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With customers across the region increasingly receptive to electrified mobility, Nissan looks to make further inroads to drive the move towards electrification.

11 Feb 2021

Hosted virtually on 4 Feb 2021, this year's Nissan Futures event brought together industry leaders, government officials, media and Nissan executives to discuss the opportunity for carbon-neutral mobility in ASEAN.

Framed around the theme of 'Electrifying 250 million cars. An impossible dream?', the discussion was centred around the "The Future of Electrified Vehicles in Southeast Asia" study conducted by Frost & Sullivan.

Changing perceptions

A survey of car owners across six ASEAN countries revealed an increased receptivity towards electrified vehicles
The study looked at consumer perceptions towards electrified mobility, with 3,000 car owners polled, equally distributed across six countries in ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The study found that 64% of respondents across ASEAN say they are more willing to consider an electrified vehicle than they were five years ago. 37% of the surveyed car drivers state they would certainly consider an electrified vehicle as their next car purchase within the next three years.

This points to a growing enthusiasm when it comes to the adoption of electrified vehicles. With a fast growing middle class in ASEAN and an increasing demand for personal mobility, coupled with an increasing awareness on the stress on growing megacities, electrified mobility is increasingly becoming a more sustainable choice for car buyers.

More e-POWER models are set to be introduced to more ASEAN markets 
Understandably, barriers of entry towards the adoption of these greener mobility solutions still persist. However, the perception of the respondents towards barriers to purchase electrified vehicles has significantly improved as compared to three years ago, demonstrating an increased enthusiasm for electrified vehicles across the region.

To this end, Nissan is continuing to invest in new electrified products. Thailand is the first country outside Japan to produce e-POWER, Nissan's unique technology. Moving forward, Thailand has committed to making 30% of automobile production to be electrified vehicles by 2030.

More e-POWER models are also set to be introduced to more Southeast Asian markets. Nissan currently already has introduced electrified vehicles to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong. In the coming months, the new Note e-POWER will also be launched in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Moving markets

The perceived benefits of the e-POWER powertrain by Singaporeans include fast and smooth acceleration
However, a deeper dive into the study brings out some interesting insights about the different ASEAN markets.

While there have been positive developments across the board as far as lowering barriers to adoption and increasing customer awareness and acceptance of electrification technology, it appears that Singapore in particular is much more resistant to change compared to the other five countries.

When it comes to the intention to purchase an electrified vehicle, Singapore ranked second last in responding 'Certainly', and joint first in responding 'Not at all'. Singapore also ranked last when it comes to the perceptions of environmental impact on purchase decision, and had the highest percentage of respondents that perceived electrified vehicle maintenance costs to be the same as a conventional car.

While enthusiasm in Singapore has grown since 2018, it is notably less than in other ASEAN markets
What does this say about the Singapore market? It appears that Singapore is notably slower to react to new mobility solutions, with customers here having a lower propensity for change.

Part of this can be attributed to a deeply entrenched car market, combined with the high cost of cars here that make buyers especially price sensitive.

However, it's also interesting to consider Singapore's developed, cosmopolitan society in contrast to the other countries who are developing markets. There, it appears that the impact of electrified vehicles, both in delivering practical mobility solutions as well as also reducing the environmental impact of cars, becomes much more significant.

Environmental awareness has been a key factor driving electric mobility adoption in the region, but much less so in Singapore
In fact, when polled on the key factors driving adoption of electric mobility, Singapore is the only country in which 'Environmental Awareness' wasn't a top-four factor. In countries where pollution is more obvious and has a more significant daily impact on people's lives, the need to adopt greener mobility solutions become much more pressing.

The study shows a growing group of consumers driven by strong environmental awareness and climate change concerns. They view electrified vehicle use as a way to do their bit for the environment. This care for the environment was found to be most important to consumers in the Philippines and Thailand.

Capturing emotions

Continued technological development will bring increasingly advanced and connected mobility solutions
Changing people's minds and capturing their hearts is no easy task, of course. One interesting takeaway from the study, as discussed during the virtual event, is the importance of emotional appeal.

While there are of course rational and practical considerations when it comes to electrified mobility, the study highlights that the choice of going electric is an increasingly emotional one. An electrified vehicle isn't just a cleaner, greener solution, it also has to deliver emotionality and fun in its own distinct way. 

Consumers are increasingly exposed to and educated about new electrified mobility technologies and solutions, whether its Nissan's e-POWER technology or other new innovations afforded by electrified cars. With more and more carmakers developing new electromobility solutions, the technology will no doubt be developed to a point where it's readily accessible and available to consumers. Even the constraints of charging infrastructure will be resolved in a matter of time - many countries have committed to building up charging infrastructure across big cities.

As we move into an increasingly electrified future, emotional design and human-centric solutions will determine our approach towards electrified vehicles
In a future defined by enhanced vehicle electrification, connectivity and autonomy, the question of what the future looks like becomes less a case of technological anxiety, but more a matter of ensuring that people can develop an emotional connection with these technologies. And with the strategy outlined by Nissan Next, it's clear that the future isn't just what we see, but also how we see it. 

In this respect, carmakers remain tasked to do the same things they've always been doing - to create engaging and captivating designs, develop human-centric and practical solutions, and to continue to meet the simple demands of personal mobility with bold solutions.

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