing it to an average of $3.02. This made it the highest average since October 2014. The AAA also noted that the national average will probably see more fluctuation in the coming days.
The Forbes article also cited a survey that was taken back in March 2021 which showed that as gas prices rise, the percentage of those considering purchasing an EV also rises. The Electric Vehicle Sentiment Survey United States, conducted by CarGurus, stated, “Rising gas prices would be especially influential to those on the fence who ‘possibly’ would own an EV in the next decade.”
One key takeaway from the article and the survey is that Tesla is the winning brand of choice for EVs. And if gas prices increased to $4 per gallon, 26% of those surveyed would become more likely to purchase an EV. At $5 per gallon, that number jumped to 57%.
“Tesla continues to be the most trusted brand to develop EVs (and that lead has grown),” CarGurus said while pointing out that 78% of those interested in EVs would be open to several brands when it’s time to make the purchase. CarGurus also noted that SUVs/crossovers are the most likely type to be considered as an EV although few are available today.
Tesla Is The Brand Leader
The survey asked the question, Which brand of electric vehicle are you likely to consider? Select all that apply. The top ten brands are:
- GM (Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick).
57% of the survey takers said that Tesla is the brand of EVs they would be likely to consider, with Toyota at 52%. A few others on the list that didn’t make the top ten include Lucid, Google, Rivian, Ram, VW, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz.
As far as the company that the respondents most trusted to develop an EV, Tesla pulled further ahead in 2021 (36% of responses), followed by Toyota (14%), Honda (8%), Ford (7%), and GM (6%).
Another question the survey posed was a choice between three electric trucks. The three trucks and their votes were:
- Tesla Cybertruck 31% yes, 45% no, and 24% not sure.
- Ford F-150 EV 28% yes, 45% no, and 27% not sure.
- Hummer EV 16% yes, 64% no, and 20% not sure.
Recommendations for Dealers
The survey had some great advice for dealerships on how to increase their sales of electric vehicles. This advice reflects on the fact that many dealerships and their employees don’t really know too much about electric vehicles. If dealerships want to make money off of EVs, they need to educate their staff. EVs aren’t going away. The list of recommendations are as follows:
- Make EVs visible alongside gas-powered vehicles on your lot. You’ll be more likely to get the attention of potential buyers if they’re not hidden in the back of your lot or your garage.
- Consider acquiring a handful of used EVs. Though most EV shoppers would prefer to buy new, close to half of those interested would consider buying CPO (45%) or used (42%).
- Start investing in EV technology at your dealership. Add charging stations on your lot and equip your service bays to handle EVs properly.
- Teach your staff how to talk to shoppers about EVs and tell them not to shy away from conversations about electric vehicles. Your shopper might not buy electric this time around, but chances are their next vehicle purchase (likely in 5–10 years) will be.
The survey noted that EVs are a huge opportunity for the auto industry and that over half of consumers plan to one within the next decade. If an automaker wants to cash in on this early, they should look into building charging infrastructure, as this may be the most effective solution for speeding up EV adoption. 65% of consumers say they’d be much more likely to consider an EV if there were more charging stations available in their area. Many EV owners today use them as everyday cars, so charging infrastructure is as critical as gas stations.
The current EV market leader is Tesla in both reputation and purchase consideration. CarGurus noted that buyers are excited by the possibilities in this emerging space and brand loyalty isn’t that important, so competitors may stand a chance at getting a piece of the EV pie.
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