Electric cars are leaving women behind, report finds

A new AutoTrader report has found a significant divide between the enthusiasm of men and women towards electric vehicles. Of the 4,000 drivers questioned, a third of men were considering buying an electric car while only a fifth of women said the same thing.

The report chronicles the historic alienation women feel towards motoring as a whole, flags up the barriers keeping women out of the EV market in particular and suggests some remedies.

Many issues arise from the marketing of cars in general. In the recent landscape where there were no competing technologies, women prioritised value and safety – two aspects of EVs that are hardly front and centre in EV advertising, which might explain why many were found to be totally unaware of how cheap EVs are to run.

At last week’s Fully Charged show (a three-day event in Harrogate dedicated to electric vehicles), within the first hour a man said to me ‘there are more EVs here than women’ which highlights another problem, the discussion about electric vehicles is taking place in predominantly male spaces. 

Erin Baker, Editorial Director at AutoTrader who wrote the report said of this: ‘Women suffer from a greater lack of EV knowledge than men, because car content has traditionally been created by and for men, on enthusiast media platforms. This lack of information creates a greater lack of confidence, which is a huge barrier to purchase.’

Erin then explains another issue: ‘Safety, perceived or real, is a huge barrier to EV uptake by women. That includes everything from charging the car in secluded spots at night, to the wider fear of running out of charge, and the consequences of that, whether it’s being stranded with kids on a motorway or not getting a relative to hospital.’

Possible solutions to the problem of engaging women with EVs were put forward by the research subjects and included presenting information with less technical detail, and in different spaces: 86% of women use social media for purchasing advice. There should also be a focus on affordability and women should be encouraged to test drive – something the research found they are disinclined to do. 

Erin concluded: ‘Electrification isn’t a slow evolution of motoring: it’s a radical revolution and requires commensurate action from the industry to ease consumers through the transition.

‘We cannot continue to tread the same path, in terms of language, jargon, the media platforms we use, the advertising images we create, the proactive campaigns we dream up or the way we talk to female drivers. We need to respond to the data in this report, and start thinking outside the box, or women will be left behind on the road to 2030.’


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