Shopping for EVs at car dealers can be a frustrating experience. If you know a lot about EVs, you’ll probably find that you know more about the car for sale than the people tasked with selling it to you do. If you don’t know much about EVs, you’ll find that perhaps nobody knows what’s going on. Not all dealers are like this (some are quite good at training and making sure their people are knowledgeable), but there are enough of them with issues that it’s common.
Manufacturers are starting to figure out that this situation is less than ideal. They’ve long worked with dealers to train and inform salespeople about cars for sale, but moving to electric is a much bigger change than selling a new model with a different kind of transmission or seat adjustment controls. There’s a lot more to learn, and with many buyers nothing can be taken for granted. So, they’re stepping up their education game with some dealers to cover this knowledge gap and make sure prospective EV drivers are ready for the road.
Fiat has announced its fourth Electric Event, which will take place from September 23rd to September 30th 2022 across its network of dealerships in the UK. The event is a retailer-led, nationally supported educational event at all Fiat retailers throughout the country. Its objective is to educate drivers about electric cars and demystify the terms linked with these vehicles, as well as encourage motorists to begin their transition to electric driving.
“The vast majority of people across the UK are yet to have driven an electric vehicle.” said Greg Taylor, Managing Director, Fiat and Abarth. “Fiat’s Electric Event not only offers motorists the opportunity to experience the award winning 500 electric but also learn more about how electric cars can fit seamlessly into daily life.”
Throughout the event, Fiat’s knowledgeable network of dealers will be on hand to answer questions about electric vehicle charging, such as how long it takes to charge an electric car and how much it costs to run. In addition, Fiat retailers will be accessible to discuss the distinctions and advantages of driving an electric vehicle while also giving drivers the opportunity to drive the New 500, which Fiat says is the brand’s first-ever all-electric vehicle.
(Yes, I know about the 500e, but let’s face it, that was a short-range compliance car, and I’m not going to fault Fiat for not acknowledging that in the press release I got this information from)
The Electric Event by Fiat is a great time for drivers interested in starting the process of electrification and who want to learn more about it.
Fiat’s New 500
Because it’s going to be the centerpiece of these educational events, Fiat shared some information about their latest EV, too.
The New Fiat 500 is the first entirely electric Fiat automobile produced by Fiat. Since its debut in the United Kingdom, the multi-award winning New 500 has made a splash thanks to its outstanding range, distinctive looks, and cutting-edge technology upgrades. It boasts a 42kWh battery that gives it a driving range of 199 miles despite its tiny stature and footprint.
The battery has quick charging capabilities, which allows it to recharge up to 80% in only 35 minutes. Meanwhile, the average commute range of 30 miles can be achieved with just a five minute charge.
The New 500 from Fiat also has superior in-class features such as Level 2 Autonomous Driving technologies, making city driving safer and more comfortable. And, before anybody says “but Tesla…,” notice that they said “in-class.” If you think a little Fiat 500 is in the same class as anything Tesla builds, you need to do some more reading.
If you live in the UK and want to attend one of these events, be sure to check out the Fiat Retailer website.
What’s Awesome About This
To check things out, I looked at the Retailer website Fiat shared in the press release. It was fairly easy to figure out how to find sales centers and workshops. In many ways, it makes sense to organize events that can draw in potential buyers without sales pressure. Many people are simply going to be curious and want to learn more about EVs, and they might not be someone who wants to buy today or even this year.
Offering events and workshops like this helps the EV adoption effort as a whole, and it can really be a public service to offer expertise and basic training without any expectation of getting money today. But, at the same time, building relationships with future customers is a great strategy to increase sales, so it makes sense even from a purely dollars and cents (or pounds and pennies) perspective.
But, Should EV Education Be Special in 2022?
I can’t answer this question definitively, but I can give a couple of perspectives that can help a dealer figure out when the answer becomes, “No.”
EV adoption is still pretty low in most countries. The Center for Sustainable energy says that US sales are only 3.4% of the market, and that even including hybrids, you’re still around 10%. For many people in countries that don’t start with Nor and end in -way, and US states that don’t start in Cali and end in -fornia, EVs can still be alien and intimidating to them. So, it makes sense to make EV education something special.
But, at the same time, there will come a point where a dealer’s EV Education Day is every day. When most vehicles going out the door are EVs, every sale is going to require some EV education, or at the very minimum, it’s going to require that the salesperson asks the customer whether they’d like to learn more before buying (because some customers will already know the ropes).
Truth is, there won’t come a day where a major change has to occur, where EV education is special on Friday and the norm on Monday. It’s going to be a gradual effort of growing toward normalcy as sales creep up.
Featured image provided by Fiat/Stellantis.
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