Shocking EV Twist: Why Are Half of Electric Car Owners Returning to ICE Vehicle ?

Tesla maintains strong EV loyalty while legacy automakers struggle to keep consumers in the electric future

In an odd but tragic twist, a recent study claims that EV owners are a fickle bunch. With the exception of Tesla customers, who are infamous for their extreme brand loyalty, half of EV owners return to ICE vehicles as a replacement car or a second vehicle for their household after acquiring an electric vehicle.


According to a new S&P Global Mobility study, EV owners who switched back to ICE vehicles had three basic reasons: affordability, infrastructure, and range concern, while other consumers just felt safer having an ICE or hybrid vehicle in the garage as a backup plan.

The survey examined data from this year through July on a variety of major brands, with Nissan leading the pack in EV loyalty at 63.2%, followed by Chevrolet at 60.6%.

Looking at particular models, 37.3% of Ford Mustang Mach-E owners purchased another EV, while 45.8% purchased an ICE car, with many purchasers switching from a Ford truck or SUV in both ICE and hybrid powertrains.


In contrast, the most popular next EV purchase for Nissan Leaf owners who bought another EV was a Tesla Model Y at 14.3%, followed by another Leaf at 12.4%. The Chevrolet Bolt also retained 60.7% of owners in EVs, with 28.8% purchasing another Bolt. The Bolt, like the Mach-E with Ford, saw ICE households migrate to Chevrolet SUVs and trucks.

What about high-end brands? According to data, 56.6% of Mercedes-Benz EV owners continue to live the EV lifestyle, up from 24.3% in Q2 2020. Jaguar EV loyalty rose from 25% to 56.5%, Audi rose from 25.5% to 50.1%, and Porsche rose from 23.3% to 36.8%.

Tesla, the market leader, showed a rise in EV loyalty from 51.8% to 52.8%.


What this essentially means is that legacy ICE manufacturers are feeling the heat – Tesla is picking off the competition with large volumes of premium EVs, keeping consumers loyal to their brand and to the electrified future. Meanwhile, traditional brands are scrambling to catch up and keep consumers interested. The data, on the other hand, sheds some insight on the work that still has to be done to keep consumers on the grid and away from fossil fuels.

“The OEMs are spending huge amounts of money to develop EVs,” said Tom Libby, associate director for loyalty solutions and market analysis at S&P Global Mobility. “So the last thing they want is for an EV owner to go back to ICE.”

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