There’s been plenty of bad news recently in the world electric vehicles, mostly related to start ups like Fisker and Azure. Adding to the mix, Deloitte has released a survey showing that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are not very popular with Generation Y (ages 19-31).
The reasons appear to be multiple, including high prices for BEVs, a lack of environmental concern (which is a matter of some dispute), and a strong tendency to shop for used rather than new vehicles. But there are two key points that came out of the survey that point to new mission-critical technology for BEVs:
- Connected vehicle telematics
- Wireless charging
72 percent of those surveyed want access to their smart phone apps in their car. As I pointed out in my report, Electric Vehicles Telematics, the telematics systems in both BEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are more likely to be connected vehicle telematics that offer streaming media, cloud application access, and special electric vehicle functions. This research backs up my findings that these technologies are not only important for the automakers to help build confidence in the vehicles, but also a reason consumers would consider the vehicles.
Survey respondents also stated that they do not want to be physically tied to the electric grid –a very intriguing finding that should help bolster wireless charging advocates. While I can’t imagine that being tied to gas stations is that much more attractive than being tied to the grid, the time of the connection is likely the issue. If the standard option is to charge wirelessly by parking-and-forgetting-it, I wonder how those survey results would change?
The survey underlines something I’ve argued for a while: the technology inside the car is what will sell the car. The drivetrain should be secondary. Specialty plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) applications have largely to date been focused on extending range and providing charging locations and route planning with ease. In researching the telematics market for PEVs, similar to the findings in this study, I found that there is a high interest in the more advanced connected vehicle telematics for PEVs. As a result, I am anticipating that high feature, connected vehicle telematics will grow to about 80 percent of the PEVs on the road by 2017.
With connected vehicle telematics, automakers and technology providers are just beginning to develop these new social apps and streaming content that will make PEVs a unique vehicle experience for their owners. What this survey shows is that to attract younger buyers, PEVs will have to be both disconnected (from the grid) and connected (to their social and media world).
Article by Dave Hurst, appearing courtesy the Matter Network.