Understanding the real Electric Vehicle owner user experience using a Mobile Diary Study

The transformational shift away from combustion engines to electric vehicles is well underway within the automotive industries. Now that the feasibility of the technology - and the market demand - has been validated by Elon Musk’s Tesla all the major car manufacturers are investing heavily into both hybrid and electrical vehicles. Every Volvo car shipped as of 2019 will now have an electric motor!

Although the market opportunity is immense and the momentum is now fully established, EVs are still in their infancy and – more acutely – the whole infrastructure relating to charging and charging networks is still in an embryonic state. This is leaving many consumers on the fence and the automotive brands still have a long way to go to convince car owners to make the shift from traditional petrol and diesel vehicles to EVs. 

As a result, understanding and - more importantly, improving the EV owner user experience is critical to automotive brands that want to cement their position as leaders in the EV space. 


The Challenge

Although the benefits are clear, and there’s a whole lot of kudos to owning an EV, what is it really like to own and use an electric vehicle in your every day life? Does it really do the mileage? Is it really more cost effective to run? How long does it really take to charge the batteries?

Our client wanted to get under the skin of a range of EV owner personas and really understand how EV owners experienced ownership in real-life and in real-time. Understanding everyday behaviour of EV owners was proving difficult for our client as to truly “go along for the ride” would be time consuming and very expensive. They tried in person ethnographies but found that they were only able to experience snippets of a week in the life of EV owners. Given the longitudinal demand of the research, they needed something that would keep them connected to the EV owners over a period of weeks instead of hours. 

Without a longitudinal, contextual and in-the-moment representation of EV owners’ everyday behaviours and needs, it was impossible to gain a genuine insight into drivers authentic needs, pain points and user experience.

The Goals


The objective of the study was to get a rich, every day understanding of the EV user experience and do this repetitively over a period of weeks. In particular the client was seeking to: 

  • Enrich their existing segmentations with video rich week in the life diary study footage. 

  • Understand the everyday behaviours, rituals and pain points of electric vehicle owners

  • Gain an insight into the motivations and influences that affect consumers decision to purchase and drive Electric Vehicles

  • Get a deeper understanding of the realities of electric vehicle ownership: the highs and the lows and probe these moments to find opportunities to both improve the vehicles but also the entire EV ownership experience. 


The Solution


Working with Indeemo, our client was able used a week-in-the-life diary study to task EV owners with documenting their entire experience with their cars in their everyday lives. 

By placing themselves in the pockets and on the dashboard of EV owners, Respondents used our intuitive Mobile Diary study to keep a daily diary of their EV ownership moments and experiences. 

At the start of the project, our client used video based tasking to get to know the respondents on a personal level, understand their motivations for purchasing EVs, explore their relationship with their EV and probe their feelings around having made the shift to EVs. 

Using scheduled and repetitive daily diary tasks, our client was able to experience how respondents interacted with their vehicles, charging facilities, smartphone charging apps and even other EV owners! It emerged that EV owners energetically discussed charging times, battery performance and journey planning. In-the-moment video capture gave a deeply authentic representation of their opinions and attitudes. 


Additionally, our client was able to probe respondents’ uploads using comments and push notifications and this enabled them to drill down into behaviours they had previously been unaware of. By being able to interact and converse with drivers in key EV moments over the course of the study, they were able to uncover new insights into EV ownership that they had previously been unaware of.  

Long trips, short trips, business or pleasure, the longitudinal Mobile Diary Study transported our client in to the vehicles, homes, garages and tribes of EV owners in a way that was previously impossible. 

If you’d like to see how Indeemo could assist your business in understanding the entire electric vehicle ownership experience, please use the form below to get in touch

Contact Us

Mobile Diary Studies are a quick, agile way to get a deeper understanding of your customers everyday lives and behaviours.

Projects can range from a few days to as long as a year.

After supporting hundreds of projects, we’re learned a thing or two about optimising research for mobile and can activate your Mobile Diary Study in as little as one working day.

If you’d like to chat through your project and hear some suggestions about how we might be able to support you, please submit your details here and we will get back to you ASAP.

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