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As we've discovered, some car dealers are less than enthusiastic
about the prospect of selling and servicing electric cars. Luckily, others are more game. Either way, what can you expect from your local electric car dealership when you take your shiny new EV in for a service?Training
You'd be hoping for highly trained technicians, and according to megadealer Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation Inc, that's what you'll get. He can't wait to start servicing EVs. "Fixing these vehicles will require special training and special tools, and dealerships excel at that".
Only the cream of the crop will have the tooling and trained staff to handle electric cars, so the ones that do offer EV servicing will provide your car with top quality servicing. Independents will eventually gain the skills required, but in the short term your main dealer will be the place to go, no different than if you'd bought a regular car with warranties and servicing deals.
Indeed, the people worried about how difficult hybrid vehicles would be to service are now eating their words. Despite the part-electric drivetrains, they're proving easy to work opn.
You shouldn't have any worries about the skills of the technicians working on your fully electric car either, despite the vast differences to the vehicles the technicians have worked on in the past. Robert Thibodeau of Bob Thibodeau Ford in Center Line, MI is pleased that manufacturers are emphasizing and providing all the training needed.
"A lot of the technician training is online... the training is huge". Somehow online training seems fitting for electric vehicles, rather than having to go to classes. Thibodeau also welcomes the ability to talk to hotlines whilst training.Sales
As well as intense training programs, sales staff are working on their EV knowledge. With companies such as Nissan and Chevrolet already selling electric vehicles, staff on the floor need to know their amps from their Volts...
Since many customers will be new to EVs, sales staff are also being prepared for the inevitable questions about range and range-anxiety
"We've got to be able to provide answers to customers who want an EV," says Jeff Cappo. Cappo owns 17 Nissan, Toyota and Honda stores in Michigan and Tennessee, so he's used to selling hybrids such as the Prius, Insight and Civic Hybrid, and now he's getting ready for the 2011 Nissan LEAF. Part of the preparation has involved ordering charging points for his dealerships.
This is something you can expect to see at many dealerships specializing in electric vehicles, and many Nissan dealers have already installed points ready for new LEAF customers. Cappo sees it as a feature that will draw in customers - and it's nice knowing that dealerships will be a place you know you can always find charging stations. The two drivers on their recent Nissan LEAF road trip
made use of their local dealer's charging station for a quick top-up.
With the increasing movement towards electric cars, it's reassuring to know that as a new customer, you'll be dealing with sales and service staff that know the cars inside-out, and your car is in hands as safe as you'd hope from a regular fossil-fuelled vehicle.
[Ward's Dealer Business