Electric Vehicles (EVs)? What’s your feeling? As 2023 closes, it’s interesting to look at the narrative over the last 12 months. How did we start the year and where have we got to?
There’s the expert view of course, facts, figures, and science but that’s meaningless if the general population's view is different. Why? Because the average person doesn’t have an interest in that perspective. They believe what they hear, what they read, and what their friends say. Because that’s much more meaningful to them.
And sadly, I am not sure that their view has changed that much over the last 12 months. I was recently discussing EVs with a couple of well-educated colleagues. The conversation followed a familiar path. I will change the names to protect the innocent:
Me: “How’s that <American electric car brand> you were driving last week Jane?”
Jane: “It’s my husband’s and I love it. I really want to get my own. Everything about it is brilliant.”
Dave: “My friend bought an electric car, and he hated it. He’s now got rid of it and has gone back to petrol. The infrastructure is just not there…”
Jane: "..." Awkward silence. Not sure what to say after hearing the ‘expert’ opinion.
Me: “Okay moving on…”
It’s an emotional narrative that shuts down constructive conversation on electrification. And it’s one that’s hard to argue with for the average person. Even though the facts, figures and science are all going in the right direction.
Last month we reached 950,000+ EVs on UK roads. November’s car sales were 15.6% electric and there’s now over 53K charging points, a 46% increase in 12 months.
And in just five years, the EV market has surged from 20 to 120 models. Dacia’s Spring and Citroën’s ë-C3 are just two new arrivals expected at under £20k.
But because the narrative is stuck, adoption is not happening fast enough. The Government relying on the market to decide the speed of transition isn’t working either. Negative emotions are dominating headlines and affecting what most people think and feel.
There needs to be an intervention, and some joined up thinking from those of influence.
Yesterday I enjoyed listening to Rory Sutherland who emphasised the importance of salesmanship and marketing in the adoption of great ideas. Sharing this quote from Kumar Galhotra Ford Motor Company "Car making is 100,000 rational decisions in search of one emotional decision". Spot on!
Today there seems to be few emotional reasons for the general population to buy an EV. Many negative ones. Do we need to retire the engineers and scientists and roll out the marketeers, so we can change the narrative.
What do you think?
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