By Brian Cox
In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 71 percent of consumers expressed at least some degree of interest in buying or leasing an electric vehicle. While that percentage may drop as gas prices drop, that is still a significant portion of your customers who are considering making the switch to electric.
But the decision to purchase an EV is not an easy one to make and requires a significant amount of research on the part of the consumer. What are the different types of EVs? What is their mileage range? What is the best method of charging? What is the battery life? What other costs are involved in owning an EV?
If your dealership is selling EVs, either new or used, you have an opportunity to play the role of educator and trusted advisor in an EV car buyer’s journey. Listing specs on a vehicle display page (VDP) isn’t enough because most car buyers don’t know what those specs on an EV mean.
The best solution is to create a live, walkaround inventory video for every EV on your lot. A video that combines educational information while showcasing vehicle features is a great learning tool for your sales team as well as car shoppers who visit your website.
Specific EV features to focus on include:
EV type. Is the vehicle a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), or a fuel cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)? Don’t just say the type, explain what that means in terms of the potential pros and cons of that type versus another type.
Mileage range. EV ranges vary significantly and are a concern for most car shoppers. Some vehicles have a 100-mile range while others can travel over 400 miles without a charge. This is an area where educational opportunities exist.
For example, a car buyer might assume the longer the range, the better; but it really depends on how they intend to use the car. If someone plans to use the EV to commute to work 20 miles away, they don’t need to spend more for a longer-range vehicle—especially if there is another gas-fueled car in the household.
However, if a person plans to use their vehicle for longer road trips, a PHEV might be the best choice. PHEVs have long mileage ranges because they operate almost exclusively on electricity until the battery is nearly dead. At that point, the vehicle switches to the combustion engine for power, and the battery is re-charged by the engine.
Additionally, make sure to mention any other factors that affect a vehicle’s mileage range, such as extreme changes in temperature.
Battery life: Have your service department inspect the vehicle’s battery and provide a detailed report on the remaining battery life. If you have replaced the battery on a used EV, make sure to promote that, as consumers are willing to pay more for a vehicle with a new battery.
Charging capacity. Not all electric cars charge at the same rate, so let car shoppers know how many hours it takes to charge that specific vehicle using a typical 120V wall outlet. Also, give charging times using Level 2 and Level 3 chargers.
Safety features. Does the vehicle have blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, collision, and lane-departure warning, or a 360-degree camera system? Make sure to show and explain the benefits of these features.
Purchase incentives. Are there any current federal or state tax incentives to purchase an EV? Be sure to mention them in every inventory video, as 53 percent of people surveyed by Consumer Reports said that tax rebates and discounts would encourage them to switch.
As more consumers switch to EVs, your dealership has the opportunity to provide educational and informative inventory videos that will make your customers’ car shopping journeys easier and will help to build customer trust in your brand.