With the pressing war in Ukraine and rising gas prices at the pump, people who before feigned indifference to personal transportation electrification are now wishing they had paid more attention. We early adopters in the all-electric car community have a real opportunity to introduce EVs to curious consumers.
What are some of the best ways available right now to create a whole new community of EV drivers? Here’s a sampling.
More Models Available than Ever
When people glaze over as I talk Tesla ad nauseum, I know it’s time to describe the numerous other auto manufacturers who have already unveiled EVs. The Volkswagen iD4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and Mustang Mach E are all models that offer lots of appeal to a new EV owner.
- Volkswagen ID4: Winner of the 2021 CleanTechnica Car of the Year award, the ID.4 is already a top seller in the US. It has a good range on a full charge, decent tech and fast-charging capability, over-the-air software updates, attractive design, and basically everything an average person wants in a car or SUV — including a reasonably low price.
- Hyundai Ioniq 5: The highly anticipated Ioniq 5 has reached the US market. With federal tax credit (if applicable), it could be your for just $33,425. The Ioniq 5 is built on Hyundai’s 800 volt E-GMP chassis, which means it can charge from 10% to 89% SOC in 18 minutes when hooked up to a DC fast charger. Its vehicle to load capability means its battery can power things like power tools, a small fridge, or exterior lights when asked.
- Kia EV6: The EV6 is a little bit more aerodynamic than the Ioniq 5, and so its EPA range ratings are a little higher — 232 miles vs 220 miles with the smaller battery and 310 vs 301 miles with the larger battery. The company’s strategy is to offer just enough space, performance, and high tech goodies while maintaining a focus on what US consumers say their first EV must have: maximum range.
- Mustang Mach E: The electric crossover is iconic yet fresh and focused on the new tech of the 21st century. Our own Zachary Shahan says “the Mustang Mach-E drives beautifully, has enough pump in its hump to throw you back in your seat, has enough storage space and passenger space to make any normal household happy, has a modern and pleasant touchscreen, and is stunning visually.”
Many other automakers have detailed plans to electrify large portions of their fleets over the next decade, with some announcing goals for fully electrified lineups within 5 years.
And it’s important to remember that automakers like Nissan have been making an affordable EV for a very long time — with so many used Nissan Leafs available right now, the low price tags make entry into the EV world easy and smooth. I know; my first EV was a used Nissan Leaf.
Auto Dealerships, Please Step Up Your EV Sales Game
You head into your local Ford dealership and ask about an F-150 Lightning, Ford’s all-electric truck. You’ll be mesmerized by the conversation about all the advantages of electrification and packed with connected technology. You’ll learn that the company boasts that the F-150 Lightning is a powerhouse that delivers a targeted 563 horsepower and 775 lb.-ft. of torque — the most torque of any F-150 ever. You’ll be helped to imagine an exhilarating drive, a high-tech frunk, and the ability to power your home if needed.
Right? That’s how all dealers approach their potential EV customers, right?
Unfortunately, no. As described recently on the reddit EV Forum, you can get all the fancy talk you want about an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle from a dealership, but ask about an electric car, and you’ll likely have a very different experience.
It’s not just Ford that avoid chatting about EVs with their customers. Experts and advocates have consistently found dealers and manufacturers have put very little effort into selling electric cars.
Car Sharing: Try Out an EV before You Buy One
In Albany and Troy, NY, a new car sharing service will soon feature EVs that users can rent by the hour or the day. The essentially touchless service will allow people to reserve a vehicle over a smartphone app and pick up a Bolt at one of the designated charging stations.
Car sharing is an efficient way to introduce EVs to curious consumers as EVs become more attractive. Not only do shared electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions, which benefits air quality, but they also increase zero-emission vehicle exposure, allowing more people to become familiar with this new technology, and can thus lead to increased EV market share.
Car sharing is a low risk/ high reward option for a new cadre of possible EV owners to test them out as EVs become less expensive, have increased electric range, and involve lower operating costs.
1-to-1 Conversations with EV Owners
Earth Day 2022 is just around the proverbial corner, and several organizations are building opportunities to introduce EVs to curious consumers at various Earth Day celebrations.
SCEV drivers are gathering at the American Muscle Car Museum in Melbourne, FL for on April 2 for their meetup, and they’re inviting anybody who’s interested in EVs to come on by. Owners of many different EVs makes and models will be there and are willing to answer your questions about their personal EVs. You can drive an EV or show off your ride, hang out, and ask questions.
The St. Lucie County, FL Earth Day Festival on April 23 at the Oxbox Eco-Center will have a similar opportunity to chat with EV owners and ask the questions that the newbies are hesitant to admit that they don’t know. (I’ll be there with my Tesla Model Y if you’re local.)
The Drive Electric Alabama Earth Day EVent (note: not a typo) will take place from 8 to noon at The Market at Pepper Place in Birmingham on April 16. The event organizers know that there’s plenty of information about EVs in the media and on the web, but talking directly to actual EV owners remains the best way to get questions answered. Dozens of Alabama EV owners will show off their vehicles and will be on hand to answer questions about their vehicles’ comfort, range, price, and more.
If you know of other EV exposure events taking place in April around Earth Day, please note them in the Comments section below. It’s a great opportunity to introduce EVs to curious consumers in a low stakes atmosphere.
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