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What’s Driving the Gender Gap in EVs?

Edmunds study reveals major differences in how men and women approach EV car purchases

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  • Despite increased overall EV sales and popularity, EV purchases skew male in 2023.
  • An EV sentiment survey conducted by Edmunds reveals some potential reasons why this gender gap exists.
  • Automakers and dealers have an opportunity to refine their marketing strategies in order to better appeal to women.

U.S. auto sales data confirms there is a gender gap in electric vehicle purchases even as the segment grows in market share and popularity among consumers: In 2023 (through June), 67% of all EV buyers were men and 33% were women, compared to a buyer breakdown of 59% men and 41% women on average across the industry.1

Results from a 2023 EV sentiment survey conducted by Edmunds2 explore motivators across male and female respondents surrounding EV car shopping and suggest some of the reasons why this gap exists. Here’s what the numbers reveal.

Men are more likely to consider an EV purchase than women — but women are more likely to consider a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle

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71% of men said they would consider an EV as their next vehicle, while only 34% of women fell in the same camp.

Interestingly, although 31% of women said they are not interested in an EV purchase, nearly a quarter (24%) said they would consider a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle. Men indicated they were far less open (10%) to considering hybrids and plug-ins, and were instead embracing the fully electric.

Takeaway for automakers and dealers:

Women could represent a key target demographic for automakers that haven’t put all of their eggs in the fully electric basket and are looking for a stepping stone before committing.

Men are more enthusiastic about EVs than women


More than half (54%) of men surveyed indicated that they liked EVs, compared to just 22% of women. However, nearly a quarter (24%) of all women surveyed stated that they do not know enough about EVs to have an opinion.

Takeaway for automakers and dealers:

It’s dangerous territory for potential customers to be neutral or not have an opinion about EVs since car buying can be an emotion-driven process. Unique selling points and practical reasons for purchasing an EV need to be proactively communicated to the female buying audience so they can connect on a personal level with a potential EV purchase.

Women who consider an EV for their next purchase cite more pragmatic reasons for doing so than men


Among men who said they would consider an EV purchase, vehicle brand was the most important attribute, whereas women cited a more pragmatic attribute — vehicle range. Range was referred to frequently by women throughout the survey as a key consideration: Women who said they would consider purchasing an EV cited as the top reason that EVs now offer longer range between charges; gas prices being too high was cited as the second most popular reason.

Takeaway for automakers and dealers:

Differences in buying motivations across genders should be kept in mind, especially when a mixed-gender couple is buying a vehicle together. Brands can win women over by addressing range anxiety head-on and being clear about range expectations for their vehicles. For female buyers still concerned about range, suggesting a hybrid or plug-in purchase could be a welcome alternative.

Men and women EV intenders see themselves and their buying motivations differently


Individuals planning on making an EV purchase (EV intenders) think about themselves differently depending on their gender as well. Although both male and female EV intenders expressed interest in technology as a self-description (45% and 36%, respectively), nearly a third of men said that they like being the first to have something compared to just 13% of women. Women were two times more likely to say that they are trying to fight climate change.

Takeaway for automakers and dealers:

Technology is of interest to both genders so driving home messages based on in-car technology will likely be of interest to these intenders. Men may be more interested in aspirational marketing messages about being an early adopter, whereas women may be more open to messages on how the vehicle may be good for the planet via responsible sourcing and eco-friendly materials. Similar to how genders differ in their preferences for vehicle features, they also differ in what motivates them to buy, and buying messages can be tailored to speak to men and women through different marketing mediums.

Lower-cost EVs will have better luck at attracting female buyers


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According to Edmunds transaction data, EVs are selling near $60,000 on average, and women surveyed indicated that they’re waiting for a crop of less expensive options before committing to purchasing an EV. Over one-third of women cited wanting an EV for under $30K, which isn’t a realistic price range for the EVs in the market at this time. Men are more realistically aligned with the current market with their EV price expectations more evenly distributed across a variety of price ranges.

Takeaway for automakers and dealers:

While there aren’t a lot of EV options even under $40K at the present, automakers that have lower-cost options in the pipeline have another message to put in front of women who aren’t ready to absorb these high costs.

Edmunds says

EVs are transforming the auto industry, and with that change comes tremendous opportunity. As we push forward into this next frontier of transportation, it’s clear that women are taking a more pragmatic approach, which will be a problem for EV automakers prioritizing style over substance.

No survey is truly reflective or definitive of an entire population of individuals, but early findings indicate there are stark differences between men and women when it comes to EV car shopping — automakers as well as dealers who take these differences into consideration and fine-tune their strategies have a better chance of winning these audiences over early and keeping them as lifelong customers, which is always the ultimate goal.

1S&P Global Market Intelligence

2The 2023 EV sentiment survey was conducted by Edmunds among U.S. car shoppers April 22-23, 2023. Those who did not identify with a gender were removed from the results.