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Fuels Institute Analyzes Today's EV Consumer

Its new report on consumer behavior answers five key questions about electric vehicle owners.
EV charging

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The incorporation of more electric vehicles (EVs) into the U.S. transportation fleet means it is increasingly important to build an expansive network of publicly accessible charging locations.

A strategic plan to deploy EV service equipment (EVSE) must consider the driving and charging behavior of current EV owners, as well as the anticipated behavior of future owners, according to the Fuels Institute Electric Vehicle Council.

The Electric Vehicle Council's new report, "EV Consumer Behavior," provides insight to help guide market development by reviewing the prevailing literature and presenting what is known about the habits of current EV owners and how that might change over time, according to the Fuels Institute.

The report analyzes and presents findings from publicly available and reliable sources to answer five key questions:

  1. Who is the customer?
  2. When and where does the customer recharge?
  3. Why does a customer choose a particular recharging facility?
  4. How do customers interact with charging equipment?
  5. What do customers do at facilities while charging?

"The EV landscape continues to change at a rapid pace," said Fuels Institute Executive Director John Eichberger. "The Electric Vehicle Council recognized that the charging infrastructure must be built to satisfy the needs of not just current drivers but also those drivers yet to purchase an EV. The needs and behaviors of early adopters of any technology, including EVs, can be quite different from the needs of those consumers who transition later in the market development curve. This report aggregates current published knowledge about these behaviors and needs to help build an EVSE system that effectively satisfies EV driver demand now and tomorrow."

With the Biden Administration's intent to support the expansion of the EV market as one method of combating carbon emissions, as well as the increasing pace of vehicle manufacturers adding EVs to their product lineups in the next five years, it is very likely that the demographics of the EV driver and their individual needs and preferences will evolve quickly.

The current top demographic of EV owners are middle-age white men who earn more than $100,000 and own a home with a garage to support home charging, the Fuels Institute reported.

However, this demographic is expected to more closely reflect the general population of vehicle owners as more EVs enter the market, increasing options and reducing costs. While current EV owners find their way around the limitations of the existing charging infrastructure, future owners will likely require greater availability and convenience from the charging network before they purchase their first EV.

"Understanding the various demographics of EV drivers and their associated behaviors is essential to providing them with an EVSE system that supports their needs," Eichberger said. "This report dives deep into these five questions, presenting the latest insights from what is currently known.

"But it goes beyond a simple literature review and uses these insights to create five relatable personas representing potential future EV drivers," he continued. "This approach helps bring to life how different drivers might use their EVs and what they need from the EVSE system. Deploying chargers to satisfy specific use cases of EV owners will enhance the value of the system for the end user and the EVSE host and yield the greatest benefit from the investments."

"EV Consumer Behavior" is available for download here.

Founded by NACS in 2013 as a nonprofit social welfare organization, the Fuels Institute publishes fact-based research projects designed to answer relevant market questions, not advocate for any specific outcome. Its reports are geared toward all industry stakeholders.

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