Industry Day 2024: What’s it Going to Take to Drive EV Adoption in the Heartland?
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Industry Day 2024: What’s it Going to Take to Drive EV Adoption in the Heartland?

Industry Day 2024 - Whats it Going to Take to Drive EV Adoption in the Heartland of America - Steve Kosowski (Long Range Planning & Strategy, Kia), Tyson Jominy (VP of Data & Analytics, JD Power), Terry Kidd (General Manager and Owner, Chatsworth Ford), and Mark Dipko (Head of EV Product Marketing & Strategy, Ford)

At Electrify Expo Industry Day 2024 in Long Beach, CA, experts from the automotive industry convened to discuss the challenges and strategies for increasing electric vehicle (EV) adoption in Middle America, despite its ideal demographics for EV ownership. The panel included Steve Kosowski from Kia, Tyson Jominy from JD Power, Terry Kidd from Chatsworth Ford, and Mark Dipko from Ford, with Sean McLain from the Wall Street Journal moderating.


  • At Electrify Expo Industry Day 2024, Steve Kosowski highlighted a significant income to price ratio barrier to EV adoption in Middle America.
  • Mark Dipko noted the increasing perceived value of EVs, particularly with competitive models like the Ford F-150 Lightning.
  • Terry Kidd stressed the importance of addressing consumer concerns like range anxiety and charging infrastructure at the dealership level.

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Steve Kosowski highlighted that the income to price ratio is a significant barrier in the Heartland, where incomes generally do not match those of typical EV buyers who earn between $200,000 and $250,000 annually. This discrepancy is more pronounced in Middle America compared to coastal regions with a higher proportion of high-income earners. Despite lower electric costs and high home ownership, which are favorable for EV adoption, the average price range for EVs ($60,000-$61,000) remains substantially higher than the preferred spending range on vehicles in Middle America ($30,000-$40,000).


Mark Dipko pointed out that as costs are becoming more competitive, particularly with models like the Ford F-150 Lightning, the perceived value of EVs is increasing among consumers. The total cost of ownership (TCO) is becoming more favorable, especially when considering lower operational costs compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.

Industry Day 2024 - Whats it Going to Take to Drive EV Adoption in the Heartland of America - Tyson Jominy (VP of Data & Analytics, JD Power), Terry Kidd (General Manager and Owner, Chatsworth Ford), and Mark Dipko (Head of EV Product Marketing & Strategy, Ford)

Terry Kidd highlighted the importance of addressing consumer concerns such as range anxiety, charging infrastructure, and total cost of ownership at the dealership level. He shared his personal experience with home charging and its conveniences, which he uses as a selling point to reassure potential EV buyers.


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Tyson Jominy discussed the concept of total cost of ownership and its importance in consumer decision-making. Despite the potential savings on fuel and maintenance, there is a significant need for better consumer education on the financial benefits of owning an EV, particularly at the dealership and through OEM marketing.


The panel also touched on the role of incentives and federal support in making EVs more accessible and appealing. They discussed how current incentives are more beneficial for leasing rather than buying, which might affect consumer choices towards EV adoption.

Wwhile Middle America presents a ripe market for EVs, bridging the gap between perceptions and reality, coupled with addressing economic and educational barriers, is essential for increasing EV penetration in this region. The panelists agreed that a collaborative effort between automakers, dealers, and policymakers is necessary to improve the infrastructure, reduce prices, and improve the overall value proposition of EVs to meet the needs and expectations of consumers in Middle America.


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AUTHOR: 

RANDI BENTIA

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