The sad truth is that most people dread going to a car dealership, unless maybe it’s to buy a logo mug or hat. It is often said that people who are looking for an electric car hate the dealership experience even more. Tesla uses this argument to demonstrate why its direct sales model works best for its situation. There have also been claims that dealerships don’t want to spend the additional effort required to educate employees about electric powertrain technologies and endure the supposedly longer sales cycle.
A new report from Green Car Congress helps back up these claims with something substantial. Cited by the publication is a study from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. The conclusion of the study was that electric car shoppers were even less satisfied with the process of purchasing their car than the average car shopper.
There was one brand that bucked the trend: Tesla. Instead of going to franchised dealerships, anyone interested in a Model S or Model X either orders the car online or goes to a Tesla Store where there are sales agents hired by Tesla itself.
Feedback received by dealerships for the survey found that they consider electric car shoppers to be more demanding. Not only are shoppers who are looking to purchase an electric vehicle more critical of the cars, they expected more help from staff and a higher level of customer service. Add to that the complications when it comes to government incentives to buy electric vehicles, and car dealers have the general attitude that selling anything that runs off electricity is more trouble than it’s worth.
One of the most interesting points from the UC Davis study was the conclusion that selling an electric car doesn’t take longer than selling an internal combustion vehicle, flying in the face of conventional though from dealerships. According to the study, the average electric car purchase has a transaction that lasts 4 hours and 11 minutes, while the average for traditional cars is 4 hours and 15 minutes.