US dealers can’t sell EVs if they don’t charge cars for test drives


As Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk continues his legal crusade to get more states to allow direct automaker-to-consumer sales, he may have found an Exhibit A supporting document. It comes in the form of a Sierra Club survey on how well traditional dealers sell electric vehicles.

Some of the particular results were stunning. At one in seven dealerships, the electric vehicles on site were not sufficiently charged for a test drive. There was also a one-in-three chance that the dealer didn’t bring up either federal or state tax rebates, which many plug-in vehicle buyers could qualify for. Half of the dealers didn’t provide instruction on how to properly recharge an EV. For dealerships that actually had real, physical EVs on their lots, California dealers had an average of six, while the average in other states was three.

In short, the Sierra Club recommended that dealerships needed to brush up on their EV knowledge, keep more EVs in stock, and do a better job showing prospective buyers both how to recharge EVs and how to generate tax rebates from them. In other words, try to actually sell EVs. You can find the Sierra Club’s 14-page report here.



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