Driving Equality: Auto Trader’s Mission to Bridge the EV Gender Gap

  • Gender gap persists: Women buy fewer EVs despite owning 48% of driving licenses.
  • Promote accessibility: Tailor EV marketing to address women’s concerns, primarily around range, charging, and safety.
  • Tackle misconceptions: Highlight cost savings and dispel myths to encourage women’s EV adoption.

How do we overcome the gender gap in the EV sector?

Auto Trader commissioned a report, supported by Hive at British Gas, to address gender disparities in the electric vehicle (EV) market. The findings reveal barriers faced by women and propose solutions to bridge the gap.

The report, titled “No driver left behind: women and the journey to electric” highlights the need to tackle the gender gap in the EV market. Despite women owning 48% of driving licenses in the UK, they purchase fewer EVs than men due to misdirected marketing.

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Currently, most EV marketing focuses on technology, despite only 12% of women prioritizing it when buying a car. Auto Trader suggests shifting the emphasis to safety, which is crucial for 65% of female drivers when making purchase decisions.

Source: Unsplash

A major area of concern for women considering EVs is range and charging. Charging language is often business focussed, with little emphasis on the usability and everyday practicality that, traditionally, women are more inclined to engage with.  

Concerns and knowledge gaps about EVs among women are evident in the report. Surprisingly, a quarter of women (25%) perceive EVs to be more expensive to run, despite evidence showing they are, on average, £86 cheaper per 1,000 miles compared to petrol or diesel cars. This lack of accurate information contributes to women’s disinterest in EVs. The report identifies three key knowledge gaps: how EVs drive, charging times, and their eco credentials.

To engage women effectively with EVs, the report emphasizes targeted promotion in women-centric spaces, leveraging social proof, and increasing presence on social media. Notably, 86% of women seek purchasing advice on social media platforms. Test drives are essential as they often lead to women choosing EV ownership. Affordability should also be highlighted, as EVs offer lower total cost of ownership than traditional cars.

Auto Trader calls for tailored approaches to reach women where they already shop and address their concerns. This includes showcasing EVs in diverse spaces, dispelling fears, and minimizing perceived risks. Implementing a universal system to monitor and compare battery health is recommended, providing buyers with valuable information for their purchase decisions.

Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto Trader, said: 

“You’d be forgiven for assuming the advent of electric cars, with their more lifestyle-oriented stories around sustainable materials, enhanced services and carbon footprints, would fundamentally change women’s relationship with cars for the better. And yet, as our new data shows, the gender gap is widening…

“Addressing the issues raised in this report should help a large chunk of UK drivers to feel confident enough to take that leap. Without action, adoption will falter. And more and more drivers will get left behind. Faltering adoption is not good for the UK automotive industry but it’s also not good for the environment, public health or social equality.”

British Gas collaborates with Auto Trader to simplify home charging solutions and educate prospective EV drivers on charging risks. This aims to alleviate concerns and promote wider EV adoption.

Kim Royds, EV Director at British Gas commented on the report:

“It’s clear charging concerns are pervasive for all drivers when considering EV ownership, but this research has uncovered concrete areas where women experience these barriers in specific ways.

“At-home chargers are a vital part of the electrification process and the report highlights the need to educate the public on the cost-savings and simplicity of at-home charging installation in inclusive ways. For example, we are sharing our simple three-step process to help break down any complexities or misconceptions. In the coming weeks, we’re also looking forward to launching our latest EV charger, which will help users save money.”

The report’s key message is clear: targeted efforts are essential to close the gender gap in EV adoption. Addressing barriers, dispelling myths, and providing accurate information will create a more inclusive and sustainable future for the automotive industry, environment, public health, and social equality.

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