8
Jun

How Long Are People Willing to Wait for the Tesla Model 3?

How Long are Consumers Willing to Wait for the Tesla Model 3?By: Kimberly Doherty, Senior Project Manager; Pam Cunningham, Research Manager

With 373,000 deposits in for the Tesla Model 3, questions are circulating around consumers’ expectations: How long do they plan to wait for delivery? What features do they expect the vehicle to come equipped with, and what do they want to add on? In search of answers, we reached out to our MyDrivingPower (MDP) community members who put down a deposit to uncover their insight and opinions.

The Model 3’s competitive price has captured the attention of EV and gas-powered vehicle owners alike, not to mention current Tesla owners. How much it will cost to equip the vehicle with additional features though is still unknown. Curious about consumers’ willingness to pay for add-ons, we asked MDP members that placed deposits on the Model 3 how they plan to configure their new vehicle. In true vehicle enthusiast fashion, none plan to drive off with a base model.

Most members we reached out to are realistic about the upgrades they want. They do not plan to buy a ‘fully loaded’ vehicle, but will weigh the cost against benefits of each individual feature. Typically, these consumers estimate they will spend $45,000 – $50,000 for the final product. Some of the ‘must have’ features are functional, including extended battery range, all-wheel drive (dual motor), and supercharging.  A few expressed an interest in autopilot, but it generally is not a ‘must have’. The possibility of a tax credit will also factor in how much extra they are willing to spend on their vehicle.

For example, here were two direct member quotes:

“I assumed I would spend ~$50k to get what I want. All-wheel drive is mandatory. Longer range is mandatory. All other options will be decided on costs/benefits.”

“I plan to get all-wheel drive, a battery that is close to 85kwHr as they have a supercharger (if there is a fee), and autopilot. Once the prices are known, I’m hopeful that will price the car near $45,000.”

There is a significant gap between when deposits were made for the vehicle and when the Model 3 will be released (many industry experts estimate mid 2018 at the earliest). But how long are people actually willing to wait to buy? Many MDP members claim they are committed to their planned purchase and don’t mind the long wait. Some are trying to manipulate their current lease-end date to coincide with the release of the Model 3. Still others say they will try to extend their current lease or see if the dealership will allow them to continue to lease on a month-to-month basis, or will make due with another vehicle in their household. Additional member quotes highlight this:

“I’m considering this an EV pioneer experience so…as long as it takes.”

“I’ll wait until the end of February 2018 when my Model S lease is up. That seems pretty consistent with the time they are saying deliveries will begin. If   there is a delay beyond that date, I guess I’ll be stuck driving my Spark EV for a while.”

Placing a $1,000 down payment indicates a level of consumer interest and commitment, and our community members are a historically dedicated group, but do they have faith in their fellow enthusiasts? Many believe at least 50% of those who placed a deposit will follow through with an actual purchase. Timing may play a role, they say, as not everyone has control over when they need a new vehicle. Moreover, a person’s ability to purchase may be affected should their financial situation change between deposit date and vehicle availability.

Other MDP members speculate the potential for competitors to release new EV products before the Model 3 is ready, which may sway shoppers hoping to get their hands on a vehicle sooner. As seen from the member comments below, there is doubt as to whether another automaker could introduce a true competitor before the Model 3 is ready, but some admit they would consider other options they see as tempting.

“Perhaps[people will be swayed] if the enhanced CCS [Combined Charging System] network I read about last week actually takes off and becomes competitive with supercharging, and Nissan or GM bring out cars able to take advantage of it, but there’s no sign of that happening.”

“I feel approximately 50% will follow through. Why not a higher percentage? The very long period of time between deposit and delivery. This results in two issues, first, changes in buyers’ personal/financial situation and second, time for competition to take business.”

As seen in two quotes below, MDP members anticipate Model 3 production to begin in December 2017, with a 6-month grace period. Although these consumers have no idea where they are ‘in line’, they suspect their vehicle will be ready sometime between mid and late 2018. While their rank in the waitlist is unclear, Tesla did announce that current Tesla owners will be given priority, and those who reside in California–home of Tesla headquarters –will be among the first to obtain their vehicles.

“I will be pleasantly surprised if I see my car in 2018. 2019 is a safer bet. And for the record, I’d far rather wait for a car that’s done right, than get one soon that needs to be fixed in short order…costing me time and Tesla more money.”

“I am hopeful that deliveries will start in Dec. 2017, but I have allowed for up to 6 months to take delivery of mine specifically. I really have no idea my place in line.”

Many MDP members indicated that they are not familiar with the Tesla delivery process, but do expect to be able to pick up their Model 3 at a local dealer. Some would not mind driving a considerable distance to pick up their EV (up to 90 miles one-way), while others consumers expect it to be delivered directly to their home.

“I am not familiar with the delivery process on a Tesla, but I plan to take delivery in my home state of CA.”

“I hope to go to the factory to pick it up–it is only 90 minutes away. Or get home delivery–like my Model S.”

“I’ll pick it up from the Tesla store in Portland, OR, which is about 80 miles north of me.”

Plans are already in place for their next electric vehicle and based on feedback, most community members plan to do whatever it takes to get their own Model 3. How things evolve as more vehicle details are released and the release gets closer remains to be seen. We’ll be following up to see what MyDrivingPower members think as time goes on.

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2
Jun

What is Missing to Spur EV Consideration?

What comes first, the electric vehicle or the electric vehicle charger?

By: Dave Emig, Senior Research Director; Andy Moylan, Senior Project Director

What came first, the chicken or the egg? This question has fueled a bevy of philosophical discussions over many centuries. The answer to this question is unclear and quite possibly will never be answered, but it will continue to lead to some interesting discussions and be the impetus for critical thinking.

Let’s apply this to the electric vehicle industry. What comes first, the electric vehicle (EV) or the electric vehicle charger? Seems like a silly question to begin with because they are one in the same, right? For the purposes of this article, let’s forget about the standard electrical outlet most consumers have in their garage and focus on the sale of the vehicle.

Typically, when purchasing an electric vehicle, the consumer is given options about what charging unit could be installed at their home, and arrangements are made for it to be placed at the owner’s residence. So to answer the question, with the purchase of an electric vehicle, the consumer gets the charging unit first. But let’s take one additional step back and think about consumer’s consideration of the electric vehicle in the first place.

Previously, word of mouth, the motivation to be environmentally conscious, and tax credits were some of the factors driving purchase.  Now, design variations and more information surrounding the technology are the catalyst for increased consideration.  Still, it is difficult to take the leap to commit with something that is so important to our daily lives.

The evidence shows that the electric vehicle market is heating up and gaining more momentum. Tesla has made another major splash and is planning on riding those ripples into a boat load of sales. To date, there are over 373,000 pre-orders of the Model 3, which is on the heels of the Model X launch. Many automotive manufacturers are stepping up their EV game:  improvements are coming to the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3 is getting more range, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt is expected to be available for consumers to purchase soon, and according to Green Car Reports, Audi just announced a serious commitment to electric vehicles starting with an all-electric SUV in 2018.

What seems to be the biggest barrier to purchasing an electric vehicle is overcoming range anxiety.  How does one manage their day and still have the ability to be spontaneous while managing the unexpected, such as heavy traffic or that extra errand that needs to be run? Any anxiety from a myriad of circumstances will not be fully solved by simply adding more range to vehicles. There must be a means to provide consumers with peace of mind for not only the typical day, but for the unforeseen, unplanned events that come with life. So how is this possible?

Morpace recently asked a series of questions as part of its February Omnibus and the results were interesting. For starters, nearly 85% of consumers indicate that they travel less than 50 miles a day (in total) during an average week. Considering this, there are a number of electric vehicle options that would fit the needs of the majority, but there is always the ‘what if’ factor that causes unease, possibly preventing the purchase of an EV.

Currently, one-quarter of consumers cite an interest in considering an electric vehicle, according to our Omnibus. Now the key question: What if charging stations were more abundant at places of employment? Not necessarily the mall or the grocery store, but your place of work. Could that impact consumer acceptability of EVs, and lead toward higher sales?

Of those surveyed in our Omnibus, more than 8 in 10 indicate a level on unawareness when it comes to the location of charging stations in their area, with half being completely unaware and the remainder knowing there are some present, but not certain of the exact location. And when thinking about their place of employment, over 80% of those surveyed indicate there are no charging stations.

Charging stations at places of employment could be an area of great reward for manufacturers given the impact this would have on consumers. Having that safety net, that accommodation to gain back those precious miles needed for the ‘what if’ spontaneous moment, could give consumers the final nudge to take that leap to purchase an electric vehicle, and ultimately benefit manufacturers.

This belief is bolstered by the fact that about 1 in 3 respondents would be more likely to consider an electric vehicle if there was a charger at their place of employment. That repeatable action of going to work each day and seeing a line of open charging stations might encourage consumers to start asking questions and investigate EVs.

So, ask yourself the question…which came first, the electric vehicle charger at work or the electric vehicle?

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26
May

The Electrifying Introduction of the Tesla Model 3

The Electrifying Introduction of the Tesla Model 3By: Andy Moylan, Senior Project Director

It’s no secret that Tesla received more orders for the Model 3 than anticipated on the first day. According to Tesla, the current reservation count is around 373,000 for this premium-brand’s EV that can travel 210 miles on a charge, especially considering the largely attainable base price of $35,000.

Some of our Morpace MyDrivingPower community members placed a $1,000 deposit on a Tesla Model 3, so we wanted to hear more on what these influencers thought of the introduction and the deposit experience.

As unique as the Tesla Model 3 is, so was its introduction…for an automotive product, that is. The unveiling created a high-tech and energetic atmosphere that was more reminiscent of a technology product than that of an automobile. This was more than a car on a stage with the drape pulled off, followed by a series of conventional speeches. MyDrivingPower members referenced similarities to Apple including comparisons between Elon Musk and Steve Jobs in terms of their presentation styles, and they don’t believe any other automotive manufacturer could generate this kind of buzz.

“Clever PR getting the community excited and speculating, feels like Apple in the old days when Steve Jobs would come on stage and do the ‘oh and one more thing’.”

“The introduction process was very Silicon Valley; it was far more fun and genuine than the typical unveilings at auto shows.”

Tesla did something that positively no other automaker could execute with such fanfare. Tesla enjoys a brand halo that no others can seem to match. They have a hardcore fan base that admires their dedication to electric vehicles—there are no internal combustion engines in the line-up, not even as a backup. The large, tablet-like touch screen in the center of the dashboard (complimented by a rumored high-tech Heads Up Display), advanced battery technology, a proliferating supercharging network, and the Autopilot feature speaks more high-tech than any other brand.

“No one else builds or supports cars the way Tesla does (supercharging, styling, performance, updates and ownership experience).”

All of the initial orders  provided Tesla with a substantial cash infusion to continue the development and launch of the Model 3. Some MyDrivingPower members recognize that they are essentially loaning Tesla the funds necessary to bring this vehicle to market.

“I had no problem loaning Tesla a grand for however long it takes to deliver the Model 3.”

“I am eager to support what they’ve created and break free from the traditional automakers.”

Tesla offered online ordering as well as taking in-person orders at Tesla stores. Most of the community members went to their nearest Tesla store (in some cases, a 90 minute drive one way) and stood in line for hours. Despite the long wait, they enjoyed the camaraderie with other EV enthusiasts and felt like they were part of something historical. Placing a deposit at the store also gave some a feeling of confirmation because they delivered it to an actual Tesla employee. Those that ordered online preferred to avoid the lines and placed the deposit from the comfort of their homes.

“I needed an early Model 3 to minimize my time without a car in that gap between my lease expiration and when I take delivery of the Tesla. This is why I waited in line to secure the earliest possible reservation number.”

“As a current owner, I was invited to put my name into a lottery for a ticket to the announcement, but after hearing horror stories about the last one, I decided to pass and watch it at home. I simply went to the website at 7:30 and entered my order without a hitch.”

So why would members be willing to put down a deposit for a car with a design and a feature list that is not yet finalized? Because there is a level of trust, based primarily on the design, performance, and safety associated with previous models—notably, the larger Model S. Members are confident that these traits will carry over to the Model 3.

“The reason I chose Tesla so far is because I know they have a history of producing beautiful cars with a lot of tech packed into them. They also believe in the future of their cars with constant software updates.”

“Based on my co-workers’ experience who have the Model S and my brief exposure to driving that car, coupled with Tesla’s commitment to the success of BEVs, I’m all in.”

So, the deposits are in. But, how long do they plan to wait for their vehicle? Will they take the base vehicle offered, or build up their future car with additional features or options? There is more to come as we continue the conversation with our community.

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4
Apr

Consumers’ Positive Reaction to the New Tesla Model 3

 

Consumers' Positive Reaction to the New Tesla Model 3By: Jason Mantel, Senior Vice President

On Thursday March 31st, the world was introduced to the carefully planned unveiling of the new Tesla Model 3 at the Design Studio in Hawthorne, Calif. And it’s fair to say that the world was ready for the news. After all, more than 180,000 vehicles were ordered on the first day, according to the Wall Street Journal.

There’s a lot riding on the Tesla Model 3 both for Tesla itself, as this Slate article opines, and for the electric car market in general. At Morpace we quickly gathered insights and perceptions from our MyDrivingPower online community, a group of more than 300 U.S. based consumers that are current or recent owners of EVs or hybrids, and via our social media platform.

So what first impression did the smallest Tesla make on consumers? Overall, the first impressions of the Tesla Model 3 are generally positive. Morpace measured a net positive sentiment of 70 percent across the social media spectrum. But the good vibes go beyond just appearance or features. MyDrivingPower panelists were impressed with the affordability of the Tesla Model 3, which has a base price starting at $35,000. Beyond just the price point itself, there is a feeling of ‘value’ in the Model 3 offering. Specific quotes from our panelists included:

               “The Model 3 has made my goal of owning a Tesla possible.”

               “It is so much more at an affordable price point than any of the other electric cars.”

We see that consumers may have reached beyond customary automotive media outlets for learning about the Model 3. Instead, sites and blogs that provide technology news are bustling with traffic. We talked to members of our MyDrivingPower community of electric vehicle owners, who are looking to sources like Wired and TechCrunch for their Model 3 updates. These enthusiasts are visiting technology sites (49%) slightly more than automotive sites (44%) to learn more about this Tesla model. Tesla’s own website appears to be a similarly visited site. The introduction of an electric vehicle seems to transcend traditional classification, arguably being as much a ‘technological advancement’ as an ‘automotive advancement’.

As of today, Tesla is generating all the buzz with the anticipation of their Model 3. The number of Model 3 units pre-ordered is likely to rise in the coming months as more information becomes available and familiarity increases. But for today, when thinking about this vehicle and similar models from other manufacturers, our community of electric vehicle owners are leaning towards the Model 3, as compared to the Chevrolet Bolt.

Nearly 9in 10 members selected the Tesla Model 3 over the Chevrolet Bolt, perhaps the most closely similar model available (based on range and price) if they were in the market for a vehicle today. Specific quotes about the Tesla Model 3 included:

               “An industry changer.”

               “It makes all other cars seem old and out-of-date.”

Morpace will be closely following the journey of customers anticipating the Tesla Model 3 over the coming months.

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2
Dec

Online Communities: A Powerful Media Relations Tool

By Jason Mantel, Vice President

A strong selling point for Market Research Online Communities is the ability to collect information quickly, sometimes instantaneously, from community members.  The theory goes that having members is exponentially more powerful than having respondents – members are engaged in your brand, eager to share, will be brutally honest in sharing the feedback your brand needs to hear. They are also available to you when you need them. Paper

As a primary market research firm, this is the line we use to promote MROCs.  Too often, though, these amazing tools are not leveraged for an amazing benefit: speed.

Morpace was contacted by Automotive News for thoughts on the electric vehicle market.  We host a MROC in this space, called My Driving Power.  The request came to our team at 4 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, and some of the questions were on topics where we had limited feedback.  Our first inclination was, “we’re missing that data!” And then suddenly, we remembered what we tell our clients – that MROCs generate fast results. (Really, it took time for this to sink in!) One of our analysts posted a few key questions immediately to our members.  And they didn’t let us down.

By 7 a.m. the next morning, we experienced a nearly 30% response rate, and robust results we could share with the publication.  We were able to answer specific questions, with statistically relevant figures, and pages of valuable comments, literally overnight.  I can’t recall another instance in my research career where that was possible, let alone with such a targeted audience.  (And many of our clients who host communities are yet to leverage their members for this type of benefit.)

I can imagine the value of this result in just about any corporate suite.  Even though I knew how it was supposed to work, I was simply amazed when it did.

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