Dealerships could fail to meet the increasing demand for EV test drives as the number of available zero emission demonstrators continue to exceed forecourt charging points.
A survey by automotive consultancy MotorVise found that some dealerships had 12 EV demonstrators vying for two charging points – while just 13.5% of salespeople possess a home charger despite 56% having an electric company car.
It warns that this widespread disparity could curb the availability of test drives for potential customers, further reinforcing the scepticism that already surrounds the technology.
Instead MotorVise is calling upon dealerships to fund home chargers for its salespeople, allowing them to power up demonstrator vehicles overnight.
This ensures the cars are returned to the dealership with the maximum possible range, having taken advantage of overnight tariffs from as little as 7.5p per KWH. Even after salespeople have reclaimed the cost, a dealership can still save up to five times the amount compared with charging the demonstrators during the day.
Fraser Brown, the founder and chief executive of MotorVise, points out this will also benefit the sales teams by giving them a real world insight into the practicalities of owning an electric vehicle and home charging, an understanding that can be passed on to customers.
He said: “Our survey reveals that by the end of this year there will simply be too many EV demonstrators to charge at dealerships, even after major power supply upgrades, and this will impact on availability of test drives.
The survey by MotorVise, which has launched its bespoke ‘Enhancing EV Mix Programme’, a training system designed to boost the EV retail sales mix to 20% and beyond, involved 75 salespeople across 60 UK dealerships.
It found that out of those 60 dealerships, 60% had more EV demonstrator vehicles than charging points – one having 20 EVs compared with just 8 charging points, while four had 12 demonstrators and just two charging points. Only 29.3% had more charging points than EVs, while 10.6% had an equal number.
Fraser added: “Given the greater supply of EVs and an increasing number of motorists considering making the switch, it simply won’t be possible to charge all EV demonstrators on site. By the end of this year that pressure will undoubtedly have grown.
“The majority of sales teams have an EV knowledge shortfall, with any training usually delivered for specific products or vehicles.
“Our survey found 86.5% of salespeople don’t have a home charging point. By supplying one, dealerships can ensure demonstrators are fully charged using the cheapest overnight tariff while their sales teams receive a true ownership experience.
“It will provide them with a much better insight into EVs and home charging that can be passed onto the customer, greatly enhancing the sales process.”