Back in June and July of 2021, Cox Automotive polled nearly 5,000 consumers between the ages of 18 and 72 who either owned, considered buying or rejected buying an electric vehicle. Within that data, it showed that Tesla quite clearly has the most brand recognition for its EVs, while other brands have a whole lot of work to do on the marketing front. Specifically, a whopping 69% of those EV buyers (or rejecters) didn’t even know the Chevrolet Bolt existed despite being on sale since 2016.
Then we noticed something really surprising. A stunning 40% of those 5,000 consumers — about 2,000 people — said they were aware of Toyota‘s electric vehicle. Some said they were considering it, some said they were not. Either way, there’s a pretty big problem with that: Toyota did not sell an electric vehicle in June and July of 2021. Nor did it sell one at any time after the 2014 RAV4 EV. And just in case you’re wondering, the Toyota bZ4X EV wouldn’t be revealed for another four months.
Basically, significantly more people were somehow “aware” that Toyota makes an EV that does not exist than those who knew about the Chevrolet Bolt, a vehicle that has existed for more than five years. Or the Nissan Leaf, for that matter, which has been on sale since 2010.
Perhaps people just assumed that Toyota, which pioneered hybrids, must make an EV. Not a bad assumption, but in reality, Toyota hasn’t been too keen on them. Almost hostile, even. Only recently has it announced plans for a variety of future EV models, and again, the bZ4X was only revealed back in November. Then again, perhaps people just don’t fully understand what an electric vehicle is, lumping hybrids and plug-in hybrids in with them (things Toyota does sell). In other words “electrification” equals “fully electric.” It doesn’t.
Now, before you getting too down on the car knowledge of general automotive consumers, don’t worry, it gets even worse. That same Cox Automotive study said that 17% were not aware that Tesla made an EV. Let that sink in.
You can read the highlights of the Cox Automotive Path to EV Adoption Study here.