The Electric Tribe
They are concerned about the environment, socially committed, technology-loving and eminently digital. The Electric Tribe: a community of users with a solid sense of belonging.
Electrical vehicles are more than just cars. They represent a lifestyle. Their proud owners look at the world differently from other road users. They are more aware of the importance of the environment, and are conscious of the need to make cities more habitable, while feeling passionate about new technologies. Their electric cars are not just for transportation, but represent their identities.
“We all are attuned to the environment We are members of a society willing to make sacrifices, since we do not want to contribute to any more death or illness in the world caused by pollution. There’s a feeling that we are paving the way,” explained Salvador Ejarque Bros, President of the Spanish Electric Car Users’ Association (AUVE).
The typical electric car owner is a 40-year old male who lives with a partner and one child. He is university-educated, with income in the median-high range, and probably lives in a house or apartment building with a shared garage, where he charges his vehicle every evening. He recycles and supports renewable energies. He never goes anywhere without his cellphone, and does his food shopping online.
He belongs to this still small yet select European group who have taken the step of getting onboard with this new mode of transport. They do so to become part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
“We are a little like pioneers,” states Ejarque Bros, “because we believe in alternative modes of transport, and if we don’t start using them, no one will. More and more people live in cities, so we have to make them worth living in.”
An Accenture study revealed that 85% of Spanish owners chose an electric car to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while 91% wished that electricity came from renewable energy sources. US drivers focused on improved air quality and care for the environment as positive car attributes.
The decision to drive electrically is just part of a wider attempt to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Due to their reduced autonomy, users of this type of vehicle are more likely to take public transport for longer trips, or use electric car / car-sharing platforms.
“Cars must be a part of other types of mobility” – added the AUVE’s President. “We need to ask ourselves why we need a car: whether we all have to buy one for all our travel needs, or simply to complement transport with other solutions.”
A study carried out by New Motion in seven European countries indicates that 59% of these users recycle household rubbish, 40% have solar panels installed at home, and 20% make compost using organic waste; some even reuse rainwater.
They all have a heartfelt sense of belonging to a group. The majority recognize one another on the road and share looks of complicity. They arrange meetups such as Foro EV or Electric Car Forums to arrange excursions, attend trade fairs, and resolve doubts on car models or where to buy tyres.
They are more inclined to help each other out, such as by sharing their charging points. Renault Sweden conducted a survey which revealed that 60% of owners would approve this initiative. Their wish has come true: Elbnb, a platform similar to Airbnb, is already up and running there.
“Our community is very committed to helping and cooperating. There are always users willing to share their charging points and information on potential charging issues to alert other users; however, it feels like we are on a mission to inform others and get the word out about the advantages and, of course, disadvantages of electric cars, so that people can make sound decisions about electric vehicles” continued the AUVE’s President.
The first car for Millenials
Drivers of electric cars also stand out due to their passion for technology: their cars are their new gadgets, These consumers are always up to date on new technologies, and want to be the first to drive the car of the future. Many are delighted by the original designs, with lines unlike those of conventional cars, which are another form of expressing their personalities and interests.
Other technological advances, such as assisted driving, or connectivity in newer models, are also big attractions, especially for Millenials who look forward to taking car selfies with their new acquisitions. Based on a study performed by the Pons Foundation, 25% of respondent under the age of 24 rated connectivity as a key factor when choosing a car.
Millenials are the second highest group of electric car drivers, and have become the main target of manufacturers, due to their familiarity with technology and predisposition to try out new gadgets. The only thing between them and their next car is the price. 70% of young people would buy an electric car if it cost the same as internal combustion vehicles and offered the same autonomy, according to a US survey.