Owner data: once you go electric, you never go back
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It is the secret weapon of electric vehicles: drivers that switch to EVs fall in love with their cars in a way that internal combustion engine vehicles cannot match. PlugInsights Research, a division of Recargo, presented data at this week’s EDTA convention that forcefully supports this notion (via Inside EVs).
Norman Hajjar, managing director at Recargo best known for his 12,000 mile electric road trip, revealed new data showing incredible loyalty among first adopters of electric vehicles.
Granted, early adopters were generally highly enthusiastic about their vehicles from the very start and by their nature are more likely to be satisfied with the electric ownership experience. Nevertheless, PlugInsight’s findings speak too loudly to be ignored.
The current age of electric cars officially began in late 2010 with the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF. As three years is the most common lease duration, PlugInsights has been collecting data from EV owners whose leases have expired. A pool of 900 such owners was asked if their next vehicle purchase would be an EV or an ICE.
Out of those 900 owners, an astounding 96.9% said they would buy another electric vehicle, either a pure electric or a plug-in hybrid. Just 1.9% of respondents reported a desire to return to a conventional vehicle.
This isn’t the only intriguing data. Driver satisfaction over time was also monitored in terms of Net Promoter Score, a common metric using owner data to evaluate number of promoters of a product minus number of detractors. Once again, the electric vehicles embarrassed even the best internal combustion engine cars.
The most highly rated automakers rarely exceed an NPS score of 50 as an overall brand. In 2012, for example, the leader was Subaru at 56.8 while no other automaker topped 49. Chevrolet languished at just 12.3. These numbers make the preliminary EV results all the more impressive.
Not surprisingly, Tesla displays the strongest NPS scores. After owning a Tesla (either the Roadster or Model S) for two to three years, drivers gave the brand an otherworldly NPS rating of 94.2. After three years the number climbs to 96.6.
Chevrolet departs sharply from their lousy overall company trend with the plug-in hybrid Volt; owners gave it an NPS score of 79.2 in the first year of ownership and 85.2 after three years.
The Nissan LEAF rounded out this particular data set, as no other automakers produced volume electric vehicles as early as Chevrolet, Nissan, and Tesla. LEAF owners rated the commuter EV at 66.8 in the first year, though the car’s score declined to 49.8 after three years. Even so, this lowest-rated electric vehicle exceeded the overall NPS rating of all but one automaker.
Again, the data is probably skewed by the zealous early adopters. It will be interesting to see if the trends hold in the coming years, such as mid-2016 when 95,716 EVs will be three years old.
Nevertheless, the data is so utterly and convincingly supportive of the notion that drivers love their EVs that the auto industry would be foolish not to take notice. Owner satisfaction and loyalty are crucial to the goals of every automaker, and the owner satisfaction and loyalty of electric vehicles are unmatched by their conventional counterparts. Once you go electric, it’s a safe bet you won’t want to go back to your old ways.