POWERING ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLE DEVELOPMENT
We have worked on a number of projects to help our automotive clients address the many challenges and opportunities presented by the transition to electric vehicle ownership.
For many years the automotive industry has been making a slow, steady transition away from traditional petrol and diesel vehicles and towards alternative, renewable energy options. The mainstream move to change kicked off as far back as 1997, when the Toyota Prius became the first mass produced hybrid engine car.
Our client came to us in 2016, knowing that the pace of change was speeding up, but still not certain as to where the market might end up or how it was going to get there. Would full electric lead the way? Would there be a breakthrough in hydrogen technology? How and when might consumer choice influence the direction of travel? What would be the main catalysts for change, the barriers to overcome and motivations that could encourage customer demand?
Customer research was needed to inform the pace and nature of change that the business needed to make, ensuring that that change could be closely aligned to customer needs and expectations and stimulate the demand needed to deliver commercial success.
In partnership with our client we designed a tracking study that would stand the test of time, providing flexibility in terms of both survey content and analysis opportunities. Just as well as it’s now been delivering insight to their business for 6 years!
Initially covering 8 markets and 13 passenger vehicle segments the project recently expanded to include compact, medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles in 5 of those markets.
A combination of traditional awareness, knowledge, interest and consideration questions, combined with our Thoughtscape approach, enables us to measure standard metrics and at the same time assess what drives buyer behaviour at a more spontaneous, emotional level.
Our research has guided our client’s business strategy for alternative fuel vehicle development, helping them to understand consumer barriers and motivations. They have developed communications strategies that inform and guide consumer choice, initiated product development work to ensure vehicles that are fit for an ‘ICE-free’ future and are able to understand and address the non-vehicle related issues that consumers face when moving to alternative fuels, particularly plug-in vehicles.