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Despite most automakers now offering electric vehicles (EVs) and governments rolling out plans to mandate the sale of EVs, consumer research shows that car shopper interest in EVs is still strong, but it appears to be softening. If you’re a dealership looking to attract buyers and increase your EV sales, we recommend a shift in the focus of your efforts to educating customers about the advantages of EVs, while also addressing the perceived issues that may be turning them away from this segment.

Electric Vehicle Purchase Consideration

Once a very rare sight on Canadian roads, EVs have become common enough that no one really looks twice at them. Almost all Canadians have also seen a public charging station and realize that home charging stations are available. Those commonalities aside, many consumers can still have questions about the differences between hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and may have misconceptions or outdated information about battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). Dealers who aim to increase EV sales need to be proactive in educating their customers about electrified vehicles, by addressing the issues that lead some to turn away from them – either in person when customers come in, or by making the information immediately accessible on the dealership website.

Our survey found that of non-EV owners who demonstrate no inclinations to purchase electrified, 76% cited range limitations, while 68% flagged purchase cost as an issue, and 65% raised concerns with charging station availability. Range is an understandable concern, but many consumers rely on outdated information, from a time when EVs were much less efficient. In official ratings from Natural Resources Canada, almost all 2023 model-year EVs have a minimum rated range of 330 km, and several exceed the 400 or 500 km mark. For many drivers, this is more than suitable for everyday commuter use, especially if they are considering it as a second car alongside an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Dealers can work with prospective buyers to see if an EV’s range will work for what they need it do. Public charging infrastructure gaps can still be an issue, but speaking to the availability and benefits of home charging may in fact be the hook to land the business.

Reasons for Not Considering to Buy an EV
Reasons for Considering to buy an EV

Among those who would consider an EV, 84% said it was due to fuel cost savings and efficiency, 58% for environmental friendliness, and 50% cited an EV’s lower maintenance burden. Although the vehicle’s price is a concern for many, buyers may not be aware of available rebates, including the federal incentive. It’s also important to juxtapose the fuel and maintenance savings against an EV’s upfront cost.

Dealers should also consider emphasizing other benefits, such as long battery warranties, resale value, and in some jurisdictions, preferred parking or HOV lane use. The more your customers know about EVs, the better your chances of having them plug in – pun intended!

Tesla Vehicle Consideration

Key Takeaways

  • Educate consumers and prospective buyers on the different types of EVs available in the market
  • Ensure your customers understand their charging station options, including the availability and benefits of at-home charging
  • Outline cost, maintenance and environmental benefits when owning an EV
  • Share the latest range per charge, based on current market offerings

Source: Electric Vehicle Research, March 2023 (n=1,332)