Automakers are pushing hard to bring autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles to market. That includes General Motors, which is investing aggressively in both sectors at the cost of a broader contemporary vehicle portfolio, as we covered previously. However, according to a recent report from J.D. Power, consumer confidence in these future mobility technologies has actually decreased.
In its recent 2020 Q1 Mobility Confidence Index Study, J.D. Power found that the consumer confidence index for autonomous vehicles decreased for the very first time, down to 35 from 36 for American consumers, and down to 36 from 39 for Canadian consumers. Both scores are on a 100-point scale.
Additionally, the study found that the U.S. consumer confidence index for electric vehicles remained steady at 55 for a fourth consecutive quarter, while the EV consumer confidence index for Canadian consumers decreased to 57 from a previous 59. These scores are also based on a 100-point scale.
The confidence index decreases are at odds with an industry-wide push to offer additional autonomous vehicle technology and all-electric vehicles. General Motors is currently spending billions to develop AV and EV tech, cutting back on its current vehicle portfolio with an aggressive “profit or die” strategy to help free up resources to cover development costs.
“Frankly, we’re concerned for automakers,” said the executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface research at J.D. Power. “They’re pushing forward with technology that consumers seem to have little interest in. Nor are they making the strides needed to change people’s minds. Especially now, automakers need to reevaluate where they’re spending money. They are investing billions in these technologies but they need to also invest in educating consumers. Lack of knowledge is a huge roadblock for future adoption.”
The J.D. Power Mobility Confidence Index Study is conducted quarterly, and examines market readiness for autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles via responses from consumers and industry experts. The recent 2020 Q1 study included responses from over 8,500 participants with regard to autonomous vehicles, and over 8,000 participants with regard to electric vehicles. Critically, the study survey was fielded in March of 2020, prior to most stay-at-home orders went into effect.
With regard to autonomous vehicles, the study’s key findings included consumer belief that autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle technology were not ready, or that society itself was not ready for the technology. Additionally, the study uncovered uncertainty over the timeframe for public availability of this technology, as well as changing needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key findings with regard to electric vehicles included the revelation that few consumers have experience with battery-electric vehicles, previous ownership of an EV does not guarantee future purchases, and things like charging station, driving range, and high price remain a barrier to more widespread adoption.