A Blog by Cara Clairman, President and CEO of Plug’n Drive
Two years ago Plug’n Drive approached the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) with the idea of running an EV Dealership Awards program. Dealerships are crucial to the sale of electric vehicles; they’re the first place customers go for a test drive and the final place where papers are signed, keys are exchanged and the road of an electric car driver begins.
CEA immediately jumped on board and we set to work forming the criteria, assembling an expert panel of judges and letting Canada know nominations were open. The Awards are now in their second year and have spread across Canada from coast-to-coast.
But why are the EV Dealership Awards so important?
When we hit upon the idea, we had just completed an EV dealership study. 20 secret shoppers were trained and 24 EV certified dealerships were surveyed. We were looking for the availability of messaging (pamphlets, posters, etc.), the knowledge and enthusiasm of sales people and the sales approach and attitude among other factors.
What we discovered is that cars weren’t often available for test drives, promotional materials weren’t easy to find and sales people had limited knowledge about the incentives, environmental benefits, economic benefits and unique features of electric cars. And to be honest, it’s understandable. These cars are new and occupy a tiny niche in terms of the cars currently available for sale. Sales staff want to sell the cars they have, and often that doesn’t include electrics.
So instead of criticizing the dealers, we thought we should instead reward the great ones! The truth is that selling electric cars requires a different approach.. Electric cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save drivers thousands of dollars a year on fuel and contribute to a sustainable transportation and energy model. And that’s why the EV Dealership Awards are so important; they recognize those dealerships that understand why using electricity for fuel makes sense and there are keen to let the world know.
The 2015 winners all bring an innovative approach to the sale of electric cars.
- Motorize Auto Direct in Sidney, British Columbia: Motorize Auto Direct has established a donation program based on referrals that is helping to install public charging stations.
- Bourgeois Chevrolet in Rawdon, Québec: Bourgeois Chevrolet lets potential customers take an extended test drive of a few days.
- Green Rock E.V.S in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland: Green Rock E.V.S provided Dr. David Suzuki and the Blue Dot Tour Volunteers with six battery electric cars and six plug-in hybrid electric cars to create a PR buzz.
These winners show that electric cars don’t need to be the pink elephant on the sales floor. When consumers are armed with awareness and understanding, electric cars sell themselves. Congratulations to 2015’s winners! They’re helping to make an all-electric future come true.
We’ll see you in 2016!