Editor's Note: Our good friend and lifelong EV advocate L. David Roper put together this in-depth and well-researched analysis that shows how legacy automakers compare to Tesla. Check it out and then let us know what you think in the comment section below.
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Edmunds.com in 2019 gave the following numbers for the origins of profit for dealers of legacy car companies:
• 26% from new-car sales.
• 25% from used-car sales.
• 49.6% from service and parts sales.
The Sierra Club in 2019 did a survey of 909 auto dealers in all 50 states concerning selling electric cars (EVs):
• 74% are not selling EVs.
• 28% provided no information about charging EVs.
• 31% provided no information about state and federal incentives to buy EVs.
• 10% of display EVs were not sufficiently charged to be test driven.
• 66% of dealers that sold EVs did not display EVs prominently.
• The best EV shopping experience was Tesla with 4.5 out of 5 satisfaction score.
• The worst EV shopping experience was Chrysler with 2.9 out of 5 satisfaction score.
A Consumer Reports survey in 2019 gave the following numbers for future car-buyers’ interest:
• 63% have some interest in EVs
• 31% would consider an EV for the next purchase.
• 27% would consider an EV for an eventual purchase beyond the next purchase.
• 5% plan to buy or lease an EV for the next purchase.
There is a large disconnect between what car buyers want with regard to buying EVs and what legacy car dealers are doing. This is understandable considering the profit origins of those dealers since EVs require much less service and parts than do fossil-fueled cars.
Some legacy car companies are making huge efforts to join Tesla in the EV market, especially Volkswagen and, more recently, General Motors.
Is it possible for legacy car companies to revise their dealerships to be more like Tesla’s selling and servicing their EVs or will EV-only dealers need to be established? In order to effectively compete with Tesla the legacy car companies need to drastically revise how they sell and service their EVs:
• EV online ordering, without sales persons unless requested; including trade-ins and loans.
• EV delivery at a dealer, with no hassle to buy add-ons, or home delivery if requested.
• Regular downloads of software updates at each EV location.
• Mobile EV service.
• Plugin-charge-and-go on all major highways without using access cards.
• In large EV navigation screens showing availability of fast-charging locations, including how many available stalls and how long to charge to reach the next fast charger with sufficient state of charge.
• Make deals with Tesla to put CCS cables at Superchargers in exchange for putting Tesla cables at legacy-dealers’ fast chargers.
Of course, Tesla is not perfect:
• Needs service centers within 100 miles of all Tesla owners’ locations.
• Needs more most-needed parts at service centers and in mobile service vehicles.
• Needs more Superchargers strategically located; e.g., near all major highways into cities.
• Needs more Superchargers to fill gaps on major highways.
• Needs more destination chargers at hotels.
• Needs inexpensive Tesla adapters for CHAdeMO and CCS charging stations and an option to show those fast chargers on Tesla navigation screens.