There is just no stopping the charge of electric vehicles (EVs) the world over with more and more battery-powered cars and two-wheelers hitting dealerships in several countries. Many national governments are rolling out subsidies with the view to achieve individual emission goals set out. And car makers know that to stay relevant, the product portfolio must increasingly include new-age cars. But one of the fundamental parts of the entire automotive ecosystem is the dealer network, yes, the guys also responsible for telling you the what, why, how and how much when out and about for a new set of wheels. Are they on board upon the electric bandwagon? Is the enthusiasm shared in equal measure? Are dealers willing to escort customers towards the EV section in their showroom, away from where the conventional cars are at? Not yet, not quite, not all.
(Also read: Why electric vehicles may soon cost the same as their fossil fuel counterparts)
Take the case of Volkswagen dealers in Germany. A recent study by Greenpeace found that many of them are not likely to recommend the ID.3 electric car to people walking in to their showrooms, less so if the customer isn't specifically looking for an EV. The ID.3 is Volkswagen's flagship electric car and the company is betting big on it to take on the might of Tesla. But why then are dealers not appearing willing to adapt and possibly prosper.
One of the factors behind many dealers not willing to recommend an EV is a general lack of awareness among them. The same Greenpeace report highlights that they often lack training or incentives, or both, to sell EVs.
Over in the US, it may be a similar tale for many dealerships. Local media here recently reported that many GM dealers, for instance, were unwilling to place the Hummer EV on display because of its large proportions and lack of infrastructure support - charging stations, among others, from the company. Market analysts say it is not in the best interest of dealerships to make more investments at their respective locations to support EVs, especially not without support from car makers who want to sell their new products.
Here in India, this isn't quite a problem quite yet because the number of EVs on offer in the passenger vehicle segment is microscopically minuscule anyway. But once more and more EVs are rolled out in times to come - and there are sure signs of it happening, the question is how willing would your next-door friendly dealership would be to show and sell you the battery-powered beauty?