Originally published on the Sierra Club website.
By Hieu Le
While consumer interest and demand for electric vehicles (EVs) have grown — last year EV sales increased by 81% — automakers and dealers are still dragging their feet on EVs and pushing people to buy gas guzzlers that harm our planet and our health.
Automakers and dealerships have been complaining for many years that no one wanted electric vehicles and that zero-emission standards should be relaxed. In 2016, we launched a campaign called “Rev Up Electric Vehicles” to encourage people to shop for EVs in the 10 states committed to zero-emission vehicle standards and to share their EV shopping experiences. Hundreds of Sierra Club volunteers flooded more than 300 car dealerships and stores and reported back to us.
The results from that multistate study helped expose that the auto industry was barely lifting a finger to provide dealerships with EV inventory, train salespeople about EVs, or market EVs effectively. In addition to finding that there were often no EVs on dealer lots, we found that only about half of salespeople explained how to fuel a plug-in vehicle, and just a third discussed available rebates and tax credits to lower the cost of EVs. Many EVs weren’t even charged and ready for a test drive!
This is unacceptable.
Transportation is the leading source of carbon pollution in the United States, and efforts to curtail the devastating effects of climate change rely on our ability to advocate for mass adoption of clean methods of transportation, such as EVs and public transit.
Now is the moment to accelerate the EV market.
This year, the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign is launching Rev Up Electric Vehicles 2.0 to target automakers and dealerships in all 50 states.
We know the auto industry talks a big game when it comes to sustainability, but they fail to make much of an effort to sell EVs, and meanwhile, they are lobbying hard to weaken federal and state clean car standards. They need to do a better job to walk the walk and start doing right by consumers.
We’re relying on volunteers to visit local car dealerships and stores and let us know how their EV shopping experience went. Whether you’re in the market for an EV, you’re just curious for the future, or you just want to help, your participation will go a long way. And it’s not a “secret shopper” effort. You can either share with the salespeople that you’re inquiring about EVs in partnership with Sierra Club – or not – up to you.
We’ll provide all of the tools, and your efforts will provide us with critical information that we’ll compile into a comprehensive report that will serve as an advocacy tool to put more pressure on automakers and dealers to do right by consumers.
Hieu Le is a campaign representative with Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.
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