Preaching data puts people off implementing changes

EV manufacturers must act to avoid a classic trap in implementing change.


You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturers would do well to remember that.


Pouring water into a trough for a horse is like bringing in financial incentives, strong regulations, and better charging infrastructure for drivers. It is good, but it won’t make most drivers shift to EVs.


What’s more, telling the horse the water is there does not make the horse drink faster or more. And yet this is what governments and manufacturers are doing now. It’s a classic trap in the traditional approach to change implementation.


A new survey* by BP and The Economist evaluates how well policymakers are educating people on the benefits of EVs. Unsurprisingly, Norway comes out on top. It has one of the most ambitious EV targets in the world. Other big European countries and China still have much work to do to convince people to change.


What could they do better? And what can top management learn from all of this?

#1 You won’t reach everyone with pure logic.

Pushing out more data and statistics has diminishing returns. Any argument is built on assumptions. And if the preaching policymakers’ assumptions are not the same as the consumers – which they are not – then the message falls flat.


#2 Make it an implementation dialog.

Stop the top-down monolog. The change to EVs will speed up when manufacturers emphasize the positive emotional reasons. When was the last time…

  • … you heard positive news about the adoption of EVs?
  • … a policymaker or EV manufacturer thanked you for making a small change in the right direction (e.g. buying a hybrid car)?
  • … an EV manufacturer including alternative modes of transport? A daily commute on bus, bike or train doesn’t prevent the need for a car for all those other journeys.


The point here is simple: pushing logic will only get implementation so far. Share successes. Show gratitude to consumers for making the change. Give advice on positive actions. These three things change how people feel and how fast they take action.


EV manufacturers need to stop treating consumers like a horse. Instead, it is time for EV manufacturers to create the positive environment that makes us want to drive an EV. Because choosing to commit to change always lasts longer than having to commit to change.





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*Source: The rEV Index



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