2019 Tesla Model 3
2019 Tesla Model 3

The cars buyers don’t want

Drivers aren't convinced about the future of motoring, according to the latest JD Power survey.

The inaugural Mobility Confidence Index Study found consumers lacked confidence in autonomous and electric vehicles, the focus of car makers around the world and the two technologies soaking up tens of billions of dollars of research and development budgets.

Using the global online survey company SurveyMonkey, respected research and analytics company JD Power polled 5749 people about self-driving cars and 5270 on electric vehicles, in turn uncovering major issues for the automotive industry as it undergoes major transformation.

Tesla charges customers $8500 for its “Full Self Driving” package that only has semi-autonomous functions.
Tesla charges customers $8500 for its “Full Self Driving” package that only has semi-autonomous functions.

"Out of the box, these scores are not encouraging," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director, driver interaction & human machine interface research at JD Power. "As automakers head down the developmental road to self-driving vehicles and greater electrification, it's important to know if consumers are on the same road - and headed in the same direction. That doesn't seem to be the case right now."

Kolodge suggested car makers need to work harder to sell the benefits of upcoming technology that some are calling the biggest change in more than 100 years of motoring.

"Manufacturers need to learn where consumers are in terms of comprehending and accepting new mobility technologies - and what needs to be done."

The Nissan Leaf is the most popular electric car in the world.
The Nissan Leaf is the most popular electric car in the world.

JD Power found the Mobility Confidence Index for self-driving cars was just 36 out of 100, considered "low". The biggest concern was that people weren't comfortable with being on the road in or around a driverless car.

The study concluded that "serious concerns exist with the development of self-driving vehicles".

JD Power said 71 per cent of people surveyed were most worried about tech failures, while 57 per cent were concerned the autonomous vehicle could be hacked.

Despite early iterations of semi-autonomous technology becoming widely available, 66 per cent of those surveyed said that had "little to no knowledge about self-driving vehicles".

The results weren't quite as disastrous for electric vehicles, with the Mobility Confidence set at 55.

While charging infrastructure and battery range were listed as "critical challenges which must be addressed", it's perhaps no surprise that the price of electric vehicles ranked as the highest concern.

The Hyundai Ioniq is one of the most affordable electric cars in Australia.
The Hyundai Ioniq is one of the most affordable electric cars in Australia.

The cheapest electric vehicle in Australia is the Hyundai Ioniq, at about $49,000 drive-away.

"Consumer affordability and trust remain among the top challenges for electric vehicle adoption," the JD Power survey said.

Crucial to EV interest is experience with the product, according to the JD Power survey. Of 32 per cent of respondents who had experienced an EV, three-quarters said they would consider purchasing one.

However, of more than two-thirds of respondents who had no experience with an electric vehicle, just 40 per cent said they would consider purchasing or leasing one.


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