I read a good article entitled “All of a Sudden, There Aren’t Enough Electric Cars to Keep Up with Demand” on TIME Magazine’s website.
EV adoption has been interesting to watch, and the way it’s been happening makes a lot of sense if you think how early we are in the market.
Nissan and the others that are following suit are clearly reading their Geoffrey Moore and think they have figured out a way to accelerate to “Cross the Chasm” from Innovators and Early Adopters into Early Majority – and the answer was not all that hard to figure out: $$$!
For the Innovators (EVangelicals, did I just coin a new term?), price was never going to dissuade them from buying or leasing an EV.
But as the market moved toward Early Adopters, some practical concerns entered the equation. Specifically, Early Adopters felt that paying $20K more for an EV was a bit too rich. By dropping the prices and offering attractive lease deals, the OEMs overcame that resistance, and now you see that a good percentage of those Early Adopters hopping into an EV and outstripping short-term supply.
I think this lack of supply is a pretty good indication that the current cost equation is right and Early Adopters are now coming aboard. The big question is what it is it going to take to really cross the chasm and get into the Early Majority? To quote Moore, “[Early Majority customers are concerned about] the quality of the product they are buying, the infrastructure of supporting products and system interfaces, and the reliability of the service they are going to get.” This points to the EV market issues we have been talking about since day one: availability of EV charging infrastructure, reliability of service, and further reduction in vehicle costs.
It is interesting to note that Moore specifically points out “system interfaces” in his list of items that the Early Majority care about. If you look at charging stations as key “system interfaces” for EV drivers, then to date, charging has been hamstrung by lack of charging infrastructure and isolated and proprietary networks. To improve the EV charging “system interface”, the EV charging experience has to become a seamless and frictionless part of drivers’ lives.
To get to that seamlessness, companies like EV Connect need to continue innovating network and software capabilities. To expand charge station infrastructure, charge stations should be installed by commercial and governmental organizations like parking companies, hotels, universities, work places, and other parking locations where EV drivers regularly spend a fair amount of time. Doing so will also prepare those companies and organizations for the near future when more and more of their drivers will highly value charge stations as an amenity.