Chart showing interest in EVs online is much larger relative to actual sales

Sophus3 Quarterly Insights Event: How the needs of the EV customer differ

Scott Gairns | Managing Director Sophus3

In this presentation to our EV Digital Marketing webinar, Scott Gairns shares some analysis of Live Chat interactions which shows the different needs and expectations of the online shopper considering the purchase of an electric car.

(3 minute read)

One of the biggest digital trends over the last twelve months has been personalisation. Here at Sophus3 we have seen an exponential growth in the adoption of our Live Chat video solutions. Retailers across Europe from Hyundai, PSA, Renault and Vauxhall are now communicating directly with online customers using our technology. Behind the scenes our eDataXchange platform has been gathering data from Live Chat interactions for more than five years. Here we share some of our learnings, especially those that apply to the EV customer journey.


The first major finding is in the number of chats started by EV shoppers compared with non-EV shoppers. Almost half of the chats logged for brands selling electric vehicles were for EVs, which is a remarkably high ratio given that EV sales still only account for 1 in 10 of cars sold.

Scott Gairns managing director of Sophus3

You can watch Scott’s full presentation here.

We know that EV shoppers are hungry for information, but our live chat data reveals that they engage 60% longer than their non-EV counterparts. Also a much higher proportion of these chats end with the customer receiving a download of information or a personal quote.

So what does best practice look like? Firstly, brands must take time to understand the different needs of their EV customers. There is no simple playbook and brands must learn as they go along: in true digital fashion, they must listen and adapt.


We know from previous research that car buyers in digital consider twice as many brands as they did 10 years ago and, as more EV models become available, that pressure will only increase. Resources must be in place to meet the way that people want to shop: responding to customer interest outside office hours, or the redefined ‘home office’ hours that we have all become used to. Solid information is required, delivered by dedicated specialists who are trained to explain some of the difficult concepts specific to EV technology.


We recommend an obsessive focus on the detail of interactions and a commitment to being truthful and transparent, something the car industry has long struggled with. A satisfied buyer becomes an ambassador for the brand in the same way that an unhappy customer becomes the opposite.

“The Sophus3 EV Index shows that affordability and choice is currently the biggest challenge. Yet the total cost of ownership of an EV may be less than a petrol or diesel equivalent, but car brands seem hesitant to shout about this.”

Chart comparing fuel costs for Electric Vehicle at 4 pence per mile compared to an ICE car at 9pence per mile

“Mid-term, gaps in charging infrastructure could become the main barrier to EV adoption and that will require alliances between brands and new partners, alongside sustained government subsidies.”



“From a strategic perspective, there is no doubt that 2021 is going to be another tough year in the vehicle market with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic set to continue for a number of months. EVs represent a rare bright spot and the latest forecast suggests that alternative fuelled vehicles will make up nearly a quarter of all cars sold in the UK during the next 12 months. Sales of pure battery cars are predicted to increase by 62%, presenting a once-in-a-generation opportunity for brands to take ownership of this exciting new space.”



Access to the complete recording has now been opened up and it can be viewed here.


For more information about Sophus3 and eDataXchange, please email

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