ACV facts & figures
There’s no question that the future of cars is electric. GM alone has promised a transition to 100% electric vehicles (EVs), poured $35 billion into EV research, and unveiled plans to install nearly 3,000 charging stations across the United States by 20251. As more car manufacturers introduce electric vehicle lines and invest heavily in EV technology, the writing on the wall becomes clearer.
To survive the changes and even grow with them, dealers need to begin adding EVs to their lots in record numbers. However, the transition to EVs goes beyond updating your service department offerings. Your sales department needs to be prepared to guide buyers through this major change.
In a recent survey from Consumer Reports, over one-third of respondents expressed interest in buying an electric car, while only 7% of car owners already have one2. Dealers can convert interest into sales by familiarizing themselves with the use of EVs and helping answer the many questions customers have before buying.
What Do Car Buyers Want to Know About EV Ownership?
Charging and Range
Most modern-day drivers are used to being able to travel as far as they like, so long as they can find a gas station to fill up at—which is rarely a problem in the US. This means an EV’s maximum range is a strange concept and a potential barrier for buyers. You’re likely to encounter drivers who are turned off by the idea of a limited range, even if it’s a distance they will almost never exceed in a day’s driving. This worry has been called range anxiety, and dealers should be prepared to answer a lot of questions about charging and range3.
First, dealers must be familiar with the types of charging available:
- Level 1 charging uses a 120-volt plug-in, just like most other home appliances, and grants approximately three miles of range per hour of charge.
- Level 2 charging uses a 240-volt plug-in, similar to a washing machine, and can give 12 to 30 miles of range per hour. Level 2 chargers can be installed in a user’s home easily, and they typically run about $2,000.
- DC fast charging is available at charging stations across the country and can charge most EVs to full in about an hour4.
If you encounter someone interested in buying an electric car who’s anxious about the vehicle’s range, ask them to count how many miles they drive a day and compare that to a typical EV’s range. If they’re worried about taking longer trips, introduce them to one of the many maps of public charging stations across the country5. In most cases, they can find a station along their route to make even 1,000-mile road trips feasible.
Because much of the technology used in EVs is new and unfamiliar, customers may believe that EVs need a lot of maintenance or have critical electrical components that are more likely to fail. However, the data shows that, with fewer moving parts and crucial mechanical components, EVs are less prone to breakdowns and failures than cars with an internal combustion engine6.
In fact, the main cost of maintenance from EVs comes from the tires, which wear out faster under the extra weight and increased torque. There’s no need for oil changes, and regenerative braking leads to better brake health.
Because the first reliable and notable EVs were smaller cars, many drivers might still think those are their only options. However, electric cars now come in all body types, from compact cars to luxury sedans and trucks. If a buyer is looking for a specific body type, they have a good chance of finding an appropriate EV.
It’s true that EVs tend to be significantly more expensive than their gasoline counterparts, and this is likely to remain true for the foreseeable future. Dealers may encounter customers who want an EV but expect them to be unaffordable. There are two ways to address this concern. First, dealers should emphasize the lower overall costs associated with EVs. With less necessary maintenance and higher fuel efficiency, EVs generally cost less on a yearly basis7.
Second, dealers should be prepared to help buyers navigate rebates, tax credits, and other savings programs offered on state and federal levels. For years, the federal government has offered a $7,500 tax credit for EVs, and many states offer additional savings on top of that. When those credits are factored in, electric cars begin to look a lot more enticing. Plug In America maintains a list of state and local incentives, and the Department of Energy keeps a list of all vehicles eligible for the federal tax credit8.
Prepare Your Dealership for the Future With ACV Auctions
Bringing more EVs onto your lot is the first step to generating interest among your customers. As more new cars become available, earlier models will start entering the used market, giving buyers a chance to try out new technology. Join ACV Auctions to start building your watch list and bidding on attractive used electric vehicles to ensure your business gets ahead of customer demand.
1. GM. Our Path to an All-Electric Future. GM.com. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.gm.com/electric-vehicles
2. Bartlett, J. (7 July 2022). More Americans Would Buy an Electric Vehicle, and Some Consumers Would Use Low-Carbon Fuels, Survey Shows. Consumer Reports. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.consumerreports.org/hybrids-evs/interest-in-electric-vehicles-and-low-carbon-fuels-survey-a8457332578/
3. Levin, T. (9 August 2022). The 4 most important things to consider before buying your first electric car, according to experts. Business Insider. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.businessinsider.com/buying-an-electric-car-experts-say-consider-charging-range-commute-2022-8
4. Clymo, R. (25 June 2022). EV charging explained: Here's all the different charger types. Tom’s Guide. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.tomsguide.com/reference/ev-charging-explained-heres-all-the-different-charger-types
5. Charging stations map. Charge Hub. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://chargehub.com/en/charging-stations-map.html
6. Mattia, D. (8 April 2022). Just How Reliable Are Electric Vehicles? Rate Genius. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.rategenius.com/most-reliable-electric-vehicles
7. Baldwin, R. (28 October 2022). EV vs. Gas: Which Cars Are Cheaper to Own? Car and Driver. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.caranddriver.com/shopping-advice/a32494027/ev-vs-gas-cheaper-to-own/
8. State & Federal Incentives. Plug In America. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://pluginamerica.org/why-go-plug-in/state-federal-incentives/
Jan 26, 2023