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How Dealerships Are Embracing Electric Vehicles




Electric vehicles are here. More than 20 different models are available to drive off dealership lots today. Car and truck manufacturers are bringing dozens of EVs to the market in the next five years, as local dealerships get more and more excited about the EV revolution.


It wasn’t always so. Ten to 15 years ago, the EVs produced by automakers were largely built to satisfy not consumer interest but government mandates. Dealerships had a hard time finding customers for these cars because they had inadequate range, were difficult to recharge, did not perform well, and— most of all—were terribly expensive.


That’s no longer the case. Volkswagen recently launched its ID4 crossover—a terrific vehicle that retails for less than the average new-car price. Ford has launched its award-winning Mustang Mach E, which became Car and Driver’s first-ever EV of the Year. Plus, Ford already has nearly 200,000 orders for its new all-electric F-150 Lightning. Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Volvo and others have announced they will be 100% EV by mid-decade.


The investment and commitment that factories have made in battery electric technology is night and day compared with even five years ago, and it shows in the product. And when vehicles are as hot as these, dealerships line up to sell them.


But it’s better than that. More charging stations are now available to customers. Faster charging is coming online.


Owning an EV is a radically different proposition from a decade ago. Dealers who may have been initially reluctant have told the media they are “all in.” Case in point: Cadillac.


In 2020, Cadillac announced plans for an all-electric future for its vehicles. For dealerships, there was a catch: To buy into Cadillac’s vision, Cadillac dealers would be required to invest a minimum of $200,000 of their own capital for the in-house charging stations, tooling and training required by Cadillac.


More than 80% of Cadillac dealers signed up for the all-electric future. Those who didn’t were small stores, many in rural locations that sold fewer than 50 cars per year and simply couldn’t afford that level of investment.


Electric vehicles are here, with dozens of new models on the way. Local dealerships are investing heavily in charging stations, equipment and human capital to make sure they can sell and service these vehicles for their customers.


And the best way to meet the government’s goals for broad EV adoption is to leverage that highly experienced, time-tested network of 16,000 dealerships and their million-plus employees nationwide—not scrap it.


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