In countries like Norway, electric cars are expensive, meaning families often have the budget for just one car, says Sovacool, whose research shows that men use more cars than women and use public transport less often.
In countries like the US, women are more likely to experience range anxiety, suggests Philipp Kampshoff, head of McKinsey’s Center for Future Mobility in the Americas. “This fear around, ‘Am I lost somewhere, with no charger nearby?’ could be scarier,” he says.
Joan Hollins bought her first electric vehicle this month, a Hyundai Kona EV in a shimmering green-grey. She loves it — and loves that her grandkids love it, especially the 10-year-old who “really loves alternative energy.” But when she started researching electric vehicles on the Internet, she quickly noticed a kind of toxicity in online communities, which are mostly dominated by men – negative comments, arguments, people who appeared to be anti-EV. “The Facebook forums are horrible,” she says. Perhaps these predominantly masculine spaces, she wonders, may scare off some potential buyers.
But in China, automakers are marketing women by giving them more options to customize their vehicles — in ways that may not appeal to consumers in the US or Europe. In May 2022, Great Wall Motors released Ora, a pastel-colored EV in the shape of a VW Beetle, with an LED vanity mirror, a “Lady Driving Mode” with a voice-activated parking system and a “Warm Mode,” designed to Soothing drivers suffering from menstrual cramps Another Chinese brand, Wuling, is marketing its mini EV for women, offering the model in a range of “makaron” colors and letting buyers add custom wheels or customize the exterior of the car. decorate car with cartoon decals.
“The male population likes to talk about the hardware. The female population likes to customize the experience or adapt it to their lifestyle,” said Bill Russo, former head of the Northeast Asian business of automaker Chrysler in Beijing, who now runs Shanghai-based consultancy Automobility. “So doing things like adding decals or making it my own is more for that kind of audience; you look for brands that respond to this, such as Ora.”
Even as automakers begin to reach more women, S&P’s Bland believes it’s important to recognize which female groups are early adopters. His research shows that in the US, African American and Hispanic women buy more electric cars than African American and Hispanic men, while Asian women are on an equal footing with Asian men.
“The data shows that you’re starting to see a trend of all-black commercials, all-Hispanic commercials, where there was a more general push before,” he says. “I would think the EV industry should look and focus more on the women who adopted slightly earlier than the more hesitant men,” he says.
For Hollins, the new owner of Hyundai EV, it wasn’t a particular ad or marketing strategy that sealed the deal. It was another woman approaching Hollins’ western Colorado town with her little dog in her own electric Hyundai, one in the “prettiest blue.” They got talking; she was Hollins’ age and was on a cross-country road trip. “I knew nothing about charging stations. I didn’t know you could get from A to B in an electric car,” says Hollins. But once she saw someone she could identify with electric driving, it all felt much more accessible.