Understanding the Electric Vehicle Buyer: Are they really that different?

By Amber Cruickshank

As more and more electric vehicles make their way into the market, it seems inevitable that the internal combustion engine will be phased out by all manufacturers. As a Dealer who will inevitably be selling EVs, understanding EV technology is imperative, but what about understanding the consumer that buys an EV? How are their buying habits different from car buyers who are looking for an internal combustion engine vehicle? What are the main factors that influence their purchase? 

Range Anxiety

Yes, you read that right. Anxiety. If you have ever been out driving and noticed you are dangerously low on gas and there is no gas station in sight, you might know the feeling. Range anxiety is what an EV driver experiences when their battery is low and a source of electricity is unknown or unavailable. It is arguably the top concern for EV buyers. The fear of being stranded somewhere is understandably stressful and a huge factor for most that are considering purchasing a new electric vehicle. 

With a wide range of driving capabilities that can go from 160 KMs to more than 480 KMs, it’s important to understand your customers’ needs and driving habits. What do they use the car for? Short trips to the grocery store? What is their work commute like? Are they highway driving? Are they planning on longer road trips? Being prepared to ask these questions, and understanding the range of the EV’s you have will help get to that next step with your customer. 

Battery Life 

While the battery range of an EV is important, battery life and the costs associated with replacement can also be a concern. Most manufacturers offer a minimum 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty. This may be enough for some but a lot of EV drivers might need more piece of mind. Knowing the specs on battery life and replacement costs as well as offering  extended warranties for added protection is a great way to negate any concerns. 

Charging Station Availability

Charging station education goes hand in hand with range anxiety. Being educated on charging infrastructure in a given area is going to be an important piece for EV drivers. 

All EV models come standard with a portable level 1 charger that can plug into any outlet. It’s a slow charge but it allows you to charge anywhere anytime and most people will use this for at home charging. EV drivers want the piece of mind to know that there are plenty of charging options available to them so they can multitask and avoid the dreaded range anxiety. For EV Dealers, having a good knowledge of where the charging stations are in their municipality or even having some sort of map on hand to show a customer is a great way to support them in their decision to buy. 


Traditionally, EV buyers are early adopters of technology. As more and more people move into EV’s, the technology that differentiates EV’s from other cars on the market is becoming a bigger factor. EV buyers want a clean and green vehicle along with a sense of luxury, innovation and of course safety. According to Echo Engineering, consumers expect tech features like USB ports, Smartphone app control and infotainment systems. Other features they crave are autonomous driving systems, regenerative braking and voice operation. 

Dealers need to be up to speed on the latest and greatest features on their EV’s and be ready to sell the hank out of them.

EV Buyers are just people with unique needs – but they’re still just people.

All in all, selling to an EV Buyer is not all that different from selling to your average car buyer. Yes, they have unique wants and needs but at the end of day, if you ask the right questions and arm yourself with knowledge, you’ll come out on top.

It’s an exciting time for Dealers as EV sales grow and become part of the mainstream. Learning as much as you can to become comfortable selling the future of driving is not just a benefit to your customer, it’s essential to the success of your business.  

Good Luck!