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The role of software in EVs: opportunities and challenges

The intricate dance between electric vehicles and software is crafting a new narrative in the retail automotive industry.

The spotlight in the auto industry has transitioned to an unlikely subject: software. Electric vehicles (EVs), previously dismissed as a niche, are fast becoming mainstream. Central to this transformation is software, acting as the lifeblood and cognitive center of these vehicles. But how does this digital wave affect dealerships and the consumer?

Powering Performance: Battery Management Systems

A surprisingly concerning McKinsey report flagged a possible 40% drop in aftermarket parts revenue for traditional Internal Combustion Engines due to electrification’s surge. This shift illuminates the urgent need for dealerships to deepen their understanding of EVs.

Central to this is the Battery Management System (BMS), ensuring optimal battery performance, range, and safety. Yet, the susceptibility of Lithium-Ion batteries to overheating is a concern. Dealers must therefore gear up to address safety concerns and the importance of regular battery maintenance checks.

Steering the Future: Autonomous Driving Features

The automobile dream of the 21st century, autonomous vehicles, is rapidly transitioning from the realm of fantasy to everyday reality because of software. OEMs like Tesla and Ford—with its top-rated Blue Cruise— are leading the charge, hoping to make self-driving features accessible to everyone.

As these technologies advance, occasional hiccups are inevitable. Recognizing this, dealers must proactively arm themselves with information to answer questions about safety, operational functionalities, and possible system upgrades.

The Infotainment Battleground: Google, Apple, and OEMs

Today’s vehicles offer more than just transportation; they promise an immersive experience. Partnerships like that of Google and Mercedes and Apple’s renewed focus on CarPlay are setting the stage for an intense showdown with Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) in-house systems. The Wall Street Journal aptly called it “a battle for the car’s soul.”

In this tech-dominated era, dealerships must excel at demonstrating and educating customers on these integrated technologies and options as they become available. Especially if it means bringing a car in for a software upgrade. A customer’s drive isn’t just about reaching a destination; it’s about the journey enriched with entertainment, information, and unparalleled connectivity.

Unlocking Potential 

Tesla’s flexible battery and performance upgrades are redefining the boundaries of vehicle ownership. Should other OEMs hop on this trend, dealerships will need to adapt swiftly. Letting customers know about potential software boosts could bolster the dealership’s bottom line.

Cybersecurity: Safeguarding the Smart Vehicle

As vehicles transition into intelligent, connected hubs, they become enticing targets for potential cyber-attacks. However, every challenge can be flipped into an opportunity.

Dealers can pivot by guaranteeing and promoting top-tier cybersecurity measures as a unique selling proposition. Add-ons like Elo GPS and LoJack could further enhance a vehicle’s security footprint, offering customers much-needed peace of mind.

Continuous Evolution: Over-the-Air Updates

The near future may witness cars that upgrade themselves without a pit stop at a service center. While OTA updates spell convenience for customers, they also disrupt traditional dealership service models.

The antidote? Dealerships can emphasize routine physical maintenance’s undying importance, from brake servicing to tire check-ups.

Navigating the Digital Drive

The intricate dance between EVs and software is crafting a new narrative in the automotive industry. Dealerships, at this pivotal juncture, can transform challenges into substantial opportunities.

By offering a tailored in-store experience, detailed insights on the total cost of ownership, and unmatched post-sales support, they can retain a competitive edge. Forward-thinking dealerships can pave the way in our electrifying and hyper-connected automotive marketplace by merging the best of both digital and traditional worlds.

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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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