Navigating the EV revolution: What car dealers need to know

May 28, 2024

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain momentum, traditional car dealerships are facing unprecedented opportunities and revamping the way they operate. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the heart of the EV revolution, exploring its impact on consumer preferences, dealership operations, and sales strategies.

How are automotive consumer preferences shifting in the EV revolution?

Consumers are becoming increasingly drawn to the allure of electric vehicles. Concerns about the environment, coupled with a desire for cost-effective and sustainable transportation, are driving this shift. Understanding the motivations driving consumers towards EVs, as well as the reservations holding them back, is essential for car dealerships looking to navigate the electrification revolution.

What are the reasons why automotive consumers are interested in EVs?

  • Environmental consciousness: Concerns about climate change and air pollution are prompting many consumers to seek out greener transportation options. EVs, with their zero tailpipe emissions, are seen as a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.
  • Cost savings: EVs offer lower operating costs compared to gasoline-powered cars, thanks to reduced fuel expenses and fewer maintenance requirements. Over time, the total cost of ownership for an EV can potentially be lower, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.
  • Technological innovation: EVs represent the cutting edge of automotive technology, boasting features such as regenerative braking, instant torque, and advanced driver-assistance systems. Many consumers are drawn to the futuristic appeal and performance benefits.
  • Government incentives: Incentives such as tax credits, rebates, and access to HOV lanes are making EVs more financially appealing for consumers. These incentives not only reduce the upfront cost of purchasing an EV but also contribute to ongoing cost savings.
  • Adapting to the future of mobility: Many governments and OEMs have announced their plans to go net zero in the near future, prompting many consumers to explore greener options for their next vehicle.

Alternatively, many consumers have been hesitant about the switch to EVs. Dealers should know about these consumer hesitations to ensure they can address them and understand how to accurately meet their needs.

What are the reasons that consumers are hesitant to purchase EVs?

  • Range anxiety: One of the primary concerns surrounding EV adoption is range anxiety—the fear of running out of battery charge before reaching a destination. Despite advances in battery technology and the proliferation of charging infrastructure, some consumers remain apprehensive about the limited driving range of EVs compared to gasoline cars.
  • Charging infrastructure: The availability and accessibility of charging stations continue to be a barrier for many consumers considering EV ownership. While the charging network is expanding rapidly, gaps in infrastructure coverage remain, particularly in rural and less densely populated areas.
  • Upfront cost: Although EVs offer longer-term cost savings and come with government incentives, their initial purchase price is often higher than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. This upfront cost barrier can deter budget-conscious consumers.
  • Limited model options: While the variety of EV models is growing, the market still lacks the diversity seen in traditional vehicle segments. Some consumers may hesitate to switch to an EV due to a perceived lack of options in terms of body styles, sizes, and features.
  • Elevated repair costs: Another factor is the perception that they cost more to repair. The specialized components and advanced technology found in EVs may require specialized training and equipment, leading to higher repair costs in some cases. Dealers face an important duty to inform customers about their warranty and protection options.

Navigating the complex landscape of consumer preferences surrounding EVs requires a nuanced understanding of both the motivations driving adoption and the obstacles standing in the way. By addressing these factors proactively, car dealerships can better position themselves to meet the evolving needs of their clientele and capitalize on the opportunities presented by the electrification revolution.

How are EVs changing dealership operations?

With the rise of EVs, dealership operations are also undergoing a transformation, including:

  • Investing in staff training: To ensure proficiency in EV technology and to address consumer questions, hesitations, and assumptions, dealership staff should perform regular training to keep up with rapid industry changes.
  • Inventory management strategies: Dealers may also need to refresh their inventory strategies to accommodate the unique characteristics of EVs, such as longer lead times and charging infrastructure requirements.
  • F&I products and processes: Updates are also required in the business office as EV consumers will have different financial protection needs. Dealers need to be partnered with an F&I provider who is on top of launching new EV F&I products to satisfy these needs.
How must dealers adapt their sales strategies with EVs?

Selling EVs requires a nuanced approach that differs from traditional vehicle sales tactics. The main differences for selling EVs are:

  • Prioritizing consumer education: Education is key when selling EVs given they’re newer and for many consumers, it will be their first time purchasing one.
  • Benefits and disadvantages: Consumers must be informed about the benefits of EV ownership and potential drawbacks – depending on their lifestyle. Dealers should ask specific questions to inform customers whether an EV is the optimal solution for them.
  • Test drives: While dealers have always offered test drives for ICE vehicles, they should be prepared to have many consumers wanting to test drive an EV to experience the vehicle’s performance and feel on the road. Consumers will likely also want to experience the charging infrastructure for themselves.
  • Being knowledgeable on current incentives: A draw for consumers for EVs is that many governments offer financial incentives. Dealers should stay on top of the incentives that their local government is offering, so they can inform customers.
  • Diversifying product offerings: As EVs continue to develop and become more popular among consumers, dealers should consider offering a wide range of EV options, from practical city cars to high-performance models, which can appeal to a broader customer base.
  • Digitization: Innovative dealerships are also exploring alternative sales models, such as online platforms and subscription services, to meet the evolving needs of modern consumers.
Stay ahead of the competition. Join forces with an innovative F&I provider.

The future of car dealerships is electric, and those who embrace the EV revolution stand to thrive in this rapidly evolving landscape. By understanding and adapting to shifts in consumer preferences, making necessary changes to dealership operations, and adopting innovative sales strategies, dealerships can position themselves for success in the age of electric vehicles.

LGM was one of the first F&I providers to launch EV warranty solutions in Canada. We embrace innovation and support our dealer partners in keeping pace with the evolving industry. Interested in exploring LGM’s F&I solutions for EVs? Reach out to