Why the Electric Vehicle Industry Needs More Women

I have lost count of how many times a man has told me that he would have purchased an electric vehicle, but his wife/girlfriend/significant other didn’t want one. I knew there could be a trend linked to these conversations, and quarantine finally gave me the spare time to research the dynamics of gender and EV adoption. 

Unfortunately, my questions went unanswered when I discovered a dearth of peer-reviewed research on the topic. 

Taking matters into my own hands, I begged for (and happily received) previously unpublished gender-segmented data from EV researchers around the country. Sadly, the data verified what I already knew in my heart – that women ‘just weren’t into’ electric vehicles. 

Without women, we can’t achieve our transportation decarbonization goals. In the U.S., women influence over 80% of the vehicle purchasing decisions, represent about half of new car buyers, and represent an additional 1.4 million drivers on the roads, yet have only purchased about 30% of the EVs to date. 

Electric Vehicle Rebate Program Claims by State and Gender

StateMaleFemale
California73%*27%
New York70%**30%
Massachusetts74%26%
Connecticut71%29%
Source: Center for Sustainable Energy, 2020. 
* compared to male new car buyers at 50%
**compared to male new car buyers at 49%

This white paper, “Why the Electric Vehicle industry Needs More Women,” is the culmination of my research and provides a proposed solution to increase the number of women in the EV industry workforce to make EV products and services that are more desirable to women.

This will require significant changes in many industries, including the automotive industry, which has less than 25% of women in the workforce and few female executive leaders.

In addition to halting climate change, I firmly believe that the clean energy and EV transition is a chance for us to hit the ‘reset’ button on many social, economic, and environmental injustices of the past. But unless we can make equity a priority, we could lose this opportunity.

I hope that this paper increases awareness of this issue and inspires readers to take action in whatever way they can.

2 thoughts

  1. Hi Erika

    This is interesting but most of the research I have seen suggests that women are actually the major decision makers in auto purchases and many of the commonly held beliefs about their decision making is actually based on stereotypes.

    Also it is clear that many companies have realized this … although slower than might make sense because, to you point about the industry, the auto business is very male dominated at a senior level … Barra at GM excepted of course.

    So yes … the EV industry, the entire auto industry, needs more women.

    All the best Asam

    https://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456751970/women-dominate-car-buying-decisions-few-hold-auto-executive-jobs

    Like

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