While electric vehicles may ultimately live up to their lofty promises, the short-term drawbacks of the “electric vehicle revolution” could also undo decades of hard-fought customer experience gains.
This is the conclusion of a new analysis by Ipsos, which highlights several warning signs that the industry cannot afford to ignore. “Moving to an EV is not painless for many consumers,” says Chance Parker, VP of Product Development. “Uneven charging network performance, unexpected costs for home charging, frustration with complex vehicle technology, surprises with real-world range…warning signs are popping up all over.”
Much of the optimism around electric vehicles (EVs) is warranted: the Ipsos Mobility Navigator Study shows that interest has more than quadrupled in the US since 2018. But to ensure the long-term viability of the EV market, auto manufacturers and charging companies must deal with a number of issues, including the following:
The home charging experience
Home charging is one of the primary selling points for EVs —yet the time and expense involved can be considerable. While a standard electrical outlet can be used with most EVs, this “Level 1” charging can take more than 24 hours. The cost of purchasing and installing a “Level 2” charger, however, can run into the thousands of dollars. And before any of this can be considered, EV drivers must have a dedicated place to install their charger, which means that owners who live in apartments are often out of luck.
Challenges with public charging
EV owners without a garage or parking space must rely on public charging — and Ipsos’ analysis finds that this experience, too, leaves much to be desired. Public charging networks are still working the kinks out of their new systems, and many drivers are suffering the consequences, from charger shortages to unacceptable failure rates.
While the blame for a poor charging experience may ultimately fall at the feet of the charging networks, subpar experiences present a real danger for carmakers as well. Ipsos’ analysis reveals that recommendation levels for an EV brand plummet by over 50% when the owner has a bad experience at a public charging station.
Poor vehicle quality
EVs should, on paper, be more reliable than traditional vehicles — yet Ipsos quality tracking studies conducted around the globe show that this is not yet a reality. Others agree: both JD Power and Consumer reports have published reports that call the quality and reliability of electric vehicles into question.
Whether the problem is a manufacturing defect, malfunctioning software, or user-unfriendly technology, more problems mean more dissatisfied customers. Auto manufacturers and charging companies must focus on understanding the expectations and experiences of the EV owner and addressing their pain points.
With decades of experience helping global automotive companies identify and solve problems, Ipsos can help. In addition to traditional research like quality and CX tracking, Ipsos has developed several new services aimed directly at the identifying and fixing the problems new EV owners are facing.