- More and more electric vehicles are coming even as demand slows.
- Dealers say selling EVs is getting a lot harder.
- Some of the new models in the pipeline might appeal more to the new demographic of EV shopper.
Just as selling electric cars is getting a whole lot harder, a slew of them are slated to hit the market.
Industry analysts tend to agree that more than 50 new electric models are expected to hit the U.S. market in the next three years as the automotive industry continues to wean itself off of gas-powered vehicles. But it’s unclear if there will be willing customers on the other end.
Dealers are already sounding alarm bells on slowing demand, pointing to a new demographic of electric car shoppers who shop the expensive battery-powered cars against traditional gas-powered vehicles and hybrids.
“We’ve had those early adopters,” Stephanie Valdez-Streaty, director of industry insights at Cox Automotive, told Insider. “Now we’re looking at how we provide this value proposition to this new early majority we’re transitioning to.”
Valdez-Streaty said it will be important in the coming months and years for dealers to dig deep into this new demographic of electric-vehicle shoppers to understand what exactly they need in order to choose an expensive plug-in that may come with more life adjustments over something cheaper and more practical.
Whether that’s pushing the environmental benefits, the technology, or being ready to talk about things like the total cost of ownership when you factor in local and state incentives, dealers need to be conveying that information,” she said.
Reckoning with the new reality for EV shoppers
This year is stacking up to be huge for electric vehicle growth. After years of stagnation, sales of electrics have been growing exponentially in the last three years. Through September alone, EVs accounted for 9% of all car sales, according to JD Power.
But that growth rate is slowing, and manufacturers are already responding. For example, Ford and GM have both retracted their EV production goals this year and now won’t say when they might hit the targets they originally set.
All of this is leading to a realization that basing EV product plans on early adopters who have driven the last few years of growth in the segment may have led to an overestimation of long-term demand.
“The EV segment is absolutely still going to march forward, but there are obviously going to be some bumps in the road,” Valdez-Streaty said.
She said pulling back on the new EVs coming down the pike might not be the smartest move, given that some of the holes in the EV market align with the new, more price-minded shoppers.
“Anything that’s going to be in that $30,000 range could be successfully launched,” she said. “Having new models that are priced more affordably is still going to be very important.”