2016 Nissan Leaf
With the notable exception of Tesla Motors' company-owned stores, electric cars must compete against internal-combustion models for space and attention on dealer lots.
But what if a dealership sold only electric cars, covering multiple brands?
That's the concept behind EVEN Electric, which announced plans for its first dealership in Canada last week during an event in the Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict.
The dealership will offer both new and used electric cars from multiple brands through an "innovative retail and online customer experience," according to an EVEN Electric press release.
EVEN Electric's founders believe dealerships that focus solely on electric cars will be more effective in promoting them than traditional dealerships.
Those traditional dealerships have "proven unable to deliver the sales and service experience" that electric-car shoppers need, Mike Elwood, EVEN Electric CEO and co-founder, said.
2016 Nissan Leaf
Lending credence to that view is a recent survey conducted by the Sierra Club, in which 308 volunteers inquired about electric cars at dealerships in 10 states.
After studying the results, the Sierra Club concluded that both dealers and automakers need to work harder to sell electric cars.
EVEN Electric hopes to improve on the track record of traditional franchised dealers by not only selling solely electric cars, but also distributing them in a different way.
Instead of maintaining inventory on individual dealer lots, EVEN Electric will store cars at centralized processing centers.
The company believes this will cut costs by allowing it to maintain less capital-intensive showrooms.
These showrooms—called "Customer Centres"—will handle test drives, vehicle deliveries, and servicing, although EVEN Electric notes that the latter two functions can also be performed in customer driveways.
DC fast charging 2015 Kia Soul EV
EVEN Electric previously tested this concept with a pilot program in Iceland that began in 2013.
The program was so successful that there were soon too many orders for the store to fill, the company claims.
It says it is now in "advanced discussions" with locations in Canada, as well as Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Panama, and the U.K.
The company also has a partnership with charging-infrastructure supplier EVoCharge, and plans to work with governments and other agencies to expand electric-car charging infrastructure.