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How Auto Dealers Can Prepare for the EV Uptick

2019 was a big year for electrification at the Geneva International Motor Show with dozens of all-electric vehicles and hybrid models creating quite the stir. Sadly, the 2020 Geneva Motor Show has been cancelled but many more EVs were set to debut there. Driven by forces like new EU regulations on carbon emissions, electric vehicles worldwide are certainly going to be mainstream soon… very soon.

Electric vehicles are on their way across the full spectrum of brands as well as vehicle segments, including several SUVs and a few pickups. In this electrified wave, how can dealerships be more prepared?EV

Develop Cost of Ownership Comparisons

Like any vehicle model, literature is available for specs and features. That’s nothing new, although the advanced tech found in most EVs is beyond the norm. Your average electric vehicle shopper will know almost everything there is to know about the vehicle when they walk through your doors from internet research, but you can provide information not found in brochures and not easily accessible with cost of ownership analyses.

Calculate the savings on fuel and maintenance an EV buyer will experience based on an average annual mileage. What’s often overlooked is the variable cost of electricity. Figure out what an EV buyer can expect to pay per month or year on electricity to charge their vehicle for a truer idea on cost of ownership. 

Related: The Rise of the EV: The Electric Vehicle Market is Growing Faster Than You Think

Add Fast Chargers

Publicly available charging infrastructure is still behind for most of the nation. Your dealership should be a resource for EV buyers, and that’s possible by installing several fast charging stations at your store. Whether you install them as a courtesy for your service customers and to charge vehicles for sale, or whether you add paid charging stations, making EV charging available at your store will encourage buyers to choose an EV.

Also, you can assure EV buyers by either recommending or referring an electrician who can install an at-home charger. It’s an opportunity to build value with your clientele and eliminate an objection to an EV purchase.

Invest in Service Training for All Staff

From lot attendants to service advisors to service technicians, everyone needs to be aware of how to operate an electric car. Service advisors and technicians must be knowledgeable on the maintenance requirements also. Manufacturers will offer ride-and-drive sessions that certain personnel will attend, but that’s mostly focused on sales staff.

Offer all your service staff the opportunity to experience driving an EV once it’s available at your store. Make online training mandatory for those who will work on the vehicles as well as those who interact with the customers. Certification may be required as a facility, and a number of in-dealership personnel may need to be certified also. Know the requirements from your manufacturer and achieve them well in advance.

EVBe Excited

EV technology isn’t going away, and in the next 15 years mobility is expected to grow faster than it did in the past 100 years. Changes are happening at breakneck speed. It’s an exciting time to be in the automotive retail industry.

Use that excitement to your advantage when talking with customers. EVs are as much an emotional purchase as cerebral, so point out aspects of the vehicle that get customers excited – immediate torque on acceleration, interactive infotainment, and responsive handling.

A good start for today is to check your OEM’s online training resources for EV courses. It will be crucial to know the ins and outs before speaking with a customer about electric cars.

Related: How Service Centers Can Prepare for Electric Vehicles


Did you enjoy this article from Jason Unrau? Read other articles from him here.

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Jason Unrau
Jason Unrau
Jason Unrau is an automotive specialist with more than 15 years of experience at the dealership level. Focusing mainly on fixed operations and the service industry, Jason’s expertise is in enhancing the customer experience and promoting a healthy, profitable service department.

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