It’s a curious statistical anomaly, but women are far less likely to purchase an electric vehicle than men. And it’s causing the likes of Tesla a real headache…
It may sound like a generalisation, but statistics show a clear sign; far fewer women are buying electric cars than men. For instance, in the first quarter of 2019 Tesla’s sales were divided between 69% men and 31% women. That’s rather poor when you compare them to the sales of other similar brands. The split over the same period was 51% men – 49% women for Lexus, 54% – 46% for Acura and 57% – 43% for Mecedes-Benz. In fact, only two brands performed worse than Tesla when it came to attracting female buyers; these were Genesis at 74% – 26% and Porsche at 72% – 28%. Whilst some of the brands offer an increasing number of EVs, only Tesla’s range is exclusively electric.
So, What’s Going On?
So far there are two principal theories when it comes to the lack of interest in EVs being expressed by women. The first is that women are simply more practically-minded when it comes to purchasing a car. In this case, they’re being put off by range-anxiety, safety concerns and accessibility. The second is that women aren’t disinterested in electric vehicles, but instead are being put off by Tesla’s brand; which, at least for the time being, dominates the market. Those who subscribe to the latter theory usually point to Tesla’s charismatic and eccentric CEO, South African Elon Musk. Musk has gained himself a cult-like following (mainly male). This is thanks to his popularisation of technology (including a portable flamethrower), smoking cannabis during a podcast and the blunt language he uses on social media.
Some research conducted in America suggests that Musk’s persona is playing a role in alienating female motorists. One woman interviewed by USA Today said she regards Tesla’s models as immature. She said, “I think we tend to look at Tesla more as toys”. But Rebecca Lindland, an auto analyst and founder of RebeccaDrives.com, believes the problem may go beyond Tesla. She admitted, “I don’t know that it’s a Tesla problem as much as an electric vehicle problem.” Car registrations do hint at a broader trend. Popular EVs like the Chevolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf are also considerably more popular amongst male buyers, sitting at 69% – 31% and 66% – 34% splits respectively.
Too Early To Call
Before we jump to conclusions it’s important to remember how young the electric car market is. In the UK, pure EV’s have a paltry market share of around 0.9%. In other words, any data we have is extremely limited. All we really know is that men are more likely to be early-adopters than women; this may be because, at least in terms of some buying behaviour, they’re more likely to take risks. There certainly are women who are purchasing, and enjoying, electric vehicles; including those manufactured and marketed by Tesla. But appealing to more, in the long-term, will no doubt prove crucial to automakers in the future.
Elaine Borseth, a Tesla Model S-owner, believes the company’s unique marketing has potential in particular. She said, “this is a way to market to women to talk to them about how much easier it is to buy a vehicle from Tesla than anyone else.” She added, “showing how the path to purchase a Tesla is better … than a traditional dealer can be very compelling.” She did lament, however, the lack of advertising and marketing events aimed at women specifically; although it’s worth mentioning that Tesla is arguably unique in the automotive industry for not using traditional advertising in general. You hear that, Elon? Roll back on the machismo-persona and market to women directly and you should be fine…Possibly.
Here Are The Electrification Plan’s Of Europe’s Biggest Car Manufacturers: http://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/here-are-the-electrification-plans-of-europes-biggest-car-manufacturers/
Electric Car Drivers Could Save £41,000 Over A Lifetime: https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/electric-car-drivers-save-41000/