By EC Communications Intern Amara Alexander
With the rising fuel costs and the desire to combat climate change, the electric vehicle (EV) moment is now. In the last few years, a wave of automakers—including Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen—have introduced new EVs or have begun switching to EV production. The idea of switching from gas-powered cars to fully battery-powered EVs is still a relatively new concept for many consumers. A 2022 Pew Research study conducted before the Inflation Reduction Act found that 67% of Americans would support providing incentives to increase EV or hybrid vehicle use.
However, Americans are still divided over whether they would personally purchase an EV the next time they’re car shopping. Mainstream EV adoption won’t happen quickly just because of the introduction of newer EVs. Rather, there needs to be a conversation among consumers to convince one another to take the first step.
Social media and other online forums have provided consumers with a platform for EV-related conversations, like comparing capital costs of electric versus gas-powered vehicles and locating charging infrastructure in different communities. According to Meta’s February 2022 research report, global English-language posts about EVs during the COVID-19 pandemic increased by 238% on Facebook, with 42% of prospective car buyers now considering EV ownership. The same report also shows that respondents listed current EV owners as the most trusted source for EV information. When researching consumer reviews and EV features, some consumers report that social media sites like YouTube and Reddit provide more comprehensive information than auto manufacturers’ websites.
EV social media enthusiasts are driving the conversation around EVs and propelling these brands. They can give consumers the insight they need to decide on their next vehicle. A similar buzz is taking place on Twitter, with almost 1/3 of respondents saying that they’ve seen an uptick in EV conversation on their feeds, according to a 2021 study. Out of those respondents, 90% are more likely than those who aren’t on Twitter to say they’ll own an EV within the next two years.
Surprisingly, while there is plenty of consumer discussion about EVs, some brands that offer EVs aren’t always participating. Other manufacturers, such as Ford, have used Twitter to reveal their newest EVs, host virtual events, and generate excitement about EV adoption.
So how can more manufacturers drive the discussion around EV adoption?
Manufacturers should focus on building brand awareness. While there is considerable interest in EVs, there’s a gap in the awareness of the brands that produce them. Promoting the manufacturers’ EV features through original content or collaborations with EV social media enthusiasts can close this divide and lead to an increase in consumers buying EVs.
Manufacturers should also insert their brand into conversations about issues that present themselves as barriers to adoption, such as charging station availability or cost, and be prepared to address how their company can aid these efforts.
The conversation between manufacturers and consumers on social media will bring us closer to seizing the EV moment.