Market share for electric vehicles in the U.S. hovers around 1 percent. It’s even lower in Canada. Clearly EVs haven’t taken off in North America – yet.
But over a half million people pre-ordered a Model 3, the delayed “mass-market” electric vehicle from Tesla. California, one of the world’s largest economies, is aiming for a zero-emissions future. Other nations, such as Britain and France, have said that they won’t allow fossil-fueled cars by 2040. With gas prices low, demand hasn’t been as strong as forecast, but as gas prices creep back up and regulations ramp up, EVs are a part of our automotive future. As cars gain autonomy in their driving functions that evolution will likely be coupled with an evolution of EVs.
Yet even when consumers want EVs, they face an additional challenge:
Getting information and experience with the product.
A recent mystery shopping study conducted by Ipsos RDA found that dealers have a lot to learn about EVs themselves, and that their lack of knowledge is making it harder to sell people on options and benefits of EVs. For instance, dealers are not explaining key features of EVs, or even suggesting test drives which are a key part of the sale process. Customers report having to ask for test drives directly in many cases. Less than half the dealerships had an EV on display and more than half had no signage, brochures or even logos displayed. It’s hard to move a product you don’t have in stock.
The lack of a consistent and positive experience for consumers shopping for an electric vehicle clearly points to the need for OEMs to provide better sales training specific to the nuances of EVs. Equally important, the dealers need availability of these vehicles to effectively position EVs with the U.S. automotive consumer.
March 28, 2018