23rd July 2019
The stage is set for a genuine revolution in electric vehicles. Environmental sustainability and climate change have never been so high on the political agenda. In May, the UK Parliament declared a climate change emergency, heavily influenced by the Extinction Rebellion protests and raft of alarming news stories regarding the health risks of air pollution.
Electric vehicles are an obvious weapon in the fight against such pollution and broader climate change, offering a far cleaner way to drive. However, consumer scepticism is still high. According to a recent comprehensive study into UK consumers and their attitudes to pure electric vehicles, just one in four people would consider buying a fully electric car in the next five years.
There is, it seems, a disconnect – and it is a gap that savvy automotive dealerships should be looking to fill.
The main consumer concerns when it comes to electric vehicles are the upfront cost, the distance that they can travel between charges, and the practicalities of actually charging them. Clearly, dealerships alone cannot solve these problems. However, they can position themselves proactively as subject-matter experts, offering a clear and cost-effective approach to the maintenance of electric vehicles.
It could prove to be a sensible strategy. The combination of existing consumer scepticism – and massive political onus to increase take-up of electric vehicles – means that there is a major gap in the market to fill. It seems almost certain that, over the coming years, increased competition between electric car manufacturers, coupled with potential subsidies or incentives from a motivated government, will bring prices of new electric vehicles down. Similarly, the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is only going to improve as sales go up. Here, too, there is powerful political motivation to get the infrastructure right. And public concerns about the impact of air pollution on their children’s health – and that of the planet – is not going to go away.
These factors will only drive up the take-up of electric vehicles – and that’s three in every four people who could be convinced to make the switch – meaning lots of growth potential. Dealerships who can work now to be reliable and knowledge sources of information, maintenance and support of electric vehicles will be best positioned to benefit from this growth.
How to achieve this? Clearly there will be a brand positioning and marketing exercise for many dealerships to carry out, communicating to customers that they are well-placed to provide advice and support on electric vehicles. Indeed, this reassurance from an established dealership may be exactly what nervous drivers need to take the plunge and switch to electric, knowing that high-quality maintenance and aftersales services are available.
For dealerships without experience in looking after electric vehicles, an electric vehicle health check solution like autoVHC can be invaluable in developing a consistent and intelligent approach to maintenance. It guides staff members through each health check in a strategic and consistent way, generating transparency along the for drivers who are likely to still be getting to grips with the practicalities of running an electric vehicle.
For proactive automotive dealerships, now is the time to prepare for a truly electric future.Blog