In a seemingly bizarre yet tragic twist, a new study says that EV owners are a fickle bunch. After purchasing an electric vehicle, half of EV owners go back to ICE vehicles as either a replacement car or a second vehicle – all with the exception of Tesla owners, who are (no surprise) notorious for their fierce brand loyalty.
A new study from S&P Global Mobility revealed that EV owners switching back to ICE vehicles had three classic arguments: pricing, infrastructure, and range anxiety, and other consumers just felt better having an ICE or hybrid vehicle in the garage as a backup plan.
The study looked at data from this year through July on a slew of major brands, with Nissan coming in strong in loyalty to EVs at 63.2%, followed by Chevrolet at 60.6%.
Looking at the data on individual models, 37.3% of Ford Mustang Mach-E owners bought another EV, versus 45.8% opting for an ICE vehicle, with a large number of buyers transitioning from a Ford truck or SUV in both ICE and hybrid powertrains.
By contrast, of the Nissan Leaf owners who bought another EV, the most popular next purchase was a Tesla Model Y at 14.3%, followed by another Leaf at 12.4%. The Chevrolet Bolt also kept a majority of owners – 60.7% – in EVs, with 28.8% getting another Bolt. Like the Mach-E with Ford, the Bolt saw ICE households switch to Chevrolet SUVs and trucks.
What about luxury brands? Data showed that 56.6% of Mercedes-Benz EV buyers stick with the EV lifestyle, a huge jump from 24.3% in Q2 2020. Jaguar EV loyalty also increased from 25% to 56.5%, Audi was up from 25.5% to 50.1%, and Porsche saw a bump from 23.3% to 36.8%.
Tesla, the market leader, saw an increase in EV loyalty from 51.8% to 76.7%.
What this basically boils down to is that legacy ICE automakers are feeling the heat – Tesla is picking off the competition with its high volumes of quality EVs, keeping consumers loyal to their brand and to the electrified future. Meanwhile, legacy brands are busy playing catch up, struggling to keep consumers interested. The data, however, does shed some light on work that still needs to be done in keeping consumers on the grid and not reverting back to fossil fuels.
“The OEMs are spending huge amounts of money to develop EVs,” associate director for loyalty solutions and industry analysis at S&P Global Mobility, Tom Libby said. “So the last thing they want is for an EV owner to go back to ICE.”
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