A: What brings them to dealerships is the knowledge of the dealership, especially when it comes to complex repairs. If the customer thinks it will be something a little more complex, they will go back to the dealership. Now you add electric vehicles to that, where there’s a lot of technology, that’s new – and so buyers, I believe, think, ‘I have to give this back to someone who really understands it, who has been trained and who knows this system.” There’s also a safety factor, and we’ve had comments about it – “I want to make sure my car is safe.” So I think this is a fantastic opportunity for dealers because they can start [get customers] back, those people who have exhausted themselves over the past two years.
Are dealerships doing a good job of getting this message out to potential EV customers?
I believe they could do more. They should take advantage of the fact that buyers have the idea that dealerships can fix advanced vehicles, advanced technologies, like electric vehicles, like connected cars. I believe they can do more, but I also think we’re just at the very beginning and I think dealers are starting to ask themselves “What does this mean for me? What are the risks What opportunities do I have? I think more needs to be done, and that’s one of the reasons we’re doing this research — to present this information and talk to [dealerships] on this subject.
What should dealership service departments do now to prepare for electric vehicles?
They have to think about their workforce. Who do they train first to become EV certified technology? Do they separate their store operations and have an EV zone? My workforce, my training – how I plan and how I even market the benefits of coming in and having the service done at the store. I think that planning really needs to happen now, especially for brands that are bringing a lot of electric vehicles online. I don’t know how anyone could wait. If they wait, they’ll be surprised.