A Three-Row Electric SUV Would Be a Hit With Soccer Moms If They Had More Choices
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A Three-Row Electric SUV Would Be a Hit With Soccer Moms If They Had More Choices

Kia EV9 three-row electric suv view from above next to home charging station
  • There aren’t many seven-seater electric SUV options on the market.
  • Moms who ferry kids to sports practice need lots of room, and a three-row SUV fits the bill.
  • Automakers are missing out on an opportunity to grow EV adoption by not adding more seven-seat SUV options to their electric lineups.

As automakers trim back their electric vehicle investments, they are ignoring a potential group of cheerleaders: soccer moms. The paucity of affordable options for a three-row electric SUV means that a segment of buyers is left with few choices if they want to go electric.


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Katherine Tweed, a self-proclaimed “soccer mom,” brought this issue to my attention when she mentioned it in a social media post. So, I chatted with her about it.

“If you look at mass market EVs on the market, it is not what women with a certain age and a family are buying,” she told Electrify News in an interview. “The five- to seven-seat put-all -your-sports-equipment-in-the-back doesn’t exist with many options.”


Concept Hyundai “Seven”. Image care of Hyundai

Tweed is the senior director of partnerships and content at Canary Media, an independent nonprofit newsroom covering clean energy. The 43-year-old mother of three ferries her 4-, 6-, and 9-year-olds to kung fu, tennis, basketball, and swimming.

She was driving a Subaru Outback last year when she went searching for a three-row electric soccer mom car.

The choices for the largest electric SUV she could find were few and pricey.

“I think they are just not making the cars that women of a certain age moving kids around at different price points want,” Tweed said.


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Why Aren’t There More Cool Mom Cars?

Let’s face it: EVs are cool. Even an electric minivan makes an impression when it silently glides up to soccer practice. So why aren’t there more three-row electric SUVs on the market?

There are several reasons, Brian Moody, executive editor at Cox Automotive’s Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, told Electrify News in an email message.

For one, people want an EV with a lot of battery range, and size matters where range is concerned.

“The extra weight of the vehicle could reduce driving range and may use tires more rapidly,” Moody said.

Also, up until now battery electric vehicles have mostly been produced as “compliance” vehicles, allowing automaker lineups to meet emissions standards, he said.

“They’re not what the mass of the public wants, at least not right now,” Moody said.  “Most people have told us that they believe a hybrid suits their needs better today.”


Demand for a Seven-Seater Electric SUV Is Out There

That doesn’t mean an EV isn’t the right choice for many families.

“I think if the average American family were to test drive an electric car that fit their needs, they would really like it,” Moody said.

Tweed agreed. She “anecdotally” knows many women who would love to have an EV, if only there were more options, Tweed said.


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Quick and Safe Charging Tips the Scale

Image care of Tesla

Tweed ended up buying a Tesla Model Y. While it cost a bit more than she would have liked, the Supercharger network tipped the scale in its favor. She considered a less expensive Mercedes EV, Tweed said, but “Tesla built the charging network. The idea that I need to figure out one more thing is a bridge too far.”

EV shoppers who are not early adopters want quick and very easy to access chargers, Moody said. That becomes even more important if you are hauling kids to sporting events.

“Ask mom if she’s got an extra 45 minutes per refueling stop when she has her kids with her. I’m guessing she’s going to say ‘no,’” he said.

Also, “many charging stations are located in remote, unattended areas, which could be a safety concern for some families, especially if one parent is charging up alone or they have their kids with them,” Moody said.

“The frequency and speed of Tesla Superchargers is definitely a selling point, probably a bigger selling point than many of us would have realized early on in Tesla’s journey,” he said.


Three-Row Electric SUV Options Are Growing

Affordable options are growing for an electrified soccer mom car. The Kia EV9 is already on the market. And if a mom wants to go the electric minivan route, the Toyota Sienna hybrid is an electrified option, Moody pointed out.


Image care of Volkswagen

Among models due out soon are the Volkswagen ID.Buzz and the Hyundai Ioniq 7.

Automakers need to do more than just produce a seven-seater electric SUV, however. They need to market these models to soccer moms. That includes educating them about the advantages of driving an EV and how it compares with other options.

Even someone such as Tweed, who works in the clean energy sector, can find it hard to parse the choices.

“I knew more than the average bear going into this search and it was frustrating,” she said. “The market demand is there, but it will have to prove itself out.”


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FEATURE IMAGE: KIA

FTC: We use income-earning auto affiliate links. Learn more.

AUTHOR: 

ALYSHA WEBB

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