In the US, a study found that the electric vehicle shopping experience at car dealers is quite poor and a problem for EV adoption.
Now, a new study finds a similar problem in Europe where “dismissive and deceptive car dealerships create barriers to electric vehicle adoption at the point of sale.”
That’s the actual title of the research paper published in the Nature Energy science magazine by researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark and the University of Sussex.
The study is based on “126 shopping experiences at 82 car dealerships across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.”
They wrote in the abstract:
As most consumers do not have pre-existing knowledge of electric vehicles (EVs), and current market conditions favour petrol and diesel vehicles, car dealership experiences may strongly influence EV purchasing decisions. Here, we show that car dealerships pose a significant barrier at the point of sale due to a perceived lack of business case viability in relation to petrol and diesel vehicles.
Their conclusion was quite negative for electric vehicle sales through car dealers:
We find that dealers were dismissive of EVs, misinformed shoppers on vehicle specifications, omitted EVs from the sales conversation and strongly oriented customers towards petrol and diesel vehicle options. Dealers’ technological orientation, willingness to sell and displayed knowledge of EVs were the main contributors to likely purchase intentions.
As you can imagine, the results weren’t as bad in some specific markets.
For example, Norway, and especially Oslo, where the EV adoption rate is hitting new records almost every month, has a much better EV buying experience, according to the study:
We have been saying that this is an issue for a while now and it really vindicates Tesla’s approach of selling its vehicles in company owned stores.
Now I want to emphasize that we are not talking about all other car dealers. Some are very educated and motivated to sell EVs, but in general, car dealers are just not well incentivized to sell electric cars.
Their main goal is to sell vehicles that they have on the lot and more often than not, those vehicles are gas-powered cars.
Furthermore, the advantages of one are the disadvantages of the other, which makes it hard for dealers who mainly have gas-powered cars to highlight the benefits of electric cars.
I want to see dealerships improve on that front, but I simply don’t see that happening until legacy automakers start to send significant volumes of electric cars to sell, which I think is going to happen in the next 5 years.