Consumer confidence in future vehicle technologies waning, J.D. Power says

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In addition to the financial challenges that electric vehicles and other advanced vehicle technologies face, consumers remain wary of these advancements.

Consumer sentiment about self-driving cars and EVs lags automaker plans to bring these technologies to market, J.D. Power’s 2020 Q1 Mobility Confidence Index Study shows.

The study, released Tuesday in collaboration with SurveyMonkey, found that for battery-electric vehicles, the consumer confidence index remains nearly neutral, at 55 on a 100-point scale in the U.S. for the fourth consecutive quarter, while decreasing to 57 from 59 in Canada.

Consumer confidence for self-driving vehicles decreased for the first time — to 35 from 36 — for American consumers and to 36 from 39 for Canadian consumers.

The quarterly iteration of the study was conducted in March before most stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect.

Whether consumer confidence will continue to waver in the next iteration of the survey is yet to be seen, but consumers are already exhibiting different behaviors related to shared mobility and other mobility advancements as a result of the pandemic. For example, Uber and Lyft have seen declines in traditional ride-hailing demand as consumers have concerns over cleanliness and health measures. On the other hand, autonomous delivery bots, which provide contactless service, could be a much-needed opportunity in the mobility realm amid the crisis.

Automakers are “pushing forward with technology that consumers seem to have little interest in. Nor are they making the strides needed to change people’s minds,” Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & human machine interface research at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “Especially now, automakers need to reevaluate where they’re spending money.”

Editor’s note: Automotive News Mobility Editor Leslie J. Allen and Staff Reporter Pete Bigelow participated in the survey but were not involved in the writing and editing of this story.

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Saurabh Shukla

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