To state the really obvious, ready or not,
EVs are coming.
Maybe not at the pace some expect, and some brands will be much faster to produce vehicles than others, but make no mistake — they are set to transform the way we move around.
I took a partial step towards electric vehicle ownership, when I recently purchased a plug-in hybrid.
Until then, the idea of EVs as an alternative propulsion system was an interesting story on many levels, and one I covered regularly in the magazine, but I really wasn’t personally affected one way or the other.
But since I now own one of these, I have had to learn more about how to integrate it into my daily life.
I’ve had to download several apps that show me where chargers might be located. This, incidentally, is almost nowhere near where I live and shop, and I’m about an hour northeast of Toronto — Canada’s most populated city. The nearest charger I can find on the apps is about a 25 minute drive from my home.
I’m also on the hunt for an electrician who can help me navigate adding a home charger to my century home that was built in 1860 and has upgraded electrical systems, but I’m not sure what it will entail to get home charging sorted out. Thankfully, the Universus offices have two chargers installed, so when I’m at work I’m charging up. On most days, there’s at least one more vehicle charging there too.
But the reality with a plug-in hybrid, is that I’m using the gasoline engine 90 per cent of the time. So, I’m not really dealing with the full EV experience. It’s more of a fun experiment to top up that battery and lower my gasoline usage and costs.
If I were in a battery-electric vehicle, well, I’d feel like the world isn’t really quite ready for me, or I’m not quite ready for it.
Which brings me back to the question in the headline: Are you ready for EVs?
The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association recently brought to our attention a new white paper from WEIS, a consulting firm specializing in retail innovation, about things dealerships need to consider — for their facilities — as we move to an EV future.
The 14-page white paper, (which you can download for free at www.WEIS.ca) “Seven Key Dealership Facility Impacts of Electric Vehicles” presented dealers with some things they really need to start thinking about, including:
- Obtaining sufficient power;
- Managing electrical consumption;
- Managing the customer experience;
- Managing infrastructure for EVs;
- Managing risk;
- Adaption to business changes;
- Managing the unknown.
The report is really worth reading, as it also discusses the fact that some of these areas are likely to become part of new dealer standards imposed by OEMs, and dealers should really be anticipating many of these changes, ideally so they too have some input.
“With this monumental transition there is little open discussion around what a transition to EVs actually means for the retailer of today, or more importantly, how existing facilities transition into an EV-ready retail space of tomorrow. Dealership facility designs will need to evolve to accommodate necessary infrastructure, from electric charging stations to EV service bays,” write the report’s authors.
While dealers are waiting on the availability of EV products, and sorting out the training of their teams about EVs, they would be wise to spend some time considering the impact on their facilities and the consumer experience.
Selling an EV might be fairly easy, but dealers will be expected to the new gold standard for providing a great customer experience to an owner, and having an EV-friendly facility will be expected.