EVs in the news still seem contrary to the automotive news many of us grew up with. Those were stories of automobiles as symbols of our identities. They represented our attempts to break away from the authoritarian structures that seemed to be strangling us, to find freedom through a vast open road, and to explore an ephemeral sense of what might be around the corner — if only we could get into our automobiles and drive, drive, drive.
Hmm. Then again, maybe the EVs in the news today aren’t really that far off from familiar 20th century automobile identity messages. Today’s Generation Z, who by 2020 will account for one-third of the U.S. population, seem poised for EV identity messages. They contribute $44 billion to the American economy, live in a world of continuous updates, can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play, know the value of independence, and are able to take a more efficient, non-traditional route to learn something new.
EVs in the news may be just the right fit for the Gen Z global citizens, the oldest of whom is just 19 years old right now. According to a recent study called “Generation Nation,” they seem interested in going a different route altogether, one that embraces acceptance and being inclusive. With fewer Gen Zers than anyone else (32%) feeling that the US is headed in the right direction, EVs seem to be the appropriate fit for the US EV marketplace as this next generation of adults grapples with abstraction, negotiates austerity, and becomes involved citizens.
Let’s look at EVs in the news this week and try to see how Gen Z might be able to envision themselves easing into the electric transportation market — soon!
The PHEV and EV Market 2017
Only 12% of Gen Z admit to feeling optimistic. Maybe they’ll find a little joy in a recent study from Autolist in which significant discrepancies occurred between buyer opinion and market research data on used EVs. And who’d more likely to be in the market for a used EV than a Gen Zer embarking on independence?
For example, it seems the average buyer thinks a quality used EV costs $5,000 more than an equivalent gas vehicle. The reality is that a used 2015 Nissan LEAF is cheaper than an equivalent Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. There’s another perception, too, that EV reliability is a big problem. However, users report the 2015 Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt have better than average reliability, with the Nissan LEAF scoring better than the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. Those findings should make the Generation Z sigh in relief as they start to think ahead to being able to afford a used EV that is reliable.