A new study shows that Filipinos and their Southeast Asian neighbors continue to be highly enthusiastic about owning an electrified vehicle (EV). The enthusiasm is largely driven by a growing need to create a more sustainable future.
The second edition of the Nissan-commissioned study by Frost & Sullivan, titled “The Future of Electrified Vehicles in Southeast Asia” was released today during “Nissan FUTURES – Electrification and Beyond”, a virtual gathering of industry leaders, government officials and media.
The study was conducted by Frost & Sullivan in September 2020 in six ASEAN markets: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. The findings are based on 3,000 online customer responses among car drivers in select cities, to understand consumers’ awareness, attitudes, behavior and perceptions towards electrified vehicles. “Electrified vehicle” in this study means battery electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and Nissan’s e-Power vehicles. It excludes hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Corolla Altis hybrid. The research is a follow-up from a study conducted in January 2018.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fuel prices have gone down during the lockdown period. Lower prices tend to also mean lower demand for EVs, but the pandemic has also reduced consumer spending since cars are high-ticket purchases. As a result of these factors, 37 percent of ASEAN respondents say that they are willing to own an electrified vehicle within the next three years, lower than 2018’s figure of 51 percent. Nevertheless, this year’s figure still represents 1 in 3 ASEAN consumers that are willing to switch to an EV.
However, compared to the 2018 figures, there are more Indonesians and Singaporeans who are willing to own an EV. This can be attributed to the fact that during the lockdown, air quality has significantly improved, and more consumers recognized how the lack of combustion engine vehicles on the road has significantly improved the air quality in their cities.
As for the Philippines, 45 percent of Filipino drivers said that they would certainly consider an electrified vehicle as their next vehicle within the next three years. This makes Filipinos the second most eager consumers in ASEAN to own an electrified vehicle. The positive impact on the environment is the most motivating factor for Filipinos to buy an electrified vehicle, as 46 percent of respondents – the highest in the region – feel strongly about the environment and climate change.
Now, EVs often cost more than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. This is why these cars are often dependent on tax incentives in order to bring their cost down. Unsurprisingly, tax incentives are also what most consumers are looking for when switching to electrified vehicles. Up next is the installation of charging stations in residential buildings, which of course would make charging extremely convenient for those living in cities and high rise buildings. Priority lanes, free parking, toll discounts and concessions of parking locations (in that order) are the other incentives that consumers are looking for when considering an EV.
Reflecting increased awareness towards environmental protection, 81 percent of consumers in ASEAN consider the source of electricity as an important decision in purchasing an electrified vehicle. Among the ASEAN nations in the study, Filipinos are the most conscious, with 86 percent of respondents saying that the source of electricity is a factor for them before purchasing an EV.
Safety remains a top priority for ASEAN consumers, which is why 61 percent of respondents in the region said that better safety standards are one of their most important factors to consider in purchasing an EV. Environmental awareness, lower cost to charge and maintain an EV are the other key factors that ASEAN consumers are looking for in an EV.
And then lastly, let’s take a look at the profile of these ASEAN consumers who are planning to buy an EV. Making up the majority of respondents are the “trendy enthusiasts”, which represent 39 percent of respondents. These consumers are interested in high-performance vehicles, wherein a car gives them a sense of luxury. It’s also these consumers that see EVs as a gadget–something that puts them at the forefront of technological innovation.
In second place are the “environmentalists”, which make up 38 percent of respondents. These people worry about climate change, which is why they see electrified vehicles as an inevitable future. These consumers also believe that electrified vehicles can certainly reduce environmental impact.
Lastly, “basic utility drivers” make up 23 percent of respondents in the study. It’s these consumers who look for inexpensive transportation with the lowest running cost. These consumers also see cars as just a means of transportation and nothing else. Basic utility drivers also believe that electrified vehicles have lower running costs in the long term and is most suitable for city driving.
Of course, while there are opportunities, there are also barriers that the industry needs to overcome in order for electrified vehicles to reach mainstream status. 48 percent of respondents consider range anxiety to be the most significant barrier in the adoption of an electrified vehicle across the region. Range anxiety is basically the fear of running out of power before arriving at the charging station.
After numerous teasers and announcements, Nissan is finally bringing the Nissan Leaf pure electric hatchback this year. This Nissan-commissioned study showcases how the Japanese automaker has carefully studied consumer behavior in the region before bringing in a completely revolutionary product such as a pure electric vehicle. Are Filipinos truly ready to adopt pure electric mobility? Only time will tell.