New research from CDK Global & J.D. Power highlight continued challenges to greater EV adoption


Expert firms acknowledged the road to electrification has been repeatedly foretold by automotive industry watchers.

Yet, CDK Global and J.D. Power pointed out significant questions remain about how the transformation will take place, how long it will take and what will accelerate — or just as importantly put the brakes on — consumer adoption.

CDK Global and J.D. Power each shared research about electric vehicles and the necessary infrastructure to support them through separate projects.

Beginning first with CDK Global, the automotive retail software provider collaborated with Brookfield and recently released results of a survey that found significant challenges and opportunities the industry must address to get to an all-electric future.

With electric vehicle (EV) sales on the rise, CDK Global noted that gas-powered vehicles still make up most sales. And at less than 5% of the market, CDK Global estimated that sales of EVs would have to double every two years to get to a full-electric fleet by 2032.

To better understand the barriers to adoption and how to help accelerate the shift to EVs, CDK surveyed more than 1,100 consumers who recently purchased a vehicle or intend to purchase a vehicle in the next two years.

CDK’s study found that while EV owners are extremely satisfied with a net promoter score (NPS) of 69, they still have concerns about the amount of time it took to charge their vehicle (69%), the availability of charging networks (60%) and vehicle range (56%).

For non-EV shoppers, nearly half (46%) reported they do not plan to buy an EV at any point in the future, which reveals a need for dealers to better educate shoppers on EV options, while continuing to sell and service gas-powered vehicles through the next decade and beyond.

The survey also revealed several insights for dealers looking to stay ahead of the curve with their customers, such as:

—26% of shoppers who bought or planned to buy a gas-powered vehicle considered an EV — with 88% pointing to the dealer’s sales representative as introducing the option.

—EV buyers listed advanced technology as the top purchase motivator (25%), with a desire to reduce impact on the environment coming in second (23%).

—40% of EV shoppers postponed buying an EV until they had their own garage due to concerns around easy and convenient access to charging facilities.

The CDK project revealed four out of five EV owners (81%) plan to get their vehicles serviced at the dealer.

And while oil changes are the primary worry for owners of gas-powered vehicles, CDK discovered EV owners report the need for heath checks on batteries (61%), tire changes (44%) and high-voltage cable inspection (40%).

“While the headlines shout about the inevitability of an all-EV future, there is still a lot of work we must to do to pave the way, while continuing to take care of consumer needs in the meantime,” CDK Global chief marketing officer Barb Edson said in a news release.

“We believe the dealer is — and will continue to be — at the heart of automotive retail. By helping them better understand the realities of the market, they can plan more impactful sales and service programs and investments in their dealerships to meet consumer needs through this transition.”

For more information on the survey, including additional insights, a whitepaper from CDK Global titled, “The Charged Truth About Electric Vehicles” is available from this website.

Growing EV market threatens to short-circuit public charging experience

J.D. Power said the growth of electric vehicle (EV) sales during the past year has been remarkable but has added stress to an already beleaguered public vehicle charging infrastructure.

During this growth spurt, J.D. Power indicated owners in high EV volume markets like California, Texas and Washington, for instance, are finding the charging infrastructure inadequate and plagued with non-functioning stations.

These are among the key findings in the second annual J.D. Power U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Public Charging Study.

Despite that more public charging stations are in operation than ever before, J.D. Power found that customer satisfaction with public Level 2 charging declined from last year, dropping to 633 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 643 in 2021, while satisfaction with the speedier DC (direct current) fast charger segment remains flat at 674.

J.D. Power explained this lack of progress points to the need for improvement as EVs gain wider consumer acceptance because the shortage of public charging availability is the number one reason vehicle shoppers reject EVs.

The study showed Tesla Destination ranks highest among Level 2 charge point operators with a score of 680 and Tesla Supercharger ranks highest among DC fast chargers with a score of 739.

“Public charging continues to provide challenges to overall EV adoption and current EV owners alike,” said Brent Gruber, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “Not only is the availability of public charging still an obstacle, but EV owners continue to be faced with charging station equipment that is inoperable.

“The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program promises to provide funds to states for building out their EV public charging infrastructure. This will lead to sizable growth in the availability of EV charging stations, but just adding stations isn’t the answer,” Gruber continued in a news release.

“Stations need to be added to areas where there are currently gaps in heavily traveled routes and in high-density areas for people who don’t have access to residential charging, but most importantly, designed with things for users to do while charging — regardless of the use case. Then, we need to make sure those stations are reliable,” Gruber continued.

The study measured EV owners’ satisfaction with two types of public charge point operators: Level 2 charging stations and DC fast charger stations. Satisfaction was measured across 10 factors, including:

—Ease of charging

—Speed of charging

—Cost of charging

—Ease of payment

—Ease of finding this location

—Convenience of this location

—Things to do while charging

—How safe you feel at this location

—Availability of chargers

—Physical condition of the charging location

Other key findings of the 2022 study include: 

• Most owners relatively satisfied with ease of charging process: Satisfaction with the ease of charging at a DC fast charger is 745 among battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) owners, and satisfaction with the ease of charging at a Level 2 charging station is 699.

J.D. Power explained this finding indicates that current EV owners understand the operation of both types of chargers, so the systems themselves do not prompt issues. But virtually all other attributes related to public charging score lower. Some, like cost of charging, are much lower: 473 for DC fast chargers and 446 for Level 2 chargers.

• Public charger operability and maintenance a key issue: Growth of the public charging infrastructure is making it easier for EV owners to find public charging stations. The index for ease of finding a location is 724 among users of DC fast chargers and 683 among users of Level 2 chargers.

But J.D. Power said the industry needs to do a better job of maintaining existing charging stations. The study found that one out of every five respondents ended up not charging their vehicle during their visit. Of those who didn’t charge, 72% indicated that it was due to the station malfunctioning or being out of service.

• Owner satisfaction with availability of public charging stations differs by region: Led by California, the Pacific region has the highest number of public chargers. At the same time, it has the highest concentration of EV owners, yet they are not as satisfied with the availability and condition of public chargers as EV owners in some other geographic areas.

The West North Central region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) has the highest level of satisfaction with the availability of public charging. The East North Central region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) has the highest level of satisfaction with the condition of public chargers.

• DC fast charger users are planners: Users of Level 2 chargers cite convenience and price as the two key reasons for choosing a charging location. Users of DC fast chargers, on the other hand, are often on a planned road trip which, along with convenience, determines their choice of charging location. Often, they have few logical alternatives.

“Everyone knows that the landscape of gas stations is focused on convenience — readily available, fast fueling and quick convenience items,” Gruber said. “Although fast charging is seemingly getting faster by the day, to expedite the charging process vehicles will need to accommodate the newest ultra-fast chargers.

“Currently, only a handful of vehicles can take advantage of the fastest charging speeds. And no matter how fast their vehicle charges, EV owners still indicate they need more options for things to do during each charging session to enhance convenience and fill the down time,” Gruber went on to say.

The 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Public Charging Study is driven by a collaboration with PlugShare, a leading EV driver app maker and research firm.

The study examines consumer attitudes, behaviors and satisfaction, setting the standard for benchmarking the overall experience of public EV charging.

Respondents included 11,554 owners of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

The study was fielded from January through June. Drivers who visited the charging location but didn’t charge their vehicle were asked why they decided not to charge.

Source : AutoFinanceNews