Auto dealers are not too popular with electric vehicle advocates (or with car buyers in general, for that matter). Most dealerships outside of EV hotspots like California make little or no effort to sell EVs, and many shoppers have reported that salespeople try to steer them to gas-burners. Several studies have found dealerships to be a bottleneck for EV sales.
However, before painting dealers as a bunch of gas-loving Luddites, let’s consider their side of the story. EVs are unfamiliar to most consumers, and it takes valuable time to explain them to shoppers. Most salespeople don’t have the needed product knowledge, and EV sales are such a small part of the market that there’s little incentive for them to learn.
Charging can be a confusing topic, but it’s invariably the first thing a potential EV buyer asks about, and most probably don’t get the answers they need at a dealership. As John Voelcker wrote in a recent issue of Charged, a pilot program in Oregon demonstrated that educating both salespeople and shoppers about charging boosts sales of EVs.
A startup called Chargeway has introduced several products and services to educate both shoppers and sales staff, including a set of standardized symbols for EV charging, kiosks to showcase EV charging options, and a charging education platform for dealers’ websites.
Above: A look at the services provided by Chargeway (YouTube: Chargeway)
Now Voelcker reports in Car and Driver that the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) will work with Chargeway to teach EV sales techniques to its member dealers, and to help them get up to speed on charging, available incentives for EV purchases, and other important topics.
Dealers won’t have the option of ignoring EVs for much longer. Every automaker in the US market will be offering at least one EV within the next few years, and their lineups of fossil-burners are expected to dwindle between now and 2035—the year that California, and possibly several other states, are expected to end the sale of new ICE vehicles.
“We looked at a number of different training tools and consumer apps,” NADA CEO Mike Stanton told Car and Driver. “[We] found Chargeway best answered the questions our dealers were asking about EV charging: how long it takes, how home charging works, what incentives are available, and even how temperature and speed affect an EV road trip.”