EV buyers are more likely to trust well-known automakers than Tesla and new EV startups such as Rivian, but the current crop of products does not live up to expectations, according to a new survey by Escalent.

More than a third of respondents (35%) were in favor of buying an EV from a well-known carmaker, while only 24% said they would turn to one of the new specialist EV firms to purchase their first electric car. Another 41% of respondents were undecided.

According to the survey, the five main attributes that consumers want in EV are: reliability, good value for money, the latest safety technologies, inexpensive service, and innovative features and technologies.

Kia EV6 2022

However, only 5% to 31% of respondents believed that any automaker performs any of these five attributes. Respondents were also more aware of specific EV models from specialized brands than well-known automakers.

It should be noted that these data are taken from a national sample of “major vehicle owners” and “luxury car owners”, not necessarily weighted to reflect the actual demographics of typical EV buyers.

One of the main differences between these responses and responses in past surveys is the lack of a range of the top five attributes that consumers value most. The range was named a top priority in most past polls.

The 2022 Tesla line (courtesy of Tesla, Inc.)

The 2022 Tesla line (courtesy of Tesla, Inc.)

Tesla buyers also have a well-known reputation for brand loyalty, although this was revealed by a previous survey even they intersect. However, Tesla sold out 78% of battery electric vehicles are purchased in California in the first quarter of 2022, so all the positive feelings of consumers towards other automakers have not yet resulted in increased sales.

Deploying EVs is not just about vehicles themselves. Part of the question can also be charging, or charging education. Tesla’s well-developed network of public charging stations remains a major asset for the company.

All automakers should also appeal to a large number of consumers who have never experienced an electric car. This was shown by the 2020 poll 70% of Americans have never been to EVand that many of the same barriers to launching General Motors EV1 in the 1990s persisted for nearly 25 years.


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