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New Auto Technology and Consumer Confidence

New Auto Technology and Consumer Confidence

October 31, 2019

It’s no secret that auto manufacturers are investing more than ever before in new and developing technologies to produce greener vehicles along with an increasing number of safety features.

But to what extent does the driving public have confidence in these developing technologies?

A new study by J.D. Power, in partnership with Survey Monkey, would suggest it’s going to take time for drivers to establish a comfort level. The 2019 Q3 Mobility Confidence Index Study, revealed a Mobility Confidence Index is 36 (on a 100-point scale) for self-driving vehicles and 55 for battery-electric vehicles. The index is categorized into three categories: low (0-40), neutral (41-60) and positive (61-100). More than 5,000 individuals were surveyed in each category to yield these results.

The survey aims to gain more understanding on the public’s opinion on EV and self-driving cars. The results of the most recent study were the same as they were three months ago – and similar studies will be conducted on a quarterly basis.

With respect to self-driving vehicles, consumers have a low level of confidence and comfort, particularly when it comes to riding in a self-driving vehicle and self-driving public transit. Overall, men are more comfortable with self-driving technology than women, with more than two-thirds of consumers saying they have little to no knowledge about the technology. J.D. Power suggests findings can be used to a vehicle manufacturer company’s advantage, by identifying areas where consumers need to be better educated, and course-corrected on the path to eventual production.

That being said, there are significant challenges facing auto-manufacturers. Perfecting the technology of self-driving cars is proving much more challenging than once originally thought and there are two disadvantages to consumers that are unable to be solved – job displacement and computer error. There is the potential for a massive loss of jobs and often we see tech failures and errors with both electrical and computer technologies. That being said, technology in the automotive industry is improving all the time and we will continue to make rapid advancements.

When it comes to battery-electric vehicles, the response is more neutral. The top challenges remain the cost and reliability associated with purchasing and owning an EV. However, 77% of respondents say that tax credits or subsidies for using battery-electric vehicles would influence purchase decisions. In terms of the environmental impacts, nearly 65% say battery-electric vehicles are better and half of the respondents believe the cost of charging versus gas would be advantageous. Not surprisingly, more than half of respondents registered concerns about the availability of charging stations and driving range. Good news for drivers in B.C.! There are now more than 1,000 charging stations across the province and BC Hydro currently operates 60 fast chargers along B.C.’s major highways.

Just as the development of new technologies is a work in progress, so too is gaining the trust and confidence of consumers. Though J.D. Powers does not release the full study, you can check out their results at jdpower.com.

For the latest information on car careers in BC’s automotive industry, visit here.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca


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