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How do EV adopters make decisions? Understanding their behaviours and exploring the strategic role of brands for CBiS

How do EV adopters make decisions? Understanding their behaviours and exploring the strategic role of brands for CBiS


Coventry University (Pump Prime)

Project objectives

Targeting electric vehicles (EVs) at ‘consumers with a conscience’ has yet to result in widespread adoption of this technology. This study aims to assess whether an alternative approach of new market entrants, such as Tesla, in marketing the EV as a desirable gadget, badge of honour and ‘must-have’ brand, is likely to bring about mass adoption and a step-change in sales. This study also aims to:

  • Understand consumer behaviour and motives in relation to EV consumption
  • Assess the role of brands in EV adoption
  • Assess how new-to-the-sector innovators are influencing consumption patterns 

Impact statement

Currently much existing research and insight positions the EV driver as a ‘consumer with a conscience’ motivated by a desire to help the environment or promote this cause to others. However, with adoption rates for these vehicles still low, this study investigates an alternative approach which is the positioning of these vehicles as a form of high-tech ‘gadget’. For decision-makers within the automotive space, the notion that EVs are a form of gadget impacts upon their marketing and strategic choices. Rather than simply targeting these vehicles at those motivated by green issues, a different consumer, one who seeks the latest technological innovations, becomes the focus of marketing and promotional efforts. Moreover, for these decision makers, this study also aims to provide an assessment of the importance of branding in marketing efforts adding another layer of impact for this project. This will not only impact the new players, such as Tesla, who have influenced the ‘gadgetification’ of EVs, but will also provide an assessment of responses from established firms in the market. This study will involve undertaking Focus Group sessions with consumers which will form the basis of understanding the EV consumer, and agin, this provides valuable insights for those involved in marketing EVs.

The results of this study will have relevance for decision makers, practitioners and marketeers within the EV industry, academics, policymakers in the field of transport, and consumers of vehicles. 

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University of the year shortlisted
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