Electric vehicles have become a contentious topic in the automotive community as automakers, dealers and consumers share differing perspectives on the short and long term future of transportation. In an unexpected development, Texas has quickly become a hub not only for thousands of EV drivers but also for manufacturers such as Tesla, which operates a massive factory near the state’s capital. Although most buyers in the region are in no hurry to abandon their gas-powered cars, understanding why some Texans are making the switch to electric may help dealers learn how to drive demand in their own states.
John Luciano is the owner and president of Street Volkswagen in Amarillo, Texas. Throughout his retail automotive career, Luciano headed the Volkswagen National Dealer Association and became intimately familiar with the local car market and the pain points buyers in his community face at the dealership. On this episode of Inside Automotive, CBT News anchor Shyann Malone joins Luciano to gain more insight into how the electric vehicle segment is performing in his state.
1. While electric vehicles are undeniably becoming more popular in Texas, opinions remain divided. Many drivers are truly enjoying their new EVs, while others remain determined to never switch from petrol.
2. Electric vehicles are often more affordable than buyers think. Luciano has successfully driven sales by promoting leases and offering to install chargers in customer homes.
3. Education is key to selling electric vehicles, not only in Texas but across the country. Dealers and their staff must be well acquainted with the models they sell to help buyers find the right model for their needs.
4. Affordability is a key issue to wider electric vehicle adoption. Luciano believes that automakers are currently trying to replicate the success Tesla has found in the luxury market when they should be focused on making their models cost-efficient for consumers.
5. While limited ranges are an obstacle to boosting electric vehicle demand, Luciano notes that many of his customers avoid “range anxiety” by reserving their gas-powered models for long-distance driving and relying on EVs for work commutes and other short trips.
"I think we're just going to have to...get off this thought that it's just going to be all EV, all the time, all over the U.S. I just don't see it going that way." — John Luciano