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Several auto manufacturers have pledged to fully migrate to electric vehicles and become carbon neutral in the coming years. As a result, industry experts predict that more than 50% of cars sold nationwide will be EVs by 2030, meaning dealers must prepare for EVs’ sale and service sooner rather than later.
However, the low cost of repairing and maintaining electric vehicles could harm fixed ops profitability and customer after-sales experiences. As such, dealers must learn how to prepare service departments for EV and find ways to recoup the lost revenue through a better understanding of electrification.
This article discusses four methods for adjusting to a new EV-focused service lane paradigm.
How to Prepare Service Departments for EV: 4 Strategies
Dealers might consider the following four strategies to jump-start the transition to EV service:
1. Train the Service Team Early and Often
An EV surge will negatively impact service department revenue for several reasons, including:
- Fewer EV moving parts to maintain and repair
- Regenerative braking that reduces the need for brake replacement
- Fewer billable hours
- Longer intervals between service appointments
However, despite these negative changes, dealers still must invest in EV service training because nationwide electrification could foster longer-term customer relationships.
Dealers will have a distinct advantage over independent garages by training staff early in the EV transition, prompting more consumers to rely on their expertise come service time. As a result, while the service appointments per customer will drop, the number of total customers could increase.
2. Offer Attractive Service Plans
A means to strengthen those customer relationships and ensure future business might come from revamped service plans designed specifically for EV maintenance.
These agreements allow customers to pay service fees monthly in manageable installments, avoiding the potential shock of unexpectedly high one-time payments and providing the dealership with income certainty.
This arrangement also allows the dealer to preserve contact with the buyer, upping the likelihood that the customer will purchase from them again in the future.
3. Prepare for More Frequent Tire Replacement
Tire revenue will benefit from electrification in several ways. More vehicles are on the road every year, and each of those vehicles will experience significant wear and tear, as indicated by:
- The total miles traveled nationwide in 2021 ballooned to over 3.2 trillion annually.
- The miles traveled in December 2021 alone was 268.4 billion, up nearly 27 billion from December 2020.
- Pre-owned vehicles are on the road longer than ever, over 13 years on average.
These statistics add up to more frequent tire replacement during the ownership period. However, while tire replacement is becoming more frequent for all cars, EVs will consume tires faster than ICE vehicles because they are heavier and produce almost immediate torque off the line.
EVs will not require as many trips to the mechanic, but they will require more frequent tire replacements.
4. Learn to Maintain Glass and Related Components
Like tires, the primary growth drivers of glass and other visibility-related components are miles traveled and vehicle age. Those components include but are not limited to:
- Windshield glass
- Cleaning fluids
- Interior lightbulbs
These parts are all dependent (to varying degrees) on in-vehicle electronics, including sensors and cameras. Those sensors do not work when covered with dust or dirt, or the protective films have faded over time.
As more EVs come equipped with those sensors, overall vehicle function relies more heavily on cleanliness, requiring regular upkeep of glass and glass-related components.
Also, EVs include much more burdensome cooling requirements. When cooling the cabin, the system must be highly efficient and careful not to consume unnecessary energy and reduce vehicle range. As manufacturers design cars with larger windshields and moonroofs, their glass and related materials will serve as a primary means of insulation.
Manufacturers will likely reinforce this glass in future EV models with lamination and double-pane structures.
Redefine Your Service Lane with the Best Digital Tools
Although customer EV adoption may vary from dealership to dealership depending on the local area and OEM, the auto industry’s EV transition is rapidly arriving.
Dealers must ensure they are making plans to serve EV owners to increase their return on investment and outpace the competition in what will be an aggressive and saturated market.
This strategy will require knowing how to prepare service departments for EV by training staff on EV specs that need different maintenance than ICE vehicles and leveraging the proper software to streamline the service process.
All | January 31, 2023