Just think about what women want in a car (and don’t be misled by the location of this article below ‘Batteries’ in the navigation bar). Women are an obvious market for electric cars (who else would find some of the current daft designs ‘cute’), but how do we make sure they know the relevant facts about them? There’s so much lazy journalism out there knocking EVs while women’s mags and websites hardly touch the subject of cars.
It’s estimated that about 80% of new car purchases are influenced by women and – no surprise here – we do have different values when we’re shopping for a car. According to a 2004 study WASS (‘What Women Want’ Automotive Satisfaction Study), safety is ahead of styling for 77.8% of women and only 65.3% of men. I guess that one’s hard-wired into us with the nurturing bit.
But how about this? 92.6% of women put vehicle performance as important compared to only 91.3% of men. Now I’m assuming that my sisters were voting for acceleration and handling rather than ease of operating the seat adjustment and cup holder, so that’s quite a surprising result.
It bodes well for any ladies who test drive an electric car. The instant torque will make them very happy, believe me.
While most women do not go in for overtly fast driving, we do like a nippy pulling away from the lights or the tail-gating pest behind us in the ChavMobile. If your top speed is pegged at 45mph, so what. Most of the town driving we do we’re lucky to get up to 30mph anyway.
As for how our cars affect the environment, 82% of women think that environmentally friendly vehicles are ‘extremely important’ or ‘somewhat important’ compared to 72.3% of men. We’re starting to look like an even more obvious market for EVs.
But I’m back to the issue of educating women about cars. I was mortified to read on Edmonds.com that 37% of women admit that they don’t do any research before going to a car dealership. When I think how much research we’ll put into buying the right lipstick or shoes, that statistic really scares me.
That means a huge chunk of the potential EV market hasn’t got a chance of ending up with the purchase of an electric car unless all the dealerships start stocking them and the salesmen start plugging them. Fat chance of that happening.
I’m convinced (and I know I’m not alone in this) that women are going to be crucially important in the successful expansion of the electric vehicle market, so this is the start of my quest to educate the sisterhood about electric cars. That means I’m going to have to focus on the cute/touchy/feely aspects that the guys are mostly embarrassed about. But it might just make me a heroine with a few car companies.
The fair sex just hates reading about anything technical (though we’re very good at RTM – reading the manual), so the best way to get the message over is probably through live events.
I’m thinking of EV demos in supermarket carparks, or by the school gate where the kids can see the car and good old television coverage. But first I need a car, and it better tick all the boxes for what women want.