EV walkarounds

The jury is still out about how long it will take for electric vehicles to capture the majority of car sales. But as electric vehicle adoption begins to grow, it’s becoming clear that the sales process looks a little different than trying to make the sale on an ICE vehicle. EV shoppers tend to be even more informed about features and specs, but buying a model that contains a new powertrain still needs some assurances before they pull the trigger.

Even for EVs, an in-person shopping experience is preferred, but it looks different. Here are five things that should be addressed in EV walkarounds for electric cars.

1. They’ve already been extensively researched

The average car shopper spends more than 12 hours researching vehicles prior to purchase. That number may be high for an ICE powertrain buyer, but EV shoppers spend more time online discovering features and benefits prior to contacting the seller. It’s safe to assume that these purchasers, although skewing more technical than the average shopper, are spending more time shopping because the tech is still new to them, and they’re trying to be thorough.

For EV walkarounds, the presenter should determine how much research the shopper has done to that point, then tailor their presentation so they aren’t perceived as wasting the customer’s time. In most cases, skimming over the standard details like speaker locations and infotainment is enough, giving time to focus on obstacles the shopper has.

Related: How can car dealers prepare to serve future EV customers?

2. Show users the ‘how’ not ‘what’

In the vehicle presentation, the car buyer is almost guaranteed to know the features their desired trim level contains. Rather than going through the list of options a vehicle has and pointing to them in the car, show technology by going step-by-step through how to use it. Mainly, safety and ADAS systems are notoriously underused, and it’s an opportunity for the salesperson to be memorable by showing them beneficial uses that others might skip.

3. Highlight storage

As industry professionals already know, storage looks very different in an EV. A frunk might become commonplace and familiar to a salesperson – an uninteresting detail – but for a shopper, it’s a curiosity they’ll want to see. Point out how much storage volume the vehicle has and why that’s important to the shopper, especially compared to their current vehicle. The EV is almost guaranteed to have more capacity.

4. Point out the safety

One concern that’s more prevalent in EV shoppers is, “Is it safe?” There have been news stories about Tesla crashes and Bolt EV fires for a few years now, and shoppers will want to know how infrequent and unlikely those issues are. Review the active safety systems, but also address battery safety and things that gas-engine drivers aren’t concerned about, like autonomous driving safety.

5. Address the albatross in the equation

Whether it’s mentioned by the consumer or not, charging infrastructure is almost always a question to some degree. Will they be able to charge their car, and will it be convenient? What are the costs to charge? Can they charge their EV at home?

Emphasize the ease of charging and the relatively short charging time for partial charges, and know the electricity rates and associated costs so you can calculate it for their vehicle. Acknowledge that infrastructure is still new, but it is multiplying, and point out charging apps that can help ease the customer’s mind. As well, it’s an excellent opportunity to upsell an at-home charger from your parts and accessories department.

Electric vehicles are still personal transportation, but they’re notably different from what most drivers are familiar with in the past. Utilize EV walkarounds so shoppers are left without any questions or objections to the sale.


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