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Opinion | Why EV chargers at dealerships are more than just virtue signaling

The decision to install EV chargers at dealerships isn’t about bowing to political pressure or simply jumping onto the green bandwagon.

Before we delve into this discussion, let’s clarify something: I’m no fan of electric vehicles (EVs). Yes, you heard it right. Given their destructive environmental impact during production and the lukewarm public reception they’d likely receive without government intervention, I’m not convinced these trendy RC Cars on steroids are our green savior. 

It almost feels like we’re witnessing a rerun of the diesel passenger car era, with its passionate but small market. However, we must acknowledge the current reality: EVs are here and growing in presence, if not in popularity. 

So, the question arises for auto dealers: Should you invest in EV charging stations at your dealerships, given these concerns and the somewhat uncertain future of EVs? I may surprise you here – my answer is an emphatic yes.

And no, this isn’t about endorsing the green narrative unconditionally but about upholding the essence of every successful dealership: customer service, adaptability, and something fundamentally American: offering value and conquering the market. 

The art of the deal, EV-style 

Dealerships are, first and foremost, customer-oriented businesses. You wouldn’t sell a product without offering after-sales service, so why should selling an EV be any different? Installing charging stations at your dealership is about providing customers with a comprehensive experience. 

It’s a way to show customers that you’re not just selling them a vehicle but are there to support them throughout their EV journey. Isn’t that what our capitalist market is all about?

An opportunity for market domination 

In the hyper-competitive world of auto sales, dealerships, and brands are perpetually vying for a competitive edge. Installing EV chargers is akin to seizing the high ground. It sends a powerful message to your potential customers that you’re not just selling the future—you’re facilitating it. That, right there, is a conquest strategy worth its weight in gold.

Cost vs. value: The fiscal reality 

And speaking of gold, let’s not sugarcoat it – EV chargers come with a price tag. But here’s the thing: It’s less an expense, more an investment. Think of it as planting a seed for a bumper harvest of customer loyalty and goodwill. This is not about pouring money into a black hole; it’s about aligning your dealership intelligently with the trajectory of the automotive industry.

Charge time: A blessing in disguise 

Let’s face it: EVs take their sweet time to charge, and any potential customer will tell you that’s a problem. But what at first glance may seem like a drawback could, in fact, be a golden opportunity.

As customers wait for their EVs to charge, you have a captive audience to engage with, impress, and potentially convert into loyal customers. It’s about leveraging an apparent drawback into an advantageous situation. 

What initially appears to be a challenge could very well turn into a unique selling point for your dealership. And hey, at worst, it’s good word of mouth and PR in today’s economy—especially if you offer free charging to your customers. 

Decision time: What will you do with what you know? 

The decision to install EV chargers at dealerships isn’t about bowing to political pressure or simply jumping onto the green bandwagon. It’s about prudently navigating the future, recognizing the shifts in the market, and, above all, honoring the time-tested dealership ethos of customer-centric service and innovation.

Investing in EV charging stations sends a clear message that your dealership is forward-thinking, adaptable, and fully committed to providing the best customer experience, whether you’re personally enthusiastic about EVs or not. It’s about turning what could be a potential stumbling block—the charging time of EVs—into a stepping stone for deepening customer relationships and strengthening brand loyalty.

While the rise of EVs may seem like a rerun of every other OEM great idea, with its passionate but relatively small market, it is, nonetheless, a pivotal part of our industry’s trajectory. Therefore, embracing the challenge and investing in EV charging infrastructure could be the strategic decision distinguishing your dealership in a crowded market.

Ultimately, it’s not about endorsing a future we might not have chosen; it’s about charging confidently forward, embracing change, and seizing the opportunity it presents. After all, adaptability, resilience, and a can-do spirit are the hallmark of American enterprise. 

So, let’s put our doubts aside, make that strategic choice, and demonstrate to our customers and the competition that we are prepared to lead in this electrifying new chapter of automotive history.

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Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He earned bachelor's degrees in Marketing and Television from the University of Texas in Austin and a Masters of Theology study from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas. His passion for automobiles lead him to become a creative director for automotive marketing ad agency. Most recently, he was the manager of interactive marketing for Mitsubishi Motors, NA.

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