Why the focus on EVs?

By Dan Monheit, originally shared on Carsales.com.au 8.7.21

If it feels like Electric Vehicles are gaining momentum, it’s because they are. Sustainability and zero net emissions are front and center of many conversations, and in the most recent Carsales Loop Survey, almost half of all respondents said they were considering buying an EV. Traditional auto brands are bringing more electric options to market. Boomerang brands like MG are making waves with all-electric launches like the ZS. Most interestingly, brand new brands are using the EV boom as a launchpad into the market. Leading the charge (sorry not sorry) is BYD and their soon-to-launch sub $35k EV.

Australians will have six new EV options available to them by the end of this year alone and consumers are loving the options. 97% of people who have purchased an EV feel satisfied with their purchase with a third of them already considering buying their next one within the next 12 to 24 months.

Momentum is growing and there’s no doubt that government incentives combined with rapidly maturing (and therefore less expensive) technology are playing a role. Alongside these factors is an interesting psychological phenomenon known as the Focusing Illusion.

‘Focusing’, or the ‘Focusing Illusion’ refers to our tendency to concentrate on a single aspect of our lives (or a particular decision) to the exclusion of all others. Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Laureate and unofficial godfather of Behavioural Economics explains it simply as follows: ‘nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it’.

In other words, whatever you happen to be focusing on has a funny way of becoming the most important thing to consider.

We see the Focusing Illusion at play everywhere. It’s the reason we pine over how much better our lives will be with a pay rise, but then hardly notice a difference to our happiness within a week or two of receiving it. Focusing Illusion explains why the constant talk about border closures is making us all travel obsessed, and why a single brand of yoghurt that suddenly claims to be ‘high protein’ seems to magically find its way into our shopping trolleys.

The auto industry has been tapping into the Focusing Illusion for decades, constantly reminding us which part of the purchase we should be focusing on. While objectively, the benefit we get from cars has remained fairly constant for the last 70 years (cheap, efficient transportation around our cities), the lens through which we’ve viewed, been advertised to (and therefore evaluated) the options within the industry has constantly evolved.

In boom times it’s been a story of style, sophistication, and luxury. When the economy has been tough, the conversation has moved to reliability and value. We’ve seen big pushes around safety, a wave of excitement around tech, large parts of the market still obsessed with performance, and a solid decade of Australian-made/Australian-owned at the top of many lists.

With the conversation of climate change more prevalent than ever, large segments of the community have their attention firmly focused on making greener choices. It’s no wonder then, that businesses with a story to tell here are encouraging us to look, or that businesses without a story are getting busy writing one. Volvo’s new, global ‘Climate Change is the Ultimate Safety Test’ campaign is a case in point, as the brand looks to lift its long-held safety proposition out of the vehicle and onto the planet.

Focusing Illusion provides OEMs and dealers with the opportunity to align what they’re selling with what’s top of mind for consumers. In any one vehicle, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of details a customer could focus on. Identifying what’s most important — or better yet, helping a prospect decide what’s most important — will put you in the box seat when it’s time to decide.

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