Your take-home messages:
Cars are no longer just men’s talk – men and women are equally likely to switch to electric vehicles, but often for different reasons. EV advocacy messages need to be more inclusive of both genders and all motivations for switching to electric.
This month’s poll:
Our seventeenth 1-click survey proposed that ” Women and men are equally likely to switch to electric vehicles.” Participants could choose between the following five options:
(1) Strongly agree
(3) Neither agree or disagree
(5) Strongly disagree
The poll was sent on 14 March 2018 to 537 electric Vehicle (EV) owners and 45 Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV, including Range Extenders) owners who have enrolled in the Flip the Fleet project • 313 EV and 19 PHEV owners responded by 19 March 2018 • 112 respondents provided comments for their choice.
Fig.1 Responses of 332 EV or PHEV/REX owners to the proposition that “Women and men are equally likely to switch to electric vehicles.”
Nearly 60% of owners “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that men and women are equally likely to switch to owning an electric vehicle. Just over a fifth (22.6%) “neither agreed nor disagreed”. Of the remainder, nearly 17% “disagreed” with the proposition. Only two respondents “strongly disagreed”.
Why ask an uncomfortable question like that?
Some respondents didn’t like this month’s 1-click question because they feared it would reinforce stereotypes and alienate some people. One said “People of any pronoun vary and generalisations could be bruising”. We get that. However, our main purpose in posing this statement was to raise awareness that our EV communication strategy must be fully inclusive to reach men and women, elderly and the young, the full range of the financial and cultural spectrum.
Some women recently reported feeling excluded by the male-orientation of some of the EV group discussions on Facebook. Flip the Fleet was criticized for not including women to the same degree as men in their infographics. It was a fair cop – a retrospective analysis showed that a total of 19 males were depicted, compared to 4 females; and there were 14 males depicted as making statements compared to just 3 females. Actually, we do not know the gender and identity of who responds to the click surveys, so the quotes are assigned randomly by the artist to a figure. But the bias was strong and we missed seeing it before now. This feedback is an important part of our learning curve, especially when many women are leading the charge towards EVs.
We wondered if a lot of other EV advocates are unintentionally talking past a key part of their audience. Also, however uncomfortable the question and your answers, at least this survey gets the issues out of the box to be talked about.
What makes you Click?
This month’s survey rubbed in that most of you believe that women and men are about equally likely to switch to electric vehicles. A recurring theme was that women were more interested in EVs than traditionally they have been in ordinary cars. Many of you who disagreed with the statement reckoned that, if anything, women were more receptive than men to the concept of electric vehicles.
Many inspired women and men are passionate EVangelists and working hard to educate others about all the benefits of EVs, including their environmental, financial and high-tech performance. Obviously support and openness to EVs is a matter of individual values and awareness. Nevertheless, some respondents expressed strong impressions that men and women, on average, did differ in why they were interested (or not) in EVs. And throughout you emphasized that even if men and women were equally likely to switch, they probably do so for different reasons.
This is particularly true with environmental consideration which continues to be a strong factor in motivating people to buy an EV or PHEV, but is perceived by many to be a stronger driver for women buyers (others thought the genders were equally supportive of environment). Many men still like the roar and macho image of a fossil-fuelled car, whereas women are less concerned about image associated with a car. For example, one respondent said: “I think that women are more likely to want to move to an EV, as they are more receptive to keeping the country clean and green for their children. Men frequently associate the car they drive with their ego – and choose inappropriately as a result.” As another respondent said: “In my personal experience, it’s the women who decide to go electric. The men do as they’re told.”
Several respondents felt that many women are more cautious with new technology, which holds them back in buying an EV. However, as EVs become a more familiar sight on the roads and the number of charging stations increases, we expect to see an even higher percentage of women buying EVs. The caution around new technology is possibly linked to heightened range anxiety amongst women. Many respondents commented that it often takes just one test-drive to convert a driver of an ICE vehicle to an EV – especially as many people are surprised by the quick acceleration and power of an EV – so their advice is simple: put a women or a man behind the wheel and the job is done.
Traditionally, men may have been the main decision maker in buying cars – as in many other decisions around the home – but household purchases of EVs generally reflect women having a greater influence in the decision. They are therefore more engaged in their EV, including a basic understanding of how it works, than they may have been with their ICE vehicle, especially as they become familiar with charging it and monitoring its battery power.
One respondent felt women need better education about their EVs: “The female EV owners I have assisted at public chargers knew surprisingly little about the EV they had purchased, which puts them in danger of either being sold a dud and/or unknowingly operating their EV in a manner that would harm the battery and eventually the reputation of EVs when their ownership experience turns negative as a result and they begin to tell their non-EV friends etc.”
Many couples said that even if one partner had driven the switch to an EV, that they both now competed to drive the car. Only a small proportion said their wife was not happy with driving the car and this was mainly due to range anxiety.
Discussion, conclusions and recommendations:
We believe that EV advocates need to target a wide range of potential buyers and to emphasise diverse reasons for why they are such an excellent choice. If advocacy continues to focus strongly on concern for the environment, the EV movement will quickly run out of customers. A number of elderly people are members of the EV Glee Club – congratulations are due to Mercury Energy for their recent TV advert that features two old blades on a night out in their EV! Younger people are particularly open to change – even if they are not buying yet, they might help turn their parents around. As one respondent put it: “The Kids “get it”… they plug in their phone, computer, headphones, etc… so why would you not plug in your car?” And one of our Facebook critics suggested that we should pay more attention to including other sorts of diversity, like ethnicity and culture in how we craft the messages and show the people who have made the shift to electric.
Even though the majority of respondents thought men and women were about equally likely to switch to electric, there were some strongly expressed views that men and women do indeed differ in the ways they see the issues. So gender matters a lot for some of you, even though that group is a minority. Some of you pointed out the need for more detailed social research to help EV uptake campaigns, and that gender is definitely likely to be an important predictor of the success of the messages. Unbeknown to us when we launched this survey, the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority had already been doing some market research on the gender issue. They found that while men are more likely than women to consider buying a battery EV (31% in October-December 2017), interest from women is growing more quickly – up from 14% in October-December 2016 to 22% a year later. Clearly you were correct in identifying gathering interest in EVs by women, and your overall observation that women are an increasing and important part of the market was spot on. Your emphasis on individual variation rather than gender predictors suggests that EV marketing should not be targeted at any particular gender – just that it should take care to not exclude either gender and values –let’s make sure neither women nor men are left out.
Advocacy should target range anxiety, through easy-to-read levels of information, helpful hints and even humour. Marketing also needs to address the difficulty for some men in letting go of the vroom-vroom. This is more than supposed insecurities around their macho image. Smells, sounds, the mere act of lifting the bonnet to check over the engine in the workshop takes a man back to working on his first car – almost a rite of passage for a young Kiwi bloke who grew up in the 1970s. The attachment to vroom-vroom will soften as the next generation comes through. The EV market needs to be ready to engage these men so that owning an EV car is a new way of enhancing their self-image.
Inspiring women like Dee West, Kathryn Trounson, Pam McKinlay, Sue Pugmire, Megan Reynolds, Margaret Baker and Chelsea Sexton are just a few of the many examples of women EV community leaders and opinion makers. But how many EV dealers have women on their forecourt selling their cars? How many adverts and magazine presentations feature women in the EV driver’s seat? We urge that we make women more visible as sellers, EV service people, experts and spokespeople – and Flip the Fleet needs to include more women speaking up loud in its Infographics and co-presenting its results!
Your comments in detail:
Below is a lightly edited and re-arranged record of many of the comments received.
It’s about individual variation, not gender
“Why would there be a difference?” ● “I’ve had equal mocking and interest from both genders!” ● “Environment and finances are two main reasons for switching to an EV – I think these two factors are gender-neutral” ● “There are a number of drivers to making the decision to change: financial, concern for pollution including CO2 emissions etc and all drivers will probably reach their own conclusions, regardless of sex” ● “Switching to an EV is about making a reasoned decision. Reasoned decision making is not exclusive to only one sex” ● “p(switch to EV|male) == p(switch to EV|female) has measure 0” ● “I don’t think gender drives the desire to save money, be a little “greener”…may stats from my regular charging station say 50/50 at moment, n=6 however” ● “From what I’ve seen both women and men are sold on EVs and I see as many women driving a Nissan Leaf as I see men” ● “I think people’s reasons for embracing EVs are many and varied – I doubt gender plays a part. In our house we were equally keen to get onboard but for different reasons. I was interested in the zero emissions angle, my husband the tech (and money saving) aspect” ● “Of all the EV owners that I have been aware of, there seems to be a fairly even mix of males and females” ● “Way too wide and generalised a hypothesis. My experience suggests there are about equal numbers of female and male EV enthusiasts. Similarly the most trenchant and hidebound cynics include similar numbers of females and males, in my experience” ● “Everyone likes saving money” ● “My husband first got excited about EVs. Not really sure why, but something about them got him going. I took a lot longer as I had all the usual questions – range, cost etc. Then when a female friend got hers I got excited and we bought one. In our case it definitely was not a gender issue, more an issue of one of us is an early adopter and one of us is more reticent! We both love our EV though” ● “We are all individuals, so I don’t think gender will have any material impact on a decision. What would influence it would more likely be economic, environmental and technology, but the weighting of these influences would differ between people” ● “I don’t really see what gender would have to do with what car you pick” ● “Women are equally able to make smart decisions!” ● “Some do, some don’t” ● “My wife had the same level of input into our decision to buy as I. Further, the comments on Facebook EV pages include many women, possibly equal numbers” ● “I’m just going on the number of women and men I see driving Nissan Leafs. It’s roughly 50/50 [this respondent chose ‘1’ – strongly agree]” ● “Well my wife was quite happy when we switched” ● “Because men and woman alike want to improve the environment the car itself won’t be any harder to drive than a fuel operated one, if there is less maintenance for an electric car and no toxic fuels, there should be no issue. The charging of the vehicle as in charging areas will need to be safe for woman if they are not manned” ● “[Men and women equally likely to switch] because it is important for the environment” ● “So far it seems like both male and female opinions are well represented in the NZ EV owners group” ● “I don’t think it’s a gender thing” ● “I don’t have a perception that EV purchases are gender biased, more than I do have a perception. Therefore agree, but not strongly” ● “I think that it’s not your gender that makes you decide whether or not to drive an electric vehicle” ● “I think it depends hugely on an individual’s personality and world view as to whether they are likely to switch or not. I don’t think it has a great deal to do with gender” ● “My answer is based on a two-car, two-person household. We both prefer to use the EV for trips “within range” because it is such a pleasure to drive and far cheaper to run. We only use the petrol vehicle on the rare occasions where the other spouse has the EV or for “out of range” trips where we are not yet prepared to take 30 or more minutes to refuel” ● “I wanted to switch because it was cool and good for the environment. My wife wanted to do it for financial affordability reasons and the environment” ● “Concerns amongst the general population regarding climate change and the costs related to travel, appears to be relatively gender neutral in my opinion” ● “I want the quiet drive and it seems sensible to stop using fossil fuels if a viable alternative is there…” ● “Early adopters of new technology & environmentalists are not gender-biased” ● “I know three Leaf owners and two Outlander PHEV owners and their spouses who do not necessarily share each other’s enthusiasm, but across this sample neither 1 nor 5 is supported!” ● “If sensible people compare their life to date, the effect they are currently making on the world and the savings to be attained for the pocket and the world by changing to EV”
Women are driving the change:
“My experience is that women are more likely to switch to EV. I go to the farmer’s market almost every weekend and promote EVs. Typically, you will have Mum, Dad and the Kids visit our booth. The Kids “get it”… they plug in their phone, computer, headphones, etc… so why would you not plug in your car???… the Mum “gets it”, she wants a car that is safe, practical and saves money…. the Dad rarely if ever “gets it”…. no noise, no smell, no oil, no mess…. how can this be good? The dads are 97.5% likely to be the dinosaur” ● “I think that women are possibly more likely to switch to EVs. Women in my opinion tend to me more passionate about the environmental saving aspects of EVs, the quiet and smooth driving experience of an EV, the less rushed driving experience (having to periodically stop for a recharge on a long trip makes for a more enjoyable travel experience), and less tied to the perceived power of a petrol-guzzler “ ● “I am a woman, and I inspired my male cousin to buy an EV” ● “Most people I speak to about EVs, male and female, are positive about them. Perhaps more women on their own cannot afford them?” ● “I said I strongly agreed because I am a woman owner of an EV. As women get more of the decision-making power and control the $$ more, they will take up this technology as fast as the men. If not faster – but I would say that!” ● “In talking I find women like the idea better” ● “In my personal experience, it’s the women who decide to go electric. The men do as they’re told” ● “Women are smarter than men when it comes to recognising the many advantages of electric vehicles. That’s why the Women’s World Car of the Year (http://www.womensworldcoty.com/) was the Hyundai Ioniq and not a petrol or diesel guzzler?” ● “I know several women who have EVs but no men. That may be biased by many things including knowing more women than men” ● “Men are more conservative in car choice and will take a lot of convincing to change. Women are much more open and practical” ● “I do think in time women may become more likely to switch – just not yet!”
Male and female groupies
“I have been accosted by as many men as women about my car. When I come back to it they are lurking on the sidewalk wanting to talk. They have similar questions and similar goals, how far will it go, does it cost much to charge, does it take long to charge, it is driveable – meaning: is it able to pull the skin off a rice pudding?”
Men are still struggling to grip the EV world?
“Men are more interested in petrol cars than electric, but they’re changing slowly. Women go more on looks of the car than what moves it”
Women are more prone to range anxiety?
“This may sound sexist, but I believe women will prefer the more secure petrol driven options rather than risk range anxiety in a 100% electric vehicle where they could be left at the side of the road. Whereas men may accept the risk and accept that it’s possible to be let stranded. I have to almost force my wife to drive mine, and before she will I have to ensure it has enough charge for her journey. In her petrol car she simply goes to the garage and fills it up when the light comes on” ● “My thoughts are that men are more likely to be comfortable with the “risk” associated with range anxiety” ● “My wife is not so keen on the EV due to range anxiety”
Women are more wary of new technology?
“The experience with a woman I know is a fear that new tech may not be reliable. The fear seems to be that she might get stuck somewhere. It’s unclear that organisations such as AA can help with EVs. I wonder if they intend to offer an emergency battery charge service?” ● “Women are mostly more cautious than men. They are happier with what is familiar. They will note the present small range of choice of EVs in New Zealand, and the higher purchase prices for EVs compared with other vehicles that will do a comparable job. They are also more patient and therefore willing to postpone any switch until a clearer/better picture emerges of battery longevity. Moreover, they are likelier to look for the security of a nationwide network of fast chargers that can cope with demand at all times. The idea of a three-hour journey with kids being extended for an hour or more because a Tesla owner is plugged in at a vital fast charger on a planned and only feasible route is more than enough to make any mother cry “No!” ● “Most of our male friends thinking EV say that it would suit their wives better as they usually do smaller runs than themselves. They would switch to EV if they had a long range for a not too steep price and there were more charging stations”
Women are particularly receptive to EV’s environmental benefits?
“Women, on average, might initiate the discussion about switching to an EV due to in some cases being more environmentally conscious. It will vary substantially on the person!” ● “Women tend to be more conscious of conservation and such like. Men tend to be the ones who would still like an E-type” ● “I think that women are more likely to want to move to an EV, as they are more receptive to keeping the country clean and green for their children” ● “No hard information, but observation tells me that Women are more interested in Environmental Issues, which at this stage I feel is a major driver in EV purchase decision” ● “But maybe the ‘clean and green’ aspect of EV ownership appeals more to women than men? I don’t know” ● “I reckon that women tend to predominate in many environmental issues – around two thirds of the enrolments in environmental courses in our Universities are women, and women consistently score the importance of environmental concerns higher than men. I suspect it’s just the same for the EV case” ● I think, for the most part, men and women are equally likely to change to an EV. But I also believe firmly that women are more concerned about climate change and the future, so maybe slightly more likely to make the change. Maybe…. In our case, I was driving the change at home, and now my partner is a total convert :-)” ● “The most frequently quoted reasons for purchasing an EV are environmental concerns and low running costs. Neither of those has any gender bias and this is borne out from my experience of meeting other EV owners, they are men and women in equal numbers”
Women like quiet, men like the vroom-vroom
“It’s harder for men to let go of the vroom-vroom and the man-versus-machine attitude and see a car for what it really is – a relatively inefficient means of transport that has contributed significantly to environmental and climate issues over the decades and desperately needs to do better and become more efficient. Men are also much less aware of the negative impact caused by cars, and the more passionate male car enthusiasts will probably have a hard time accepting an electric car as being anything else but a toy, even so electric cars are superior in every aspect that counts, as Tesla have proven by pioneering the technology. There are exceptions, of course, but that is the prevailing opinion I’m getting from the men in my neighbourhood and community, and I’m definitely the outcast, being already an EV owner” ● “I think that women may be the ones driving the change to electric. Men and muscles, loud cars etc – while women may really enjoy the peace and quiet of EVs” ● “A lot of males I talk to, like the noise of an ICE car. And they don’t trust the technology of an electric car” ● “In theory, the spread of opinions and motivations to switch to an EV within sexes is probably as big as between sexes. However there may be some additional factors that influence decision-making for men more than women like the ‘status’ a big car provides or the desire for a noisy throbbing engine. Hopefully these are minimal!”
Cars and being macho!
“From my experience of showing people my EV, women are more receptive to the benefits, men are defensive of their macho toys” ● “The EV buyers I know personally are all women. Furthermore, men I have discussed EVs with have occasionally expressed ’emasculation’ concerns, laughable as they are. This suggests that women are more likely to be receptive of the idea of owning an EV” ● “Men frequently associate the car they drive with their ego – and choose inappropriately as a result!” ● “We think the green appeal is gender neutral, even if it comes from different places. Once you’ve driven and EV, the ICE car feels like a clunker. The only problem: my wife and I now both like driving the same car. However we do know blokes who find EVs threatening to their masculine identity. Even blokes who drive clapped out gutless old cars adding noise and fumes to the environment would rather not be seen dead in something smooth, silent clean and fast” ● “Some men are dicks” [!] ● “Car ownership and model choice is predominantly a male obsession, the fact that buying an EV may be improved somewhat by women’s greater empathy for the environment and diminished by male testosterone would not distort the basic premise in my opinion” ● “For women, there is no need to go to a busy gas station and electric cars are so easy to drive. For men, you can’t beat the torque and acceleration”
“I think guys do like them. My son has one as well, but all the EVs I see around town have women drivers for some reason. Maybe a male would like them more if they could have a Tesla”
Male petrol heads
“Fewer women are petrol heads and are more open minded” ● “Some (not all) men seem to be more ‘petrol head’ than women” ● “I believe men are more reluctant to change – not being a petrol head” ● “Ken thinks men may tend be a bit more “petrol head” in their thinking!” ● “Men are more likely to be “petrol heads” and like the sound of an engine. These are just opinions and have no statistical validity” ● “Basically I believe females are a bit greener and environmentally cleaner. Blokes tend to be a bit more petrol head, grunts diesel.
EVs for work rather than for play?
“Women probably think of a car more as a work and back conveyance with the mandatory shopping integrated with this. Blokes probably do longer trips and are more aware of range anxiety/practicality”
Men are more likely to switch?
“I think men are more likely to switch to electric than women as they are generally more technically minded and more likely to understand the issues of charging, battery health, range etc.” ● “In my experience, in my extended family, women are less likely to be early adopters. But after my wife tried our EV, she takes it in preference to our other car”
Male buying power?
“The capital investment component will favour men, as they still earn more” ● “I bought a Leaf and within 6 months had to buy one for my wife!” ● “It would be difficult to know the answer to this one as we still have a majority of men making these decisions” ● “I’m actually unsure, hence why I went for the non-committal response. I am female and did the whole research and buying process myself. I think in general men probably do more of this, but an EV might be seen as an unmanly car by many thus equalising the task of purchase??”
… or coupled buying power?
“My sample is one family. My wife and I. We were both equally wanted it and were equally happy with the EV purchase. My argument is that a couple will usually make the purchase decision together”
“At the moment assessing the feasibility of an EV for typical driving patterns involves a technical language that is generally a bloke zone. When EVs become more broadly accepted, the criteria for choice will become less technical & less gender specific” ● “Really not sure – men may possibly be more techno-minded; women may care more about the future of the planet?” ● “I think men, on average are more attracted to the geekiness of new technology, but I think women, on average, are less attached to the internal combustion engine” ● “I think over all men have marginally less environmental sensitivity than women but a little more technical curiosity”
EVs are easy to drive
“On average, in marriage, the man is the driver. He often uses the car for commuting and is more often engaged in a job where he has to do longer distances, such as selling, services etc., so he would daily do more than the minimal mileage of the electric car. However, there is less mechanical knowledge to learn with the electric car, and it is dead easy to drive and therefore a woman may prefer the electric car. To be fair, I have held a licence for 72 years, so mine is the opinion of an old person”
Women and men are different
“My mental model, which I just made up, would be that men would lead (higher level early adopters), women will then dominate (vehicle choice based on rating environmental concerns higher, IT environment in vehicle, quiet so can talk more easily, marketers will offer design and colour to appeal and men will dominate the groups supporting the last ICE purchases (sort of luddite mentality – sticking with noise and throb as vital macho characteristics … the great outdoors image terrifying nature. Plus, they breakdown and having a vehicle to work on in the garage is an ingrained behaviour for some” ● “Women tend to live longer so the average woman is both older and more conservative” ● “This is entirely anecdotal so take it with a grain of salt, but in my own experience the people who do things for more altruistic reasons, like donating blood or using apps like Waze (which helps other drivers on the road), seem to be male. My feeling is it’ll be the same with EV ownership, but I don’t have enough experience with them to know. I do recall seeing the occasional Facebook post where men joked about having to “try and convince their wives” to let them buy an EV. For example, I’m a regular plasma donor. Maybe it’s just the time of day I donate (straight after work) but whenever I’m there I’d guess that 80% of the other donors are men. It’s a similar thing using Waze – most of the drivers I see online are men” ● “The missus won’t drive it, don’t really know why, probably too responsive and fast”
Men are more interested in cars in general
“Just my hunch. Men take more interest in cars…..though admittedly that tends to translate into being “petrol heads”. Perhaps women are a little less adventurous when it comes to cars. However they are probably slightly more “green” AND they will probably come to like the fact that electric cars are so simple!” ● “EV’s still take more care and attention than ICE cars which will always favour males”
… but women are more interested in cars if it’s an EV
“People of any pronoun vary and generalisations could be bruising, but I do sense that women show more interest in electric cars than they normally show for petrol cars. Just look at the gender balance of strong advocates for EVs in our Facebook pages and compare that with other auto forums”
The reasons for switching may differ, even if the likelihood of switching is the same
“It’s possible that they will switch for different reasons, but that may not affect overall switch rate” ● “Men are maybe a bit more tech driven and women a bit more sustainability driven, but I’d be reluctant to ascribe any particular action (or inaction) to gender” ● “Women like the greener option. Men appreciate the technology advancements”
Education: the need to reach women and men
“In my discussions with members of the public who approach me while at fast chargers etc there appears to be a distinct pattern of perceptions about EVs. It appears that women are generally less interested in the details. To them, it is ‘just a car’, which is fine… But: The female EV owners I have assisted at public chargers knew surprisingly little about the EV they had purchased, which puts them in danger of either being sold a dud and/or unknowingly operating their EV in a manner that would harm the battery and eventually the reputation of EVs when their ownership experience turns negative as a result and they begin to tell their non-EV friends etc.” ● “There is enough information out there, it just needs to get to the public and to potential EV buyers – but as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!”
Learning the new: a diminishing challenge
“I am male, and have enjoyed the process of learning how to deal with the changes from maintaining an ICE vehicle to an EV, in particular “range anxiety” and best practice with respect to charging/maintaining the battery. My wife has not really adapted to these issues and is not 100% comfortable with the change. As this is a “trial of one” I cannot accurately deduce whether this is a male vs female issue. However, my intuition is that overall women will struggle more than men with the technical changes. I also foresee that these issues will rapidly diminish as battery capacity and life (total charging cycles) increases (Moore’s law with respect to batteries)”
Marketing needs to appeal to everyone
“One thing is for sure – the messages need to be diverse and inclusive so they reach old and young, the well healed and those that are financially stressed, different cultures, and of course, both men and women. The old models of thinking cars are just men’s business just don’t apply”
Lots of uncertainty
“I don’t know, but I’m not aware of anything that would make men or women collectively have a different position on this matter” ● “I don’t know what I don’t know, and far be it for me to pretend that what I think on this matter is useful!” ● “No reason to assume otherwise” ● “I don’t know” ● “No clue about this really. Should that be an option too?”● “I have no data to assess the answer to this question” ● “It’s a silly question because how would anyone really know without research? I imagine there are plenty of men and women interested in new technology and all the manifest implications of electric vehicles. Apart from the knowledge that my wife is very pleased with our EV, I have no factual basis on which to answer a question like this” ● “I can’t speak for others”
More research would help marketing of EVs
“We would need some carefully controlled social research to check whether women are actually more likely to switch on average – a lot depends on who makes those decisions in the family, and who can afford them – but I think it’s likely that women are more likely to switch. It would be helpful to do more research about this because it can help design communication strategies to reach out to buyers” ● “I have no basis for thinking either way”
Subsidies could overcome reticence
“I guess my answer came from my own experience. I made the argument and did the research before buying an EV and my wife was more reticent because we don’t have much disposable income and it seemed a risk to step into the unknown. However I know situations where women in a couple have taken the lead. As EVs become more normal I would imagine it will be easier for both but particularly women to go EV. Subsidisation of EVs would certainly help overcome any reticence”
Just give the man or the woman a test drive!
“It just takes one drive to convince people :-)” ● “I often let people drive my E.V at least one person has since bought one” ● “I have no idea if there is gender bias. When either sex drives an EV first time they are equally thrilled” ● “I have found that the year I have had my Leaf, my partner uses the EV as often as her ICE and wants her next car to be an EV but with the range of her car”
What a silly question you asked!
“I think the question is sexist in that it plays into existing stereotypes about men being more into cars than women. I don’t think you should be reinforcing these stereotypes with these types of question” ● “That would have to be the most pointless question ever on Flip the Fleet. I can’t for the life of me figure out why you asked it?” ● “The question seems somehow confusing. If we don’t know, what should we say? We have a small acquaintance on which to base our opinion. All are couples, all in their 60s, some seem to be led by the female and some by the male, some the technology management is in the male hands; some, the emotional driver is the woman. But none of this tells me that we strongly agree with the proposition put in the survey question. Yet probably it should. Maybe you would have gotten a clearer response if the question was “that the male (or female) partner is the driving force for EV purchase”
What should we ask the members next?
Please suggest questions to ask of your fellow EV owners in future 1-click surveys – email your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Hayter, Henrik Moller, and Dima Ivanov
25 March 2018