Should you install an EV charger on your forecourt?

Posted by Alex Knight on 02-Oct-2019 11:55:22
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If you’re serious about staking your claim in a motoring world which is fast becoming electrified, the answer is ‘yes’.

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Search for used electric vehicles (EVs) on Auto Trader* and almost 1,500 are available nationwide whilst there are more than 500 Nissan Leaf models, one of the earliest mass produced EVs first arriving in 2010, available through the manufacturer’s dealer network.

The Auto Trader listing includes a significant number of independents specialising in used EVs such as Ecarlogical in Portsmouth and JustEVs in Southampton.

As the EV infrastructure gathers pace and more EV models are launched, it makes sense for used car businesses to consider installing an EV charger on the forecourt. Staking a claim early in this growing market means such businesses will be best placed to maximise the potential of the used EV market when it gathers even faster pace.

New EV car sales have risen by over 60% this year although they still only account for 0.6% of the market and in July, EVs made up 1.1% of all new car registrations.

Inevitably, the demand for used EVs is increasing with prices growing by 11% compared to conventional vehicles which are experiencing a slowdown. Whilst higher prices stifle wider adoption, research from analysts at Deloitte suggests new EV prices will be on a par with internal combustion cars as early as 2021.

Dipping your business’ toes in EV waters now could well put you ahead of the curve.

The key to persuading consumers to opt for a used EV is education, in particular overcoming range anxiety. Having a charger on the forecourt allows car buyers to literally get to grips with recharging.

The recharging network is continually expanding. In fact, there are now more places to charge an EV in public than there are petrol stations. According to the latest figures from Energy Institute and Zap-Map the public charging network numbers 9.300 chargers compared to 8,400 petrol stations. Zap-Map recorded two new rapid charge devices coming online every day in July reflecting the recharging network’s extensive growth.

Used car forecourts which include EVs in their portfolio will attract EV drivers if they host a charger as well as being able to demonstrate how to use them to would-be buyers.

Used car EV retailers will need to be able to tell customers everything including what charge the vehicle can take, and the difference between various charging devices. Larger dealers should consider having a number of different chargers at their premises such as a 50kW DC rapid charger on the forecourt, slower AC through-the-day/night charging for the workshop and DC power for service cars. Dealers should also consider that as batteries become larger providing increased driving ranges, they will take longer to charge so rapid chargers will become a must.

Rapid chargers can add 30 miles of range in just 10 minutes compared to ‘streetlight’ chargers which are typically 3.6kW and add two miles of range in 10 minutes and 7kW chargers, the likes of which are being rolled out at Tesco supermarkets, adds just over four miles every 10 minutes. The next level of high-power chargers can add up to 220 miles of range in 10 minutes.

Consumers need to have confidence when buying a used EV and a knowledgeable sales team needs the back-up of a workshop with technicians with the skills to meet EV servicing and repair requirements. It includes meeting legal obligations when employees work with electrified vehicles under the Electricity at Work Regulations. The Institute of the Motor Industry has created its electrified vehicle qualification and wants to see a publically accessible professional licensing scheme or register in place.

The infrastructure is developing at an incredible rate, consumer confidence in EVs is gaining rapidly and manufacturers are launching more EVs. Don’t be left behind, but make sure your business is in the best place to capitalise by providing the right training and installing chargers.

*National search for used electric vehicles 1,490 identified 24.09.2019

Topics: technology, dealerships, buying, automotive, consumers, connected car, dealer, car sales, retail, Electric Vehicles, EV, new car

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