A new Sierra Club report finds that 66% of car dealers in the US simply don't have any electric vehicles (EVs) to sell. Added to this, 45% of dealers said they're unwilling to sell them, regardless.
If we really want people to buy EVs, manufacturers need to make them widely available, and that's finally starting to happen. However, it seems it's still not an easy task to get an electric car at many US dealerships.
Sierra Club's latest report is entitled “Rev Up Electric Vehicles: A Nationwide Study of the Electric Vehicle Shopping Experience.” For those unfamiliar, Sierra Club is an American environmental organization that advocates for EVs, so its agenda could have an impact on the information it shares. However, the data in this report was gathered from over 800 surveys of automotive dealers in all 50 US states, so it's safe to say these dealer opinions are definitely out there, which comes as no surprise.
The report did find one positive statistic based on the survey responses. Among the 66% of US auto dealerships that claimed they don't have any EVs to sell, 44% of them said they want to sell them if they can get access. If people are visiting these dealerships ready to buy an EV, and the dealer can't get them one, it's a loss for the business and perhaps the loss of a customer.
Dealers who say they can't get EVs blame supply chain issues, a lack of enough inventory, and the way in which the EV manufacturers choose to allocate the cars. We recently visited a local Hyundai dealer and were told that states on the west coast were getting the bulk of the hybrid and electric inventory, and it wouldn't be coming to Michigan in large numbers any time soon.
In order to get access to EVs, dealerships often need to commit to investing in charging stations and training for their service and sales staff. It can be a big financial commitment to invest in something that you still may not get access to for years to come, depending on the situation.
Sierra Club also reports that there are still 27 US states that don't permit direct sales. This means it's illegal for companies like Tesla and Rivian to sell their EVs in the state. Interestingly, the study also shows that 65% of the EVs sold in the US were sold in states that allow direct sales.
Finally, the report broke down the data by automotive brand. Sierra Club reached out to 18 different automaker ownership groups. It found that Mercedes-Benz was the brand with EVs most readily available. An impressive 90% of Mercedes dealers had an EV on hand and for sale. Meanwhile, only 15% of Toyota dealers and 11% of Honda dealers had an EV to sell.
There's a wealth of interesting information in the multi-page Sierra Club report. Check it all out by following the link below. Then head down to our popular comment section to share your takeaways.