When you introduce an innovative product like an electric vehicle into the general population you are bound to encounter consumer hesitation. Think of it like someone sticking a cow tongue taco in your face and saying “Here. Try this!” Buyers need to be eased into a product and coached on why they need it or how it will make them better, sexier, more responsbile, etc. Events that allow customers to touch, taste or in this case drive really help to overcome that hesitation. This morning the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), in conjunction with Edison Electric announced an EV drive event where people could drive and learn about EVs. This will be a great learning opportunity for people to see firsthand the capabilities, drivability and charging ease of an EV.
What these events won’t do is make the initial cost more palatable, especially if fuel prices drift downward and more pleasing fuel efficient vehicles enter the market at half the cost of their electric peers.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) released a report this week after conducting a workshop on Standards and Codes for Electric Drive Vehicles. The workshop was assembled at the request of the Department of Energy to discuss the harmonization of charging infrastructure for electric drive vehicles. Any endeavor to harmonize the adoption of electric vehicles is a welcomed affair, in particular piecing together exactly what each group and/or association is or isn’t doing. Given the cost-cutting atmosphere it’s important that groups with similar ambitions don’t overlap or overlook efficiencies gained by collaboration.
One key priority of the group was defined as Consumer Acceptance. In this subgroup the participants described common adoption barriers such as vehicle range, fuel efficiency and charging locations. I understand the focus of the group was in harmonizing the standards associated with charging infrastructure, but at no point did they mention vehicle price as a barrier to consumer acceptance.
It is my opinion that as the EV matures and early adopter demand is filled, automakers will need to back and need to find out what is keeping ordinary buyers from putting an EV on their consideration list?