SINGAPORE: Early adopters of electric vehicles may have been motivated by environmental concerns, but a leading Nissan executive says the next generation of EV consumers are driven by the experience – and so marketing to them must emphasise fun, not function.

Vincent Wijnen, the company’s VP of Marketing and Sales in Asia, told Campaign Asia that marketers in the automotive sector need to focus on how much fun EVs are to drive and that this message resonates particularly strongly in Asia.

“That is the marketing angle. At the end of the day, the EV market will grow, but in the immediate term, for people who are buying EVs, the main driver is the excitement of driving that car without losing the excitement of driving,” he said. “People who drive EV for the first time are always amazed by the experience.”

Speaking partly to promote Nissan’s new zero emission Leaf marque, he explained that “the next generation of owners want the driving experience, and they don’t want to compromise”.

The offer of zero emissions is no longer what predominantly drives consumers to buy EVs anymore, he added, although he made clear that new technology, as found in the Nissan Leaf, also delivers marketing advantages.

“The technology, even if it doesn’t have huge potential today in the market, allows you to differentiate from a marketing perspective,” he said.

“It allows us to showcase the technologies in a vehicle like the Leaf. Even if you only sell a few, the storytelling allows us to link it back to other vehicles we have, and that’s going to help us from a marketing perspective.”

Wijnen said there is huge potential for the EV market in Asia, not least because cities in the region are continuing to grow with all the accompanying problems of congestion and traffic jams.

While EVs like the Leaf won’t put an end to congestion, he conceded, their advanced technology – such as the Leaf’s one-pedal drive system – could help to reduce traffic accidents.

“If you think about congestion and accept the fact that there will still be traffic jams – it will not solve that – then manual shift driving, or even automatic, is very tiring,” he said.

“Your attention span drops, and that’s when most accidents happen, small or large. With this new technology, you don’t have to worry about it.”

Sourced from Campaign Asia; additional content by WARC staff