Oregon mulls bonuses for salespeople who sell electric cars


Electric Avenue charging stations in Portland, Oregon [photo: Portland General Electric]

Electric Avenue charging stations in Portland, Oregon [photo: Portland General Electric]

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The Beaver State, otherwise known as Oregon, may implement an intriguing solution to spur higher sales of electric vehicles.

A new piece of legislation introduced in the state senate calls for a $1 million fund to provide $250 bonuses to salespeople each time they sell an electric vehicle, according to Charged.

The bill would, however, exempt outlets that sell only electric vehicles. (That is to say, Tesla Stores.)

DON'T MISS: Many Car Dealers Don't Want To Sell Electric Cars: Here's Why

For sales personnel at other dealerships, the proposed bonus could be welcome news.

The average car salesperson makes $100 to $150 per vehicle in the state of Oregon, according to Representative Phil Barnhart, the bill's sponsor.

Incentivizing salespeople with an extra $250 per electric car sold could motivate employees to take the time to explain and demonstrate a Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car over a Chevrolet Cruze with a combustion engine.

BMW and Nissan electric car fast-charging station

BMW and Nissan electric car fast-charging station

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The bill also aims to "provide experience in selling, leasing or exchanging electric motor vehicles."

Electric vehicles are traditionally more difficult to sell and take a longer time to explain to novice buyers.

To make matters worse, electric cars normally aren't any more profitable for salespeople. Oregon's $250 incentive aims to change that.

READ THIS: Eight States With Big ZEV Plans Meet With Automakers, Feds

Representative Barnhart explained that once the electric vehicle market exceeds 1 percent of total share, the momentum may begin to swing in favor of more sales.

In 2016, US plug-in sales hovered around 0.82 percent of the market.

However, the figure pales in comparison to truck and SUV market share; combined, trucks and SUVs made up fully 63 percent of total 2016 sales of 17.5 million vehicles.

MetLife electric-car charging station for employee use - Dayton, Ohio

MetLife electric-car charging station for employee use - Dayton, Ohio

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The bill, HR2514, cleared its first hurdle on March 22 when it passed 6-3 in the Committee on Energy and Environment.

There are skeptics as it moves forward, though. Lawmakers have not stipulated where the $1 million would come from in the state's budget.

CHECK OUT: Rewarding Dealers Who Sell Electric Cars: Connecticut Takes The Lead

Opponents have called the bill “another example of a clever idea in need of state revenues," adding it could result in fewer funds for teachers or other basic state-funded services.

It's a much more ambitious solution than what the state of Connecticut has begun doing.

Nissan Leaf electric car with eVgo quick charging station. [courtesy eVgo]

Nissan Leaf electric car with eVgo quick charging station. [courtesy eVgo]

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In 2014, that state began rewarding dealerships that sell the most electric vehicles.

However, the only prize is bragging rights and recognition—not the cash that fuels and motivates any dealership.

It remains to be seen if money truly is a motivator, especially when it regards electric vehicle sales.

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