Is the EV revolution at risk? Supply chain delays risk halting EV uptake
The demand for Electric Vehicles is on the rise and in challenging times manufacturers who provide a high-level customer experience have the opportunity to gain significant competitive advantage.
In 2021, EVs had a 7.5% market share in the UK, but it has since almost doubled to 14%, surpassing half a million sales by June 2022. And that share is expected to rise rapidly as new models are rolled out and regulations on carbon emissions are tightened.
But, with supply chain disruptions and higher raw material prices, production capacities are under threat.
Multiple pain points for manufacturers
EV manufacturers are facing multiple pain points. A global shortage of semiconductors has forced production to slow, causing long delays, while nickel, lithium, and cobalt supply problems are pushing up EV prices.
Bottlenecks in supplies of raw materials are leaving some customers waiting up to 18 months for popular models. Meanwhile prices for battery materials are increasing as demand outstrips production – the cost of the metals required for lithium-ion batteries was up around 40% before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since then, it has risen another 13%.
VW, for example, had a sales target of 700,000 vehicles for 2022, but reported in May that they had sold out of battery models in the US and Europe for the rest of the year. And they’re not alone. Tesla’s Elon Musk has reportedly even considered buying a mining company in order to secure the raw materials the brand needs to produce more electric vehicles.
Ultimately, the move to EV vehicles will fail unless manufacturers can overcome these barriers. It has already been reported that the rise of battery raw material costs has delayed emissions-free vehicles becoming as cheap as petrol or diesel equivalents, by at least a decade.
Keeping customers onside
These issues are not only causing frustrations for manufacturers, but for customers too.
With long-lead times and increasing costs, manufacturers must ensure the customer journey is as seamless as possible, and that customers receive a consistently high level of service to keep frustrations to a minimum. If they feel supported, informed, and valued, they are less likely to abandon their purchase or feel negatively about delays.
The pain points EV manufacturers are experiencing can result in increased enquires from customers – manufacturers must be equipped to handle these contacts. Not only this, but consumers in the EV market have a different level of expectation. They expect a multi-channel, digital experience, and they expect to have their issues resolved with the initial contact.
When external factors result in potential frustrations for customers, companies taking control of the complete Customer Experience journey is the key way to prevent short and long term commercial and brand damage; providing clear differentiation in a highly completive market place, where the winners reap considerable rewards. In fact, 73% of consumers say one extraordinary brand experience to raise their CX expectations for all other organizations for the future. (COVID-19: the CX Index, Sitel Group, 2020)
A customer-centric business model is the only way to keep pace and capitalise on what is a huge opportunity to drive customer experience and ensure future growth and continued industry expansion.
Solving the short term challenge and enabling long term growth
Sitel are a leading provider of superior customer service solutions with a global portfolio including leading Electric Vehicle and automotive providers and we can ensure that you deliver a seamless customer journey, even in the face of manufacturing challenges and delays.
We can be used as an effective, efficient and scalable response to challenging peak periods of demand to a complete transformative Customer Experience partner. For more information contact Iain.Shipley@sitel.com
For an insight into how technology-driven trends and customer expectations are redefining the Customer Experience in the automotive industry, download the free Whitepaper “The Future of CX for the Automotive Industry“. You will learn how to:
- Reinvent the brand-customer relationship
- Put the breaks on customer frustrations
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- Leverage data to stay ahead of the competition
- Shift gears from being product-centric to customer-centric