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NEV Consumers - Stronger Demands, Higher Expectations
Automotive Foresight (Shanghai) Co. ,Ltd.   2022-01-19 07:55:04 Author:Yale Zhang Source:China Daily Font size:[Large][Middle][Small]

China total New Energy Vehicles market (incl. commercial vehicle) grew to 1.16 million units in 2018, 62% higher than that in 2017; of which passenger NEV grew to 1.01 million units, 82% higher than that of 2017.

Car plate control policies in 8 large cities & regions are still major drivers for NEV demand in the country, but more new products, longer driving ranges, more affordable prices became increasingly important, and triggered stronger “real” demand.

In March 2019, AutoForesight made EV&PHEV owners research in 5 cities in China, covering 200 EV car owners and 200 PHEV car owners, these 400 interviewees’ new cars were all purchased in 2018.

Comparing with 2018 researches, the sample size is more than doubled. And other than Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, the 2nd tier cities without car plate control policies increased from Jinan 1 city to 2 cities – Chengdu and Wuhan, to better represent inland market demand, which is more product/price driven, instead of policy driven.

Consistently, most of NEV car owners are married with kids, usually between 30-40 years old, they have higher average age than traditional car owners.

Other than polices, saving fuels are still major motivation for the purchase. Comparing with EV, PHEV car owners are even more policy driven, either by a free car plate, or no restriction for daily driving in the city.

Nearly 46% of EV car owners hope that the EV driving ranges can hit 351-400 Km, and 86% EV car owners hope that the max speed of EV can reach 120-160 Km/h. Comparing with last year’s survey, the consumer’s expectation increased quickly. This has become a challenge for smaller EV makers with insufficient technology capability, as well as an opportunity, for mature/larger OEMs with better technology.

While 64% PHEV car owners hope that the max speed can reach 120-160 Km/h, but currently only 40% of PHEV car owners think their vehicle can meet this expectation.

With higher vehicle function expectations, the survey shows that car owners have exactly the same expectation of EV/PHEV prices like last year, 56% car owners think the NEV prices should be controlled within 5-20% hike comparing with the same size gasoline car, while 26% car owners hope the NEV and gasoline cars should have the same prices.

As for EV startup companies, consumers have a higher brand awareness, especially for Nio, WM and Xiaopeng. And 77% surveyed consumers are willing to buy a local brand NEV product, the rest 23% consumers would not buy a local product because they think their technology/quality are not up to consumers’ expectations.

In fact, consumers still have similar complain about EVs, 37% car owners are not satisfied with driving range, 21% consumers think battery duration/quality not satisfactory, 21% choose charging facility insufficient, 13% say that the charging speed is too slow.

Meanwhile, consumers are not satisfied with EV prices, due to subsidy reduction in the 2018, the NEV prices were not dropping as fast as in the past.

Due to above concerns, the survey shows that percentage of EV car owners who want to buy another EV dropped slightly.

Interestingly, most PHEV owners are satisfied with EV mode driving experiences, but not happy when the PHEV shifts to ICE driving mode due to noise and vibration. More than 1/3 of PHEV owners said they want to change to an EV in the future.

Both EV and PHEV owners would like to have more hi-tech features in their next NEV models. However, consumers are more practical about autonomous driving, less people choose to have L3 or 4, because they believe safety is more important than showing off car’s high-tech features.

Obviously, the NEV development has grown into a crucial stage, in one hand, consumers have more experience of NEV products and are all impressed by EV driving mode. On another hand, with less subsidy, car makers need to control cost harder, meanwhile, providing a better product with better design & function.

The year 2021 is drawing near quickly, with more EV new products to be lunched, and subsidies are cut to zero, we will see the market become more market & demand driven.

Thus, a lot NEV car makers will disappear, including both EV startups and those small traditional car/EV makers.

Thank God, consumers as well as industry insiders finally do not need to remember so many new brand names & weird logos.

The article is written by:Yale Zhang, Managing Director, Automotive Foresight (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., the author can be reached by email yz@autoforesight.com

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