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Overcome Barriers to EV Sales with Customer Experience Excellence

Aerial View Of The Mountain Road In A Green Forest

Overcoming Barriers

The barriers to entry for electric vehicles (EV) feel overwhelming for most Americans. Not only are current models priced well above the average consumer’s financial ability, but they also require home charging and accessibility to public charging stations that are yet to be mainstream. When consumers invest in EV and home charging stations, more barriers arise like the inaccessibility of information regarding installation logistics and use of EV technology.

Running alongside these barriers are both the excitement about EV innovation and the global pressure to reduce carbon footprint. California was the first state to announce a ban on gas cars, mandating that all new car sales must be EV starting in 2035. New Jersey is following in California’s footsteps, while Rhode Island and Washington have set the same goal for five years earlier. Several other states are moving in the same direction, all precedented by 15 countries that announced the transition to EV by 2040 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26).

EV Sales

In February of this year, the Biden Administration announced the goal for half of new car sales to be EVs by 2030. In addition, the administration would mandate new requirements for EV chargers to secure federal funding. Namely, big-name EV manufacturers like Tesla would need to rethink releasing Tesla-exclusive chargers because new federal funding requirements include universal functionality regardless of brand.

The friction between the push to buy electric and the inability or hesitation to do so is building up heat for the EV industry. Many questions arise: Are traditional OEMs and EV-only manufacturers equipped to answer the increasing demand? Is it possible for EVs to be competitive in the automotive market? What can OEMs and EV-only manufacturers do to help consumers overcome financial ability and accessibility barriers?

Answers to most of these questions are still controversial. The government can create incentives such as tax deductions, and EV charger accessibility incentives could be a major step to overcoming hurdles for many potential buyers. But point-of-sale incentives outperform future benefits like tax deductions, which can feel – and often are – out of reach for many consumers. While the availability and enthusiasm surrounding EV are enough for many to make the switch, most consumers will need more careful attention.

Common Obstacles

To overcome common obstacles, the answer lies in how EV manufacturers connect with their current and potential customers. Throughout the customer journey, EV companies have a responsibility to reach out and educate so that the transition from gas to electric is smooth and inviting.

When it comes to tackling financial ability, it is essential to communicate cost-savings. For example, consumers can save money on gas if they pay lower prices for utility bills to charge their cars – a reality that has put Florida in the top five states with EV drivers.

When it comes to accessibility, charging your car at home should be an exciting convenience, not a scary thought. EV buyers shouldn’t sit around wondering when or how their charger will be installed. They shouldn’t be grasping for answers about how their car and charger will interface with their personal devices. Finding public charging stations on the go should be as simple as using a GPS, or simpler, and the customer experience needs to be easy and consistent.

Innovation and Opportunities

Innovation in EV shouldn’t stop at the vehicles. From the beginning of the buyer journey, EV manufacturers can implement journey science and initiate a comprehensive digital strategy to streamline and improve the customer experience through the entire customer lifecycle of shop, buy, own, and retain.

There are opportunities such as building apps so that consumers can track their charging progress, locate public chargers, and manage their subscription services. OEMs can tie in a loyalty program that allows consumers to accumulate and use points towards charging their cars, paying for subscription services, or buying accessories.

At the dealership, there is a call for transformation that embraces the needs of the EV customer, assisting the consumer with seamlessly incorporating their EV into their lives. Ecommerce for buying vehicles and chargers should also be at the top of its game. In improving all these processes and offerings, the EV industry responds to the deepest needs and desires of the consumer and wins over even the most hesitant.

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Keith Tomatore

A long-time senior executive in the auto industry who has held the position of SVP, Retail Marketing at Global Team Blue (GTB, a WPP Company) on the Ford Retail Business. In this role, Keith worked with the Ford Dealer Associations across the country to help them with their Precision Marketing and digital efforts. Also, he served as CEO of iFrog Marketing Solutions, which focused on Automotive advertising solutions for Tier 2 and Tier 3.

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