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Be An ‘Early Mover’ in EVs

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According to a J.D. Power Customer Service Satisfaction survey released this month, customer service satisfaction among owners of BEVs is 42 points lower than for owners of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The two leading factors are recall rates for BEV parts and poor service advisor knowledge.

“As the electric vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience,” said Chris Sutton, Vice President of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “The industry has been hyper-focused on launches and now these customers are bringing their electric vehicles in for maintenance and repairs. As training programs for service advisors and technicians evolve, EV service quality and customer experience must address both the vehicle and the unique customer needs. The EV segment has the potential to spur massive convenience improvements in how customers service their vehicles—but we’re not seeing the benefits yet.”

While you can’t solve the recall issue, you can address the knowledge issue when it comes to EVs – not just in the service department but throughout your entire dealership. There is no doubt that EVs are coming. Savvy dealer owners who are ‘early movers’ and embrace these new vehicles will reap significant benefits. But there are some factors to consider when adding EVs to the lot.

The discussion in this month’s F&I Talk Outside the Box podcast focuses on the top three considerations dealers need to investigate when making the leap to not only stocking EVs, but the infrastructure required to support these new vehicles. EFG offers some great insights and I encourage you to listen. Here are some highlights.

Are you an EV power provider?

EVs require charging but there are more questions for dealers to consider than just what type and how many chargers are needed. Consult with your electric provider to clearly understand the options available to your dealership. Depending on the location of your dealership, you might want to consider becoming your own power provider by installing solar panels at your location or investing in a nearby renewable energy site. Power can become an income source as well, whether you opt to receive tax credits for returning power back to the grid using solar, or you invest in business opportunities to provide charging capacity with nearby housing, retail or real estate entities, or both. Understanding the best option for your power needs is much broader than simply the number chargers you need to install.

All things charging

Speaking of chargers, it’s important for your sales and service team to have a good working knowledge of home chargers and how charging will fit into the customer’s lifestyle. Is this the only EV the customer plans to purchase or are they likely to purchase another one – impacting the type of home charger needed. Do they plan to charge their vehicle primarily at home in the evening or do they have access to charging at work? Discussing charging needs with the consumer will go a long way towards strengthening customer satisfaction.

Tap your OEM

While your traditional OEM contact likely has some good information, dealer principals should engage with the OEM EV engineers about your specific infrastructure needs. Depending on your dealership location, temperature extremes can impact battery performance. These EV engineers will provide you with specific details that will improve floorplan operations as well as customer satisfaction.

OEM EV experts can also provide guidance on fleet maintenance. Talk with your OEM about what to expect related to the typical sales cycle timeline from ordering the vehicle to final delivery for an EV vs. a traditional ICE vehicle, and how does that impact the charging/maintenance. What are the OEM requirements regarding vehicle delivery to the customer. How does a full tank translate to a ‘fully charged’ unit? How frequently do you charge units on the lot? These questions will make a big difference in your dealership operations and vehicle performance.

At EFG, we recommend our clients become EV early adopters to take advantage of the growing EV market and the income opportunities that are available. This is a ‘first mover’ advantage. Formulate a plan for EVs at your dealership, including everything from how many charges are needed, to use rate and electricity rates, etc. Don’t wait and see – be on the forefront now.

Our proven team of advisors can assist you and your team with the training, tools, and resources needed to get the most out of your business strategy. We work alongside your team to create a business plan for successfully bringing EVs into your dealership.  At EFG Companies, we’re more than an F&I provider, we’re your business partner with years of expertise in the automotive industry. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help you achieve your winning strategy.